Sometimes you just can’t beat fresh, simple, and classic Margherita Pizza.
This margherita pizza recipe begins with my homemade pizza dough. Top with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, then finish it off with garden-fresh basil. This is an easy pizza recipe with unbeatable flavor!
We moved into our new house last week. After 12 hours on our feet moving boxes, we dashed to the nearest restaurant and found ourselves ordering appetizers and a five cheese + tomato pizza from a local joint.
I usually prefer pizza with a ton of fixings like this spinach artichoke pizza, BBQ chicken pizza, or overloaded Hawaiian pizza, but I’ve been craving pizza simplicity since noshing on those plain slices last week. Today’s classic margherita pizza recipe is like a regular cheese pizza, but all grown up. Look at all this beautiful basil!
The best homemade margherita pizza begins with homemade pizza dough. Homemade pizza dough may sound difficult to you. Why waste the time when you can just buy frozen pizza dough? Well, here’s a fact: Homemade pizza dough has a delicious flavor and texture that only comes from YOU!
Pizza Dough Ingredients
Here’s my recipe for homemade pizza dough. There’s only 6 ingredients, plus some water.
- Yeast: Instant yeast makes the job quicker.
- Water: Use warm water to reduce the rise time, about 105ºF – 115ºF. Anything over 130ºF is too hot.
- Flour: It’s best to use unbleached all-purpose white flour in the pizza crust. Bleaching the flour strips away some of the protein, which reduces the amount of water the flour can absorb.
- Oil: Extra virgin olive oil adds wonderful flavor. Don’t forget to brush the dough with olive oil before adding the toppings, which prevents the crust from tasting soggy.
- Salt & Sugar: Salt adds flavor and sugar increases the yeast’s activity and tenderizes the dough.
- Cornmeal: Use cornmeal to dust the pizza pan; it gives the pizza crust a little extra flavor and crisp.
Homemade Pizza Dough Video Tutorial
The homemade pizza crust is soft and fluffy in the center with deliciously crisp edges. It’s an all around basic pizza crust recipe and has quickly become a reader favorite. The best part? You can make the dough in advance. See pizza dough freezing instructions!
Margherita Pizza Toppings
Despite how I feel about loading up on pizza toppings, less is more when it comes to margherita pizza. Plain, simple, and easy, margherita pizza is fulfilling without too much grease weighing it down. There are only 4-5 ingredients on top of the pizza dough.
- For absolute best flavor, use homemade roasted garlic.
- Use your favorite homemade tomato sauce.
- Top with good quality mozzarella.
- And fresh juicy tomatoes, any size.
- Plus lots of fresh basil. And bonus if the basil is from your garden.
Garlic, juicy tomatoes, and fresh basil also taste wonderful on top of homemade focaccia!
Homemade Pizza Baking Equipment
There’s only 3 crucial tools you need for homemade pizza.
- Stand Mixer: An electric stand mixer is preferred for making homemade pizza crust, but you don’t *NEED* it. You can simply mix and knead the dough by hand.
- Pizza Pan: Some pizza enthusiasts own pizza stones, baking stones, and pizza peels. If you have them– awesome. If you don’t, just use a regular pizza pan or a baking sheet.
- Pizza Cutter: This OXO pizza cutter because it’s sharp, comfortable, and easy.
Homemade Pizza Recipes
- Hawaiian Pizza
- BBQ Chicken Pizza
- Chicago Deep Dish Style Pizza
- Roasted Garlic Chicken Pesto Pizza
- Homemade Extra Cheese Pizza
- Spinach Artichoke White Cheese Pizza
Classic Margherita Pizza
This is a recipe for classic margherita pizza topped with fresh mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes. Start with my homemade pizza dough. This recipe makes one 12-inch pizza or you can make two pizzas from my entire crust recipe and double the toppings listed below.
- 1/2 recipe homemade pizza dough
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves roasted garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup your favorite pizza or tomato sauce
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/2 inch thick pieces
- 2 plum tomatoes, sliced (or any tomato you like)
- handful of fresh basil
- fresh ground pepper, to taste
- Prepare pizza dough through step 5, including preheating the oven to 475°F (246°C). Cover the shaped dough lightly with plastic wrap and allow it to rest as the oven preheats.
- Mix the olive oil and chopped garlic together in a small dish. Brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil. Using your fingers, push dents into the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Top with pizza sauce, then the mozzarella cheese slices, then the tomato slices.
- Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned and the cheese is bubbling. For the last minute, I move the oven rack to the top rack to really brown the edges. That's optional.
- Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil and pepper. Slice pizza and serve immediately.
- Cover leftover pizza tightly and store in the refrigerator. Reheat as you prefer. Baked pizza slices can be frozen up to 3 months. See pizza crust recipe for instructions on freezing the pizza dough.
See homemade pizza crust recipe for how to freeze the pizza dough.
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