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If you love the taste of pizza and ordering pizza in a restaurant or for delivery is a treat for you, you might be curious how easy it is to make your own margherita pizza recipe. After all, what could beat freshly baked pizza dough topped with tasty pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves? The crust is simple to prepare and adding the sauce and toppings takes mere minutes! So the next time you crave pizza, make this delicious homemade margherita pizza recipe.

A margherita pizza with fresh basil and melted mozzarella cheese is sliced, with one delicious slice being lifted on a spatula.

It’s time to unleash your inner Italian chef and make this delicious margherita pizza recipe. Homemade pizzas are easy to prepare and very hard to beat flavor-wise.

If you love cooking Italian food from scratch (with or without shortcuts!) you might also like to try your hand at classics such as lasagna al forno, sweet potato gnocchi with roasted garlic sauce, or pizza sliders. And this creamy meatball stew is also really satisfying.

A slice of margherita pizza with melted fresh mozzarella cheese and basil being lifted from a whole pizza on a dark wooden surface.

Why You’ll Love It

Easy: Forget all your assumptions about making margherita pizza from scratch, even the dough. It’s really simple!
Delicious: It goes without saying homemade margherita pizza is really tasty. When you order takeout it often arrives lukewarm and sometimes with uneven toppings or a soggy crust, even though you’re paying top dollar for it. Make your own and you can be sure it’ll be fresh and delicious.
Crowd-pleasing! Expecting some guests over? Having a small party? You’re definitely going to wow everyone if you serve up a mouthwatering margherita pizza!

Slices of margherita pizza with melted cheese and basil leaves on a plate, accompanied by a whole margherita pizza in the background and tomato slices nearby.

Margherita Pizza Ingredients

A complete list of ingredients and amounts can be found in the recipe card below

Tomato sauce: You can use homemade tomato sauce or a store bought sauce, depending on your preferences and budget. If you’re going with store bought tomato sauce, it’s worth investing in a premium sauce, not something that’s 40% water and another 20% sugar.
All-purpose flour: One of the main ingredients in the dough. Along with sugar, salt, garlic powder, and yeast, flour is a big part of the pizza crust. And don’t be nervous about making your own crust – it’s really not hard at all.
Mozzarella: It might be because I’m Italian but this is one ingredient I can never bring myself to skimp on. I love using buffalo mozzarella cheese. It’s maybe a dollar extra but the difference in flavor is really apparent. If you have some left over, this caprese salad recipe is also really good.
Fresh basil leaves: Fresh basil offers such a lovely aromatic flavor. You can buy a basil plant (it keeps for quite a long time on the kitchen window sill) or else just buy a package of basil leaves, as you prefer.
Olive oil: This is for greasing the bowl the dough rises in and also an ingredient in the dough. I like to drizzle some over the finished pizza (for this part I like to use extra-virgin olive oil).

A variety of ingredients for making margherita pizza dough and toppings are arranged on a wooden surface, including flour, olive oil, yeast, tomato sauce, basil leaves, salt, sugar, mozzarella, and water.

How to Make a Margherita Pizza

For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card

Make the pizza dough: Whisk the yeast with warm water and leave to sit for 2 minutes. Add the salt, oil, garlic, and sugar, then the flour, using a spatula to combine into a sticky dough.
Let the dough rise: Transfer the ball of dough into a well-greased bowl and roll it around to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or drape a clean towel on top and leave for an hour to rise.
Knead the pizza dough: Knead the dough into a smooth ball on a floured worktop and then throw a towel over it and leave for 5 to 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven: Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (or the hottest it gets) and put a pizza stone in there so it heats up too.
Shape the margherita pizza crust: Work the dough to make a 10 to 12-inch diameter pizza. It’s fine if it’s more rustic-looking than neat and tidy!
Assemble the pizza: Put the dough on the hot pizza stone and brush 1/2 cup of tomato sauce over it, then the sliced cheese.
Bake the margherita pizza: Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bottom of the crust is golden and cooked.
The finishing touches: Top the pizza with fresh basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt, then serve hot.

A freshly baked margherita pizza topped with melted cheese, tomato slices, and fresh basil leaves sits on a wooden serving board. Plates, a sliced tomato, utensils, and a napkin are arranged nearby.

Substitutions and Variations

Gluten-free option: Gluten-free pizza dough mix is perfectly delicious (and easy), so use that if you don’t want any gluten in your margherita pizza. If you want to make the GF pizza dough, I recommend Caputo flour (here) as it makes the most amazing crust.
More toppings: Although pizza margherita is usually made with tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil, it’s your pizza so you can add any toppings you want! You could even add some sliced San Marzano tomatoes to fortify the tomato flavor, although fresh tomatoes are only optional. As for other pizza topping ideas, there are probably about a thousand to choose from!
Sugar-free version: You can either omit the sugar from the dough crust or sub your favorite sweetener instead.

Two slices of margherita pizza with cheesy goodness, tomato sauce, and fresh basil leaves on a white plate, placed on a brown surface beside a golden fork. It is drizzled with hot honey sauce.

Serving Suggestions

Appetizers: A contrasting appetizer such as salt and pepper pork bites or bloody mary deviled eggs would be good.
Side dishes:
You might not want to serve sides with this pizza but if you do, consider chips with an avocado green goddess dip or crispy beef taquitos.
Dessert: Homemade margherita pizza deserves to be followed up with something amazing, such as limoncello panna cotta or jello parfait cups.

