20 Best Deep Dish Pizza Toppings in 2024

Sausage, pepperoni, and mushrooms that's my unbeatable trio for a Chicago-style deep dish pizza. But the quest for perfection doesn't stop there.

The Chicago-style deep dish pizza is a legend in its own right, with its buttery crust, chunky tomato sauce, and an avalanche of cheese. But when it comes to toppings, that’s where the real debate begins.

Throughout my pizza-loving years, I’ve realized that choosing the right toppings for a Chicago-style pizza is an art.

The challenge is not just in selecting what you love but also in what works harmoniously with the deep-dish style. It’s about balancing the robust sauce, the rich cheese, and the crispy crust. 

Now, I’m excited to share all my favorite toppings that will make your taste buds sing and your heart flutter. So, explore the combinations that can make a good pizza unforgettable.

What are The Best Deep Dish Pizza Toppings?

Best Deep Dish Pizza Toppings

The magic of pizza lies in its ability to cater to every palate. Pizza, particularly the deep-dish variety, is an endlessly customizable dish that caters to various palates.

As such, we can categorize deep-dish pizza toppings into 3 broad groups for a more systematic exploration: Classic, Unique, and Vegetarian.

Each of these categories brings charm and flavor to the deep dish pizza. Whether you prefer sticking to the classics, trying something unique, or going all out with vegetarian options, the choice is yours.

Classic Deep Dish Pizza Toppings: These are the familiar, time-tested favorites that have graced pizza tables for decades. They are the comfort food of pizza toppings, the ones we reach for when we crave something cozy and delicious.

  • Pepperoni
  • Sausage
  • Mushrooms
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Italian sausage
  • Parmesan Cheese

Unique Deep Dish Pizza Toppings: This category is where culinary innovation shines. These toppings might not be the first that comes to mind when you think of pizza, but they’re the ones that can transform a good pizza into an unforgettable one.

  • Bacon
  • Smoked Salmon
  • Pineapple
  • Ground beef
  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • Anchovies
  • Arugula

Vegetarian Deep Dish Pizza Toppings: This category is a treasure trove of flavors for those who prefer plant-based options. Vegetarian toppings are not just about tomatoes and bell peppers. There’s a whole world of veggies out there waiting to be discovered.

  • Onions
  • Green peppers
  • Spinach
  • Artichoke heart
  • Black olives
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Red Bell Peppers

Here are the details of the deep dish pizza toppings according to the classification:

1. Pepperoni

Pepperoni, a beloved topping choice for many pizza lovers, has a special role in deep dish pizza. Known for its bold flavor and satisfying texture, pepperoni can transform your deep dish pizza experience.

Pepperoni is a cured meat, which means it brings a deep, smoky flavor to your deep dish pizza, complementing the rich cheese and robust tomato sauce. It releases oils that seep into the other pizza layers as it cooks, adding a flavor layer.

The small, thin slices of pepperoni are perfect for deep dish pizza, as they can be evenly distributed throughout the cheese layer. It also provides a pleasing textural contrast. Its slightly crisp edges provide a nice counterpoint to the soft cheese and crust.

It is a protein-rich topping, making your deep dish pizza even more filling.

Here is a simple table to illustrate the nutrient values of pepperoni and some tips for using it on your deep dish pizza:

Nutrient ValueTips
High in protein and contains some ironUse thinly sliced pepperoni for even distribution
High in saturated fat and sodiumConsider balancing with vegetable toppings for a healthier slice
Provides some Vitamin B12Add pepperoni towards the end of cooking for a slightly crispy texture

2. Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella is a popular choice for deep dish pizza due to its perfect melt and stretch when heated, imparting a creamy, delectable layer atop the pizza’s ingredients. It balances the robust flavors of other toppings like sausage, vegetables, and rich tomato sauce.

  • To avoid a soggy pizza, opt for low-moisture part-skim mozzarella, which retains less water than its fresh counterpart.
  • For a 14-inch deep dish pizza, roughly one pound (16 oz) of sliced mozzarella will adequately cover the bottom and provide a generous cheese layer.
  • When you layer it, place the mozzarella at the bottom to prevent it from burning under the intense heat.
  • As mozzarella cheese melts, it binds the other toppings together, creating a unified, mouthwatering bite every time.
  • For a fun twist, try mixing mozzarella with other cheeses like cheddar or gouda to add complexity to the flavor profile.

Mozzarella cheese is lower in sodium and calories than other cheeses. This makes it a healthier option for those mindful of their dietary intake.

