How Long to Cook Motor City Pizza

Motor City Pizza, the pride of Detroit, has gained a dedicated following across the country for its unique square shape, crispy edges, and indulgent toppings. 

Usually it takes around 18-21 minutes but then again there are some factors to consider. However, to achieve pizza perfection, mastering the cooking time is crucial. In this guide, we delve into the intricacies of cooking Motor City Pizza to ensure it comes out of the oven just right.

How Long to Cook Motor City Pizza

Motor City Pizza Cooking Process

Cooking Motor City Pizza is an art, and nailing the timing is essential to achieve that perfect crispy-yet-chewy texture. Let’s break down the cooking process into simple steps.

1. Preparing the Dough

Before you embark on your Motor City Pizza adventure, you’ll need to prepare the dough. This is where it all begins.

The dough consists of a mixture of flour, water, yeast, and salt. You can use a combination of bread and all-purpose flours. Once the ingredients are mixed, knead the dough for around 5 to 10 minutes. This helps activate the gluten and gives the dough its structure. 

After kneading, let it rest and rise for 2-4 hours or more, depending on your preference.

Now comes the unique part – shaping the dough in a square pan, greased to perfection. This gives Motor City Pizza its distinct square shape and that delightful buttery crust.

2. Layering the Ingredients

The next step is all about layering, creating the heart and soul of your Motor City Pizza.

Start by spreading a rich tomato sauce evenly over the dough. Then, generously cover the sauce with Wisconsin brick cheese – Motor City’s classic choice. You can get creative with your toppings, from pepperoni to mushrooms and more. 

Just remember to place the cheese directly on top of the dough to prevent it from becoming soggy.

3. Cooking Time and Temperature

Now, let’s talk about the critical factors – cooking time and temperature.

Motor City Pizza thrives on high heat. Preheat your oven to a toasty 475-525°F (245-274°C). It’s this intense heat that will work its magic on your pizza.

The typical cooking time ranges from 15 to 25 minutes, but it depends on your specific oven and the thickness of your pizza. Remember to place it on the center rack for even cooking.

4. Getting That Crispy Crust

The hallmark of a great Motor City Pizza is the crust, and achieving the perfect texture is crucial.

The secret lies in using a well-oiled pan, creating a crispy and buttery bottom layer. The crust thickness can vary from about 1 to 1.5 inches, and the cooking time will change accordingly.

5. Checking for Doneness

Knowing when your Motor City Pizza is ready is the key to success.

Keep an eye on the edges of your pizza – they should be beautifully caramelized. The cheese should develop those appealing golden spots, indicating the perfect level of crispiness. 

If you’re the meticulous type, you can use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches about 200-210°F (93-99°C).

Factors Affecting The Cooking Time

Motor City Pizza, renowned for its distinctive square shape and mouthwatering flavors, is a delightful culinary experience that demands precision in the kitchen. 

To achieve that perfect Motor City Pizza, one of the critical elements to master is the cooking time. Several factors come into play, influencing how long it takes to cook your Motor City Pizza to perfection.

1. Pizza Size Matters

The size of your Motor City Pizza has a direct impact on its cooking time. Commonly, Motor City Pizzas come in different pan sizes, typically 12-inch, 14-inch, or 16-inch pans. As a general rule, the larger the pizza, the longer it will take to cook. 

A 12-inch pizza may require around 15-20 minutes in the oven, while a 16-inch behemoth might need 25 minutes or more to ensure even cooking.

2. Dough Thickness

The thickness of your pizza crust is another key determinant of cooking time. Motor City Pizza offers versatility in this regard, as you can opt for a thin or thick crust, depending on your preference. 

Thin crusts tend to cook more quickly, while their thicker counterparts require additional time in the oven to ensure the dough cooks through and achieves the desired texture.

3. Toppings and Moisture

The toppings you choose can significantly influence the cooking time of your Motor City Pizza. If you load your pizza with a generous array of toppings, it may require a few extra minutes in the oven. 

This extra time ensures that all the ingredients cook through properly. Furthermore, ingredients with high moisture content, such as fresh tomatoes or watery vegetables, can also extend the cooking time, as excess moisture can affect the crust’s crispiness.

4. Oven Type and Temperature Accuracy

Your choice of oven and its temperature accuracy play a crucial role in determining how long your Motor City Pizza needs to cook. Different ovens can have variations in temperature accuracy, which can affect cooking time. 

To ensure you’re baking at the intended temperature, investing in an oven thermometer is a wise move. Additionally, the insulation of your oven can influence cooking time, as well-insulated ovens tend to cook more evenly, which can impact how quickly your pizza cooks.

5. Altitude Considerations

Living at a high altitude can also affect the cooking time of your Motor City Pizza. At higher altitudes, there is reduced air pressure, which can lead to adjustments in cooking time and temperature. 

It’s essential to consider your location’s altitude when following a Motor City Pizza recipe to ensure that your pizza turns out just right.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I know when my Motor City Pizza is done cooking?

Answer: You can determine when your Motor City Pizza is done by checking for visual cues. Look for golden-brown edges and a nicely caramelized cheese layer. The crust should be crispy, and the internal temperature of the pizza should reach about 200-210°F (93-99°C).

2. Can I use a regular round pizza pan to make Motor City Pizza?

Answer: Yes, you can use a round pizza pan, but for the authentic Motor City Pizza experience, it’s best to use a square or rectangular pan to achieve the characteristic square shape and crispy edges.

3. What’s the ideal cheese for Motor City Pizza?

Answer: Motor City Pizza traditionally uses Wisconsin brick cheese, which is a blend of cheddar and mozzarella. However, you can experiment with other cheese varieties to suit your taste.

4. Can I cook Motor City Pizza on a pizza stone?

Answer: While it’s not the traditional method, you can cook Motor City Pizza on a pizza stone. Just be prepared to adjust the cooking time as pizza stones can affect how quickly your pizza cooks.

5. How can I prevent the crust from becoming too hard?

Answer: To avoid a hard crust, make sure not to overcook your pizza. Also, ensure that the crust thickness is consistent and doesn’t become too thin, as thin crusts tend to become harder when overcooked.

6. Is it possible to use a convection oven for baking Motor City Pizza?

Answer: Yes, you can use a convection oven, but be aware that convection ovens tend to cook faster due to their fan-forced air circulation. Adjust both the cooking time and temperature accordingly to prevent overcooking.


Mastering the cooking time for Motor City Pizza is a culinary adventure that yields a delicious reward. With the right temperature, timing, and a touch of creativity, you can savor the distinctive taste and texture that has made this pizza style a beloved American classic. 

So, fire up your oven, oil that pan, and get ready to create your very own Motor City masterpiece.

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