Margherita Pizza (A Beloved Classic)

The aroma of freshly baked pizza dough wafting through the air, the vibrant colors of ripe tomatoes and fragrant basil leaves, and the gooey stretch of melted mozzarella cheese—it’s hard to resist the allure of a Margherita pizza.

As a pizza lover myself, the Margherita pizza holds a special place in my heart. It’s simplicity and rich flavors never fail to satisfy my cravings.

The Margherita pizza, named after Queen Margherita of Italy, is a classic Neapolitan creation that has captured the hearts and taste buds of people around the world.

Its origins date back to the late 19th century when the queen visited Naples.

In honor of her visit, a local pizzaiolo crafted a pizza featuring the colors of the Italian flag: red tomatoes, white mozzarella cheese, and green basil leaves.

The result was a masterpiece that perfectly combined freshness, simplicity, and authentic Italian flavors.

What makes the Margherita pizza so special is its focus on quality ingredients. The dough is made from scratch, using the finest flour, and allowed to rise to perfection.

Ripe tomatoes are carefully selected, their natural sweetness and acidity providing the base for a delightful tomato sauce.

Generous slices of fresh mozzarella cheese melt into a creamy and slightly tangy layer, while aromatic basil leaves add a touch of herbal freshness.

A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper complete the masterpiece.

Personally, I find Margherita’s pizza to be a timeless delight. Its harmonious blend of flavors and textures is a testament to the beauty of simplicity.

Whether enjoyed at a cozy pizzeria or made from scratch in the comfort of your own kitchen, Margherita pizza has the power to transport you to the streets of Naples, where the scent of wood-fired ovens fills the air and laughter echoes through the bustling piazzas.

In the following sections, we will delve into the art of crafting the perfect Margherita pizza.

From making the ideal pizza dough to selecting the freshest ingredients, and from assembling the pizza to baking it to perfection, I will guide you through each step of the process.

So, put on your apron and get ready to embark on a delicious journey into the world of Margherita pizza. Let’s make some mouthwatering magic happen!

Key Ingredients for a Perfect Margherita Pizza

To create the perfect Margherita pizza, you’ll need a handful of fresh and flavorful ingredients.

Each component plays a vital role in achieving the authentic taste and experience of this beloved classic.

Below, I have listed the essential ingredients you will require for this recipe:

  • Fresh Pizza Dough: The foundation of any great pizza starts with the well-made dough.

    You can either prepare your own dough using flour, water, yeast, salt, and a touch of olive oil, or you can purchase pre-made dough from a local bakery or grocery store.
Raw pizza or bread dough proofing and rising on white background with clipping path
  • Ripe Tomatoes: Look for ripe, juicy tomatoes with vibrant red color.

    San Marzano tomatoes, known for their sweet and tangy flavor, are highly recommended for their exceptional taste and texture.

    If fresh tomatoes are not available, you can also use canned San Marzano tomatoes.
Fresh red ripe tomatoes on the vine on a dark rustic cutting board
  • Mozzarella Cheese: Opt for high-quality mozzarella cheese, preferably fresh or buffalo mozzarella.

    It should have a creamy texture and mild flavor that melts beautifully when baked.

    Tear or slice the cheese into thin pieces for even distribution on the pizza.
Shredded mozzarella cheese, in a wooden bowl
  • Fresh Basil Leaves: The aromatic fragrance and herbaceous taste of fresh basil leaves are quintessential to the Margherita pizza.

    Pluck the leaves from the stems and tear them gently before scattering them over the pizza.
Basil leaves isolated close up on white backgrounds
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil adds richness and enhances the flavors of the pizza.

    Choose good-quality olive oil for the best results. Drizzle it sparingly over the assembled pizza before baking.
Italian extra virgin olive oil in bottle
  • Salt and Pepper: Season your Margherita pizza with a pinch of salt and a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.

    These simple additions help bring out the flavors of the ingredients and balance the overall taste.
Salt and black pepper in wooden bowl

Now that we have our key ingredients ready, it’s time to dive into the process of creating the perfect Margherita pizza.

In the next section, we will explore how to make the pizza dough, a crucial step in achieving a light and airy crust that serves as a delectable canvas for the Margherita toppings.

