Review: Pan Pizza from Domino’s

Even though competing restaurants are constantly borrowing ideas from one another, I never thought I’d see the day where another major pizza chain would jump on the Pizza Hut Pan Pizza bandwagon.  In my personal experience, I don’t think Pizza Hut does much of anything right.  The signature item at Pizza Hut has been the Pan Pizza for ages.  Pan pizza is simply pizza baked in a pan and with this method of cooking, you’re left with a lot of trapped in flavors and a whole load of grease.  Today marks the day where Domino’s throws their efforts in the direction of the pan with their new Handmade Pan Pizza, sleek new black pizza box and all.

Domino’s new Handmade Pan Pizza went through three years of development and features fresh dough hand-stretched into the pan – unlike many other pan products out there, which are frozen.  I’ve never been fond of the pan pizza style, but I’m pretty sure 100% of my opinion comes from experiences with Pizza Hut.  Outside of Pizza Hut, the pan pizza has never entered my realm of grubbing.  Domino’s has been on a rapid-pace of changes over the last couple of years and the introduction of the Handmade Pan Pizza shows they are even more ready to duke it out with their major competitor.  For my first taste of Domino’s Handmade Pan Pizza, I went with the $7.99 medium 2-topping promo deal and topped my ‘za with pepperoni and roasted red peppers.

Domino’s describes their Handmade Pan Pizza like this:

The golden crispy crust with a buttery taste is only the beginning of Domino’s Handmade Pan Pizza – as it also features two layers of cheese and toppings to the edge.

I’ve already been slightly turned off with Domino’s dousing their crust with garlic butter to the point where I have to request they go easy on it.  I like the garlic butter flavor just fine, but it turns my simple pizza into a giant grease pit.  With Domino’s Pan Pizza, the greasy-factor is kicked up to another level.

There isn’t too much to get into here with anything else but the crust so I’ll throw this out right away and move on.  Tons of slightly too-mild pepperoni and a healthy portion of sweet roasted red peppers to balance it all out.  Even when Domino’s introduced their “New Recipe” pizza a while back, the toppings still stayed the same so I wasn’t expecting a change here. The crust as you can imagine is like a deep-fried buttery crisp base that is completely packed with flavor.  This is the kind of crust that is so overloaded with salty flavors that you can feel your heart pick up the pace after a few bites.  A pan-style pizza works when you’re down to the bones (end-crust), but with a load of cheese, sauce and toppings the battle for flavors gets confusing.  Is that pepperoni I’m tasting or butter-soaked crust… or maybe it’s the sauce?  It’s all a bit too much, but still packs on the tasty, so-bad-for-you flavors.  As I mentioned before, the “golden crispy crust with a buttery taste” equals oily pizza boxes and a boatload of paper towels so be warned.

Remember that episode of The Simpsons where a Krusty Burger was rubbed against the wall and the wall became transparent?  It’s kinda like that.  I preferred the Domino’s Pan Pizza over the Pizza Hut version, but they are incredibly similar when all you’re talking about is the crust so my edge in cheese/sauce/toppings goes in favor to Domino’s.  It’s a nice deal at $7.99 for a medium 2-topping, but prepare to budget in a roll of paper towels.

Pros: Nice $7.99 promo deal. Packed with buttery flavor. Domino's smartphone app works like a charm.

Cons: Nothing new but the crust. Greasy mess.

Taste: 6.50/10
Value: 7.25/10
Price: $7.99

Overall GrubGrade: 6.75/10

More Info: Dominos.com
Nutrition Facts:
Nutrition Info Not Available

49 comments on “Review: Pan Pizza from Domino’s

  1. ljay says:

    Pizza Hut was last good in 1986 but I did enjoy many a pan pizza and pitcher of beer at their establishment in the early 80′s.

    I’ll give this one a shot sometime in the next week or two – love the black box. Nice review Ryan.

