Authentic Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita made easily in your oven! This thin-crust pizza is made with a simple, yet delicious and traditional dough then topped with a homemade sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil.

Margherita pizza is cooked on a pizza pan until it is crisped around the edges.

Traditional Pizza Margherita

I am giving you one of my most favorite recipes today- Margherita pizza! Every Friday night, I toss some pies and it’s become something my kids really look forward to. Everyone gets their hands in it to stretch the dough, spoon the sauce, and sprinkle the cheese.

Ever since moving to Pensacola, I’ve been missing the traditional Margherita pizza. In Boston, these kinds of pizzerias are found on practically every corner, complete with the brick oven.

I don’t have a brick oven, just a basic oven, and I thought for years I wouldn’t be able to achieve that flavor, but I learned it’s really all about making the dough right.

This Margherita pizza is hands down my favorite recipe I will probably ever post on my blog. Yep, I’m that serious about my pizza. This pizza is no-frills, easy to make, simple ingredients, and cooks in under 10 minutes. It’s so good that each pizza is eaten immediately after it’s taken out of the oven before the next one can even go in!

I am giving you all my tips to make this Margherita pizza easily in your home because I want you to be just as obsessed with this recipe as I am! I also have a secret step that makes a HUGE difference in the taste.

The best part about this Margherita pizza? No pizza stone, no crazy equipment, just your bare hands, some time, and a few simple ingredients. This is the best pizza you can possibly make at home without building or buying a brick oven.

Margherita Pizza dough is placed on top of corn meal and allowed to rest.

Margherita pizza dough ingredients

  • 00 flour or all-purpose flour– I splurged for this recipe and bought 00 flour because I wanted to taste the difference in my pizzas between using this kind of flour and all-purpose flour. Wow, I was shocked how much more delicious the 00 flour pizza was, and the texture was just like a true Boston pizza. I highly recommend investing in 00 flour, but if you are in a pinch, you can use unbleached all-purpose flour like King Author flour.
  • Water
  • Active dry yeast
  • Salt
Margherita Pizza dough is stretches, then topped with sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.

how to make margherita pizza sauce

  • Crushed tomatoes- I prefer the brand Cento, but any brand of crushed tomatoes will work. I have found the taste varies between brands.
  • Seasoning- Basil, a pinch of oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt is the perfect combo of seasoning- simple and delicious!

What are the margherita pizza toppings

Ok, for this pizza- simplicity is key! This rustic, easy pizza is topped with only two things, sliced mozzarella and fresh basil.

Don’t use shredded mozzarella cheese. Don’t. you. DARE. Seriously. Grab a ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, then slice it into 1/4 inch slices. The way these cheese slices melt on the pizza is just… wow.

The fresh basil will look burnt and maybe even a little crispy after the pizza comes out of the oven, but I like to add even more fresh basil after pizza is done cooking. This way, the basil marries with all the flavor in the oven, but then it’s topped with even more for that fresh color and texture.

Chef’s tips

Alright, now’s the time that I am going to spill all my pizza secrets. I hope you’re ready! Taking the time to do these steps will ensure you enjoy the best pizza possible!

Ditch the mixer- use your hands

True margherita pizza dough is made with your hands- no mixer involved! You have to feel the dough and the consistency. Yep, you need to get your hands dirty.

First, you’re going to mix the water, yeast, and salt until everything is nice and dissolved, then add the flour. Use your hands to stir until it creates a shaggy dough.

After, you are going to dump the dough out on your work surface and kneed it for a few minutes until the dough bounces back.

Margherita Pizza dough is placed in a well oiled bowl to rise for 24 hours.

Let it sit for 24 hours

This was so hard. I really wanted to make this pizza for lunch and eat it right away, so I thought I could get away with letting it sit for only 2 hours. I’m sure it would have been good, but letting it sit for 24 hours made it even better.

After you make the dough, you are going to place it in a well oiled bowl, then place a damp kitchen towel over the top (make sure the towel is not touching the dough).

I rewet the kitchen towel right before I went to bed to make sure the dough wouldn’t dry out. My house smelt like a true pizzeria when I woke up the next morning.

The next day, I punched the dough down, divided it, and made the pizzas. The pizza dough was a perfect texture and the flavor was absolutely divine. It is 100% worth it to allow this dough to rise on your counter for 24 hours. This is the secret step!!

Don’t over sauce it

This pizza dough results in a crunchy, chewy pizza. Use only a few tablespoons of sauce per pizza pie. If you use too much sauce, it will be hard to move this pizza from the pizza peel to the oven because it’ll be heavy and the dough will get sticky because of the liquid.

