Stuffed Pizza vs. Deep Dish: The Main Differences In Texture and Preparation

Stuffed Pizza vs Deep Dish Pizza

Stuffed Pizza vs. Deep Dish: The Main Differences In Texture and Preparation

Pizza leftovers often scatter across the dinner table of homes at least once a month, sometimes even more! It isn't uncommon for families to relish the tradition of pizza movie night, a fun way to create memories as a family. As popular as pizza is, the different types can be confusing. How thin is thin-crust pizza? Is there truly a difference between deep dish and pan pizza? Also, what about stuffed pizza? This article will explore the difference between stuffed pizza and deep dish; yes, there is a distinctive difference! The main difference is in the preparation method and the crust. Although both have thick crusts that rise, a stuffed pizza has two layers of dough. 

Stuffed Pizza vs. Deep Dish: What are the Differences?

When it comes to stuffed pizza and deep dish, there are some primary differences between the two. 

The first distinct characteristic of the two is in the crust. Deep dish pizza has a thick crust. However, it is also tall, coming up the pan sides. When thinking about both types of pizza, it can be helpful to imagine a pie. First, deep-dish pizza has the crust of a pie. One that rises up the sides and is tall and a bit crunchy on the crust edges. Whereas a stuffed pizza is also like a pie; it is stuffed full in the center and then topped with another layer of dough. 

Another difference between the two is the quantity of ingredients. Both pizzas are capable of holding an abundance of toppings. For this reason, deep dish pizzas are prepared in a deep dish. Ultimately, one defining factor of a deep-dish pizza is how many toppings are on top and the order of the toppings. 

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At the same time, a stuffed pizza takes it one step forward. It doesn't just have a plethora of toppings; a stuffed pizza also emphasizes cheese and pizza sauce

Top view of Chicago pizza. Woman hands cutting Chicago style deep dish italian cheese pizza with tomato sauce and beef meet inside
There are two types of stuffed pizzas. One involves simply stuffing the crust with cheese. The other is when the inside of the pizza is stuffed.

©Ja Crispy/Shutterstock.com

The Flavor of Stuffed Pizza

Stuffed pizza has a smooth, thick crust. The flavor, of course, will depend on the toppings inside this pizza. However, in comparison to the deep dish pizza, the cheese and crust take center stage with stuffed pizza. Be that as it may, the crust is thick, covering the sides, top, and bottom. Then the pizza is stuffed full of toppings, cheese, and tomato sauce, giving you a delicious, gooey, pie-like pizza to enjoy. 

The Flavor of Deep Dish

The deep-dish pizza brings the toppings to the party. As a matter of fact, the shape of a deep dish pizza creates a crater, so to speak, for more toppings to pile up. When first biting into a deep-dish pizza, you may feel that the flavor is a bit backward. That is because it is! The toppings typically go in reverse order like this: 

  • Cheese
  • Toppings
  • Sauce 

The sauce is on the top of the deep dish pizza, and the cheese is on the bottom instead of the other way around. 

Nutritional Profile

When it comes to pizza, the nutritional profile will change depending on several factors. However, let's look below at how deep-dish pizza and stuffed pizza stack up against one another. 

Stuffed Pizza vs Deep Dish Pizza Nutritional Facts


What is Stuffed Pizza?

When it comes to stuffed pizza, there are two different types. The first one is when the crust of the pizza is filled with cheese. The pizza itself is usually similar to typical pizza with a cheese-filled crust.

Then the second type of stuffed pizza is a little more complex. When explaining this type, it can be helpful to picture a pie. This version of pizza uses a deep dish. To begin with, a thick crust covers the bottom and sides of the dish; afterward, the pizza sauce, toppings, and cheese are all assembled. Then another layer of crust covers the top of the ingredients, trapping them in, bringing the term “stuffed” to life. Additionally, the top of the crust has a small hole poked into the top, and then it is doused with pizza sauce.

After the pizza comes out of the oven, you have a topping-centric, deep dish, stuffed pizza in all its gloriousness. 

Homemade Pepperoni Stuffed Crust Pizza with Cheese
Stuffed crust pizza is a family favorite because it puts emphasis on delicious cheese!

©Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

What is Deep Dish?

