Looking for great Chicago Italian recipes? Here you find the BEST compilation of both classic and americanized Italian recipes that come from the great city of Chicago. From mostaccioli to Italian beef and deep dish pizza, these recipes are sure to bring all the love and comfort Italian food has to offer.
This post was originally published in July 2022 and has been updated for content.
Italian immigrants started to come to Chicago between the late 1800s and early 1900s in search of work. By 1970, Italian Americans accounted for nearly 3% of the population in the city.
Chicago has some of the best Italian restaurants around and is still known today for its delicious Italian cuisine today. Chicago Italian dishes are not only comforting but ones that have become staples for family gatherings and celebrations.
Deep Dish Pizza
Chicago deep dish pizza is probably one of the most iconic of all of the Chicago Italian recipes. Originating from two Italian descendants in 1943, this hearty pizza recipe is actually more like a pie than a slice a pizza.
This inverted style of pizza is baked in a round steel pan similar to a cake or pie pan. This creates a deep bed for thick layers of cheese and meat that are topped with tomato sauce.
Here are some best Chicago Italian recipes for deep dish pizza that you can make right in your very own kitchen.
The Chicago Italian beef sandwich dates back to the early 1900s. Immigrants would slow roast tougher cuts of beef and cut it in thin slices on a meat slicer to be placed on loaves of Italian bread for sandwiches.
Italian beef sandwiches can be served with pepperoncini peppers, sweet peppers, hot giardiniera or just simply au jus.
While everyone will argue what the best Italian beef sandwiches are, here are some of the best and easy recipes to serve for dinner or to feed a crowd.
Italian sausage is another dish that Chicagoans are obsessed with. Whether it is served on french rolls with sweet peppers as a whole sandwich, in red sauce for Sunday dinner, or on your favorite deep dish pizza, this ingredient is at the heart of some of Chicago's great recipes.
Here are a few recipes for Italian sausage that you can add to your Chicago Italian recipes repertoire.
Hearty Pasta Dishes
Try these hearty Chicago Italian recipes that are sure to bring warmth to your soul and a smile on your face.
Chicken Vesuvio is another one of the delicious Italian recipes Chicago gave birth to. While the origination is unknown, the dish is thought to be popularized by the Vesuvio Restaurant in the 1930's.
This dish is made from bone in chicken with wedges of potato baked until crispy in a sauce made from olive oil, white wine, garlic and lemon juice and thought to be named after Mount Vesuvias volcano near Naples.
Authentic Italian Pasta Dishes
Authentic Italian pasta recipes are also widely seen in dining room at Italian restaurants in Chicago. Many of these dishes are simple, but delicious. They are a great way for home cooks to bring the Italian tradition right into their very own kitchen.
Dishes like cacio e pepe, carbonara and aglio e olio are well known in Italian cooking. They lean on the use of classic Italian ingredients to bring together delicious flavors with simple ingredients.
Classic Chicago Food
From the Chicago hot dog to sandwiches made with whole pork chops, here are some quintessential Chicago food that is iconic to the windy city. While not all of these are Italian, they are all definitely worthy of bringing the spirit of Chicago right into your very own kitchen.
I hope you enjoyed this list of some of the most classic and iconic Chicago Italian food recipes. Make sure to check out all of my Italian recipes for more delicious inspiration!
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in our Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.