Besides, it adds significant protein to your pizza, contributing to its nutritional value. Enjoy your deep dish pizza topped with the beautiful mozzarella.

3. Sausage

Sausage is a popular choice for deep dish pizza, particularly in Chicago-style versions where the sausage can range from quarter-size pieces to even a large patty that fills the entire inner circumference of the dough.

  • Broil or grill the sausage until golden brown to prepare it for the pizza. It will take about 13-15 minutes on each side.
  • Turn the sausages periodically while cooking to ensure they are uniformly browned.
  • You can crumble it evenly over the cheese layer to ensure a bit of sausage in every bite.
  • The texture of sausage provides a satisfying contrast to the gooey cheese and soft crust, elevating the overall eating experience.
  • It can be paired with other toppings, from peppers to onions, creating a well-rounded flavor profile.

Table: Nutrient Value of Sausage.

Protein14.3 g
Total Fat20.5 g
Saturated Fat7.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat12.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat2.6 g
Trans Fat0 g
Vitamin B-12Yes

4. Mushrooms

Mushrooms, with their earthy flavor and unique texture, are a widely loved topping for deep dish pizza. Their popularity isn’t just for their taste but also for the diverse ways of preparing and using it to enhance the deep dish pizza experience.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can utilize mushrooms on your Chicago pizza:

  • Sauté your mushrooms before adding them to the pizza to reduce their water content and prevent a soggy crust.
  • Thinly slice your mushrooms to ensure they cook evenly, allowing their flavors to permeate the pizza.
  • Pair your mushrooms with complementary toppings like spinach or bell peppers to create a symphony of flavors.
  • Consider using a variety of mushrooms, such as cremini or portobello, to add depth to your pizza’s flavor profile.
  • Mushrooms are a healthier topping option, adding nutrients to your pizza without excessive calories.
  • Lastly, their earthy flavor balances the cheese’s richness and the tomato sauce’s tanginess, making them a harmonious addition to deep dish pizza.

5. Italian Sausage

Italian sausage is a popular topping for Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, a variant known for its thick, crisp crust and generous layers of cheese and toppings. It is a bit heavier than other types of sausage, making it a robust and filling choice for your deep-dish pizza.

  • When making your pizza, start with a layer of mozzarella cheese slices on the bottom, followed by crumbled, cooked Italian sausage. 
  • The tomato sauce goes on top, which keeps the crust from becoming soggy and the cheese nicely melty.
  • You can also use your favorite toppings with Italian sausage. The sausage’s distinctive flavor pairs well with many other ingredients.

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Italian Sausage

Saturated Fat7g

6. Bacon


Bacon on deep dish pizza is not just a tasty addition but also a crispy texture and a smoky flavor that complements the rich, hearty nature of this pizza style. Here are some tips and tricks for using bacon as a topping:

Pre-cooking bacon: Before adding to the pizza, it’s beneficial to pre-cook the bacon to remove some of the fat and achieve a crispy texture.

Bacon size: Chop the bacon into small pieces before cooking. It allows it to distribute evenly over the pizza. It also ensures every bite has a taste of bacon.

Complementary ingredients: Bacon pairs well with other ingredients like onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. All of them enhance the overall flavor profile of your pizza.

Watch the salt: Bacon can be quite salty, so balancing it with other less salty toppings and perhaps a less salty cheese is essential. It’s also high in fat. So, use a little.

Here’s a brief table summarizing bacon’s nutritional value:

NutrientAmount per 100g
Total fat3.3g

7. Smoked Salmon

Smoked salmon on deep-dish pizza is a delightful twist on a classic dish. Its unique flavor and health benefits make it a topping worth trying for your next pizza night.

It brings a unique flavor profile to deep-dish pizza. Its smoky, slightly salty taste complements the cheese and tomato base beautifully.

While not a conventional choice, smoked salmon’s popularity is growing as people seek unique and gourmet pizza experiences.

It is simple to combine smoked salmon with a deep-dish pizza. You can add it after the pizza is cooked. It will allow the residual heat to warm it slightly without further cooking.

You can also add the smoked salmon as a topping after the baked pizza. This helps preserve the salmon’s texture and taste.

You can pair smoked salmon with complementary ingredients like cream cheese, dill, capers, or red onion to enhance flavor. It also brings health benefits, making it a nutritious and delicious addition to your pizza.

Health Benefits of Smoked SalmonNutrient Value
Rich in Omega-3 Fatty AcidsHigh
Good Source of ProteinHigh
Contains Vitamins B, D, and EModerate
Source of Selenium and PotassiumModerate

8. Ground beef

Ground beef

Ground beef offers a robust flavor and filling texture to deep-dish pizza, making it a popular choice among pizza lovers. With its nutritional value and versatile flavor, ground beef is a topping worth considering for your next homemade pizza.