    • Raiders757 says:

      Yep, I also remember the good old days when PH was actually good. When we weren’t going to the local mom & pop pizza shop, PH was the next best option. A pan pizza and a few games of Galaga was a fun and tasty treat back then. Now it’s just a giant nasty blob of salty grease. Nothing like it used to be at all.

      • Greg B says:

        It was a nasty blob of salt and grease back then as well but we didn’t give a crap then.

        • Jeff in Middletucky says:

          This.

        • Mr.Gnarly says:

          Right On!

        • Raiders757 says:

          Yea, they were indeed grease bombs back then as well, but they were much better, and not just because we didn’t give a crap. I used to work at a Pizza Hut in the mid 80s, and the pizza was indeed different and much better in the 70s and 80s than it is now. It is not the same product anymore. Similar, yes, but not the same.

        • Jonathan Wayne says:

          What Greg said. We were just younger and did not care. lol

          • Robert says:

            Agreed — I think Pizza Hut is better now than it ever was, and it’s still not good. But I gotta give ‘em credit for their veggies — they use fresh mushrooms when a lot of places don’t.

          • Raiders757 says:

            That would seem the case except for the fact that PH was bought out by Yum brands who then changed a lot of things, and it is indeed different than the pizza they made back in the 70s and 80s. It’s not because we were younger and didn’t care. A lot of places have changed due to economics and are not the same as they used to be.

            Sorry Robert, but those mushrooms come from a can. Last time I was at my local carry out PH, they forgot to make my order, so I sat and waited for them to make it. The kitchen is wide open for all to see, and I watched as they poured shrooms from a can into the bin. They may taste fresh to you, but they’re not.

          • Sascha says:

            Definitely agree with Raiders on this one, the product they served in the 80′s is far superior to what they have now. Maybe it’s not healthier or better for you, but definitely better tasting and in quality, and I’m sure the exchange rate between taste and healthy doesn’t make up for the drop in quality.

  2. F. Michael says:

    I looks good but soo greasy. But who’s watching the lbs when at Dominos? That’s like getting greasy, deep fried vegan food.

  3. Tracy says:

    I just looked it up. The 12″ pepperoni pizza has 8 servings and per slice has 300 calories, 16Grams fat, and 540 mg sodium. That sounds like a greasy, fatty nutrition bomb to me.

  4. missouri says:

    My computer monitor just got acne from all that grease.

  5. Jon says:

    You have got to try MotherBear’s Pizza in Bloomington, IN for a great pan pizza. It’s one of the best pizza places, no joke!

  6. Jones says:

    Looks like the “deep dish” pizza they had on the menu for awhile (not sure if they are still selling it). I remember trying it and thinking that it tasted just like pizza hut’s pan, which wasn’t a bad thing to me because I actually like the pan pizza at the pizza hut close to my house. The deep dish wasn’t uber greasy either, so maybe Dominos should stick with that recipe.

    • Mike N. says:

      I was thinking the same thing — my local Domino’s had ‘deep dish’ for $1 extra, even on sale prices. But it didn’t have the cool black box!

    • Sascha says:

      Yes, but their previous version of a pan pizza was square, and not round, and never really got an advertising push. It was the only way I could eat a Domino’s pizza though, so I’m hoping this can continue on that.

  7. Mike says:

    Maybe it is just me put shouldn’t pizza be greasy. Who wants to eat a dry pizza?

  8. Candita says:

    I tried and reviewed this pizza today as well. Looks like you got all the extra sauce and cheese that mine was lacking.

  9. Alex says:

    Taste is incredibly subjective, especially when we’re talking about actual “taste”, as in, what our tongues do, and if you feel the pizza was too salty, “garlic-y”, or whatever, that’s your call to make.

    Nobody can tell you how much of ANY flavor you should prefer in your food.

    BUT…

    I feel I need to call out the complaint of your pizza being greasy. You can’t load that much cheese onto something, bake it in an oven, and expect anything but pools of grease. Some of the most delicious, authentic slices I’ve enjoyed from the best of the east coast pizzerias, have also been among the greasiest. Good cheese is made from fatty milk, and when you melt that cheese, the fat is released. Period. It’s like a law of food physics. If you want less grease, ask for less cheese. If you want something healthy to eat, don’t eat pizza.

