Margherita Pizza

Tested & Perfected Recipes

With a crisp yet chewy crust, this homemade Margherita pizza will rival your favorite pizzeria.

Margherita pizza is a thin-crust Naples-style pizza topped with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s easy to make at home, and you don’t need a fancy oven or even a pizza stone to get pizzeria-quality results. I use a rich homemade pizza dough, a blazing hot oven, and a sheet pan to produce a crisp yet chewy pizza crust. The sauce is a speedy, no-cook Neapolitan pizza sauce made from canned San Marzano tomatoes; it has vibrant tomato flavor, and you can whip it up in 5 minutes.

Because the recipe is so simple, it’s important to use high-quality ingredients and approach them with a light hand. I know it’s tempting to load up on toppings, but less is definitely more here; too much sauce and cheese will make the pizza soggy. Pair these pizzas with a simple arugula salad and dinner is done!

What You’ll Need To Make Margherita Pizza

margherita pizza ingredients

  • Homemade pizza dough is ideal, but store-bought may be substituted (these dough balls weigh about 12 ounces each).
  • San Marzano tomatoes are a variety of plum tomatoes that originate from the town of San Marzano sul Sarno, near Naples, Italy. They have a sweeter, less acidic, and more concentrated flavor than typical roma tomatoes. Many supermarkets carry them but don’t worry if you can’t find them; regular crushed tomatoes will work.
  • Look for a fresh mozzarella ball that is not packed in water. (Or, if the cheese is packed in water, be sure to dry it well.) Also, it’s important to use authentic Parmigiano Reggiano, which you can identify by looking at the rind, which is embossed with the name over and over. If the cheese is already grated, it should be labeled “Parmigiano Reggiano,” not “Parmesan.”

Step-By-Step Instructions

Make the sauce by combining the crushed tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl.

neapolitan pizza sauce ingredients in bowl

Mix to combine. Alternatively, if you prefer a smoother sauce, you can blend the ingredients in a food processor or blender. (Note: This recipe makes enough sauce for four pizzas. You can refrigerate extra sauce for up to one week, or freeze for up to three months.)

neapolitan pizza sauce

On a lightly floured surface, using your hands, stretch and press one ball of dough into an 11-inch round.

Transfer the dough to a cornmeal-dusted baking sheet, and gently stretch it out again so that it maintains its shape.

Spread 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of the sauce over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges.

spreading the sauce on the dough

Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 7 minutes, until the crust is partially cooked.

Remove from the oven, and scatter half of the mozzarella cubes over the sauce, followed by half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Slide the pan back into the oven and cook until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 4 minutes more.

Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Sprinkle with the basil and slice. Repeat with the remaining pizza dough and ingredients. (If you’d like to bake the two pizzas at the same time, you can fire up two ovens. Or, if you don’t mind the crust a little thicker, you can form the two dough balls into 8×12-inch rectangles and place them side by side on the baking sheet.)

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Margherita Pizza

With a crisp yet chewy crust, this homemade Margherita pizza will rival your favorite pizzeria.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes, plus time to make the pizza dough and let it rise

Ingredients

  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Flour, for stretching the dough
  • 2 (12-oz) homemade pizza doughs
  • 8 oz fresh mozzarella, not packed in water, cubed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal, for baking

