St. Louis-Style Pizza has a famously thin, almost cracker-like crust and is always cut into square slices instead of triangles. This homemade version can be loaded with your favorite toppings and is perfect for your next pizza night!
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When I made this St. Louis-style thin crust pizza topped with bacon, Italian sausage, green bell pepper, red onion, and sliced mushrooms for my family, they responded with words like "amazing", "favorite", and "best ever" while they reached for another piece.
It was a HUGE hit at our house, which is saying something since we regularly make my regular yeasted homemade pizza dough recipe for our pizza nights and I wasn't sure how everyone would feel about the cracker-thin crust that is almost closer to a tortilla pizza than a regular chewy pizza crust.
Needless to say, I had to include this original St. Louis-style pizza recipe in my collection of foods that Missouri is known for as part of my American Eats series where I'm making famous foods from every state. If you want the full Imo's experience, you might also want to try our toasted ravioli recipe as an appetizer!
What is St. Louis-Style Pizza?
If you have been through a Midwest like Missouri, Kansas, or Illinois, you might have had the chance to try Imo's Pizza, which makes their famous St. Louis-style pizzas with edge-to-edge toppings, a super thin, crisp crust, and gooey Provel cheese. It's unique pizza crust without yeast makes it so you can't fold the slices easily like New York-style pizza and it's the rebuttal to thick and bready pan pizza, Detroit-style pizzas, or Chicago deep dish.
It's not just the crust that sets Imo's pizza apart though. They use a processed cheese called Provel to top their pizzas rather than the more conventional mozzarella and Parmesan combination that we're used to. Living in California, I don't have access to Provel cheese, but it's just a mix of white cheddar, swiss cheese, and provolone, all of which are easy to get at the grocery store!
This cheese blend has a low melting point so it's gooey and melty without being super stringy like mozzarella. We loved the flavor paired with my no-cook pizza sauce and the same toppings that Imo's pizza uses for their deluxe pizza at their restaurants.
What You'll Need
Scroll down to the recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
- All-purpose flour - Regular all-purpose flour works great for this recipe, although you could use bread flour or 00 flour (a popular pizza flour) if you prefer.
- Olive oil
- Baking powder - This is the only leavening agent instead of yeast.
- Salt - Just enough to keep the crust from being bland.
- Cheese - You'll need some white cheddar cheese, swiss cheese, and smoked provolone cheese to replicate the Provel cheese commonly used on St. Louis pizza.
- Pizza sauce - My homemade pizza sauce is the best ever with extra oregano and spices. The combination of tomato sauce and tomato paste means it's perfectly thick and punchy without needing to simmer it on the stove and it freezes well so I can always have some one hand for pizza night.
- Toppings - We love a good supreme pizza and this one delivers with mild Italian sausage crumbles, smoky bacon, sliced mushrooms, crunchy green peppers, and red onion for a little bite.
How to Make St. Louis Style Pizza
- Preheat the oven. Like most pizzas, you'll get the best results with a really, really hot oven so I recommend starting it preheating to 450 degrees F so it's good and hot. If you have a pizza stone, now would be a good time to use it.
- Prep your toppings. The longest part of this recipe is actually prepping any toppings so if you have to cook bacon or sausage, go ahead and do that first. I like to have all the veggies chopped and everything before I get started.
- Make the yeast-free dough. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl or a food processor (affiliate link). Add the oil and mix everything together. Start adding the water 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time until the ingredients start to come together. Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest for 10 minutes. This allows the gluten in the flour to relax so it's easier to roll out.
I find it easiest to make this dough by pulsing it in my food processor (affiliate link) until everything is combined. Then I dump it out and use the same food processor (affiliate link) to pulse the cheeses together until they are shredded.
- Make the copycat Provel cheese. Add the white cheddar, swiss cheese, and smoked provolone to the bowl of a food processor (affiliate link) and pulse until it is all crumbled. You could also great the cheeses using a box grater if that's more convenient or you don't have a food processor (affiliate link). Set aside.
- Roll out crust. Divide the pizza dough into two separate discs (this recipe makes two medium sized pizzas) and use a rolling pin (affiliate link) to roll them out on pieces of parchment paper. This helps keep the crust from sticking without adding more flour and it makes it easy to transfer to a hot pizza stone in the oven if you are using one. But you can also use an overturned backing sheet too if that's what you have on hand.
- Top with sauce and cheese. Spread a generous amount of sauce all the way to the edges of the pizza crust. There is no border of crust on a St. Louis-style pizza so the toppings and cheese should go all the way from edge-to-edge. Sprinkle a generous amount of the crumbled cheese over the pizza sauce, reserving some for sprinkling over the toppings at the end.
- Add toppings. Because this crust is thin but sturdy, it cooks pretty quickly and you can load up the toppings. Sprinkle them evenly all over the pizza, then sprinkle again with any reserved cheese.
