A take on the famous upside down pizza in a bowl from Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder, Chicago Pizza Pot Pie is one easy homemade pizza recipe that can be ready in 20 minutes using store bought ingredients.
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.
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 different kind of pizza sauce
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
- 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 my pizza pot pie recipe, I love using these Baby Roma tomatoes from Mutti. They come in a small can that is loaded with little Roma tomatoes. And because they have a super thin skin, they're perfect for to make this quick, thick sauce.
- Cheese. My version of Chicago upside down pizza uses a thicker cut, sharp provolone. (I also use it in my Sheet Pan Pizza recipe.) 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.
Ready to turn the pizza-making process on its head? Let's go!
- Make the thick sauce recipe in a skillet on stove:
- Saute onions in olive oil and then add pancetta and spices .
- Add the canned tomatoes and a little bit of sugar to balance the acid in the tomatoes if needed .
- Simmer for about 10 minutes until thick.
- Grease the inside and rim of your bowl with butter .
- 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 .
- Fill the center of the bowl with the cleaned, whole mushrooms .
- Top with the sauce .
- 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 .
- Brush the top and sides with a little butter and a sprinkle of parmesan and garlic powder .
- Bake on a baking sheet until the top is golden brown .
How to flip and serve
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!
- 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.
- 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 ¾ 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!
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.
If you have any leftovers, store them in an air-tight container. I will tell you that this is the kind of pizza best eaten right away as the mushrooms create a little juice.
I love sharing ideas to help you successfully make this recipe right from the start. My grandmas, Josie and Nina, used what they had in their pantries to get amazing dishes on the table to feed their families.
I have found that one pizza serves 1-2 depending on how hungry you are.
Absolutely! You might have to simmer the sauce a little longer to soften up the tomatoes.
Any bowl that is a minimum of 2 cups in volume or up to 4 cups would work. You are looking for something with a smooth rim (no handles!). These ceramic souffle dishes would work nicely.
…before you go...
If you make this recipe, be sure to give it a star rating and share your reviews in the comments below! Or pin the recipe by clicking on one of the images above and save it for later.
Chicago Pizza Pot Pie
- 2-4 cup oven-proof bowl with higher sides and wide mouth (mine is 6" wide)
For the pizza sauce
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ⅓ cup diced yellow onion
- 4 ounce package diced pancetta
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 8 ounces canned baby Roma tomatoes, I use Mutti
- 2 teaspoons sugar, if needed, taste the sauce first
For the pizza
- 8 slices sharp provolone, round slices from the deli, I use Boar's Head Picante Provolone. [see note below]
- 7 baby portabella mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel
- 1 lb pizza dough, cut in half
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
Make the sauce
- In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the onions and saute for approximately 5 minutes until golden.
- Add the pancetta and dried seasonings and gently saute for 2-3 minutes until sizzling. Immediately add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
- 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.
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.
- Fill the center with clean, dry whole portobellos placing them mostly stem side up.
- 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].
- 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 ¾ 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.
- 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 ½ 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 ½" thick and cutting a round of dough out equal to 1-2" larger than the diameter of the opening of your bowl.
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.
Lori Murphy says
I'd love to hear what he thinks Kathryn!! And you'll be amazed how easy it is to make -the kiddos can get in on the action!
HOLLY SCHULZ says
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 💜
Lori Murphy says
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!