Ground beef as a pizza topping provides a rich, hearty flavor that complements the robust nature of deep-dish pizza. Its popularity on pizza, especially in combinations like “meat lovers,” is due to its versatile flavor and satisfying texture.

  • You should cook and drain the excess fat before adding it to the pre-bake pizza.
  • Season it well before cooking, as it enhances the overall flavor of the pizza.
  • Ground beef can pair with other ingredients like onions, bell peppers, or mushrooms for a more complex flavor profile.
  • Besides its taste, ground beef is a great source of protein, contributing to a more fulfilling meal.
Health Benefits of Ground BeefNutrient Value
Excellent Source of ProteinHigh
Provides Iron and ZincModerate
Contains Vitamin B12Moderate
Source of SeleniumModerate

9. Onions

With their intense flavor and sweet, almost caramel-like cooked profile, onions make a versatile and delightful topping for deep dish pizza. Their popularity as a pizza topping is indisputable, and here’s why:

How to Use: Roast raw onions in the oven’s heat to release the trapped moisture within their cells. However, a simple technique can help you to retain their flavor and prevent burning. Toss the onion slices with salt and sugar before using them as a topping.

Tips: There is a technique for it. Toss 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of sugar with 1 sliced onion. Let the slices sit for 15 minutes, then rinse them in 3 water changes. Dry the onions using a salad spinner or paper towels before using them on your pizza.

Nutrient-Dense: Onions are low in calories yet high in nutrients, including vitamin C, B vitamins, and potassium.

Benefit Heart Health: Research shows that eating onions may help reduce heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, elevated triglyceride levels, and inflammation.

Loaded with Antioxidants: Onions are an excellent source of at least 17 different flavonoid antioxidants, helping reduce the risk of diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

10. Anchovies

With their distinctive flavor and nutritional value, anchovies can offer a unique twist to transform a pizza. Their intense flavor may not be for everyone, but anchovies are a topping worth considering for those who appreciate an intense, savory kick. It has a strong umami flavor that can elevate the overall taste of a pizza.

  • To use anchovies on pizza, you can lay them over the other toppings before baking.
  • Chop the anchovies finely to spread their flavor evenly across the pizza.
  • Anchovies pair well with other robust flavors, such as olives, capers, or garlic, creating a complex and rich taste.
Health Benefits of AnchoviesNutrient Value
Omega-3 Fatty AcidsHigh
Good Source of ProteinHigh
Vitamins A and EModerate
Source of CalciumModerate

11. Green Peppers

Green Peppers

Green peppers add a nice crunch and a sweet taste to deep dish pizza. They make your pizza look colorful and add health benefits to your meal. They taste good and have a nice crunch.

To use green peppers on your pizza, you can follow these simple steps:

  • Choose green peppers that look fresh and have a bright color.
  • Cut the peppers into thin slices.
  • Add them to your pizza halfway through baking to avoid overcooking.

Green peppers are not only tasty but also good for your health. They are high in Vitamin C, which is good for your immune system, and they have antioxidants that are good for your heart. Plus, they are low in calories and high in fiber.

So, next time you make a deep dish pizza, don’t forget to add some green peppers.

12. Gorgonzola Cheese

With its strong and tangy flavor, Gorgonzola cheese lends well to many dishes, including topping on pizza. It offers a unique flavor profile that can make your pizza stand out as an alternative to mozzarella.

It is not as popular as mozzarella. But Gorgonzola is a favorite among those who appreciate gourmet pizza toppings. It is for those who enjoy a bit of a culinary adventure.

To use gorgonzola on pizza, you can crumble it and spread it evenly over the other ingredients before baking. It will flourish with flavor if you pair gorgonzola with milder ingredients to balance its strong flavor.

It is best to combine gorgonzola with pear, walnuts, or honey. It can produce a delicious blend of flavors. In addition to its flavor, Gorgonzola offers health benefits such as being a good source of protein and calcium.

Health Benefits of Gorgonzola CheeseNutrient Value
High in ProteinHigh
Good Source of CalciumHigh
Contains ProbioticsModerate
Provides Vitamin AModerate

13. Arugula

Arugula offers a unique flavor and a burst of freshness to pizza. Its peppery taste and health benefits make it a worthwhile addition for those who appreciate a touch of green on their pizza. 