- Bake. Transfer your pizzas to the hot oven, using the parchment paper to slide them onto a hot pizza stone if you are using one. Bake until the crust is crispy and the cheese is melted and starting to brown slightly on top and around the edges.
The practical reason is that the party cut or tavern cut style of slicing pizza into squares means it's easier to eat this pizza without toppings falling off. But a more colorful explanation is that the original founder of Imo's pizza was a tile setter and it just made sense to him to cut the pizza into squares.
This cheese blend is a processed cheese that combines white cheddar, smoked provolone, and swiss cheese. It's widely available in the Midwest, but harder to find elsewhere in the country. Thankfully it's easy to make a good substitute using the three types of cheese that can be found in the cheese aisle of any grocery store. If you have a hard time finding smoked provolone, you can add ½ teaspoon liquid smoke to the cheese blend for that smoky flavor.
Tips for Success
- Let the dough rest. If you find you are having a tough time rolling out the pizza dough really thin, give it another five minutes to rest before trying again. When the gluten in the flour gets overworked, it can be really hard to roll the crust out thin.
- Make sure the oven is hot. If you set your pizza on a cold pan and bake it, the crust will be good, but not as crisp as if you slide the pizza onto a hot pizza stone or upside down baking sheet in a preheated oven. The direct contact with the heat on the thin bottom crust will help it crisp up beautifully.
- Don't be afraid to experiment! Feel free to change up the sauce and use pesto sauce, alfredo sauce, or any other sauce you like for your base. And the sky is the limit when it comes to how you top your pizza!
- Add some dried herbs. A great way to add flavor to any pizza is to sprinkle it with dried Italian seasoning before baking.
Our favorite version is Imo's deluxe St. Louis-style pizza with the toppings listed here, but here are some other popular specialty versions that you might want to try! And of course you can always top your pizza however you like or just go with plain cheese.
- All Meat - Top your pizza with cooked & crumbled Italian sausage, bacon, Canadian bacon, and pepperoni.
- BBQ Chicken - Replace the pizza sauce with some of our Kansas City-style bbq sauce and add shredded bbq or rotisserie chicken, sliced red onions, and cilantro.
- Veggie - Load up your pizza with sliced mushrooms, red onions, tomatoes, green peppers, and black olives.
Storage & Reheating
If you have leftover pizza, you can wrap it in foil or store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. The crust might soften a bit, but leftover pizza is almost just as good cold or room temperature the next day.
I recommend reheating slices of pizza in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes for best results as it crisps up the thin bottom crust even better than the oven does. But you can also reheat on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes until hot before enjoying.
You can freeze the unbaked pizza if you want to make this ahead of time and bake it directly from frozen. Just preheat the oven to 450 degrees F then transfer the pizza to the middle rack of the preheated oven (directly on the rack, not on a pan) and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cheese and crust are golden brown.
You can also freeze leftover pizza for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat as directed above.
More Pizza Recipes
- Homemade Pizza Sauce
- Best Homemade Pizza Dough Recipe
- Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
- Grilled BBQ Chicken Pizza
- Four Cheese Pizza with Tomato Basil Arugula Salad
Did you make this recipe?
Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
St. Louis-Style Pizza (No Yeast)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (250g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 8-10 Tablespoons cold water
- 8 ounces white cheddar cheese (about 1 cup shredded)
- 4 ounces swiss cheese (about ½ cup shredded)
- 4 ounces smoked provolone cheese (about ½ cup shredded)
- ⅔ to 1 cup pizza sauce
- 6 slices bacon, cooked until medium-crisp and chopped
- 2 mild Italian sausages, casings removed, then crumbled and cooked
- 1 green pepper, sliced
- ½ red onion, chopped
- 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Let it preheat with a pizza stone or overturned baking sheet in it.
- To make the crust, combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl or food processor. Add olive oil and water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing or pulsing until the dough starts to come together. Knead the dough a few times, if needed, to form a ball. Let dough rest for 10 to 15 minutes while preparing cheese and toppings.
- Add white cheddar cheese, swiss cheese, and provolone cheese to a food processor and pulse until crumbled or use a box grater to grate each type of cheese and toss to combine.
- Prepare any pizza toppings by slicing veggies and cooking meat, if using.
- Divide the ball of pizza dough in half and roll out on a piece of parchment paper until very thin, about ⅛".
- Spread half of the pizza sauce evenly over each pizza all the way to the edges. Sprinkle with a generous amount of the cheese, reserving some cheese for sprinkling on top of the other toppings.
- Top with your favorite pizza toppings or the cooked bacon, sausage, green peppers, red onion, and mushrooms used here for the deluxe version. Sprinkle with any reserved cheese.
- Slide the parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone or overturned baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is crispy and the cheese is starting to brown.
- Cut into squares with a pizza cutter and serve.
- Yield: This recipe makes two pizzas, which is enough for 6-8 people.
- Provolone: If you are unable to find smoked provolone cheese, you might want to add ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke to the cheese blend when pulsing it in the food processor.