Detroit Style (ish) Tomato Herb Pepperoni Pizza. Thick crust pizza dough topped with pepperoni, tomato sauce, sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, garlic, tons of melted cheese, and more pepperoni. The key to a good Detroit-style pizza is crispy cheesy edges. As soon as the pizza comes out of the oven top it with fresh basil, slice, eat, and enjoy. Trust me, every last bite of this pizza is delicious and will leave you wanting more.
I love pizza day. I’m talking about an old-school-style pizza day. They were my favorite when I was in school! Pizza day was always more chill for some reason. I don’t know if the teachers planned it that way or what, but pizza day was the best.
My school served up the classic cheese and pepperoni pizzas…with the best chocolate chip cookies for dessert. It was always a day to look forward to. Anytime I’m making pizza, it’s a good memory.
But Detroit-style pizza is extra special. I’m from Cleveland, which means Detroit was not far away. We heard about Detroit pizza all the time. Unfortunately, we never tried it. But I’ve always been curious about it so I wanted to recreate it.
Detroit-style pizza is rectangular with a thicker crust It’s usually made with sauce, pepperoni, and tons of cheese that goes all the way out to the edges. Often the pepperonis are pressed into the dough. And it’s baked in a metal rectangular pan. Yes, it even has its own pan that’s specific to just this pizza!
Back when the pizza was first introduced in 1946, at a former speakeasy called Buddy’s Rendevous, automotive drip trays were used. There just weren’t any pans high enough to accommodate this thick-crusted pizza. These specially sized pan helps to create the classic crispy cheesy crust.
If you don’t have a Detroit-style pizza pan, as I do, a metal rectangle cake pan works great too.
Either make your own pizza dough or use store-bought. Either way, make sure the dough is at room temp. Add olive oil to your pizza pan, then push the dough into the bottom of the pan.
Cover the pan and let it sit for a bit. The dough will rise slightly.
Make sure to preheat the oven to the highest setting possible. Cooking the pizza in the bottom half of the oven at a super high temperature creates that crispy crust that everyone loves so much.
Meanwhile, I mix some garlic, fresh basil, oregano, and chili flakes. This blend is really going to season the pizza and make the flavor delicious.
When the dough is ready, layer on the toppings! The traditional layering process is pepperoni, then vertical lines of pizza sauce, then cubes of cheese.
We love our pepperonis to be crispy, so I did a slightly different order.
Start with pepperoncini, a sprinkling of the herb mix from above, then smooth on the sauce, and add the cheese. It’s traditional to use cubed brick cheese, which is similar to a dry whole milk mozzarella. Many places will also add cheddar to the mix.
I do cubes of mozzarella, provolone, and cheddar. The cubes melt wonderfully over the dough. Make sure to arrange the cheese all the way out to the edge of the dough. What happens is the cheese melts down along the sides of the pan and creates the crispy cheese crust that’s essential to this pizza.
After the cheese, I add a handful of fresh in-season cherry tomatoes, more herbs, and then lots of very thinly sliced pepperonis.
Bake the pizza in the bottom half of the oven until the cheese is bubbling and becomes crispy around the edges.
As soon as the pizza comes out of the oven, use a spatula to lift it out onto a cutting board. Slice it, top with basil, and eat. This one is meant to be eaten hot, so enjoy every last bite!
Family and friends will LOVE this pizza with its crispy cheesy crust, tomatoes, pepperonis, and herbs. The cheese in the middle is super melty too! Oh, and don’t skip out on the honey on top (it’s mine and Asher’s favorite). It makes every bite real good!
Looking for other pizzas? Here are a few of my go-to’s.
Lastly, if you make this Detroit Style Tomato Herb Pepperoni Pizza, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Detroit Style Tomato Herb Pepperoni Pizza
Calories Per Serving: 585 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seed
- chili flakes
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons pepperoncini, chopped
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups cubed brick cheese or whole milk mozzarella
- 1/2 cup cubed provolone cheese
- 1/2 cup cubed cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces pepperoni, sliced
- honey, for serving
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- 1. Position an oven rack in the bottom half of the oven. Preheat the oven to 500° F.2. Drizzle the olive oil in 9×13 metal cake pan (or a Detroit-style pizza pan). Put the pizza dough in the pan and gently stretch it out to fit so the dough almost reaches the corners. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 30 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the garlic, basil, oregano, fennel, and a pinch each of chili flakes, salt, and pepper.5. To assemble. Gently press the dough until it covers the entire pan. Layer on half of the pepperoni slices, then the pepperoncini. Spoon on the tomato sauce. Sprinkle over half of the herbs. Top with cheese, then tomatoes, then the remaining herbs, and more pepperoni.6. Bake until bubbly and a crispy cheese crust has formed, 10 to 15 minutes. Using a spatula, loosen the edges and slide on to a cutting board. Slice into squares and serve with fresh basil and honey.