Pizza always makes a bad day feel better, and there’s nothing nicer than a perfect slice of margherita pizza. Now you can make this recipe at home any time the craving strikes!
Pizza margherita, as the Italians call it, is a simple pizza hailing from Naples. When done right, margherita pizza features a bubbly crust, crushed San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt. That is all.
Sure, you could add some tomato if you’d like, but only if the tomato is truly ripe, red and worthy. Authentic Neapolitan pizza margherita doesn’t require fresh tomato. Try making this pizza as written, and you won’t miss the tomato on top. Sometimes less is more.
This pizza is simple, fresh and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. It’s a delight to make and even better to eat. How about pizza tonight?
Watch How to Make Margherita Pizza
Pizza Margherita Ingredients
As usual, I used my go-to whole wheat pizza dough. When made with white whole wheat flour, it doesn’t even taste like whole wheat!
In a hurry? This pizza will work with one pound of store-bought dough as well.
San Marzano Tomatoes
San Marzano tomatoes are a special variety of plum tomato originating from the San Marzano region near Naples, Italy. San Marzano tomatoes are tender and rich in flavor. Even the tomato sauce inside the can is thicker than most other whole canned tomatoes. They are special.
San Marzano tomatoes are the traditional choice for pizza margherita and yield the perfect sauce. Simply pour the whole can into a bowl and crush the tomatoes by hand before using.
Fresh Mozzarella Balls
Look for mozzarella balls packed in water, rather than vacuum-sealed. Water-packed mozzarella is superior in flavor and texture; vacuum-sealed mozzarella can taste rubbery.
Ovoline mozzarella balls are my favorite for pizza margherita since they are the perfect size (about 1-inch in diameter). Larger or smaller mozzarella balls will work, too. Just tear them into smaller pieces as necessary.
Whole Foods offers water-packed ovoline mozzarella, and one container is the perfect amount for two pizzas (12 ounces dry weight). Bocconcini mozzarella balls work well, too.
Fresh basil is absolutely essential. Once the pizza is out of the oven, sprinkle a handful of finely sliced basil on each pizza. I like to add a few small basil leaves for accents, too. Cute!
Olive Oil & Salt
Margherita pizza is not complete without a light drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Be careful as you pour so you don’t accidentally overdo it.
Lastly, add a sprinkle of flaky sea salt or kosher salt. Our sauce doesn’t contain any added salt, so a light sprinkle of salt helps bring out the best flavors in this pizza.
What to Serve with Margherita Pizza
- Basil Pesto Salad Dressing: Perfect on any summery green salad.
- Italian Chopped Salad: My top pick!
- Layered Panzanella: More tomato and mozzarella goodness, in salad form.
- Parmesan Roasted Broccoli with Balsamic Drizzle: This broccoli is completely irresistible.
- Perfect Roasted Asparagus: Quick and easy.
More Homemade Pizzas to Enjoy
Here are just a few of my favorite pizza recipes on the blog:
- Arugula-Almond Pesto Pizza
- Broccolini Almond Pizza
- Brussels Sprouts Pizza with Balsamic Red Onions
- Greek Pizza
- Ultimate Veggie Pizza
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 2 pizzas 1x
- Category: Main dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegetarian
Make classic margherita pizza at home with this simple recipe! This Neapolitan pizza is fresh, delicious and easy to make. Recipe yields 2 medium (11-inch diameter) pizzas.
- 1 batch easy whole wheat pizza dough or 1 pound store-bought pizza dough
- 1 large can (28 ounces) whole San Marzano tomatoes
- 12 ounces (dry weight) ovoline-type mozzarella or other fresh mozzarella balls, ideally water-packed
- Handful of fresh basil, thinly sliced plus small leaves
- Additional garnishes: Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, flaky sea salt or kosher salt and optional red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with a rack in the upper third of the oven. If you’re using a baking stone or baking steel, place it on the upper rack. Prepare dough through step 5.
- Place a medium mixing bowl in the sink and pour the canned tomatoes into the bowl, juices and all. Crush the tomatoes by hand. Spread about ¾ cup of the tomato sauce evenly over each pizza, leaving about 1 inch bare around the edges.
