Margherita Pizza Recipe
This heavenly Margherita Pizza Recipe includes everything you need to know about how to make the BEST homemade pizza! It is easier than you might think to make homemade pizza dough that is perfect for adding delicious toppings and bakes up with the ideal crisp and chewiness that is quintessential to the ultimate pizza.
There’s something about pizza that’s just simply irresistible. I could honestly eat pizza everyday forever! However, we typically only reserve Friday nights for pizza night. And I’m super excited to share my go-to pizza recipe with you!
I’ve been making this recipe for about a year, after my son requested we make our own homemade pizza recipe. The homemade pizza dough freezes really well, so I usually keep several batches ready to go. I strongly urge you to give this homemade Margherita pizza a try… you’ll never need another homemade pizza recipe. You guys are going to love the way the homemade pizza crust creates a perfectly crispy, chewy, and flavorful pizza that you can’t stop eating. Feel free to use any favorite toppings and pair it with my go-to Italian salad for a complete dinner.
What is Margherita Pizza?
Pizza Margherita is made on a simple homemade pizza crust that gets topped with minimal fresh ingredients. The standard ingredients are:
- Fresh basil leaves
- Mozzarella cheese
- Fresh tomatoes
You really can’t go wrong with a classic like Margherita Pizza! So fresh and mouthwatering delicious!
Now before you say, but Kim! I don’t DO homemade pizza crust! Trust me, you do. You must! This recipe is too incredible to miss out on. Making homemade pizza is so easy – almost fool proof. All you need is 5 minutes to make the dough, and one hour to let it rise. I’ll show you how!
How Do You Make Homemade Pizza?
Start by making the pizza dough. Like I said, if I can make pizza dough – you can make pizza dough.
Combine 3/4 cup warm water (think hot-tub temp – not scalding, but not lukewarm) with 1 teaspoon active dry yeast. Stir to combine, then add 2 cups artisan bread flour or all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and stir with a wooden spoon until a dryish, shaggy-type dough forms.
Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and knead until smooth and tacky, about 3 minutes. If dough is overly sticky, dust with more flour (about a tablespoon at a time). THAT’S IT. Pizza dough = made!
Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel (or plastic wrap). Let it rise for 1 to 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. Divide dough into 2 separate balls. Feel free to divide dough into smaller balls for personal pizzas.
Now, at this point you could cover the dough and refrigerate for up to 3 days – just let the dough come to room temperature for 20-30 minutes before using – or you can forge ahead!
When the dough has about 20 minutes left to rise, start getting all of the topping ingredients ready. The toppings suggested in the recipe card, below, are just a guide. Feel free to use preferred amounts and any other toppings you’d like.
Time to put together some pizza! I use a pizza pan I borrowed forever ago from my Mom, but you can use a pizza stone, or even a rimmed baking sheet. If you’re not using a pizza stone, either line it with parchment paper or just spray the heck out of it with nonstick spray first.
Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Spread the dough out over the pan using your finger tips. This should be incredibly easy if you’re using the dough fresh. If you’re using refrigerated pizza dough it will take a little more coaxing. That’s why it’s important to let the dough come to room temperature first – cold dough does not stretch very well!
Drizzle or brush the dough lightly with olive oil (about 1 teaspoon) and sprinkle on sea salt. Spread sauce evenly and thinly over crust. Sprinkle the parmigiano-reggiano cheese over the pizza sauce.
Add the fresh mozzarella evenly over the pizza and top with sliced tomato. Gently slide the pizza onto a heated baking stone or baking sheet that is lined with parchment. Bake in the 500ºF oven for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling and caramelized. Remove the pizza from the oven and add more grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, fresh basil and red pepper flakes, if desired.
Presto – The Best Homemade Pizza!
What Temperature Do You Cook Homemade Pizza?
When it comes to pizza, the hotter the oven, the better. A super hot oven will help to crisp up the crust and turn the cheese golden brown. I cook my pizza at 500 degrees F for about 7-8 minutes, or until the crust is deep golden brown and the cheesy is bubbly.
Tips For Making This Margherita Pizza Recipe
- I prefer to use fresh mozzarella for my pizza. You can use any favorite cheese, but I would recommend freshly grating your own cheese. The pre-shredded cheese that comes in a bag at the grocery store often contains anti-caking agents and doesn’t melt as well as freshly shredded cheese.
- My favorite pre-made sauce for pizza is either Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce or Organico Bello Marinara Pasta Sauce. If you’re feeling extra fancy, try my homemade marinara sauce.
- To reheat any leftover pizza, cook it in a toaster oven for about 5 minutes or until the crust is crispy.
Homemade Pizza Variations
You can add all different types and amounts of toppings to your pizza to customize it to your tastes.
- Protein: Try adding shredded chicken, bacon, diced ham, pepperoni or Italian sausage.
- Vegetables: Try adding sautéed mushrooms, cooked spinach, roasted red peppers, olives or marinated artichokes.
- Cheese: Instead of mozzarella cheese, try a blend of cheeses such as fontina, asiago, parmesan and white cheddar.
Pizza night just got waaaaaaaay better! I promise, you simply cannot go wrong with this pizza! Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Helpful Tools For Making Homemade Pizza
Pizza Steel or Pizza Stone – Pizza steels and stones can be expensive, but they are so worth it if you plan to make homemade pizza very often. Baking stones absorb the heat from your oven and allow you to mimic brick-ovens, which generally reach temperatures in excess of 800ºF. They help you achieve a perfectly crispy pizza crust by pulling moisture from the dough you are baking.
Pizza Peel – Pizza peels make it so much easier to slide your pizza onto the baking stone and they also make it much easier to remove the pizza from the oven once it is done.
Pizza Cutter – I really like this one because it’s sharp, comfortable, and easy to use.
More Great Italian Recipes
If you try this homemade pizza recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. It’s so fun to see what you’re cooking! Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Margherita Pizza Recipe
Dough Ingredients (makes 2 pizzas):
- 3/4 cups warm water
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 cups artisan bread flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)*
- 1.5 teaspoons sea salt
Topping Ingredients (for 1 pizza):
- olive oil + sea salt to brush over crust
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup pizza or tomato sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons finely grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese,, plus more for serving
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese,, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (not packed in water is best)
- 1 plum tomato,, sliced (or any tomato you like)
- Optional: fresh basil, dried oregano, ground black pepper and red pepper flakes, to taste
- Prepare Pizza Dough: Combine water and yeast in a large bowl. Then add the flour and salt and stir with a wooden spoon until a dryish, shaggy-type dough forms. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface and knead until smooth and tacky, about 3 minutes. If dough is overly sticky, dust with more flour (about a tbsp at a time). Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a kitchen towel (or plastic wrap). Let it rise for 1 to 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. Divide dough into 2 separate balls. Feel free to divide dough into smaller balls for personal pizzas.
- To Bake Pizza: Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Roll and form into a circular disk. Then fold over edges to create a crust.
- Top with toppings of choice. The toppings above are just a guide. Feel free to use preferred amounts and toppings.
- Drizzle or brush the dough lightly with olive oil (about 1 teaspoon) and sprinkle on sea salt. Spread sauce evenly and thinly over crust. Sprinkle the parmigiano-reggiano cheese over the pizza sauce. Add the fresh mozzarella evenly over the pizza and top with sliced tomato. Gently slide the pizza onto a heated baking stone or baking sheet that is lined with parchment. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling and caramelized. Remove the pizza from the oven and add more grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, fresh basil and red pepper flakes, if desired. Slice and serve immediately.