Getting pan pizza out of the pan

I feel dumb having to post this, but what is the trick to getting a chicago style pie out of the pan and into a box? I’ve tried different sizes of spatulas, etc, but always seem to make a mess of the pizza when taking it out. After many failed attempts, I decided to swallow my pride and ask here. Thanks in advance.

Patrick Cuezze
Opening February 1, 2010

I’ll see if i can help you out.

take a pie server and run it around the edge to break any melted cheese that is holding the pizza in the pan. You may have to make several rounds. the pizza should then move around the pan somewhat easily (not stuck to the pan).

Then, use a clean folded up towel to hold the pan in one hand, tilt slightly to one side, and use your pie server to scoop the pie out of the pan into the box or onto a peel.

If i can think of a better way to describe it, i’ll post again later.

Check out the pie server pizza hut uses. for me that was the perfect size and I could take out any sized pizza with it as long as it was well cooked pie.
I just scooped it under the pizza,ran the server aroudn the bottom of the pie, lifted up on the pizza as I pulled the pan away and the pizza popped onto the cutting surface or box. I used pan grippers (that’s what I called them) to hold the pan. gave me leverage and control.


Sounds like a business opportunity for someone to make a pan with a rotating thin blade attached to the inside center bottom of the pan, that traverses along the pan bottom and up the side and out, horizontally from the pan, a few inches. You simply grab the edge of the blade (with towel since it’ll be hot) and rotate it in a circle. The blade separates the crust from the bottom and sides of the pan.

But, I’m sure someone has already thought of it.

A metal pizza peel and some practice lol.

do you put any spray in your pan first? That helps alot with a spatula worked in around the side of the pizza.

Thanks for all the help guys. I should have been more clear. I use a 2" straight sided pan for a chicago style pie. My Cheese weighs over 2 pounds. I do not have any problem with the pie releasing b/c I use lots of shortening on the pan prior to putting it in. The problem I was having was getting it to slide out of the pan without destroying it.

The solution was two fold. First, the metal pizza peel was perfect. I can’t believe I sat and looked all over the kitchen for something that was right in front of me. Second, a hugh flexible spatula (like used for large pancakes) was important. I just successfully removed 4 of those bad boys for a catering gig today and feel confident I’ll be able to get them out with a 99% success rate once we get open.

BTW, for those of you that say cooking pizzas at home can’t be done - I just catered for 35-40 with nothing but pizza out of my home (borrowed my next door neighbors oven). I made 4 chicago style and 7 thin crust in 40 minutes and they looked excellent all the way around. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather cook in the 2 double stacks I have sitting in the garage, but it can be done at home.

I feel for you man…
Here’s how I do it: Get a cake decorating spatula, with a long, flexible blade (Kitchens Plus) or (Wilton’s). Run the tip of the spatula around the edge of the pan to make sure the pizza is free from the pan (not sticking), then hold the pan with a deep-dish pan gripper (I like to use #19540 from American Metalcraft $4.00 each) <>, insert the spatula along side the pizza in the pan, and as you flip the pizza up, as if flipping vegetables in a sautee pan, insert the spatula under the pizza and guide it out onto the cutting surface. Takes a little practice, but I ain’t put one on the floor yet.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Is it possible to cook a pan pizza in a cheesecake tin? The ones that have the “buckle” and the removable bottom? Could make it super easy to remove…

(Sorry if that’s a dumb question - I don’t do pan pizzas, so I’m not sure…)

You would need to season the pan first, before using it, but yes, it would probably work (to some extent). Seems like a lot of work though, when you can flip a pizza out ofthe pan so quick and easily. The problem in using a spring form pan (that’s what they’re called) is that if you use oil in the pan as a release agent, it will leak out of the bottom of the pan, making for a real mess in your oven. You could use a light application of shortening to get around this, but then, if you are looking for a crispy crust, you’re not going to get it because in pan style pizzas, the crispiest crust results from the frying effect of the oil on the dough during baking, so, in a way, it might be said that, many pan style pizzas are fried rather than baked. To see this in action, take a look at a Pizza Hut or Old Chicago pan pizza and you’ll see what I mean. If that type of crust isn’t important to you, you should be able to get away with a light brushing of shortening in the spring form pan. Note: Take a look in the American Metalcraft catalog <> as they show both the spring form pans and also a removeable bottom pan.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

If anyone is curious, here’s the spatula I used:

It’s called a pancake spatula. My wife got it for me 2 years ago and I never much used it. I used it again today and it worked perfectly for two 14" Chicago Style Pies. I hate to drop $7.00 each on a spatula, but it does appear to work perfectly.

Patrick Cuezze
opening Feb 1, 2010