    Sorry to go off on a tangent, but I simply don’t understand the general animosity towards these major pizza chains that most food related blogs and websites shovel out. If you’re ordering from a national pizza chain like Pizza Hut or Dominos, don’t expect an authentic, handmade, freshly made pie from your favorite New York pizza joint to show up at your door. If you live near a locally owned, high quality pizza joint that delivers at midnight, good for you, and consider yourself lucky because most of us only have the major chains to choose from, especially when we want something fast and cheap brought to the door late at night. I’m not saying we should all excuse shoddy quality in our food, I’m just asking that reviewers be a little bit more realistic. After reading this particular review, I would go away thinking your pizza was virtually inedible, but I highly doubt most people would agree after they tried it for themselves. If it was THAT bad, Dominos would have gone out of business a long time ago. Critics seem to feel that the harder they are to please, and the more complaints they can come up with, the better they are at their job. A good critic is one that relates with people, and knows how to identify the target audience of a product in order to make a realistic, but more importantly, relevant, judgement.

    • Anthony says:

      I doubt most of the grease from this pizza is from the cheese, considering pizza chains like Domino’s use cheap and abundant skim milk cheese filled with anti-caking agents and emulsifiers. Not much fat in there. Judging from the review a lot of the grease is from the smeared on garlic butter flavoring, which is not really butter at all but flavored palm and soybean oil in disguise.

      You sound like a Domino’s pizza rep when you state, “A good critic is one that relates with people, and knows how to identify the target audience of a product in order to make a realistic, but more importantly, relevant, judgement.” So using your logic a good critic has to grade a product based on what a perceived target market’s opinion may be? That’s pretty asinine.

      • Nick says:

        The grease comes from a combination of everything involved… Grease comes out of the cheese… Grease comes out of the topping (Pepperoni, Sausage, Bacon all release massive amounts of grease in the oven) and finally any kind of butter garlic they may use on the crust all combine together to form your grease pile. They may use grease on the pans but when I worked at a pizza shop we used nothing but a non-stick spray and they still turned out as grease pools from all the things i mentioned above

      • Darcy says:

        Heated pizza critic debate! I love it! Gotta agree with Alex that a good food critic knows their audience. Personally, I love greasy, buttery, pan pizzas, especially when I have a hangover. If I’m eating pizza in the first place, I dont care about the fat, I’m indulging. Throw in some Parm Bites and Lava Cakes while we’re at it, because if I’m gonna indulge, I’m gonna go all out!

      • Bubbsy says:

        I’m with Anthony about pretty much everything. Alex just sounds like an intolerable douchebag trying to explain what makes a good food critic, and how they have to cater to a target market. We the consumers will read food blogs and come to know the writers tastes and enthusiasms, and that will shape our opinion of the subjective validity. It’s a pity Alex needs his opinion force-fed to him having been focus group tested and market approved in order to feel comfortable. And Anthony is right about the cheese.

    • Raiders757 says:

      A lot of grease in pan pizzas, at least the ones from Pizza Hut, come from the quarter inch of grease they put in the pan and set the dough in for proofing. At least that’s how it used to be done back in the 80s when the dough was made in the actual store.

      • Sascha says:

        Man, that’s insane! When I worked at Little Caesar’s in the 90′s, we lined our pans with a little oil, but never butter or straight grease.

    • Dudley says:

      Well stated! Perfectly on the money.

  10. rob says:

    Can’t wait to get my grease bomb on

  11. Codnoob7 says:

    I love grease tho…

    Gease = flavor

    Right? I think it does

  12. M86 says:

    Slightly off-topic, but am I the only one who thinks Domino’s pepperoni is absolutely disgusting? I love pepperoni, but I just can’t stomach theirs.

  13. Hunter-m3 says:

    I like the Simpsons refrence…I remember that episode. Homer was trying to gain weight to get disability checks from the power plant (Good episode).