Get ready to roll up your sleeves and embark on this culinary adventure!

Margherita Pizza (A Beloved Classic)

Recipe by Teal NotesCourse: Lifestyle, Recipes


Prep time


Cooking time






  • 1 pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)

  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce

  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced

  • Fresh basil leaves

  • Extra-virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat your oven to the highest temperature possible, usually around 475-500°F (245-260°C). If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven while preheating.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pizza dough into your desired shape and thickness. If using store-bought dough, follow the package instructions for rolling it out.
  • Transfer the rolled-out dough onto a baking sheet or pizza peel lined with parchment paper.
  • Spread the pizza sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges for the crust.
  • Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce.
  • Arrange the tomato slices on top of the cheese. Season the tomatoes with a pinch of salt and pepper to enhance their flavor.
  • Tear the fresh basil leaves into smaller pieces and scatter them over the pizza.
  • Drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil over the pizza for added richness and flavor.
  • Carefully transfer the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone in the oven, or place the baking sheet directly on the oven rack.
  • Bake the pizza for about 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes.
  • Before serving, garnish the Margherita pizza with a few additional fresh basil leaves for a vibrant presentation.
  • Slice the pizza into wedges and enjoy it while it’s still hot and the cheese is gooey.

Making the Perfect Pizza Dough

Creating a delectable Margherita pizza begins with crafting the perfect pizza dough.

The dough serves as the foundation, providing the structure and texture that elevate the flavors of the toppings. Here’s how you can make the ideal pizza dough:

Choosing the Right Flour: Start by selecting the right type of flour. Ideally, opt for high-protein flour, such as bread flour or Tipo 00 flour.

These flours have a higher gluten content, resulting in a chewy and airy crust. If you prefer a lighter crust, you can use all-purpose flour as well.

Mixing and Kneading the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour with yeast and salt. Slowly add lukewarm water while stirring the mixture.

Once the dough comes together, transfer it to a clean, floured surface.

Begin kneading the dough by pushing it away from you with the heel of your hand and folding it back.

Continue kneading for about 10-15 minutes until the dough becomes smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky.

Proofing and Resting the Dough: After kneading, shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl.

Place a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap over the bowl and allow the dough to rise undisturbed in a warm, draft-free spot for approximately 1-2 hours.

During this time, the dough will double in size, allowing the gluten to relax and develop flavor.

Punching Down and Dividing the Dough: Once the dough has risen, gently punch it down to release any air bubbles.

Transfer the dough onto a floured surface and divide it into individual portions, depending on the desired size of your pizzas.

Shape each portion into a smooth ball and let them rest for an additional 15-20 minutes, allowing them to relax and become easier to stretch.

Now that your pizza dough is ready, you’re one step closer to savoring a mouthwatering Margherita pizza.

In the next section, we’ll explore the process of preparing tomato sauce, which is crucial for infusing the pizza with vibrant flavors.

Get ready to experience the delightful aroma of simmering tomatoes as we bring this classic recipe to life!

Preparing the Tomato Sauce

A delicious Margherita pizza is incomplete without a flavorful tomato sauce that forms the base of its vibrant flavors.

Here’s how you can prepare the perfect tomato sauce for your Margherita pizza:

1. Selecting the Best Tomatoes: Choose ripe and flavorful tomatoes for the sauce. The ideal variety is San Marzano tomatoes, known for their sweet and tangy taste.

If fresh San Marzano tomatoes are not available, you can use canned San Marzano tomatoes as a convenient and equally delicious alternative.

2. Simmering and Seasoning the Sauce: Start by gently crushing the tomatoes with your hands or using a blender for a smoother consistency.

In a saucepan, heat a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat. Include finely chopped garlic and cook over medium heat for about a minute until it becomes fragrant.

Next, add the crushed tomatoes to the saucepan and season with salt and pepper according to your taste preferences.

3. Achieving Perfect Consistency: Allow the tomato sauce to simmer over low heat, uncovered, for about 20-30 minutes.

This slow cooking process helps to develop the flavors and reduce the sauce to a thick and rich consistency.

To avoid the sauce sticking to the bottom of the pan, give it an occasional stir while simmering.