While it’s not a conventional choice, arugula can add a refreshing contrast to the richness of a pizza. It brings a peppery, slightly bitter taste that can cut through the richness of other pizza ingredients.

How to use: Add arugula after the pizza is baked to maintain its fresh flavor and crisp texture. Lightly dress the arugula in olive oil and lemon juice before topping the pizza for an added layer of flavor.

It also pairs well with various ingredients like prosciutto, goat cheese, or figs, offering a balance of flavors.

Health Benefits of ArugulaNutrient Value
High in Vitamins A, C, KHigh
Good Source of FolateHigh
Contains AntioxidantsModerate
Provides Dietary FiberModerate

14. Spinach

Spinach is a delightful and nutritious addition to your deep dish pizza. Spinach as a pizza topping is popular due to its vibrant color, unique flavor, and remarkable health benefits.

Here are some tips and tricks to optimize its use:

  1. Always place the spinach under the cheese to prevent it from drying or becoming crispy.
  2. Sautéy your spinach in olive oil with seasonings like garlic, dried basil, chipotle chili pepper, and salt before adding it to your pizza. You will get a more flavorful result.

Spinach not only adds a pop of color and a distinctive taste to your pizza but also brings many health benefits. It contains nutrients, including vitamins K, A, and folate.

 It is also a great source of dietary fiber. The high vitamin K content in spinach supports bone health, reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.

Furthermore, spinach is rich in antioxidants which can help to combat oxidative stress in the body. It’s also a good source of magnesium, a mineral essential for various bodily functions.

15. Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan Cheese

With its sharp and slightly nutty flavor, Parmesan cheese is a fantastic addition to Chicago deep dish pizza recipes. It adds a gourmet touch and enhances the overall taste. It’s a popular choice among pizza lovers for its unique taste and the delightful texture it lends to the dish. 

It is typically used as a topping in deep dish pizza for its ability to add a contrasting flavor to the other ingredients. Its lower moisture content than other cheeses prevents sogginess, keeping the pizza crust crispy and enjoyable.

  • Sprinkle Parmesan on top of the pizza before baking. It creates a crispy, flavorful crust that is a signature of deep dish pizza.
  • You can add Parmesan at the end of baking or before serving to add an extra flavor without altering other ingredients’ cooking process.
  • The robust flavor of Parmesan adds a sharp contrast to other toppings, enhancing the overall taste.

As for its nutritional value, a single slice of deep dish pizza with Parmesan cheese, Italian sausage, and mozzarella can offer an array of nutrients. Here is a brief table of the nutrient value and health benefits of parmesan cheese:

ProteinSupports muscle growth and repair
CalciumStrengthens bones and teeth
Low CarbsIdeal for low-carb diets

16. Artichoke Heart

Artichoke hearts make a nutritious and delicious addition to deep-dish pizza. Here are some reasons why you might want to consider them:

  1. Unique Flavor: Artichoke hearts have a mildly sweet and nutty flavor. It can complement the rich, savory flavors of a deep-dish pizza well. They add a unique taste that distinguishes your pizza from traditional toppings.
  2. Nutrient-Rich: Those are packed with nutrients. They are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese.
  3. Easy to Use: It is also very easy to use on a pizza. You can add it straight from the jar. But it is best if you drain and cut it into smaller pieces.
  4. Versatile: They pair well with other toppings like spinach, tomatoes, olives, and different types of cheese, providing flexibility in pizza design.
Note: Do not overload the pizza with too many Artichoke hearts. Because they have a high water content that could make the pizza soggy.

17. Pineapple

Pineapple on a deep-dish pizza offers a unique blend of sweet and savory flavors that tantalize the taste buds. Despite its contentious status, its health benefits and distinctive taste make it a topping worth trying.

Known famously as a part of the “Hawaiian Pizza,” pineapple has always been a divisive yet popular topping choice. It offers a sweet and tangy flavor that contrasts and complements traditional savory ingredients. 

  • Layer it with other ingredients before baking to add pineapple to deep-dish pizza.
  • Don’t forget to drain it well before use. It will prevent excess moisture from making your pizza soggy.
  • Pair pineapple with other ingredients like ham or bacon can balance sweetness and savory to your pizza.
  • Despite the ongoing debate about its place on pizza, pineapple brings dietary fiber and vitamin C, contributing to a nutritious meal.
Health Benefits of PineappleNutrient Value
High in Vitamin CHigh
Source of Dietary FiberModerate
Contains Vitamin ALow
Provides PotassiumModerate

18. Black Olives

Black olives, derived from the Olea europaea tree, are rich in flavor and have significant health benefits. It offers a unique flavor that complements other toppings. Their rich, earthy taste can balance the robust flavors of the pizza.

