Classic Margherita Pizza

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!

Sometimes you just can't beat a classic like fresh and simple Margherita Pizza. This homemade pizza crust with fresh toppings hits the spot!

The BEST Classic Margherita Pizza (recipe)

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!

Sometimes you just can't beat a classic like fresh and simple Margherita Pizza. This homemade pizza crust with fresh toppings hits the spot!

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.

  1. Yeast: Instant yeast makes the job quicker.
  2. Water: Use warm water to reduce the rise time, about 105ºF – 115ºF. Anything over 130ºF is too hot.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Salt & Sugar: Salt adds flavor and sugar increases the yeast’s activity and tenderizes the dough.
  6. 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!

Sometimes you just can't beat a classic like fresh and simple Margherita Pizza. This homemade pizza crust with fresh toppings hits the spot!

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.

  1. For absolute best flavor, use homemade roasted garlic.
  2. Use your favorite homemade tomato sauce.
  3. Top with good quality mozzarella.
  4. And fresh juicy tomatoes, any size.
  5. 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!

Baking with Yeast Guide

Reference this Baking with Yeast Guide whenever you work with baker’s yeast. I include practical answers to all of your common yeast questions.

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.

Sometimes you just can't beat a classic like fresh and simple Margherita Pizza. This homemade pizza crust with fresh toppings hits the spot!

Homemade Pizza Recipes

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Classic Margherita Pizza

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: one 12-inch pizza
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

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!


Ingredients

  • 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 black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil and pepper. Slice pizza and serve immediately.
  5. 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.

Notes

  1. See homemade pizza crust recipe for how to freeze the pizza dough.
  2. Reference my Baking with Yeast Guide for answers to common yeast FAQs.

Keywords: margherita pizza

92 Comments

  1. YAY!! I’m so happy you and Kevin got moved in okay, although that sounds like a stressfully long day. You definitely deserved dinner out! It’s awesome how going out to eat often inspires lots of recipes in our own kitchens, and with how hard you worked to get your pizza dough & pizza recipes perfect, I bet your margherita pizza was even better than CPK’s! 🙂

  2. I still remember you posted the gorgonzola pizza recipe the day after I was trying to convince my friends it was the best combination. I guess stinky cheese isn’t for everyone? Crazy!

    I’m sure they would like this pizza, though, especially with a glass of Rose!

  3. Oooo, this makes my mouth water – looks so delicious! And isn’t it the truth, sometimes simpler just tastes better?!

    I’ve been using your pizza dough and methods for months – love it! We make a pizza from scratch every Saturday…and sometimes Sunday too (oops!). 🙂

    1. Saturday and Sunday pizza with my pizza crust… I don’t blame you! Can I come over? Your weekends sound more fun than mine!

      1. Soon your weekends won’t be quite so busy and you can make pizza all the time too. In the interim, you can come over but you have to bring Oreo Cake. Or pie. 😉

  4. I love making homemade pizzas! (Which I’m sure I’ve told you already…) and one of my favourite combinations definitely has to be the classic margherita 🙂 Especially in the height of summer when the tomatoes are bursting with sweet freshness.
    I hope the unpacking is nearly finished, or at least at a manageable level now 🙂

  5. Nice, Sally! I recently wrote about the best pizza I ever had, which was in Naples, Italy, and it was a plain margherita pizza. Beautiful! I love that you spread the olive oil and garlic on the crust first of all. Great tip! 🙂

  6. I am so bummed I never tried margherita pizza. My life is pretty much incomplete! If you weren’t the cookie queen already, I would dub you the pizza queen too 🙂

  7. It took me nearly 50 years of pizza eating, but I have only fairly recently concluded that the Margherita is the quintessential pizza. It has become the standard by which I judge all new pizzerias. Its all about that magic complementary balance of flavors, and using the best ingredients.
    BTW, I can’t wait to try your chocolate chip cookies, because that is my most favorite cookie of all time, and I have not gotten past that famous recipe on the back of that certain chip brand that I won’t mention for success.

  8. OMG! I never post , and now I HAVE too this is theBEST pizza dough I have ever made! Amazing CPK copy!!! I am a former Cali girl now living in rural Mexico , where I have to MAKE everything from scratch , and this pizza is divine , ,y family is flipping out devouring it… I have made 6 if your recipes so far and they have ALL been divine! You so Rock!
    Muchas gracias!!!!!!

  9. Delicious…served it on pizza night…along with your bbq chicken pizza…I cooked them in my cast iron skillets…loved the addition of the garlic oil prior to cooking…made this for “What’s on the Menu” tag game…=)

  10. Sally,

    I made your whole wheat pizza dough last evening and it was amazing!! I did not have enough of the honey and it still was very tasty.

    Today I am waiting for this recipe to rise so that I can taste the two variations of pizza dough…..I’m sure the white dough will be just as good!!

    Thanks for sharing and stay blessed!!

  11. Oh this Pizza looks so delicious and I’m graving a pizza right now.
    But since I’m from Germany, and we don’t use cups to measure, I wanted to ask you if you can tell me how much gramm of tomato sauce is in one cup.
    Thank you in advance 🙂

  12. Sally, I LOVE your website! Your name pops up alot in my search engine when I’m looking for particular recipes, and i always know that I’m gonna love your take on that dish. Great photos, great subjects, my only regret is that I don’t have enough time to try them all! (Sounds like a fun goal, though). Thank you for the awesome stuff! We’re going to have this pizza tonight, and I think the other crust will be honey glaze with pineapple and prociutto for lunch later this week.

  13. I made your dough in the bread machine. It was SO much easier to work with than the bread machine recipe. I was SURE there was no sauce in your recipe, and when I found out there was, I just made a simple rustic tomato sauce. It’s in the oven now, but knowing what’s on it, I have NO DOUBT that it will be spectacular!! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!

  14. The pizza turned out amazingly! Thank you for the recipe. The only thing I want to note is that 14-16 minutes of baking was not nearly enough to cook the dough all the way through. My pizza with this recipe required at least 20 minutes in the oven.

  15. I loved it! My friend and I were required to make an Italian dish so we used your recipe! (Don’t worry we credited you) The pizza and the dough were absolutely sensational and my friend and I ended up receiving 100% for our mark! Continue to create amazing recipes!

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