Simple, fresh ingredients combine to make my family’s favorite Homemade Pizza Margherita! So easy to make and impossible to resist.

With a simple topping of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, this Caprese Pizza is the best vegetarian pizza you’ll ever taste!

Homemade Pizza Margherita slices on a white plate

Why This Recipe Works

  • It’s made with a tried and true pizza crust recipe.
  • The toppings are simple and classic.
  • My picky family gives it their wholehearted endorsement!

By now, many of you know about how darn picky my family is! There are very few recipes that please them all. Pizza Margherita is always a hit and so simple to make. The first time I served this vegetarian pizza featuring fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, it became an instant family favorite and was soon a regular on our meal rotation. 

When my oldest was in college, this was on our Friday night menu when he trekked home for the weekend. Though I have a feeling he’d be just as happy with a meat lover’s or sausage and mushroom pizza! During Lent, the fish haters were happy when it was a meatless pizza and not tuna casserole for dinner. Served with a seasonal tossed salad, Pizza Margherita won’t break your budget or your diet!

Pizza Margherita ready for the oven

Pizza Dough from Scratch

Much as I love the ease of using a premade pizza dough, it’s even better to have some homemade on hand. This recipe makes two crusts, so park half in the freezer for another meal. Or double the toppings and make two pizzas!

I always pat my homemade pizza dough out on a sheet of parchment, top it and slide both the pizza and parchment right onto my preheated pizza stone in the oven. This technique makes for easy cleanup and avoids the mess of dusting a pan with cornmeal. I use fresh mozzarella, but slices or shredded would be fine, too. And making this dish with fresh garden tomatoes and basil makes for a delicious meal that’s quite economical, too.

Pizza Margherita fresh out of the oven on a sheet of parchment

Ingredient Notes

  • In the winter, I make this Caprese pizza with meatier plum tomatoes, but thinly sliced garden tomatoes are a terrific option in the summer.
  • I lay the slices out over paper toweling to let the juices drain to avoid a soggy crust. Try roasting them first to help dehydrate and concentrate the flavor. 
  • Purchasing premade dough makes this a snap to prepare, but homemade pizza dough is even better.
  • I snip basil from my herb garden, too, so at the peak of tomato season, all that’s needed from the market is a ball of fresh mozzarella.
  • Of course, shredded mozzarella will work, too; but if you haven’t experienced the fresh mozzarella, please give it a try.

After dinner, gather the family, including the dog, and take a walk around the block. It’s a great habit and will rev up your metabolism while providing more time to chat, laugh, reminisce, and bond. 

Homemade Pizza Margherita toppings sliced in a white bowl

Recipe Tips:

  • The first task is to check if your yeast is still active. There should be a date on the packaging, so check that first. If you have a jar of yeast, you can add some warm (not hot) water with a pinch of sugar. It should start bubbling if it’s still good. If you’re down to one envelope of yeast, you probably don’t want to waste it on testing. 
  • PRO-Tip: Did you know you can store yeast in the freezer? It will be good for years!!
  • Next, follow the recipe and start kneading the dough in your stand mixer. You can start with the paddle attachment to mix, but switch to the dough hook to knead. The resulting dough should be elastic and slightly sticky.
  • Let proof in a warm spot (PRO-Tip: 85 degrees is ideal) covered for at least an hour. For the best flavor, the dough can be refrigerated overnight. This gives the dough the time to develop flavor due to the byproducts of fermentation and structure.
  • Once the dough has proofed (it only needs one cycle of proofing unlike most yeast bread), it’s time to shape and top.
  • I stretch the dough by placing on on the back of my hands and allowed gravity to do its thing with a little help from my thumbs and knuckles to rotate.
  • After the initial stretching, I place the dough on a piece of parchment paper and continue stretching, pressing with my fingers, and shaping it into a nice circle.
  • The oven and pizza stone were preheated to 550º (the stone needs some extra time to heat thoroughly).
  • I always pat my homemade pizza dough out on a sheet of parchment, top it and slide both the pizza and parchment right onto my preheated pizza stone in the oven. This technique makes for easy cleanup and avoids the mess of dusting a pan with cornmeal.
  • I use fresh mozzarella, but slices or shredded would be fine, too. And making this dish with fresh garden tomatoes and basil makes for a delicious meal that’s quite economical, too.
  • Add toppings, and use a pizza peel to slide the pizza and parchment onto the stone. Bake as directed or until the crust is browned and the cheese is bubbly.
  • PRO-Tip: Do not overload with the toppings and make sure any soft ingredients are free of excess liquid or your dough won’t crisp up as well. I slice my tomatoes very thin and drain them on paper towels. If they’re too thick, the juices will make the pizza crust gummy. But don’t worry if that happens, as it’s still tasty!!
  • Use the pizza peel to remove and place the pizza and parchment on a cooling rack.
  • Much as I love the ease of using a premade pizza dough, it’s even better to have some homemade on hand. This recipe makes two crusts, so park half in the freezer for another meal. Or double the toppings and make two pizzas!