Black olives are a powerhouse of nutrients. They are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. That provides anti-inflammatory benefits and lower cholesterol.

They are a good source of Vitamin E, an antioxidant that supports immune system function and protects the body’s cells.

  1. Preparation Tips: You can use black olives on your pizza, either whole or sliced. Remember to drain and rinse canned olives to remove excess salt before use.
  2. Placement: Add black olives as a topping just before the pizza goes into the oven. It ensures that they retain their flavor and don’t dry out. However, preheat the oven properly to ensure the pizza is cooked evenly.

Despite its numerous benefits, it’s essential to watch your sodium intake. Especially if you’re using canned black olives, they can be high in sodium.

NutrientValue per 100g
Monounsaturated fats10.5g
Vitamin E20% of the Daily Value

19. Grape Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Grape tomatoes, a flavorful and vibrant ingredient, add a delightful twist to your deep dish pizza. Their natural sweetness and tanginess counterbalance the rich, savory flavors of the pizza.

This makes them a popular choice for toppings. However, using grape tomatoes in deep dish pizza requires some finesse to prevent the dish from becoming soggy.

  • Consider halving or quartering the tomatoes before using them. This exposes more surface area and excess moisture to evaporate in the oven.
  • You can also pre-roast the tomatoes. This step reduces their water content and intensifies their flavor.
  • Remember to add the grape tomatoes near the end of the baking process. This will preserve their fresh taste and texture.
  • You can pair it with fresh basil, mozzarella, or bell peppers to balance flavors.
  • Lastly, when you buy grape tomatoes, opt for ripe but firm ones. These will hold up better under the heat.

20. Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are popular for toppings due to their crisp texture and refreshing taste. It contrasts beautifully with the richness of the pizza. However, you will need some culinary know-how to ensure the best results. These tips will help you combine red bell peppers into your deep dish pizza to maximize their potential.

  • You may choose to slice or dice the peppers. Slicing gives a nice bite, while dicing spreads the flavor more evenly.
  • Pre-roast the peppers to enhance their sweetness and also make them softer.
  • Add the peppers midway through baking to help retain their crisp texture and vivid color.
  • Pair red bell peppers with other toppings like olives, onions, or sausage can create a delicious flavor profile.
  • Always choose firm, bright red peppers for the best taste and texture.


Q. What are the traditional toppings for deep dish pizza?

Traditional toppings for deep dish pizza typically include pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, and onions. They provide a savory flavor profile that pairs well with the thick, buttery crust of the deep dish style.

Q. How can I get creative with my deep dish pizza toppings?

You can experiment with a variety of ingredients according to your preference. For example, you could use unexpected toppings like pineapple and figs. You can also try unique combinations like eggplant and sweet fennel sausage. Spread the toppings evenly to avoid a soggy crust.

Q. What are some unique deep dish pizza toppings?

You can twist your pizza by trying Mexican-inspired toppings such as beans, bolognese beef, and a blend of three kinds of cheese.

Another unusual but delicious option is a Siciliana deep-dish pizza topped with sauteed mushrooms, fried eggplant, sweet fennel sausage, Vermont white cheddar, and pepperoni.

Q. How should I layer my toppings in a deep dish pizza?

Start by placing the mozzarella at the bottom of the crust. Then, layer the sausage and pepperonis evenly over the cheese.

Finish it with tomato sauce and olive oil. Then bake for approximately 15 minutes. Once baked, add the rest of your chosen toppings and enjoy.

Q. What are some healthy deep dish pizza toppings?

Consider toppings like red peppers, spinach, artichokes, eggplant, and avocado for healthier options. These enhance the taste of your pizza and provide a range of antioxidants and vitamins.

Q. What is a good cheese for deep dish pizza?

Some classic cheese options for deep dish pizza include mozzarella, provolone, and Parmesan. When melted, they create a flavorful base for your pizza. Remember, the toppings should be thinly sliced and well-seasoned for maximum flavor.


After the journey of deep dish pizza toppings, one thing is clear – there’s a topping for every taste. From sweet grape tomatoes to crisp red bell peppers, the possibilities are endless and oh-so-delicious. 

But choosing the best one can be a challenge. That’s where creativity and personal preference come in. Don’t be afraid to mix and match or try something new.

After all, the best deep dish pizza topping is the one that makes your tastebuds dance with joy. So, go ahead and experiment. Your perfect pizza masterpiece is waiting for you.

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