Margherita pizza is a staple at Italian restaurants and pizzerias everywhere! Garlicky tomato sauce is topped with fresh mozzarella and basil, all on an irresistibly chewy crust.
What Is a Margherita Pizza?
Odds are, you’ve had a Margherita pizza at some point in your life. They have an authentic Italian-style thin crust, perfectly balanced tomato sauce, and stretchy mozzarella. Fresh basil is the finishing touch—it adds a nice, herbaceous flavor to complement the tomato.
What makes Margherita pizzas unique is their simplicity. They prove you don’t need eleventy-billion toppings to make a good pizza!
Homemade Margherita Pizza Recipe
Because Margherita pizza is so simple, the ingredients you use matter. Instead of picking up a store-bought pizza crust, you’ll want to take the time to make your own.
And while you’re at it, make the sauce too. Use fresh mozzarella instead of the shredded kind, and don’t even think about swapping the fresh basil leaves for dried!
There’s nothing about this recipe that’s hard—in fact, it’s quite easy!—but you will need to allow yourself enough time to make the homemade crust.
You can make it in advance, though, or even make a double batch and freeze some for the next time you want a Margherita pizza!
Ingredients to Make Margherita Pizza
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
For the Pizza Sauce:
- Crushed or pureéd San Marzano tomatoes – These are grown in Italy, for that authentic Margherita flavor!
- Garlic – Minced garlic or fresh garlic work great.
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Dough – Use my homemade pizza dough recipe.
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Basil leaves – Adds the perfect fresh flavor.
- Red chili flakes – This can be optional if you don’t want the added spice.
How to Make Margherita Pizza
- Prepare – Preheat your oven and a pizza pan (or pizza stone) to 500ºF for at least an hour. Dust a pizza peel with semolina or all-purpose flour.
- Make the sauce – In a small mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, and oil, then season with salt and pepper.
- Cut the mozzarella – Slice the mozzarella into ¼-inch-thick rounds.
- Shape the dough – Divide the pizza dough into 2 equal portions and place them on a floured work surface. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes, then slowly stretch a dough ball until you have a 10” round. Place it on the prepared pizza peel. (this recipe makes two pizzas)
Tip: If the dough is too elastic to stay stretched, let it rest an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
- Assemble – Brush the dough with olive oil and spread the top with ½ cup of tomato sauce, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the sauce, then add the mozzarella. Tear the basil into a few large pieces and scatter them over the top of the Margherita pizza.
- Bake – Carefully transfer the pizza to the preheated pan or stone and bake for 6 to 7 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are crispy and golden. Transfer to a cutting board, drizzle with olive oil, and slice.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Margherita pizza is best fresh and warm, but leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. To reheat, place on a baking sheet and bake at 450ºF until warmed through.
You can also reheat individual slices in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, but the oven is best because it will get the edges of the crust crispy!
A Margherita pizza is an authentic type of pizza that originated in Italy. It is typically made with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, and basil. A regular pizza, on the other hand, can be topped with a variety of different ingredients, and it’s usually made with shredded cheese.
There is no definitive answer to this question because it depends on the ingredients used in each pizza. However, Margherita pizzas typically contain fewer ingredients than regular pizzas, which may make them healthier.
No, there is no meat in a traditional Margherita pizza. However, some variations of the pizza may include meat, and if you want to add meat to this recipe, you definitely can!
Yes, Margherita pizzas are usually vegetarian. Some varieties of Parmesan aren’t vegetarian, though, so if you’re making this for a vegetarian, be aware of that!
More Recipes for Pizza Lovers
- 1 cup crushed or pureéd San Marzano tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- pizza dough
- 3 tbsp parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 7 oz fresh mozzarella cheese slices not packed in water
- 6-7 large basil leaves
- ½ tsp red chili flakes
- Preheat the oven and pizza pan (or stone) to 500F for at least one hour.
- As the oven is heating, assemble the sauce. In a small mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, garlic, and oil and season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Slice the mozzarella into ¼”-thick slices. Set aside.
- Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and place onto a floured countertop. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. (this recipe makes enough dough for 2 pizzas)
- Dust a pizza peel with semolina. Slowly stretch a dough ball until you have a 10” round and place onto the pizza peel. If the dough is too elastic to stretch, let it rest an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Brush the dough lightly with olive oil and top with ½ cup of tomato sauce, leaving a 1” border around. Sprinkle with parmesan and then add the mozzarella slices. Tear the basil into a few large pieces and place evenly around the pie.
- Gently transfer the pizza to the steel or stone and bake for 6-7 minutes or until crispy and golden. Remove to a cutting board, drizzle with a little olive oil and slice to serve.