This margherita pizza recipe tastes like an artisan pie from Italy! It’s the perfect meld of zingy tomato sauce, gooey cheese and chewy crust.

Margherita pizza

The ultimate pizza pie, in our opinion? The pristine and simple pizza Margherita. This iconic Italian pizza is truly something special: stretchy mozzarella cheese, tangy tomatoes, and peppery basil all piled on a chewy, charred crust. We’re so enamored with it, in fact, that we’ve spent years perfecting how to make it at home: researching authentic Italian pizza methods, interviewing experts, and even traveling to Naples Italy to taste it for ourselves! Here are the secrets to making the very best margherita pizza.

Video: How to make margherita pizza

What is margherita pizza?

What’s the origin of this popular pizza topping? Invented in the 1800s, pizza margherita showcases the colors of the Italian flag: red from the tomato sauce, white from the mozzarella, and green from the basil. It’s believed that the margherita is named after Queen Margherita of Savoy, an Italian queen in the 1800’s.

How to pronounce margherita pizza? It sounds like the classic Mexican cocktail, the margarita, which incidentally is a common misspelling of this word! With an proper Italian accent, it sounds like pit-za mar-geh-REE-ta.

Is it easy to make margherita pizza? It is, with a few tools and tips. To get that authentic Italian crispy-on-the-outside crust, you need to bake it at a very high temperature. The key? A blazing hot pizza stone. Here are the tools you’ll need to make truly great pie:

  • Pizza stone: This is what makes the crust crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Here’s the pizza stone we recommend, and a bit more on how to care for it.
  • Pizza peel: A peel is a paddle used to slide a pie onto the hot stone in the oven. We recommend this standard pizza peel or this conveyor pizza peel. The conveyor makes it incredibly easy to slide onto the stone (it’s worth the investment!).
  • Pizza oven (optional): Do you need a pizza oven to make great margherita pizza? Not at all! But if you really want to step up your game, artisan pizza is cooked at temperatures way hotter than your standard oven can achieve. Here’s the Ooni pizza oven we use: it’s relatively inexpensive and heats quickly to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Margherita pizza recipe, pizza stone
Using a pizza stone is key.

How to make pizza dough

Great margherita pizza needs a great dough. Here at A Couple Cooks, we’ve been working on our recipe for over 10 years. Our dough recipe incorporates tips from some of the premiere pizza chefs in America, who themselves have studied the pizza in Naples. Here’s what to know:

  • For next level dough, use Tipo 00 flour. The best flour is Tipo 00: it’s what Neapolitan pizza restaurants use. It makes for a beautiful, supple and fluffy dough. We buy our Tipo 00 flour online. All-purpose flour also works well, so it’s not required!
  • Use a great pizza dough recipe! This Master Recipe: Pizza Dough is the best method for fluffy, artisan-style pizza dough. You can make it using a stand mixer or knead it by hand. Or you can try Easy Thin Crust Pizza, which similar, but rolled out using a rolling pin.
Margherita pizza toppings

Margherita pizza ingredients

What’s on a margherita pizza? In Italy, the traditional margherita pizza ingredients for toppings are mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and basil. The sauce is generally made from crushed tomatoes, seasoned with garlic, salt and herbs. Often the cheese used is mozzarella di bufala, a fresh cheese made from the milk of water buffalos that has a creamy texture and delicate flavor.

To make homemade margerita pizza, because the toppings are so simple, they must be top quality. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tomatoes: Our margherita pizza sauce is a quick blender sauce made with canned fire roasted tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt and herbs. Fire roasted tomatoes have a sweet smoky flavor and are easily available at most US grocery stores. Another great option is San Marzano tomatoes. If you can’t find either, use the best quality canned tomatoes you can find.
  • Cheese: The best mozzarella for pizza? Use fresh mozzarella cheese, the kind sold in balls, then cut it into small pieces for overall coverage. A light topping of grated Parmesan cheese adds complexity.
  • Basil: Using fresh basil is key to the flavor of a great margherita pizza. A tip? Add to the pizza after baking so that is stays beautifully green. Fresh basil that is baked in the oven turns black within a few minutes.

It takes a little bit of practice, but you’ll be making homemade margherita pizza in no time! You can put your know-how to use in our other favorite pizza recipes, too. Let us know what you think of this Italian icon: it really is the best pizza you can make at home!

How to make margherita pizza

More homemade pizza recipes

Love a great homemade pizza? Here are a few more of our favorite homemade pizza recipes:

This homemade margherita pizza recipe is…



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This margherita pizza recipe tastes like an artisan pie from Italy! It’s the perfect meld of zingy tomato sauce, gooey cheese and chewy crust.

For the pizza dough

For the pizza sauce

  • 1 small garlic clove (1/2 medium)
  • 15 ounces crushed fire roasted tomatoes or San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Scant ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the toppings

  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pizza sauce
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese or 2 to 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

  1. Make the pizza dough: Follow the Best Pizza Dough recipe to prepare the dough. (This takes about 15 minutes to make and 45 minutes to rest.)
  2. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500°F. OR preheat your pizza oven (here’s the pizza oven we use).
  3. Make the pizza sauce: Cut the garlic into a few rough pieces. Place the garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, oregano and kosher salt in a blender. Blend until fully combined. (You’ll use about ⅓ cup for the pizza; reserve the remaining sauce and refrigerate for up to 1 week.)
  4. Prepare the cheese: If using fresh mozzarella cheese, slice it into ¼ inch thick pieces (see the photos of the pre-baked pizza above). If it’s incredibly watery fresh mozzarella (all brands vary), you may want to let it sit on a paper towel to remove moisture for about 15 minutes then dab the mozzarella with the paper towel to remove any additional moisture.
  5. Bake the pizza: When the oven is ready, dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you don’t have a pizza peel, you can use a rimless baking sheet or the back of a rimmed baking sheet. But a pizza peel is well worth the investment!) Stretch the dough into a circle; see How to Stretch Pizza Dough for instructions. Then gently place the dough onto the pizza peel. 
  6. Spread a thin layer of the pizza sauce over the dough, using about ¼ to ⅓ cup. Add the mozzarella cheese. Top with a thin layer of fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a few pinches of kosher salt.
  7. Use the pizza peel to carefully transfer the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone. Bake the pizza until the cheese and crust are nicely browned, about 5 to 7 minutes in the oven (or 1 minute in a pizza oven).
  8. Allow the pizza to cool for a minute or two before adding the basil on top (whole leaves, lightly torn, or thinly sliced). Slice into pieces and serve immediately.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: margherita pizza recipe, margarita pizza, homemade margarita pizza