Detroit Style Pizza: Explainer Guide

Detroit Style Pizza: Explainer Guide
Detroit Style Pizza: Explainer Guide

Detroit is renowned for being known as the automobile capital of the world. The city is also well known for its distinctive sixties Motown music scene. Detroit is also famous for producing delicious pizza, and many folks there would contend that Detroit style pizza is the finest pizza style available.

Traditional toppings for this square-shaped pizza include tomato sauce and a substantial quantity of sharp brick cheese that extends to the edges.

The airy dough used to make the thick crust has a crunchy feel. Slices of pepperoni, for example, have the propensity to form little cups during cooking.

Detroit style pizza is a descendant of Sicilian style pizza, and its roots may be found in 1946. It was designed by a guy by the name of Gus Guerra, who ran the nearby tavern called Buddy’s Rendezvous.

This pizza differs from others in that it is baked in a pan. Numerous eateries have now added their own unique twists to the classic idea of Detroit style pizza.

Characteristics of Detroit Style Pizza


The dough used in Detroit style pizza and Sicilian sfincione, a focaccia that is similarly baked on a rectangular pan, have many similarities. Prior to adding the sauce to the focaccia, the toppings are pushed into the dough.

The dough of Detroit style pizza is not chewy like the dough of other varieties of pizza. Instead, it is airy inside, light inside, and crunchy outside. It is manufactured with the ideal ratio of flour to water, which keeps it hydrated, and it is simple to make at home.

Since the dough for this particular pizza is usually double-proofed, it will rise better and be more adaptable when it comes to stretching and shaping.


This pizza is sometimes referred to as the “Detroit-style square.” It is renowned for the distinctive form that distinguishes it from other conventional circular pizzas. Although at first look it could seem more rectangular than square, it really has a square-shaped structure.

The Detroit style pizza is sometimes confused with deep-dish pizza. However, there are clear distinctions between the two. Instead of resembling a pizza, the latter is more comparable to a pie. Pizza is cooked in a square-shaped steel pan to produce this form.

Red Top

Detroit style pizza toppings are added in a distinctive sequence. Traditionally, the cheese, sauce, and pepperoni are put into the dough in that order.

In order to give the pizza its red top, several recipes call for adding the pizza sauce after it has been taken out of the oven. You have two options for adding the sauce. You can add it either in stripes or in blotchy spoonfuls.

The cheese is followed by any extra toppings, then the sauce. The crust will absorb the juices of the meat as it cooks, giving it an additional taste. It is believed that putting the ingredients in the opposite sequence would keep the pizza’s base from becoming soggy. Since the meat is put first, it won’t be as crispy as some would anticipate, but the irresistibly gooey cheese will make up for it.

Pizza toppings that you like may be added. While some people may want to stay with a simpler topping of cheese and tomato sauce, others could decide to include many different kinds of meat.

If pepperoni isn’t your thing, consider substituting bacon or sausage. No matter what toppings you decide to use, you may savour a delicious pizza.

Wisconsin brick cheese
Wisconsin brick cheese (Source)

Brick Cheese

In most classic pizza recipes, mozzarella cheese is used. However, Wisconsin brick cheese is often used to top Detroit style pizza.

This cheese has been around since the 1870s, but lately more people have been aware of it since this kind of pizza is becoming more and more popular. Brick cheese from Wisconsin has a mild cheddar flavour and is semi-soft. Additionally, it has more fat than mozzarella.

A Detroit style pizza usually has cheese that extends to the edges. It will start to caramelise as it melts, adding to the crust’s crunch.

There are several eateries that won’t butter or oil the pan before putting the dough. Instead, they will make use of the cheese’s cooking fat.

In turn, this will give the pizza foundation a lovely buttery feel. Brick cheese and tomato sauce each have distinct flavours that work nicely together.


The airy dough and square form of your pizza will be greatly influenced by the pan you choose to cook it in. Many restaurants utilise deep pans with angled sides made of industrial-grade steel. The pan has to be coated with olive oil before the dough is inserted. This will stop it from drying out or burning.

The sides should ideally slope outwards so that the top of the pan has a larger surface area than the base. The crusts will therefore be more exposed and will have a chance to crisp up as the dough fills the pan’s bottom.

An aluminium pan will work if you want to cook this pizza at home but are unable to get an industrial-quality steel pan.

Detroit style square pizza
Detroit style square pizza (Source)

How is Detroit Style Pizza Consumed?

Although you can eat pizza with your hands, using silverware to eat pizza has become a more and more popular practice. Using a knife and fork will make it simpler to cut and guarantee that you receive a lot of toppings with each mouthful. This is because Detroit style pizza’s crust is thick and piled with toppings.

By using utensils, you can eat your pizza and not be concerned about it leaving a mess. More individuals are now opting to eat their pizza with a knife and fork at many places since it is a neater way to dine.

Alternatively, you can cut the pizza using a knife and fork before picking it up to eat with your hands.


We hope our article has covered all the information you need regarding Detroit style pizza. The key features that set it apart from other types of pizza are the texture of the dough and the layering of the cheese, toppings, and sauce.

Despite being created in Buddy’s Rendezvous restaurant, this pizza has subsequently gained worldwide appeal and has been added to the menus of several other establishments.


Featured image: Source