Step By Step Notes

  1. Mix dough, cover, and proof in a warm spot in your kitchen.
  2. Work the dough into a round and place on a sheet of parchment paper.
  3. Add the toppings and bake until the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly.
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Is a Margherita Pizza Italian?

Yes, Pizza Margarita originated in Naples (Napoli) and traditionally has the toppings of San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, salt, and extra virgin olive oil.

Where Did the Name Pizza Margherita Come From?

Some think the name  Pizza Margarita comes from the flower-like arrangement of ingredients over the top of the dough as “margherita” translates to daisy in Italian.

More popular is the story that Queen Margherita of Savoy was in Naples and tired of the French she’d been served. She asked the renowned local pizza maker, Raffaele Esposito, to make her favorite pizza with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, which just happen to be the colors of the Italian flag. Esposito named this creation after Queen Margherita.

You May Also Like

Once you stock up on yeast, you’ll want to make some other tasty yeast bread. Here are some favorites.

Pizza Margherita | Simple ingredients create an outstanding pizza!

Homemade Pizza Margherita

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 1 pizza

My family's favorite pizza!

Ingredients

Dough:

  • 3 cups bread flour plus more to dust the work surface
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, (I use Red Star Platinum Yeast)
  • 1 1/3 cups ice water
  • 11/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more to oil the work surface

Topping:

  • 2 8-ounce balls of fresh Mozzarella, sliced
  • 4 medium to large garden tomatoes or 8-10 plum tomatoes, cut into thin slices and drained on paper toweling
  • Fresh basil, cut into thin strips
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Place the flour, sugar, and yeast into the bowl of a food processor. Process for a couple of seconds until combined. Slowly add the cold water through the feed tube with the processor running. Mix until the dough is combined, about 10 seconds. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the oil and salt and process until the dough cleans the side of the bowl, a minute or less. Remove the dough and knead on a lightly oiled surface until smooth.
  3. Form the dough into a ball and place into an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic and refrigerate 24-72 hours.
  4. When, you're ready to make the pizza, divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a dough ball and place on an oiled baking sheet. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rest for 1 hour.
  5. Topping ingredients are for two pizzas, but you can use half and freeze half the dough for later.
  6. Place pizza stone into the oven and preheat to 500º. Doing this 30-60 minutes in advance will get the stone properly heated.
  7. Pat out the dough into a large circle, about 12 inches in diameter, onto parchment paper, Repeat with the second ball of dough if desired. Top with tomatoes, cheese, then season with salt, pepper, and basil strips. Drizzle with olive oil. Using a pizza peel, slide pizza, and parchment onto the pizza stone. Bake about 12 minutes or till crust is brown and cheese is bubbly.

Notes

Dough recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated(note that this recipe will make enough for 2 pizzas.

Freeze half the dough if desired (only use half the toppings).

The total time does not reflect proofing time.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4 servings

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 782Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 3646mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 35g

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