Detroit Style Pizza vs Sicilian: The Differences

To be fair, all pizzas are delicious, and I could eat any kind without complaints. But if you’re given a choice between different styles, you need to know the difference. Otherwise, you might end up making the wrong choice (although I’m sure you’ll still scarf it down, right?).

Hey! My name is Michelle, and I’m a self-taught baker that makes pizzas regularly. However, I also buy my fair share of pizza from my favorite pizza joints – OK, and sometimes from the freezer section. I’ve discovered the differences between Detroit-style and Sicilian pizza.

Although Detroit-style pizza is based on Sicilian pizza, they have many differences. Detroit-style pizza typically has a crispier crust, and the toppings are layered backward. Sicilian pizza has an airier crust and primarily uses mozzarella cheese. It bakes at a higher temp for a shorter period than Detroit-style pizza.

Keep reading to find out the main differences between these two popular pizza styles!

What’s the Difference Between Detroit-Style and Sicilian Pizza

There are so many different types of pizzas out there, from crispy thin-crust beauties to deep-dish options you have to eat with a fork and knife. 

Today, though, we’re talking about Detroit-style and Sicilian pizza – two very popular pizza options you can find across the country. 

Here are the five critical differentiations between the two:

1. Shape

I’ll start by saying that Detroit-style and Sicilian pizzas do not have the “typical” round pizza shape. Both are typically rectangular – which isn’t surprising, considering Detroit-style pizza was created based on Sicilian pizzas.

However, some Sicilian pizzas are square-shaped instead.

So, this “difference” is more of a hit or miss. If you see a rectangular-shaped pizza, you truly can’t confidently claim what style of pizza it is. You’ll need to look for other differentiations.

2. Crust

Again, I will begin by mentioning that Detroit-style and Sicilian pizzas both have very thick crusts. They can easily be described as “deep-dish” pizzas.

However, although both types of pizzas feature thick crusts, there are subtle differences.

Detroit-style pizza has a noticeable crunchy and crispy crisp, and the edges are beautifully caramelized.

On the other hand, Sicilian pizza has an airier crust that resembles bread. It lacks the crunchiness that Detroit-style pizza crust has. 

3. Topping Order

One of the most significant differences between Detroit-style and Sicilian pizza is how the toppings are layered.

Sicilian pizza follows the standard order of layering. It starts with sauce, then cheese, and finally, toppings.

Detroit-style pizza goes against the grain and does something unique – putting the toppings on the bottom, topping with cheese, and finally, adding a layer of sauce. Some people love it, and some people don’t!

4. Type of Cheese

The type of cheese used in Detroit-style and Sicilian pizza also differs.

Detroit-style pizzas are topped with brick cheese that may or may contain mozzarella cheese.

Sicilian pizzas also use mozzarella cheese. However, the mozzarella is typically blended with Parmesan.

5. Bake Time

Another difference many people might not know about (unless they bake pizzas regularly) is the pizza baking time.

It’s true that Detroit-style and Sicilian pizzas are cooked in rectangular-shaped pans (although Sicilian pizzas can be square instead).

Yet, Sicilian pizzas are baked at a higher temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes. Detroit-style pizzas are baked in ovens with a slightly cooler temperature and continue to bake for up to 30 minutes.


As you can see, Detroit-style and Sicilian pizza types are pretty similar, but they have a few subtle differences that set them apart. Still want to learn more? I have added a couple of frequently asked questions so you can know everything there is to know about this topic!

Is Detroit-style pizza Sicilian pizza?

Detroit-style pizza was designed based on Sicilian pizza, so they share many commonalities. For example, both tend to be rectangular-shaped with thick crusts. However, they’re not the same entirely. Detroit-style layers its toppings backward has a crispy crust, and uses different cheeses.

Is Grandma Pizza Detroit-style?

Grandma Pizza shares many of the same characteristics as Detroit-style pizza. The main difference is that Grandma Pizza’s crust isn’t as thick as Detroit-style crust. So, if you want the yumminess of Detroit style without the thick crust, consider going with Grandma Pizza.

Is Sicilian pizza thick crust?

Sicilian pizza has a very thick crust that is over an inch high. However, it has an airiness to it that is almost bread-like, so it’s not overly dense. The thick base is ideal for generous portions of cheese and other yummy toppings.

Detroit-Style and Sicilian Pizzas Are Similar but Not The Same

Detroit-style and Sicilian pizzas are tasty deep-dish options. Yet, Detroit style is known for layering its toppings uniquely and backwardly. It also has a crispier and denser crust than a Sicilian pizza’s chewy and airy crust.

Do you like Detroit-style and Sicilian pizza? Which do you prefer?

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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