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Pizza Margherita

This Pizza Margherita recipe plays homage to this classic pizza believed to have originated in Naples Italy. It features homemade pizza dough topped with a robust tomato sauce, gooey mozzarella cheese and fresh basil for a scrumptious flavor combination that always satisfies.

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Easy Pizza Margherita Recipe

Pizza Margherita is a Neopolitan pizza that was developed in the late 1800’s in honor of Queen Margherita a visitor to Naples. It features a delicious tomato sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes, luscious rounds of fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves. The crust is amazing, crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. You can make the crust in advance and pop it into the refrigerator making it the perfect make ahead ingredients for a quick weeknight meal.

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How to Make the Best Pizza Margherita Recipe

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Pizza Margherita: For the crust you’ll need bread flour, rapid rise yeast, salt, olive oil, warm water and granulated sugar.
  • For the sauce you’ll need: Crushed canned San Marzano tomatoes, dried Italian seasoning or oregano, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and salt.
  • You’ll also need fresh mozzarella cheese, grated Parmesan cheese and fresh ribbons of basil for the top.
  • Kitchen tools you’ll need: Large bowl, measuring cups and spoons, sharp knife and chopping board, pizza cutter, large cast iron skillet and sheet pans.
  • This recipe makes two 10-12 inch pizzas.
  • If you don’t have bread flour you can use all purpose flour instead. Bread flour is my favorite for pizza dough for the crunch.
  • Why begin in a skillet? Using a cast iron skillet is a terrific technique for when you don’t have a pizza stone to bake the pizza.
  • How to bake Pizza Margherita on a pizza stone: If you have a pizza stone, you can  most certainly use it. When using it, you’ll need to place it into the oven and let it preheat for at least an hour at 475°F, or whatever is the safest highest temperature for the stone you’re using. Reference the manufacturers recommendation. Next, transfer the crust to the stone using a pizza peel coated with cornmeal and parbake for around 8 minutes before removing from the oven and topping with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. Finish the pizza baking for another 8-12 minutes or until  the cheese is golden and bubbling.
    The fresh mozzarella for this recipe needs to be either a ball or log, not the kind packed in water. You may even go the extra step and pat with a paper towel to remove moisture. Mozzarella packed in water will not give you the best result.
  • When arranging the cheese, try to be as uniform as possible.
  • The broiling time can vary slightly depending on the setting. If you use low broil it will take longer than high broil. If your oven only has one broil setting, watch for bubbly golden brown cheese and crust.
  • I used San Marzano crushed tomatoes for this recipe. You can of course. use your favorite brand.
  • I sliced the mozzarella to a 1/4 inch thickness. It’s important not to use mozzarella cheese packed in water.
  • You can use ribbons of basil in place of full leaves, according to your personal preference. Full leaves aren’t as overpowering as you may think.
  • I prefer to add the fresh basil immediately after baking rather than baking it along with the pizza. You can bake it, but please note it does tend to char and burn under the broiler.
  • When cooking the crust in the skillet, try to avoid it from getting too many brown or black spots. It still has to go into the oven and you don’t want it to look charred. Some dark coloration is normal.
  • Store leftover pizza chilled in the refrigerator. Reheat in a 375°F  air fryer or on a sheet pan in the oven.
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More Easy Pizza Recipes to Make

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Pizza Margherita

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Rising Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian Inspired
Keyword: best-pizza-margherita, pizza-margherita-recipe
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 160kcal

Ingredients

  • Pizza Crust:
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 (0.25 oz) packet rapid rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water (110 -115 °F)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil divided use (plus additional for drizzling on top)
  • Sauce:
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes i.e. San Marzano
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning or oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium cloves garlic minced
  • Toppings:
  • 1 8 oz ball or log of fresh mozzarella cheese (not water packed) cut into even rounds
  • fresh basil leaves rolled and sliced into ribbons
  • 4 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese divided use

Instructions

  • To Make the Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together bread flour, dry yeast, salt and sugar.
  • While the mixer is running on medium speed drizzle in 1 cup of warm water mixed with 2 tablespoons olive oil. If needed add additional water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough is fully moistened. Knead until the dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Turn onto a non stick surface and by hand knead 8-10 times or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  • Return to the bowl and drizzle with reserved 1 tablespoon olive oil. Turn to coat all sides. Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.
  • To Make the Sauce: In a small bowl, mix together crushed tomatoes, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes and garlic.
  • To Assemble: Punch down dough and divide the dough in half forming into a ball. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. Stretch and pat each of the dough rounds into roughly a 10 inch circle creating a slightly thicker rim around the outside of the dough.
  • Heat a large 10-12 inch cast-iron pan over medium heat on the stovetop just until the pan begins to smoke, about 5 minutes. Brush with olive oil, then carefully transfer one pizza round onto the hot pan. Leave to cook for around 4 minutes (the dough should begin bubbling up) just until lightly tan in color.
  • Flip and continue to cook on the other side for 2 minutes longer, just until the crust is dry to the touch. Remove from pan and let rest repeating the process with the second round of dough.
  • Preheat oven to boil. Place crusts on one large sheet pan or bake on separate pans. Spread ½ cup sauce on pizza crust. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese over the sauce. Arrange mozzarella cheese rounds on top. Repeat the process with the second crust.
  • Broil in the oven for 7-8 minutes or just until the cheese is lightly golden and bubbly and crust is golden.
  • Remove from oven, drizzle lightly with olive oil and garnish each with reserved 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Slice and enjoy! (This recipe makes two 10-12 inch pizzas)

Notes

Pizza Stone:
  • How to bake Pizza Margherita on a pizza stone: If you have a pizza stone, you can  most certainly use it. When using it, you’ll need to place it into the oven and let it preheat for at least an hour at 475°F, or whatever is the safest highest temperature for the stone you’re using. Reference the manufacturers recommendation.
  • Next, transfer the crust to the stone using a pizza peel coated with cornmeal and parbake for around 8 minutes before removing from the oven and topping with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese.
  • Finish the pizza baking for another 8-12 minutes or until  the cheese is golden and bubbling mnd the crust is golden.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 160kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 336mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 55IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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