Moving on to a deep-dish pizza. Similarly to a stuffed pizza, a deep dish pizza has an emphasis on a thick crust. Although in a stuffed pizza, the crust is one of the main events, a deep dish utilizes the crust to create a large caveat for the delicious toppings. 

For this reason, a deep dish pizza has a thick crust that is tall, higher than the toppings. While assembling the deep dish pizza, most of the time, the ingredients take a reverse order. Usually, the ingredients on a pizza go like this: adding the sauce to the crust, placing toppings, and then adding the cheese. However, in a deep dish pizza, the ingredients go in this order: the cheese on the bottom, then the toppings, then the sauce. This simple yet effective order creates enough difference in the flavor profile to be noticeable yet subtle enough that the pizza flavor doesn't change drastically. 

The Texture of Deep Dish and Stuffed Pizza

Both deep-dish pizza and stuffed pizza are known for having plenty of robust pizza sauce on top of the pizza. In a deep dish, the pizza sauce is over the top of the toppings. In a stuffed pizza, the pizza sauce covers the top layer of dough. The pizza sauce adds a tangy and robust flavor to both pizzas. 

In a deep dish pizza, the edges of the crust will be a bit more crunchy than that of a stuffed pizza. Thus pressing the dough upwards to create the pie-like nature of the deep dish pizza will bring it closer to the heat, leading to a crispy edge. 

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  • Includes more than 8,000 substitutions for ingredients, cookware, and techniques.
  • Save time and money on by avoiding trips to grab that "missing" ingredient you don't really need.
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Chicago Style Deep Dish Cheese Pizza with Tomato Sauce
Deep dish pizza is a backward pizza! It has the cheese on the bottom, then the ingredients, and lastly the sauce. This creates a subtle yet delicious difference.

©Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.com

History of Deep Dish and Stuffed Pizza

When it comes to the history of deep-dish pizza, many people aren't sure where it originated from. One of the common thoughts, though, is that it started becoming popular sometime in the 1940s in Chicago at Pizzeria Uno. 

At the same time, the stuffed pizza got its start relatively later than the deep dish. Two specific pizza chains in Chicago began to play around with the idea of a stuffed pizza. These chains were Nancy's Pizza and Giordano's Pizzeria. From there, the stuffed pizza rose to popularity. If you are a pizza fan and can't get enough delicious toppings, a stuffed pizza can be filled to the max for your enjoyment! 

One Last Note

Infographic showing the differences between stuffed pizza and deep dish pizza.
When people think of stuffed pizza, they often think of stuffed crust pizza first.
  • Stuffed pizza can have filling inside the pizza or the crust, or sometimes both. These fillings can differ, from meat to cheese! Deep dish pizza has no filling; rather, the highlight is the tall, thick exterior crust.
  • Deep dish pizza places the emphasis primarily on its toppings, while stuffed pizza aims to focus on the cheese and sauce in addition to toppings.
  • Stuffed crust pizza is lower in calories and fat compared to deep dish, though not by much. Neither option is especially healthy, especially for those on a diet. Indulgence in moderation is fine.

When it comes to pizza, the diversity is endless. The options are abundant whether you enjoy a typical pepperoni pizza or a stuffed-to-the-max pizza. There is a pizza out there for everyone, even healthier versions! 

Generally speaking, deep dishes and stuffed pizzas boast excellence in creating a pizza where the toppings are center stage. The thick and high crust, similar to a pie, allows the toppings to stack high. Additionally, the emphasis on cheese and pizza sauce also creates a unique profile that is nothing short of delicious. If you enjoy toppings, either of these pizzas will hit the spot! 

Try this great upside-down deep dish pizza recipe for dinner next week:

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Upside-down Deep Dish Pizza

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  • Author: Moms Who Think
  • Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 jar (2 pounds) Ragu Rich and Meaty Meat Sauce
  • 1 package (10 ounce) frozen chopped spinach or broccoli thawed and squeezed dry (optional)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)
  • 1 can (10 ounces) refrigerated pizza dough


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. In 2-quart baking dish, pour meat sauce.

3. Evenly top with spinach or broccoli.

4. Cover with cheese.

5. Place pizza crust over dish, sealing edges tightly.

6. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

7. Let stand 10 minutes.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes

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