Homemade St. Louis Style Pizza – Imo’s Copycat Recipe

Just ask anyone from St. Louis about pizza. We all know what goes on it…Provel cheese. Even the spell checker on this website doesn’t recognize what Provel cheese is, and most people outside of the midwest have not clue what it is either. Not only do they not know what it is, when they finally try it, they profess their pure hatred for it. Why? This is quite arguably the best cheese in the world. Most will say that it isn’t really cheese, it’s considered a mixture of cheeses that includes Provolone, Swiss, and Cheddar. More info can be found here.

As a child I had no idea how unique Provel cheese was. I thought everyone had the pleasure of eating the “Square Beyond Compare” (St. Louis people know exactly what that means). I didn’t know that St. Louis style pizza was an actual concept, and that no one else fully appreciated it.

My coworkers are mostly transplants from Richmond, Virginia. They have strong opinions about St. Louis style pizza, a.k.a., Imo’s. They HATE it! They want nothing to do with it, and refuse to order or eat it. The main cause of their hatred is the provel cheese. Why, why, why? That stuff is nothing short of amazing. I will never understand why they hate it, but they may never understand why I hate the famed dishes from Richmond. Oh wait, there aren’t any! We are so cool here in St. Louis that we have our own style of pizza. I honestly think that they hate it so much because WE love it so much and they are jealous. Yes, that’s what I’m going to go with. It’s hard to imagine that someone could hate our pizza for any other reason.

So, back to what’s important…the recipe. Anyone that has ever ordered Imo’s pizza knows how expensive it can be. My children request it all of the time, and I just can’t bring myself to spend the $35 on 2 pizzas (including delivery). So, I spent weeks scouring the web to find the perfect recipe. Honestly, there aren’t many out there. I read through recipes and read through posts from Imo’s employees and came up with the perfect combination. This recipe is my combination of ingredients that produces the perfect Imo’s copycat recipe.

I have made this recipe 3 times now, and it is so easy. I know that I have family and friends that lived in St. Louis at one time and have since moved to parts of the country that don’t have Imo’s, much less a place to buy Provel cheese. So, here’s the recipe for those that can’t order it, can’t afford to order it, or simply want to try to make this yourself.

p.s. you can order Provel online if no one sells it in your area. Although, I think every store should carry it, so go to the Service Counter and request it….and then wait for the clerk to say “What?”.

St. Louis Style Pizza


16 ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped finely
6 ounce can of tomato paste
2 tbls sugar
1 tsp crushed basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp thyme
Preheat oven to 450. Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well. Refrigerate until ready to use. This makes enough for a few pizzas.


2 cups + 2 tbls flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp corn syrup
1/2 cup + 2 tbls water

Combine all ingredients and mix, by hand until the dough comes together. Form into a ball. Sprinkle a clean surface with corn meal and roll doll out flat. Make sure it is very thin. Place onto a hot pizza stone. This dough can be made ahead of time and kept in a refrigerator, in a dough ball wrapped in plastic wrap.


2 cups Provel cheese
2 tbls Parmesan cheese
1 tbls oregano


Spread sauce onto pizza crust. Put any meat toppings on next, if desired. Sprinkle with provel cheese and then the Parmesan. Finish with the oregano. Place pizza in oven for 10-12 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is crisp. Remove pizza and cut into squares.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. BrittanyJ
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 21:53:18

    This just might be the best recipe (and narrative) I have ever stumbled upon! Thank you! I grew up in St. Louis, ordering Imo’s with my family EVERY Tuesday for Buy 1, Get 1 Free night. Whenever I meet someone from there, I always bring up Imo’s! What a joy and trip down memory lane to find this!


  2. jeff
    Apr 26, 2012 @ 00:44:26

    ok yes im a fellow st. louisian in dallas texas, just ordered from http://www.itsastlouisthing.com they sell the provel everyone is looking for cheaper than imos website , they also sell imos kits to make your own havent tried that yet but i can vouch that the dogtown pizza on the site is close to what we crave , it needs more provel so im ordering a 5 lb block from them now to go with my 6 pack of dogtown pizzas give them a try they are very polite and ship fast!!


  3. william
    Aug 20, 2012 @ 21:54:34



  4. tony
    Feb 09, 2013 @ 16:09:13

    every time i wtch a cards game my mouth waters when i see the imo commercial,being from indiana i have never tried it but i can tell by looking at the pizza on tv it is gonna be good. i found a recipe for faux provel i am gonna try. white cheddar, provolone, swiss and liquid smoke.


  5. Trackback: Bringing a slice of St. Louis to Pensacola | My Anti-Facebook
  6. Shawn
    Feb 02, 2014 @ 21:44:25

    I just made St. Louis style pizza using your recipe. With the exception of the crust turning out a little on the thick side (my own fault), it was a huge success! Thank you so much for posting this!


  7. Carolyn
    Jul 06, 2014 @ 16:25:28

    How many crust will this make? I have lived in Arkansas 15 years now and I am craving an Imo’s Pizza. No one here has ever heard of it. For my birthday I want to have Imo’s Pizza. There are 4 foods I crave from St. Louis.
    1. ) Imo’s of course
    2. ) London and Sons Chicken Wings
    3. ) White Castles
    4. ) Jack in the Box Sourdough Burger
    I thank you so much for listing this recipe. I will be trying it out of course before my birthday. If I had everything on hand now I would be making it for dinner LOL so it will have to be tomorrow. Thank you again From a country girl with St. Louis Taste.


  8. Kayla
    Nov 19, 2015 @ 08:29:03

    Sooo I tried this recipe and it is pretty close, the crust is perfect, but the sauce was way too sweet. I would sugestions less sugar in the sauce. My boyfriend (who has a sweet tooth) also said it was way too sweet and gave his half of the pizza to his roomate (no one wanted mine because i put mushrooms on it). Next time im trying 1/4 the sugar I put in the sauce and a bit more cheese.


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