You probably know that Chicago is famous for its pizza —and might have even heard me say it around here…like in this cast iron skillet pizza recipe. But…one beloved Chicago institution makes something completely different than our traditional Chicago-style deep dish pizza recipe.

It’s the also famous, upside down, pizza pot pie recipe from Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder, a restaurant my kids remember fondly visiting one holiday season.

Upside down pizza? Whaaaat? Trust me…(it’s just pizza – you can trust me).

And it’s a pizza recipe I’ve always wanted to make and at the risk of sounding cheesy…

I think you’re going to flip over it. Yup, I went there.

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Why make upside down pizza?

I’m not sure what is more fun: eating this pizza or learning how to make AND serve it (more on that later).

But really – why make pizza this way?

  • It’s fun. Pizza in a bowl? Come on!
  • It’s food theater. Flipping that pizza is a hold-your-breath, “will it work?” kind of moment.
  • It’s a communal experience. An upside down pizza in a bowl party where everyone fills their own bowl with their favorite toppings give a new meaning to individual servings. And you know there’s nothing I love more than a good party.

A semi-homemade pizza sauce

pizza sauce in a skillet with a wooden paddle

Three unique things about this sauce recipe you’re going to love:

  • it’s thick and flavorful thanks to some diced pancetta
  • canned tomatoes make it super easy to make any time
  • you can make it in less than 20 minutes

Equipment and ingredient notes

ingredients needed for pizza pot pie
  • The bowl. I am using a oven safe bowl with a 6″ opening. My recipe serves two. Any oven-safe bowl with a wider opening works. For individual pizzas, I love these individual Mason and Cash oven-safe bowls and I would divide the dough into quarters [see the recipe below].
  • Pizza dough. The first thing we are going to do is either make or purchase pizza dough. I’ve got a great, tried-and-true homemade pizza dough recipe or purchase your favorite from a store or pizzeria. It all works!
  • Canned tomatoes. For pizza pot pie, I love using these Baby Roma tomatoes from Mutti. They have a super thin skin making them perfect for this quick, thick sauce.
  • Cheese. My version of Chicago upside down pizza uses a thicker cut, sharp provolone. The Picante Provolone from Boar’s Head is my absolute fav and I get it cut at the deli —it’s totally worth seeking out.

Step-by-step process

Ready to turn the pizza-making process on its head? We’ll start with the sauce.

skillet with prosciutto, seasonings and a white bowl with canned tomatoes.
1, Saute onions, pancetta and seasoning in a skillet
skillet with tomatoes and prosciutto and a wooden paddle.
2. Stir in canned tomatoes and pizza sauce
white bowl smeared with butter and a wooden spreader.
3. Butter the bottom of an individual serving bowl

Make the thick sauce recipe in a skillet on stove:

  • Saute onions in olive oil and then add pancetta and spices [1].
  • Add the canned tomatoes and a little bit of sugar to balance the acid in the tomatoes if needed [2].
  • Simmer for about 10 minutes until thick.

Grease the inside and rim of your bowl with butter [3].

Now on to filling the pizza bowl with the filling.

provolone lining inside of a white bowl.
1. Line bowl with provolone slices
provolone and mushrooms in a white bowl.
2. Fill with mushrooms
pizza sauce in a white bowl sitting on a white plate.
3. Top with sauce
pizza dough stretched over a bowl sitting on a white plate.
4. Place dough on top over edges of bowl.
uncooked pizza dough sprinkled with cheese covering a bowl.
5. Brush with butter and sprinkle over parmesan
golden baked dough covering a bowl on a black baking sheet.
6. Bake until golden.
  • Line the sides and bottom of the bowl with slices of sharp provolone, overlapping as you go. Add as much as you like but I using about 7-8 slices per bowl [1].
  • Fill the center of the bowl with the cleaned, whole mushrooms [2].
  • Top with the sauce [3].
  • Cut the dough in half and roll it into a circle with about a 1-2″ overlay. Place the dough over the top, slightly rolling the edges along the edge of the bowl [4].
  • Brush the top and sides with a little butter and a sprinkle of parmesan and garlic powder [5].
  • Bake on a baking sheet until the top is golden brown [6].

How to flip and serve

white plate with a white bowl covering a pizza

The time has come for taking your upside down pizza in a bowl to right side up pizza. Your guests are going to LOVE the presentation, especially if you have one bowl per person.

This is the only kind of dinner drama I like!

