We love this cheesy Margherita pizza recipe! We use our favorite homemade pizza dough, an authentic no-cook pizza sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil.
Related: We also love this classic cheese pizza!
Margherita Pizza Recipe Ingredients
Like many Italian dishes, Margherita pizza (or pizza Margherita) is simple, fresh, and delicious. Because of its short ingredient list, it is essential to start with the highest quality ingredients you can find. Here’s what you will need to make it at home:
- Pizza dough – We love this bubby homemade pizza dough. It’s easy to make and perfect for home kitchens. Plus, you can whip it up the same day or let it sit overnight for a longer, slower rise. Your favorite store-bought dough will also work.
- San Marzano tomatoes or high-quality whole tomatoes – Unlike American-style pizza sauce, Margherita pizza sauce is as simple as it gets: crush peeled tomatoes (we use canned) and mix with olive oil and salt. It’s fresh and so delicious with the mozzarella and basil.
- Mozzarella cheese – Authentic pizza Margherita has fresh mozzarella. Use fresh, or do what we did in our photos and use shredded mozzarella instead. We love fresh mozzarella on pizza but sometimes find that when cooked in home ovens, it doesn’t melt and brown as quickly and instead releases too much liquid. Shredded mozzarella doesn’t have the same problem.
- Fresh Basil – Fresh basil is crucial for Margherita pizza. I add it before baking and scatter a few extra fresh leaves for serving.
Find the full recipe with measurements below.
How to Make Margherita Pizza at Home
Start with a great pizza dough — we like this one. At least 30 minutes before you plan to bake your pizza, preheat the oven to 450° Fahrenheit (232°C). If you have one, place a pizza steel or pizza stone into the oven before preheating.
While the oven preheats, you can make the quick, no-cook pizza sauce. For an authentic Margherita pizza sauce, use your hands or a fork to crush whole peeled tomatoes and then stir in a little bit of olive oil and salt. We use canned San Marzano tomatoes because they taste sweet and flavorful.
When your oven is ready, form and stretch your pizza dough into a large round, and then place it onto a pizza peel or pizza baking pan. Add a thin layer of Margherita pizza sauce and top with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.
Bake until the crust is bubbly and the cheese is beginning to brown. Then, serve with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh basil scattered on top. We hope you love this homemade Margherita pizza recipe as much as we do!
Cheesy Margherita Pizza
Our spin on classic Margherita pizza! We use our favorite homemade pizza dough, an authentic no-cook pizza sauce, mozzarella, and basil. We highly recommend our recipe for homemade pizza dough, but store-bought dough works. For classic Italian pizza Margherita, use fresh mozzarella instead of shredded mozzarella cheese listed in our recipe. We love fresh mozzarella on pizza but sometimes find that when cooked in home ovens, it doesn’t melt and brown as quickly and instead releases too much liquid. Shredded mozzarella doesn’t have the same problem.
You Will Need
1 batch homemade pizza dough or use store-bought dough
1/2 cup San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes from a can
2 teaspoons olive oil
Pinch fine sea salt
1 cup (57 grams) shredded whole milk mozzarella or use fresh mozzarella
Handful fresh basil leaves
All-purpose flour, for forming dough disc
Semolina flour, for dusting pan
1At least 30 minutes before you plan to bake your pizza, preheat the oven to 450° Fahrenheit (232°C). If you have one, place a pizza steel or pizza stone into the oven before preheating. Personally, we use a higher temperature, see the tips section for our thoughts on what temperature is best for baking pizza at home.
2If your pizza dough is cold, allow it to warm at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.
3While the oven preheats, make the sauce. In a bowl, crush the tomatoes with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Taste, and then season with more salt as necessary.
4When ready to bake your pizza, prepare a pizza peel or pizza pan by dusting it with semolina flour.
5Dust a clean work surface with all-purpose flour, and then form your pizza dough into a round, large enough to fit your pizza peel or pan. To stretch the dough, avoid rolling it out, as this can flatten the bubbles that have formed. Instead, use your fingers to make dimples in the dough, starting from the center and working outwards. Carefully stretch and push the dough to fit your pizza pan or peel. Use a light touch to maintain as many air pockets in the dough as possible.
6Transfer the dough round to your pizza peel or pan, and reform it if it shrinks back a bit.
7Spread a light layer of pizza sauce over the pizza, leaving a thin edge untouched for the crust. Scatter the cheese and basil over the sauce.
8Bake until the crust is set and golden brown and the cheese has melted with golden spots all over, 6 to 15 minutes, depending on oven temperature. Remove from the oven, scatter over some more fresh basil, cut, and serve.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Oven temperature: We recommend 450° Fahrenheit (232°C) in the recipe, but if you are comfortable with it, increasing the temperature to 550° Fahrenheit (288°C) will provide even better results. If you have a vented hood above your oven, turn it on high. When our oven is heated to such a high temperature, the fire alarm occasionally goes off due to the hot air that escapes when we open our oven door. It’s not a problem, other than the noise, and in our experience, it is remedied with a few fans of a dish towel near the alarm, but it is something to consider. If 550° Fahrenheit (288°C) is too high for you, feel free to use a lower temperature. However, keep in mind that this pizza bakes best between 425° Fahrenheit and 550° Fahrenheit (218°C to 288°C). The lower the temperature, the longer it will take to bake and the less bubbly it will be.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.