  14. Chefprotoss says:

    I tried this today. A friend of mine runs a Dominos and I stopped by to say what’s up. He made one for lunch for the staff and let me try it. I liked it. 7/10, in corporate pizza context. There is room for error though. Mine wasn’t that greasy. BUT, they put butter on the bottom of the pan, so it’s entirely possible some asshat could put way too much. I also hate domino’s and all their recent offerings, so keep that in mind with my score. That score also was from free food, so if I shelled out cash for this, who knows what I would rate it.

    • Robert says:

      I assumed the greasebomb in the picture is not how it’s supposed to be made, so it’s good to hear that you had a drier experience. I’m gonna try it, but I hope it just has an oily taste and not a margarine-y taste. That drives me INSANE.

  15. JF says:

    Being born and raised in NY, Pizza that is not greasy is not Pizza to me. Looking at those pictures (and considering it is a “Pan”) I have seen much more grease on a Napoletion Pizza than that and would almost be embarrased if that was all the grease I got on a Pizza! lol

    Won’t try it, haven’t had a Pan Pizza in over a decade. I would only get one back in NY and never try a chain for one as they just can’t compete.

    Appreciate the review, but confirmed my initial thoughts, not worth it (even if you live in a state that you can’t get a semi-decent Pizza).

    I also laugh about their “never frozen” dough as I thought I’ve read here several times (I think chefprotess verfied that their other Pizzas / Artisan Pies – but could be wrong) use frozen dough. If you’re going to make that claim, do it all out, not just for one pie. Sigh.

    All cardboard jokes aside, I do think they (and Pizza Hut) can just put sauce, cheese and toppings on their boxes and it wouldn’t taste much different. lol

  16. FMJ says:

    OK,so at work today, someone ordered 6 of these. I at about half a slice (it’s a small office and 6 were overkill), but 5 of us walked out and ended up going to Chipotle for lunch (yes, no compaison).

    But I can honestly say, this is not a pan pizza, but a thicker crust pizza. And from what people ate at work and looking at the boxes, the grease level was hardly a comparison… meaning there was hardly any. I don’t know if that made much of a difference, but people from Colorado, who never had pizza outside of the state, couldn’t tell the difference from this or any other pizza.

    This really is a sad excuse of pan pizza. You can get FF pizza from other places, thicker crust and it is thicker than this. And it has been ages since I have had dominos and this tasted no difference. I give it 2 months before it’s off the menu or they “re-invent” this.

    If you like Dominos, you may like this. If you don’t, I’d think you won’t. I’m sorry, but you are late the the game and missed the mark by so much. Free food, sometimes is good food, but this was just sad on so many levels.

    And yes, I have seen other reviews and/or comments that things seem to be different based on area or restaurant, but this was just sad… real sad.

    Any yes, I was born and raised in NY, so my standards may be differenent or higher than others, but again, this is nothing more than a typical Dominos pizza with a slightly larger crust.

  17. Victor says:

    @ raiders I don’t know what part of the country you’re in but here in orange county ca. We use a company called coopers cold foods and they supply us with FRESH onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and oh yeah mushrooms!! Just a little something u didn’t know

