Cooking at Home: Recreate Favorite Chicago Staples

Jan 26, 2021

If Chicago is known for anything it’s the wind and the food. And with so many of us spending extra time at home, cooking is the new activity of choice.

There’s nothing like a hearty home cooked meal, and Chicagoans have delicious menu items that just aren’t the same anywhere else. Here’s a few of our favorite local staples and how to recreate them.

Deep-Dish Pizza

Starting with the most iconic of Chicago eats is the deep-dish pizza. This cheesy, meaty, greasy indulgence goes back to at least the 1940s. We don’t know exactly who invented it, but the method of using a cast-iron skillet to bake the dough was a game-changer! And adding a generous layer of oil to the skillet gives it that crispy, fried texture.

The famed Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria is the gold standard when you’re recreating this recipe. Fortunately for you, they’ve shared their secret sauce on how to achieve the perfect blend of flavors. Grab their deep-dish pizza recipe here.

Hot Dogs

Walk down a city block in Chicago and you’ll pass a food truck, mobile cart and restaurant all selling one thing: hot dogs.

The nostalgia of a Chicago dog goes back to the German influx of the late 1800s. Their love for Vienna sausages and their involvement in the meatpacking industry led to the historic hot dog we know today.

The trick to getting the perfect Chicago-style dog comes down to this:

  • Use all-beef meat
  • Boil the hotdog (don’t cook it on the grill)
  • Steam the bun until warm
  • Add your toppings (tradition calls for yellow mustard, sweet relish and tomatoes)

If you want to get more creative, here are some other unique toppings for a hot dog.

Italian Beef Sandwich

Another classic recipe that hails from Chicago is the Italian beef sandwich. During the Great Depression, people needed to find ways to maximize the food they had. Al Ferreri created the thinly sliced beef on a bun to feed large wedding parties on the cheap.

Patience is a virtue for this mouthwatering meal. Recreate the time-honored icon by cooking the sirloin in a crockpot for upwards of 12 hours. The slow heat keeps the meat tender and allows it to pull apart easilly. Here’s an Italian beef sandwich recipe that hits the mark for flavor!


Now for something sweeter! Most people don’t realize brownies first made their appearance at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. The name “brownie” came later, but the chocolatey treat was a success from the start.

To match the original recipe, you’ll want to use semi-sweet chocolate and walnuts, and then top the dessert with an apricot glaze. This is known as the Palmer House Brownie and you can find the recipe here.

Spending time in the kitchen is a great way to learn a skill during these unusual times. If the chef in your home is looking to improve their cooking environment, consider upgrading to an Overstreet Builders home! Our impressive kitchens are equipped and designed for cooks of all kinds!