  1. Once the bowl has cooled just a bit, using your hands to carefully loosen the edges of the dough from the sides of the bowl.
  2. Take a dinner plate and place it over the top of the pizza dough.
  3. Using hot pads to simultaneously hold the bowl and plate, gently flip them over with the bottom of the bowl now facing up.
  4. Run a small spreader or butter knife around the bowl and dough loosening the bowl.
  5. Once you are about 3/4 of the way around, pull the bowl straight up towards you allowing the contents to release perfectly into the crust.

And just like that…you just made Chicago pizza pot pie!

Helpful tips

Make ahead

While the pizza itself is best enjoyed right after cooking, you can certainly make the sauce (and dough if you choose homemade) ahead so that you’re ready when the pizza craving hits.

Storing

If you have any leftovers, store them in an airtight container. I will tell you that this is the kind of pizza best eaten right away as the mushrooms create a little juice.


Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


pizza with whole mushrooms and cheese on a white plate.
5 from 5 votes

Chicago Pizza Pot Pie

A take on the famous upside down pizza in a bowl from Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder, Chicago Pizza Pot Pie is an easy homemade pizza recipe that can be ready in 20 minutes using easy pizza dough and some store bought ingredients.
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
Sauce cooking time:10 minutes
Total Time:40 minutes
Servings 2

Equipment

  • 2-4 cup oven-proof bowl with higher sides and wide mouth (mine is 6" wide)

Ingredients
 

For the pizza sauce

For the pizza

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.

Make the sauce

  • In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
    1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Add the onions and saute for approximately 5 minutes until golden.
    ⅓ cup diced yellow onion
  • Add the pancetta and dried seasonings and gently saute for 2-3 minutes until sizzling. Immediately add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
    4 ounce package diced pancetta, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • To the skillet, pour in the contents of the canned tomatoes including the juices. Gently stir and allow to simmer for 10 minutes adding the sugar as needed.
    8 ounces canned baby Roma tomatoes, 2 teaspoons sugar

Assemble the pizza

  • Line the bowl with slices of provolone (see note below regarding cheese), overlapping as you go. I usually use around 7 big slices. Place an additional slice on the bottom as well.
    8 slices sharp provolone
  • Fill the center with clean, dry whole portobellos placing them mostly stem side up.
    7 baby portabella mushrooms
  • Evenly cover the mushrooms completely with the sauce.
  • Stretch the pizza dough to a little wider than the rim of the bowl [see note below].
    1 lb pizza dough
  • Brush the dough with melted butter and sprinkle over some fresh Parmesan and garlic powder.
  • Place the bowl on a sheet pan and bake for approximately 20 minutes until the dough is golden brown.
  • Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

Pizza Flipping Technique

  • Place a serving plate upside down over the dough side of the pizza.
  • Use your hands to carefully loosen the edges of the dough from the sides of the bowl.
  • Take a dinner plate and place it over the top of the pizza dough.Using hot pads to simultaneously hold the bowl and plate, gently flip them over with the bottom of the bowl now facing up.
  • Run a small spreader or butter knife around the bowl and dough loosening the bowl. Once you are about 3/4 of the way around, pull the bowl straight up towards you allowing the contents to release perfectly into the crust.
  • Woop woop! You just made Chicago pizza pot pie! Enjoy with a knife and fork and glass of your favorite pizza partner.

Notes

  • Bowl Options. I am using a oven safe bowl with a 6″ opening. My recipe serves two. Any oven-safe bowl with a wider opening works. For individual pizzas, I love these individual Mason and Cash oven-safe bowls and I would divide the dough into quarters [see the recipe below].
  • Provolone note. If you choose to cut your own sharp provolone and you end up with rectangular slices, just cut enough to line your bowl all the way around and the bottom.
  • Dough stretching tip. I usually cut the 1 lb. dough in half and use 1/2 per 2 person serving and stretch the dough free form until it’s large enough. This makes for a more rustic, handmade pie. However, feel free to be more exact by rolling your dough out to approximately 1/2″ thick and cutting a round of dough out equal to 1-2″ larger than the diameter of the opening of your bowl.
Course: Bowls, Main Course
Cuisine: Comfort food, Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!
5 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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4 Comments

  1. Oh my! You have really outdone yourself with this pizza! I’m drooling — and need to make this for my husband (the resident pizza expert) ASAP.5 stars

  2. OMG! I have been going to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders since 1971!!!!! Thanks for this…I will try to do this at home thanx to your recipe….so near and dear to my 💜

    1. It’s the best isn’t it? Ever since I took my kids there, I’ve wanted to recreate the recipe at home. Let me know if you try it Holly —would love to hear what you think!! And thank you!