A baked margherita pizza with a slice partially removed, topped with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and fresh basil leaves, set on a round pizza stone with tomatoes and basil on the table.

How to Store Leftover Homemade Pizza

Store: Of course homemade margherita pizza is best served fresh, but if you have leftovers you can refrigerate them for up to 3 days.
Freeze: Freeze slices of pizza (very well wrapped and then in Ziploc bags) for up to 3 months.
Thaw: Defrost in the fridge overnight.
Reheat: My favorite way to reheat pizza is to put it in a skillet with a splash of water (just a little – wet your fingers and flick the water into the skillet) over a low heat. This both warms the margherita pizza up and also crisps the crust back up!

A whole margherita pizza on a pizza stone with one sliced piece slightly pulled away, surrounded by cutlery, a napkin, fresh tomatoes, and basil.

Top Tips

No pizza stone? A pizza stone (this one’s my fave!) helps get the pizza crust nice and crisp. If you don’t have one, just use a pizza baking sheet (metal with holes in it) or a regular baking sheet.
Hot honey: Drizzle a little hot honey (here) on the pizza before serving to add a spicy, sweet kick.
Feeding a crowd? Make 2 pizzas – you can make all the dough at once and then just add the toppings to each.
Splurge on Flour: All purpose flour will work just fine, but if you want to try flour made specifically for pizza, you will notice the difference it makes. Caputo “00” is my favorite brand (here).

Two slices of margherita pizza are on a plate, next to fresh tomato slices, basil leaves, and a bottle of hot honey. The rest of the margherita pizza is partially visible in the background.

Margherita Pizza FAQs

Can you make the dough ahead?

Yes, you can make your margherita pizza dough in advance if you wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate it. Use it within 3 days.

Is there an easier pizza dough recipe?

If you need a shortcut, use a wooden spoon to blend 3 cups of self-rising flour with 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt, then use this as your pizza dough. I prefer the dough in the recipe below but this one isn’t bad if you’re in a hurry!

What’s the significance of margherita pizza?

Wondering why this type of pizza is so popular? Well, it’s partly because green (basil), red (sauce) and white (mozzarella) are the colors of the Italian flag – and this combo is also delicious! Legend has it the first margherita pizza was created by the house of Capodimonte in 1889 in honor of Queen Margherita’s visit. Whether or not this is factual, there’s no denying this is a truly mouthwatering pizza!

Close-up of a classic Margherita pizza adorned with fresh basil leaves, melted mozzarella cheese, and rich tomato sauce.

Margherita Pizza Recipe

5 from 2 votes

Margherita Pizza

By: Bella Bucchiotti
It’s time to unleash your inner Italian chef and make this delicious margherita pizza recipe. Homemade pizzas are easy to prepare and very hard to beat flavor-wise.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Rising time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • Cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ¾ Cup water, warm
  • 1 Teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • Teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • ½ to ¾ Cup pizza sauce
  • 8 Ounces mozzarella cheese, fresh, sliced
  • ¼ Cup basil leaves, fresh
  • hot honey, Optional, for drizzling

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, combine yeast and warm water. Whisk until combined then allow to sit for 2 minutes.
  • Add in the salt, olive oil, garlic powder, and sugar. Mix and then add in the flour.
  • Use a spatula to combine the ingredients. There should not be any visible flour left and the dough should be sticky.
  • Coat another bowl in olive oil then transfer the dough into that bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled (this takes about an hour).
  • Once the dough has doubled, transfer it onto a well-floured surface and knead it a few times (until a smooth ball forms). Let it rest under a tea towel for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F and put a pizza stone in there while it preheats.
  • Using light pinching motions, work out the dough until a pizza shape forms (about 10 or 12 inches across).
  • Remove the pizza stone from the oven and lay your dough on it. Spoon about ½ cup of tomato sauce on the dough and use the back of a spoon to spread it out evenly.
  • Arrange the sliced mozzarella on the pizza.
  • Return the pizza stone and pizza to the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bottom of the pizza is golden and cooked.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven and top with fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Slice and serve right away.

Notes

No pizza stone? A pizza stone (this one’s my fave!) helps get the pizza crust nice and crisp. If you don’t have one, just use a pizza baking sheet (metal with holes in it) or a regular baking sheet.
Hot honey: Drizzle a little hot honey on the pizza before serving to add a spicy, sweet kick.
Feeding a crowd? Make 2 pizzas – you can make all the dough at once and then just add the toppings to each.
Splurge on Flour: All purpose flour will work just fine, but if you want to try flour made specifically for pizza, you will notice the difference it makes. Caputo “00” is my favorite brand (here).

Nutrition

Calories: 477kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 1087mg | Potassium: 231mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 595IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 306mg | Iron: 4mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Margherita pizza is one of the most popular options when it comes to pizza. Less is sometimes more and you don’t need to add 20 different toppings to make a good pizza (although of course you can if you want to!) This tasty recipe combines freshly prepared pizza dough with fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, tomato sauce, and the hottest temperature your oven will reach! The result is a truly magnificent and bellissima pizza.

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

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1 Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Nothing beats the simplicity and elegant flavours of the classic recipe. My absolute fave!