- If your mozzarella is packed in water, drain off the water and gently pat the mozzarella dry on a clean tea towel or paper towels. If you’re working with large mozzarella balls, tear them into smaller 1-inch balls. Distribute the mozzarella over the pizza, concentrating it a bit more in the center of the pizza, as it will melt toward the edges.
- Bake pizzas individually on the top rack until the crust is golden and the cheese is just turning golden, about 10 to 12 minutes (or significantly less, if you’re using a baking stone/steel—keep an eye on it).
- Top each pizza generously with fresh basil, followed by a light back-and-forth drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkling of salt, and red pepper flakes, if you wish. Slice and enjoy. Leftover pizza will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Make it dairy free/vegan: While untraditional, this pizza would be good with vegan sour cream drizzled across the pizza both before and after baking. Simply omit the Parmesan in the pizza crust recipe.
Make it gluten free: Substitute your favorite homemade or store-bought pizza dough.
I am confused. The recipes says to ” Spread about ¾ cup of the tomato sauce evenly over each pizza, leaving about 1 inch bare around the edges.”
How many pizzas are we making?
I think there is more than 3/4 cup on each 28 oz can.
Hi Ann, I’m using my Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe and that makes two pizzas. I hope that helps!
Maybe just a typo?
“Our sauce doesn’t contain any added sauce, so a light sprinkle of salt helps… .”
Thank you for that catch! It should be added salt. Fixed.
Just made this tonight and WHY haven’t I been making my own margheritas all along. The flakes of sea salt add something extra. Thank you!,
Thank you so much, Stacy! Glad to hear it!
Best Pizza, always have been a fan of the Margherita so light simple and great flavor. Have you tried to make it with a sprouted wheat flour or any thing other that a white or wheat flour? Gluten free low on carbs keto type thing.
I’m happy you enjoyed it! I haven’t tried it with sprouted wheat so I’m not sure how it work work. If you try it, let me know!
Made this for dinner tonight. Simple and delicious. Hubby was skeptical but loved it too.
I had watermelon radish for the first time in my life! What a super delicious vegetable. They are also a beautiful addition to a salad. Do you have any recipes featuring them? Thanks!
That radishes are so fun! I don’t think I have any recipes that specifically call for watermelon radish, since they are harder to find, but here are all of my radish recipes.
Yum! This is the third recipe I’ve tried from Cookie and Kate and I’m pleased once again. I used Kate’s pizza dough recipe (will write a separate review for that) and fresh mozzarella with basil from my garden. This was absolutely delicious, so easy, and I caught my picky (and brutally honest) partner having a second piece a couple hours after our dinner! That’s how you know it’s truly good! ;)
Hooray! I’m excited you have been enjoying my recipes, Sammi. Thank you for your comment and review!
Every people like Pizza
This margherita pizza made with wheat dough sound interesting and easy one to make
While looking at one of your pancake recipes, I noticed there was a pizza video playing so I watched. I’ve been thinking about making pizza for my toddler for the first time, simply didn’t know where to start happy I found this. I no longer have to do any research. That recipe looks fairly simple. I would like to make it however can I use fresh tomatoes? Any additional tips? Thank you!
Hi Tia, I really find it works the best this way and it’s the most authentic. If you try it, let me know!
The best pizza I have made so far, my kid loves it and he is a picky eater. Thank you for sharing this excellent and yet easy recipe. I have tried some of your recipes and I liked them all, great work!
Hooray! I’m glad you love it, Astarina.
I made a few changes to fit our needs and likes. I used two garlic Naan breads for the crusts and added about a tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning and a tablespoon of sugar to the sauce. It was yummy!
I’m so glad you loved it, Rebecca!
how many tomatoes does add to the sauce?
Hi Elena, sorry I’m not sure the number of tomatoes in the can.
Thank you for recipe. This is helpful for me.
I learn the new think
Do you find that putting the tomato sauce directly on the crust makes the crust soggy?
Hi Carolyn! I don’t find it gets soggy at all for my Easy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough recipe. Rolling to the necessary thickness and baking at a high temp seems to do the trick. I hope you try it!
Can I bake this pizza in a cast iron skillet?
Hi Rita, I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for certain. If you do, let me know how it turns out!
Making this with my class
I hope you love it, Mia!