The tomato sauce is the heart of your Margherita pizza, infusing each bite with its vibrant and tangy flavors.

Once your sauce has reached the desired consistency, it’s time to move on to the exciting part—assembling the Margherita pizza.

In the next section, we’ll guide you through the process of creating the iconic Margherita pizza, from rolling out the dough to adding the final touches before baking.

Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure filled with mouthwatering aromas and tantalizing flavors!

Assembling the Margherita Pizza

Now comes the exciting part—putting together the components of your Margherita pizza and creating a masterpiece of flavors.

Follow these steps to assemble your Margherita pizza:

Rolling out the Dough: Take one portion of your prepared pizza dough and place it on a lightly floured surface.

Using your hands or a rolling pin, gently stretch and roll the dough into a round shape. Aim for a thickness of about 1/4 inch or your preferred thickness.

Spreading the Tomato Sauce: Spoon a generous amount of the prepared tomato sauce onto the rolled-out dough.

Using the back of the spoon or a ladle, spread the sauce evenly, leaving a small border around the edges of the crust.

Arranging the Mozzarella Cheese: Tear or slice the mozzarella cheese into thin pieces and distribute them over the tomato sauce.

Ensure an even distribution of cheese to ensure every bite is delightfully cheesy.

Adding Fresh Basil Leaves: Pluck fresh basil leaves from their stems and tear them gently to release their aromatic oils.

Scatter the torn basil leaves over the pizza, allowing their fragrance to infuse the entire dish.

Drizzling with Olive Oil: Finish the toppings by drizzling a small amount of extra-virgin olive oil over the pizza.

This adds richness and enhances the flavors of the ingredients.

Seasoning with Salt and Pepper: Sprinkle a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper over the assembled pizza.

This helps to balance the flavors and elevate the taste.

Your Margherita pizza is now ready to be transformed into a culinary delight.

In the next step, we’ll guide you through the baking process to achieve a perfectly cooked crust and melted cheese.

Get ready to witness your Margherita pizza come to life with irresistible aromas and flavors!

Baking and Serving the Margherita Pizza

The moment has arrived to bake your beautifully assembled Margherita pizza and indulge in its mouthwatering flavors.

Follow these steps to achieve a perfectly cooked pizza:

Preheating the Oven: Preheat your oven to the highest temperature possible. For most home ovens, this is around 500°F (260°C).

Preheating ensures that the oven and pizza stone or baking sheet is hot enough to create a crisp crust.

Transferring the Pizza onto a Hot Pizza Stone: If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven during the preheating process to allow it to heat up.

Carefully transfer your assembled pizza onto a pizza peel or an inverted baking sheet dusted with cornmeal or flour.

The cornmeal or flour will prevent the dough from sticking. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can bake the pizza directly on a preheated baking sheet.

Baking to Perfection: Slide the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven.

Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the crust turns golden brown and the cheese is bubbling and lightly browned.

Keep a close eye on the pizza as baking times may vary depending on your oven and the thickness of the crust.

Garnishing and Slicing: Once your Margherita pizza is out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes.

This allows the cheese to set slightly, making it easier to slice. Garnish with a few fresh basil leaves for a pop of color and added aroma.

Serving and Enjoying the Margherita Pizza: Slice your Margherita pizza into wedges using a sharp pizza cutter or knife.

Serve it immediately while it’s still hot and fresh.

The combination of the crisp crust, gooey cheese, tangy tomato sauce, and fragrant basil leaves will delight your taste buds.

Now, it’s time to grab a slice of your homemade Margherita pizza and savor the incredible flavors.

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Why do they call it a Margherita pizza?

A widespread belief says that in June 1889 the pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito, Pizzeria Brandi’s chef, invented a dish called “Pizza Margherita” in honor of the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, and the Italian unification.

What is special about Margherita pizza?

Margherita pizza is known for its ingredients representing the colors of the Italian flag.

These ingredients include red tomato sauce, white mozzarella and fresh green basil.

When all of these delicious flavours are combined on a hand-kneaded pizza base, a universally-adored pizza is created.

What does Margherita mean?

Margherita is an Italian feminine given name. It also is a surname. As a word, in Italian it means “daisy”.

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