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Margherita pizza stars fresh basil, mozzarella cheese, and the best ripe tomatoes. It’s simple, delicious, and light.
What is Margherita Pizza?
Naples, Italy is famous for its simple Neapolitan pizzas: pizza Marinara, pizza margherita extra, and pizza margherita.
Some common characteristics between each type include a higher amount of tomato sauce than cheese, the use of fresh and all-natural ingredients, and a soft thin crust peppered with golden brown bubbles.
Traditional margherita pizza is topped using san marzano tomatoes (both sauce & sliced), sliced fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil, then topped with a drizzle of olive oil after it has been baked. You can then sprinkle on salt and black pepper to taste.
With our homemade pizza dough, this looks like a fancy restaurant-quality slice but is effortless to make. It is by far one of my favorites, so be sure to give it a go!
How to Make Margherita Pizza
This margherita pizza recipe is a simply delicious classic.
PREP. Preheat the oven to 500°F. We like to use a pizza stone and throw this in while the oven is preheating for at least 15 minutes.
SAUCE & DOUGH. Make the homemade pizza sauce and the homemade pizza dough if going homemade. If you are using store-bought for both, you can skip this step.
ROLL. Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to about 14-15 inches in diameter. **If you want more of a crust, be sure to fold in the outside edges of the pizza dough before adding sauce and toppings.
- PIZZA STONE: If using a pizza stone, use a pizza peel to quickly and carefully transfer the dough to your stone, add the sauce (leaving a little around the edges for a crust), cheese slices, tomato slices, and pizza seasonings, and put in the oven.
- SHEET PAN: If not using a stone, you can add the rolled-out dough to a lightly greased baking sheet. Then, add sauce, cheese, toppings and bake.
BAKE. Bake for about 5 minutes, then rotate the pizza and bake an additional 7-8 minutes or until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and olive oil.
This fresh mozzarella pizza starts with a crispy crust.
Pizza pan. Using a pizza stone is my first choice, but any pizza pan will work. Just be sure to cook in a very hot oven and consider blind baking the crust.
Blind baking is great for making sure that the center of the crust cooks and doesn’t get soggy. This is especially helpful when using ingredients that tend to weep like mozzarella and tomatoes. Shape the dough and bake it for about 6 minutes without topping it. Remove the dough from the oven, add the toppings, then continue baking until the pizza is cooked.
Cheese. When using fresh mozzarella try to draw out as much moisture as you can before topping the pizza
Sauce. Using a lighter layer of sauce will help keep the pizza more crisp.
Freezer pizza. There are a lot of great things about this homemade margherita pizza and one of them is that you can put it in the freezer to be baked later, but since tomatoes don’t thaw well you will want to save them to add until you’re ready to bake.
Blind bake a plain pizza crust for 6-8 minutes. Allow the pizza to cool a little and add the sauce and cheese and then place it into the freezer. Once frozen solid, wrap the pizza with plastic wrap and then again with aluminum foil. Freeze for 4-5 months. Remove packaging and thaw, add fresh tomatoes and basil then bake.
STORE leftover pizza in foil in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can also freeze it for 1-2 months. Simply wrap each piece with plastic wrap and again with foil for 1-2 months. Reheat in the microwave or oven.
So many great side dishes go with this pizza. Here are some of our favorites:
Due to the fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, which both contain moisture that can leak out during the baking time, this type of pizza is naturally wetter than a standard pizza. To help make sure it’s not too soggy, drain the tomatoes and cheese as much as possible before adding them to the pizza. Blind baking the crust is another way to ensure a fully cooked crust.
Traditional margherita pizza uses san marzano tomatoes which is a low moisture plum tomato. Another plum tomato that you may be more familiar with and that can be used on margherita pizza is roma tomatoes.
For More Pizza Favorite, Try:
Margherita Pizza Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 500°F. We like to use a pizza stone and throw this in while the oven is preheating for at least 15 minutes.
- Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to about 14-15 inches in diameter. **If you want more of a crust, be sure to fold in the outside edges of the pizza dough before adding sauce and toppings.
- If using a pizza stone, quickly and carefully transfer the dough to your stone, add the sauce (leaving a little around the edges for a crust), cheese slices, tomatoes, and pizza seasonings, and put in the oven.
- If not using a stone, you can add the rolled-out dough to a lightly greased baking sheet. Then, add sauce, cheese, toppings and bake.
- Bake for about 5 minutes, then rotate the pizza and bake an additional 7-8 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted. Garnish with fresh basil and a light drizzle of olive oil.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.