Instructions

  1. Make the Sauce: In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes, garlic, salt, sugar, pepper, and oil. (Alternatively, for a completely smooth sauce, you can blend the ingredients in a small food processor or blender.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 500°F and set an oven rack in the bottom position. Dust a 13x18-inch baking sheet with half of the cornmeal.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, using your hands, stretch and press one ball of dough into an 11-inch round. Transfer the dough to the cornmeal-dusted baking sheet, and gently stretch it out again so that it maintains its shape.
  4. Spread ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of the sauce over the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 7 minutes, until the crust is partially cooked. Remove from the oven, and scatter half of the mozzarella cubes over the sauce, followed by half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Slide the pan back into the oven and cook until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbling, about 4 minutes more. Remove the pizza from the oven and transfer to a cutting board. Sprinkle with the basil and slice. Repeat with the remaining pizza dough and ingredients. (If you'd like to bake the two pizzas at the same time, you can fire up two ovens. Or, if you don't mind the crust a little thicker, you can form the two dough balls into 8x12-inch rectangles and place them side by side on the baking sheet.)
  5. Note: This recipe makes enough sauce for 4 (11-inch) pizzas. Refrigerate extra sauce for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Serving size: 3 slices
  • Calories: 734
  • Fat: 32 g
  • Saturated fat: 13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 80 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 31 g
  • Sodium: 710 mg
  • Cholesterol: 57 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Delicious recipe. The sauce is so easy and delicious. Next time I will try to make the dough.
    Thanks for sharing!!!

    • — Shari G on February 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • We made the the Margarita pizza and loved it. To get it a little more true Neapolitan, we made the crust a little thinner and turned up the heat a bit. Almost got the bubbly crust. It was fantastic. The dough is key and this recipe is completely on point and almost failproof. We now have homemade pizza night, affectionately call ‘Pizza Night Honey’, once a month. This crust does well for any toppings that we have thrown at it! Thanks Jenn! And a huge fan of your cookbook. Great recipes that are easy to execute!

    • — Randy Riemersma on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • Our family discovered Chef Jenn at the beginning of Covid a year ago. It was perfect timing! Every recipe has been a hit! I say I have a new chef! Not me! I really want to make awesome pizza at home. I have spent hours on the Margherita recipe and I can’t get it right! The dough is too thick and tough! What am I doing wrong?
    The pizza topping is too watery and I would recommend only one clove of garlic! I bought a pizza stone, but still not great! Help! Jenn G.

    • — Jennifer Gurry on January 31, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you’ve been enjoying the recipes! Regarding the pizza dough, I’m wondering if you’re using too much flour. Did you use the spoon and level method to measure the flour? Even a few extra ounces can make a big difference. This article/video explains it nicely.

      • — Jenn on February 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • I made this with Jenn’s homemade pizza dough as one big pizza rather than two small pizzas. The sauce was fantastic with the San Marzano tomatoes. I think the pizza could have used either less cheese or more sauce to really let the sauce shine as I felt it was overpowered by the cheese. As one pizza on a 14×17 baking sheet, I found I needed more time in the oven (I gave it an extra 4.5 minutes and it was perfect).

    • — Madeline W on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • I found this recipe about 6 months ago and make it a couple times a month. Easy to make and so much better than carry out.

    • — Susan D on January 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • What I really like about this recipe is that it is delicious for my picky eaters. Thank you for always giving easy descriptions to follow. I love your recipes and I always consult them.

    • — Di on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Thanks Jenn👩🏻‍🍳 for this recipe which has been our family‘s pizza night favorite for forever! I buy Slice of Vermont dough, make your homemade pesto sauce (so good!) and purchase heirloom tomatoes, whole mozzarella & basil at the Farmer’s Market or at our local Co-op. So easy and fast to make…boom bang bing! Everyone should try it 🥰🍕

    • — Nancy Betz on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • This pizza is delicious. Perfect for either an appetizer or a meal. Once Upon a Chef recipes are my favorite. Always well written and yummy.

    • — Betsy Adams Hopkins on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • very nice pizza, very fresh but I have to confess my favorite OUAC pizza is white 3 cheese w arugula from cook book.

    • — Elizabeth Lockett on January 28, 2021
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  • Made this version of pizza and the sauce many times since I first saw this last year- absolutely delicious – can be modified – thickness wise to your liking – I like mine with thin crust and there is nothing like making pizza on your own at home!

    • — priya rajkumar on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Jenn:
    thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe!

    My boyfriend & I just finished devouring the last bit, and it ( your recipe), made for a perfect rainy, December afternoon treat.

    BTW, the recipe reminds me of one I used to make when I was in high school. Making this today brought back a lot of good memories. Thank you so much!!!

    Lisa

    • — Lisa D’ABRAMO on December 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I am obsessed with your recipes! Everything I have made so far has been so delish. I have a question about this dish. I would like to add onions, peppers, and turkey sausage…should I add it to the pizza or cook the toppings separate? Thanks Jenn 💗

    • — Brittany on November 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! I would definitely cook the turkey sausage first and depending upon how tender you like your onions and peppers, you could cook those too. (And I’d add all of the toppings along with the cheese.) Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 24, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made this pizza dough last night. It went together so easy and it tasted wonderful. I had made some sauce from my leftover cherry tomatoes, so the rest was a piece of cake. I froze half of the dough for another pizza next week!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

    • — Cynthia on September 11, 2020
    • Reply
  • Thank you Jen! This is the best pizza ever! I had a favorite pizza recipe that I made for thirty years but this one is awsome! And no need to cook the sauce!
    I can’t thank you enough for your wonderful recipes. Just to let you know, whenever I type the word “Once” on Google, your site automatically pops up. ☺️

    • — Josseline Wood on August 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 22, 2020
      • Reply
      • This recipe was awesome as are all your recipies Jen. The family absolutely love the pizzas I make with your recipe. Why get delivery when this is so easy to make and Superior. I am never disappointed in anything I make on your site. Love your cookbook too and I’m looking forward to your new one.

        • — Susan on September 5, 2020
        • Reply
        • 💗

          • — Jenn on September 7, 2020
          • Reply
  • We have made this pizza several times now. The sauce is rich and flavorful as well as easy to make. I use a baking stone in the oven and the crust comes out perfect. Crispy on the bottom and the inside tender but a little chewy. The other ingredients you recommend make this the perfect combination. This is the perfect pizza for us. Thanks so much.

    • — Cheryl on July 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • I have made this pizza many times as it is delicious and easy. I stretch the dough a lot bigger for a thinner crust.
    It’s a great base and I add more veggies like sautéed onions and mushrooms or fresh spinach 😋

    • — Mary on July 10, 2020
    • Reply
  • When I told my husband I was making a Margarita pizza, he was really confused because I don’t drink tequila lol! So I explained what it was and he said, “no meat?” I did add thin sliced onions because we love them. By the second bite, he was a fan. I really enjoyed it too! I used the dough recipe linked and found it easy to make.

    • — Suzon on June 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • LOL — glad you both enjoyed it!

      • — Jenn on June 16, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made the pizza this weekend, what a wonderful treat. I used your recipe for pizza dough too which was so easy and delicious. Your recipes continue to be my favorite source.
    I keep raving about your latest recipes to my friends; they are quickly joining your fan club. Thanks for another winner Jenn.

    • — GailH on June 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • Glad it was a hit! ❤️

      • — Jenn on June 16, 2020
      • Reply
  • Can I cheat and use some leftover marinara sauce?

    • — Will on June 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • It will taste a little different, but sure, that will work. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 15, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen, if I wanted to double the dough recipe, would I run into any issues? I would be using a KitchenAid Epicurian mixer. I am making it tonight but thought from the other reviews , that I will be making it again and thought it would be easier to make extra dough!
    My family LOVES all of your recipies and you!:)

    • — Debbie Tippin on June 14, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Debbie, I think it’ll be fine to double the dough recipe. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 14, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi,
    Made the sauce, dough and pizza. It’s the best pizza I’ve had or made and I’ve tried many times. My dough never turned out like this. It’s was exactly how you described it, crunchy outside and chewy on the inside and so tasty. The sauce was yummy too and so easy. My hubby and I ate the whole thing! If I had made the second one that would have been gone too! Again, another fabulous recipe.

    • — Virginia on June 14, 2020
    • Reply
  • The dough was perfect, the pizza sauce, cheese, fresh basil was perfect. