Deep Dish Detroit Style Pizza (Buddy’s Copycat Recipe)

I have just returned after a whirlwind trip to Umbria, Italy, and though I will miss spending my entire summer in Italy as usual, I feel this summer after moving into a new home that I just needed to be there as the finishing touches are being completed. In the two and a half weeks I was away, the landscapers completed the rock wall behind our house to prevent soil erosion and completed our stone patio as well. Next step will be adding the pergola and finally our plants. As a welcome home, we woke up to find three deer snacking right off our new patio.

My husband and I spent a couple of weeks at my daughter’s house in Ann Arbor in early April house sitting, and while we were there, one day as we were looking for somewhere different to eat lunch we stumbled across Buddy’s pizza. Neither of us had heard of Buddy’s which apparently is a famous deep dish pizza place in Detroit. Buddy’s Pizza is famous for their thick crusted, square-shaped pizza, and they opened their first restaurant on Six Mile Road in 1946.

Being pizza lovers, we were intrigued to give it a try, and though I have to say that though I prefer our homemade Neapolitan style pizza, it was delicious and a nice change. I am sharing the recipe for a very cheesy pepperoni pizza, but if you want other topping ideas, do check out Buddy’s Pizza website!

Since I love replicating dishes that I enjoy while dining out, I made my own version of Buddy’s pizza for my daughter’s family when they arrived home. It was such a hit that my granddaughter begged me to make it again for her fifteenth Birthday party later that week. My husband and I shared a pepperoni pizza with the Motor City Cheese blend which consists of a combination of Wisconsin Brick cheese, Fontinella, and Parmesan cheese.

Though untraditional, this combination of cheeses was delicious, and I used it in my version as well. The waiter explained that the original way Buddy’s prepared their pepperoni pizza was to layer it under the cheese, and I found that this method worked out well at home as well. For the crust, I used my famous (or infamous) focaccia dough recipe, layered it with pepperoni, and then piled on the cheese.

I also found that to bake this pizza it was best to start out at a lower temperature to thoroughly cook the crust, then turn up the heat to brown the topping. When making my pizza or focaccia dough I always use SAS yeast which is a rapid rise yeast that doesn’t require you to mix it with water before adding it to the dry ingredients.

Brick cheese may be difficult to find (I had problems myself), but you can substitute muenster or Monterey Jack in place of Brick cheese. If you cannot find Fontinella, Fontina cheese will work just fine. This recipe uses a 12 x 17-inch sheet pan with a 1-inch lip and feeds four to six hungry folks.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Deep Dish Detroit Style Pizza (Buddy's Copycat Recipe)

Deep Dish Detroit Style Pizza (Buddy's Copycat Recipe)

Yield: Serves 4 to 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

A unique thick crusted pizza made famous in Detroit.


For The Dough:

  • 5 1/2 Cups All-purpose Unbleached Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Instant Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Plus 2 Additional Tablespoons To Oil Bowl)
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 1/2+  Cups Warm Water
  • 2 1/2 Cups Prepared Quick Tomato Sauce
  • 1 (7 Ounce) Package Pepperoni
  • 3 Cups Shredded Brick Cheese (See Notes Above)
  • 2 Cups Shredded Fontinella Cheese (See Notes Above)
  • 1 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. Measure and assemble your flour, oil, salt, yeast, and water.
  2. Add everything but the water into a large bowl and stir.
  3. Add half the water and stir.
  4. Continue to add water until the dough begins to come together into a shaggy ball.
  5. Dump the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead with the heels of your hand.
  6. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant.
  7. Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside.
  8. Roll the ball of dough around in the oil ensuring the sides of the bowl and ball of dough are both lightly oiled.
  9. Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise. (I cover mine with a kitchen towel on top of the plastic wrap and sit it on a large sunny windowsill.)
  10. Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour or an hour and a half depending on ambient temperature.
  11. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  12. Liberally oil your pan with olive oil.
  13. Dump the dough into the pan, then use your finger tips to spread across the pan.
  14. Spoon 2 cups of the tomato sauce on the dough, spreading it to cover the dough.
  15. Cover the tomato sauce with the pepperoni slices.
  16. Mix the three cheeses in a bowl, then spread the cheese blend on top of the pepperoni.
  17. Spoon the rest of the tomato sauce on top of the cheese in a few spots.
  18. Let the pizza rest 10 to 15 minutes.
  19. Bake the pizza for 15 minutes, then turn up the heat to 450 degrees F. and continue to bake until the cheese bubbles and begins to brown and the edges of the pizza start to crisp, about another 10 minutes.
  20. Cool 10 minutes then cut into squares.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Ohhh, so glad you’re back,,,,glad you enjoyed your vacation and I also enjoy reading about it…..I am excited to try this recipe for thick crust pizza…..

  2. From the Detroit area and LOVE Buddy’s pizza. Glad you were able to try it. I am going to try your copycat recipe!

  3. Oh my heavens. I cannot believe I found this site and this recipe. You have made my day. I too lived in Italy with so many fond memories. I was a child when my father took a job with Pirelli. Then there were the Detroit days and a lot of waiting in line at Buddy’s for the best pizza ever. You have sparked a lot of interest for me. Thank you.

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