Utilize your broiler

First, you are going to cook the Margherita pizza at 500 degrees for about 5 minutes, then I like to kick my oven up to 550 degrees (using the broiler). Using the broiler will create those delicious little burnt bits and crisps up the crust beautifully.

Margherita Pizza is sliced into triangles on a wooden pizza peel.the pizza peel.

How to make margherita pizza

  1. Make the dough. Combine water, yeast, and salt in a large bowl and mix until everything is dissolved. Add the flour to the bowl and use your hands to mix it into a shaggy dough. Flour your work surface, then dump the dough out onto it. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until the dough bounces back. Use more flour if necessary.
  2. Let the dough rise. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to coat all sides with the oil. Place a damp kitchen towel over the bowl, then allow it to rise for at least 2 hours, but 24 hours is preferred.
  3. Make the sauce. Combine the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt in a saucepan and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Shape the pizzas. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. If you are using a pizza stone (not necessary for this recipe, but will help to crisp the crust even more), place the pizza stone in the oven and preheat it for 30 minutes prior to cooking the pizza. Punch the risen dough down. Place cornmeal on your work surface, then dump the dough out on to it. Divide the dough into three equal balls. Stretch the pizza dough into a 10-inch circle. Try not to press the outer edges and onto stretch the center so you don’t squeeze the air bubbles out of the crust! Top the pizza dough with sauce, sliced mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.
  5. Cook the pizza. Transfer the pizza to a pizza pan and place it in the oven. Cook the pizza at 500 degrees for 5 minutes, then place the oven on broil and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the crust has burnt bits on it. Remove the pizza from the oven and repeat these steps for the other two dough balls. Mangia!
Margherita Pizza is sliced into triangles and topped with fresh basil.
What is the difference between Margherita pizza and Neapolitan pizza?

The simple answer is the difference in toppings. Margherita pizza is a thin crust pizza that uses only large slices of mozzarella and basil.

Neapolitan pizza is a thin crust pizza but can be topped with whatever your little heart desires (mmmm, pepperoni!!).

Is Margherita pizza vegetarian?

This Margherita pizza is considered vegetarian, sort of. The vegetarian diet allows for animal products like eggs, dairy, cheese, etc. but not the actual animal. Eating animal products = good. Eating the animal = bad.

Mozzarella cheese is a milk-based cheese, but some brands use rennet which is made of enzymes found in the stomach lining of goats or calves.

If you’d like to make sure this Margherita pizza is totally vegetarian, look for a mozzarella brand that uses vegetable or microbial rennet rather than animal rennet.

More Homemade Pizza Inspiration

Margherita Pizza is cooked on a pizza pan in the oven at 500 degrees.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to stay in touch! I love to see your creations! Tag me at #SeaSaltSavorings to show me what you’ve made!

Margherita Pizza is sliced into triangles on a wooden pizza peel.the pizza peel.

Margherita Pizza

Sea Salt Savorings
Pizza Margherita made easily in your oven! This thin-crust pizza is made with a simple, yet delicious and traditional dough then topped with a homemade sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil.
5 from 32 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Resting time 1 day
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 slices
Calories 79 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 1/2 cups + 3 tbsp 00 flour
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 8 oz mozzarella ball sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 cup fresh basil

pizza sauce

  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Instructions
 

  • Make the dough. Combine water, yeast, and salt in a large bowl and mix until everything is dissolved. Add the flour to the bowl and use your hands to mix it into a shaggy dough. Flour your work surface, then dump the dough out onto it. Kneed the dough for about 5 minutes until the dough bounces back. Use more flour if necessary.
  • Let the dough rise. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and turn it to coat all sides with the oil. Place a damp kitchen towel over the bowl, then allow it to rise for at least 2 hours, but 24 hours is preferred.
  • Make the sauce. Combine the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and salt in a sauce pan and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Shape the pizzas. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. If you are using a pizza stone (not necessary for this recipe, but will help to crisp the crust even more), place the pizza stone in the oven and preheat it for 30 minutes prior to cooking the pizza. Punch the risen dough down. Place cornmeal on your work surface, then dump the dough out on to it. Divide the dough into three equal balls. Stretch the pizza dough into a 10 inch circle. Try not to press the outer edges and onto stretch the center so you don't squeeze the air bubbles out of the crust! Top the pizza dough with sauce, sliced mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.
  • Cook the pizza. Transfer the pizza to a pizza pan and place it in the oven. Cook the pizza at 500 degrees for 5 minutes, then place the oven on broil and cook for another 3-5 minutes until the crust has burnt bits on it. Remove the pizza from the oven and repeat these steps for the other two dough balls. Mangia!

Nutrition

Calories: 79kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 6gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 896mgPotassium: 23mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 0.03gVitamin A: 178IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 109mgIron: 0.2mg

Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.

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