This margherita pizza recipe is a celebration of simple, fresh ingredients! Juicy tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese top a crisp, chewy crust.
I like to think of a good margherita pizza as a heartier cousin of Caprese salad, with a crisp, chewy crust supporting the delicious trio of tomatoes, basil, and fresh mozzarella. You’ll find this classic pizza on the menu of any Neapolitan pizza joint, but you can also make a really great homemade version. This margherita pizza recipe is here to prove it!
If you’re new to making homemade pizza, don’t let it intimidate you. You won’t need any fancy equipment to make this recipe. No pizza peel or pizza stone, just a baking sheet and a hot oven. The ingredients here are straightforward too, but I recommend using the best ones you can find. A margherita pizza is so simple that the quality of each component counts. Using peak-season summer tomatoes, fresh basil, and homemade pizza sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes will make all the difference.
Margherita Pizza Recipe Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this margherita pizza recipe:
- Pizza dough, of course! Pick up fresh dough from your grocery store, or make your own with this pizza dough recipe.
- Pizza sauce – My 5-ingredient recipe is quick and easy to make in the food processor. No cooking required! For the best results, use good-quality canned tomatoes, preferably San Marzanos, to make the sauce.
- Cherry tomatoes – Fresh tomatoes aren’t actually a traditional margherita pizza topping, but I can never resist adding a fresh veggie to a recipe. I like to use cherry tomatoes here because they’re less watery than larger ones are. Thinly slice them before layering them onto the crust.
- Fresh mozzarella cheese – The perfect rich counterpart to the fresh tomatoes and herbs! Cut it into thin slices or tear it before topping the pizza.
- Fresh basil – Sprinkled on the pizza after it comes out of the oven, it adds a lovely freshness to this simple pie.
- Red pepper flakes – They add a kick of heat.
- And extra-virgin olive oil – For rich, fruity flavor.
Find the complete recipe with measurements below.
Stretch the dough and spread on the tomato sauce. Layer on the cheese and fresh tomatoes. Then, bake until the cheese is melted and the pizza crust is golden brown. Top with fresh basil leaves, red pepper flakes, and a drizzle of olive oil. Slice and serve!
We love to eat this margherita pizza with a salad on the side. Pair it with a chopped salad, arugula salad, Caesar salad, or simple green salad. Enjoy!
Margherita Pizza Recipe Variations
This margherita pizza recipe is fantastic as written, but don’t hesitate to make it your own! Add your favorite pizza toppings, or try one of these easy variations:
- Use roasted tomatoes instead of fresh ones. They add amazing savory flavor.
- Amp up the basil flavor. Dollop the pizza with pesto after it comes out of the oven.
- Drizzle it with balsamic reduction for a tangy pop.
- Dot on roasted garlic for sweet, umami flavor.
- Or add extra veggies! Roasted fennel, roasted red peppers, and sautéed mushrooms would all be great here.
Let me know what variations you try!
More Favorite Pizza Recipes
If you love this margherita pizza recipe, try one of these pizzas next:
- Pesto Pizza
- Cast Iron Skillet Pizza
- Best Vegan Pizza
- Or any of these Homemade Pizza Recipes!
Craving more Italian classics? Try this eggplant caponata, eggplant Parmesan, or spaghetti aglio e olio recipe.
- 1 recipe Pizza Dough, stretched onto a 14-inch pizza pan or large baking sheet
- ½ heaping cup Pizza Sauce
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn or sliced
- ½ cup thinly sliced cherry tomatoes
- 10 fresh basil leaves
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 500°F
- Spread the pizza sauce onto the dough. Top with the fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until the crust is browned. Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil leaves and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Its my 2nd time making your pizza dough recipe, both times turned out great. The 1st time I may have over cooked by 1 min or so, this 2nd time I went one shelf higher and 1 or 2 mins less. Perfect. You really need to keep your eye on it at 500.
Now on to the your Margherita recipe. I loved that I didn’t cooked the sauce and it was perfection. I had to use a combo of mozzarella cheeses I was a bit shy of the 8 oz for the fresh so just added some shredded brick mozzarella and then the fresh on top. So good.
Question: Do you have any trick when adding the basil. I did not add it immediately – because when the pizza is too hot it goes black. Also, if it gets hit with the olive oil is also blackens. I waited till it cooled a bit and then put it on top – but would have liked it hotter. Any suggestions?
Another keeper – both the dough, and the tomato sauce – will never buy pizza dough again and will never cook a tomato sauce for pizza. Winner Dinner.
Hi Lainey, I’m so glad the pizza and it’s components were such a hit! Unfortunately, I don’t have a better tip for you, basil just bruises and wilts easily.
I used your dough and sauce recipe, and the pizza was delicious! Thank you, it was a hit!
I’m so happy to hear!
Baked for 10 min then put on fresh mozzarella and in 5 min so much water from mozzarella made for soggy crust
Fresh mozzarella was supposed to be put on prior to baking then bake for 12 minutes.
Sensational! I added some chicken, black olives, and extra fresh herbs to mine. Craving it after finishing it.
How would you recommend cooking the pizza on a grill?
Excited to try this recipe! What do you do with leftover sauce? How long is it good for? Can it be frozen?
Hi Kelly, you can keep it in the fridge for about 5 days or freeze it!
I made this for dinner last night as a trial run to making again on Friday for two other guests. Naturally, it was so beautiful I took pics and sent to my sisters of whom complimented the outcome. It was so satisfying, hearty and delicious I’m looking forward to preparing it for others! This will definitely satisfy a pizza craving. I will say that out of convenience and quirkiness, I did use an organic pizza crust I buy at Trader Joe’s. This pizza was absolutely perfect and I’m a picky pizza eater. I wish I could add a picture of my end result!
a beautiful margarita pizza, thank you, I haven’t had one that looks like this since Naples
Add mushroom in the recipe, the taste is delicious.
Thanks for the suggestion. Will try.