  18. Angela Bridgewater says:

    I am sorry but I would honestly have to disagree with the majority of these reviews. I tried the new pan pizza from Domino’s and I must say they have hit a grand slam with this pizza creation. I tried one with pepperoni, onion and bacon and my mouth was pleasantly surprised with the flavor and texture it released onto my taste buds. The picture shown must have come from one of their stores where training wasn’t done properly. I see no way that the pizza shown in this review could compare to the one I received in a town called Fox Lake, Illinois. I originally went in there to get an order of their stuffed cheesy bread and the guy working convinced me to try the new pan pizza and even told me that if I didn’t like it after the first bite he would refund my money and make my stuffed cheesy bread for free. I figured free stuffed cheesy bread, this is to easy. As I watched him make this pizza I can honesty say it was the most unique way I have seen a pizza made to date. No, I don’t work for this company, let’s get that out of the way.. As I’m watching him rotate this dough in his palms and fingers I can hear him softly singing to himself ” thumbs up, one handed clap”. I actually found myself amused. I can tell you that the amount of time it takes to make one of these pizzas is probably double than their hand tossed pizza. This guy took pride in his pizza job but I’m sorry for nine bucks and some change per hour I surely wouldn’t do it. As he laid the pizza in the pan and stretched it out so it fit perfect he told me it would be better than pizza hut and that’s a promise. Once again I’m thinking to myself that this dude must be crazy. As he put the finishing touches on what he thought was a masterpiece he made some small talk which was very unique seeing as how I normally go in that location and this annoying girl is always on her cell phone while she is making my food. I actually felt like I was talking to my neighbor and it was a whole new experience for me seeing how this was a fast food restaurant. I am still waiting for my free cheesy bread btw. It took a little longer than expected but after tasting that pizza I will tell you this and this is me being absolutely truthful, when he cut up my pizza and brought me a plate and napkin with the box and said to me ” that is the caviar of pizza right there”. I damn near busted out laughing just at the comparison of such a high priced item compared to their meager $7.99 asking price. I opened the box and it looked like a bakers cake on a wedding day, the pepperoni was obscuring the crust all the way around the edge the onion and bacon was proportioned about the same and I reached into that pretty little black box (wonder what they spend on printing cost on these suckers) and grabbed a slice of this guys self proclaimed masterpiece and put it in my mouth and began to chew, I thought for just a second I had just had an orgasm. In actual reality it was by far the best tasting pizza I had from Dominos EVER. Grand freaking slam. I’m sorry but if you can review this pizza honestly and not be biased because your a long time customer of PH then your cheating yourself. This pizza was amazing coming from where it did and if your getting a pan pizza that is greasy from Dominos I bet they aren’t making it right. I have since been back there three times and make it a habit of asking for the same guy to make my pizza. This review is absolutely legit and those of you who say you won’t even try it are missing out big time.. About time Dominos got something right because the dude that made my pan pizza surely did…

  19. Either my nearby Pizza Hut is a good oddball (never had any hassle or order trouble) or I’m just a loner in enjoying their pizza, especially compared to Domino’s, PJ’s and Hungry Howie’s, all of whom offer very dry pizzas, especially by comparison.

  20. Stephen K says:

    I took advantage of Domino’s 50% Off Any Pizza deal this weekend, and I ordered one each of the pepperoni Hand Tossed, Thin, and Brooklyn pizzas. ‘Thin’ tasted like something you’d find stuck to the bottom of your shoe. Thin waxy cardboard. ‘Hand Tossed’ was generally good, but it is easy to get sick of the buttery crust and spicy sauce. ‘Brooklyn’ was the best of the bunch, tasteful yet not overpowering, simple and true to expectations.

  21. brandy says:

    I’ve been eating dominoes, little ceasers, you nsme it kind of pizza but all of a sudden the dominoes in mesquite tx the pepperoni taste really bad if you smelled dog breath before that’s exactly what the smell is when you chew it. We’ve benn getting thete new pan handmade pizza not anymore because the pepperoni we had little ceasers right next to it on the dame road and there pepperoni just fine

  22. […] we just go through this?  I’m not complaining.  Menu-priced pizza is half off at Domino’s when you order online now through Sunday, January […]

  23. […] Domino’s, all menu-priced pizzas ordered online are 50% off.  What’s your favorite?  Pan Pizza or Artisan?  I can’t say no to the Philly Cheese Steak […]

  24. Ashley says:

    Never order from domino on Huffman St in Anchorage, AK. The manager is nasty rude talks down to you. I called after my order arrived to clarify a question. When the manager got on the phone he has a nasty additude. Never listening to anything you say then hangs up on you when you are not even done. Then the pasta was nasty and cold, and the pizza was cold and nasty. We could not even eat any of it. This store has a lot of problems. I know I will never order domino again.

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