When it comes to pizza, two of the most popular styles are pan pizza vs deep dish. But what makes them different? On one hand, pan pizzas have a soft and fluffy crust that’s been cooked in a shallow round pan with raised edges. On the other hand, deep dish has an extra thick crust that is usually filled with more ingredients like vegetables or meats and then baked in a deeper metal pie plate. In this post, we’ll look at both types of pizzas in detail – their differences as well as similarities between pan pizza vs deep dish – so you can decide which style suits your palate best.
What is Deep Dish Pizza?
Deep dish pizza originated in Chicago. Its thick, dense crust and abundant toppings immerse you in an indulgent pizza experience.
Deep Dish Pizza Origins
- Invented in 1943 at Pizzeria Uno in Chicago by Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo
- Built a hearty pizza to withstand Chicago’s cold winters
- Deep dish popularity grew throughout the 1900s
- Became iconic of Chicago-style cuisine
Deep Dish Pizza Dough
The dough is a defining feature of deep dish pizza. It has a:
- Thick, dense, buttery texture
- Tall raised edges to hold abundant toppings
- Cooked in oil-coated pans giving a fried outer crust
Deep Dish Pizza Toppings
Deep dish pizzas feature generous amounts of:
- Tomato sauce layered onto dough, not on top
- Mozzarella cheese layered above sauce
-Preferred proteins like Italian sausage, pepperoni, or ground beef
- Mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives
- Oregano, basil, parmesan cheese
What is Pan Pizza?
Pan pizza has an airy, thick crust perfect for delivering flavorful toppings. Its creation paved the way for many regional variations.
History of Pan Pizza
- Rose in popularity in 1940s United States
- Gained wider appeal in 1960s with pizza chains like Pizza Hut
- Cooked in oiled pizza pans giving texture and fried bottom crust
- High edges allow generous toppings like deep dish
- Remains popular delivery and restaurant pizza
Characteristics of Pan Pizza Crust
The crust is the foundation of pan pizza’s appeal:
- Airy, springy texture with a fried, buttery bottom
- Oiled pans give crust a distinct shape
- Thicker and doughier than thin crust pizza
- Soft interior crumb with crispier exterior
Pan pizzas adapt well to creative toppings and regional tastes:
- Traditional toppings like pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, peppers
- Also BBQ chicken, taco pizza, Hawaiian, veggie lovers
- Allows abundant topping combinations
- Cheese blends like mozzarella, provolone, Parmesan
Comparing Deep Dish and Pan Pizza
While both Chicago-style, deep dish and pan pizzas differ in important ways.
Crust Texture and Mouthfeel
- Deep dish – Dense, heavy dough with thick, fried crust
- Pan Pizza – Airy, springy, and lighter dough texture
The chewy breadiness of deep dish contrasts the soft, doughy pan pizza crust. Deep dish has a heartier mouthfeel.
Ingredients and Flavor Profiles
- Deep dish – Hearty, abundant toppings like sausage, pepperoni
- Pan pizza – Wide range of meat and veggie toppings
Deep dish features traditional Italian-American flavors. Pan pizza ranges from classic to regional creative toppings.
Cultural and Regional Roots
- Deep dish – Reflects Chicago cuisine traditions
- Pan pizza – Broader American style with wider appeal
While popularized nationally, their styles evoke their origins. Deep dish is a Chicago icon, while pan pizza is versatile American fare.
Baking Methods: Deep Dish vs Pan Pizza
Deep dish and pan pizza require different techniques for optimal results:
- Deep dish – Requires high-sided cake or pie pans
- Pan pizza – Uses rimmed pizza pans or baking sheets
The thick dough layers need deeper pans. Sheet pans suffice for pan pizzas’ thinner crusts.
Temperature and Bake Times
- Deep dish – Baked at 425-450°F for 30-45 minutes
- Pan pizza – Baked at 375-400°F for 15-20 minutes
The dense dough and abundant toppings of deep dish pizzas require higher heat and longer bake times. Pan pizzas cook faster at lower temperatures.
Comparing Texture and Flavor
Subtle differences in ingredient ratios impact the eating experience:
- Deep dish – Very thick, dense, and chewy
- Pan pizza – Still thick yet airy, soft, and lighter
The hearty deep dish dough makes for very filling pizza slices. Pan pizza delivers satisfying thickness without the heaviness.
Subtle Flavor Nuances
- Deep dish – Robust tomato sauce and dough flavors
- Pan pizzas – More pronounced cheese and topping tastes
The abundant deep dish dough and sauce dominate. For pan pizzas, the cheese and creative toppings take the flavor spotlight.
Ingredients impact the nutritional values:
- Deep dish – Higher in carbohydrates, sodium, and calories
- Pan pizza – Also high in carbs but less dense, with lower sodium
More dough and oil makes deep dish very filling yet higher in carbs and calories versus pan pizza.
Both can fit into healthy eating with moderation:
- Load up on veggie toppings
- Opt for thin crust options
- Avoid extra cheese and fatty meats
- Enjoy as an occasional treat
Overall, deep dish will be a more indulgent choice given its heavier dough. But pan pizza can satisfy cravings with slightly better nutrition.
Preparing Deep Dish and Pan Pizzas at Home
With the right techniques, you can recreate both styles at home:
- Deep dish – Use bread flour and oil for thickness
- Pan pizza – All-purpose flour, less oil for airy crust
Adding some semolina flour gives deep dish crust its signature texture, while pan pizza dough sticks to the basics.
Topping and Assembly Advice
- Deep dish – Layer sauce on dough, then generous toppings
- Pan pizza – Sprinkle cheese first for adhesion before adding sauce and favorite toppings
For deep dish, the sauce and abundance of toppings are the star. The expansive pan pizza surface allows you to indulge your creative topping ideas.
Conclusion: Pan Pizza Vs Deep Dish
While deep dish and pan pizzas clearly differ in their crust, ingredients, and preparation, they share an ability to bring people together through a joy of pizza. This guide outlined their distinctions, regional roots, and worldwide popularity. There’s a pizza out there for every preference.
Bobby Kelly is a bartender at Molly Magees, an Irish pub in Mountain View. He’s been working there for two years and has developed a following among the regulars. Bobby is known for his friendly demeanor and great drink specials. He loves interacting with customers and making them feel welcome. When he’s not at work, Bobby enjoys spending time with his friends and family.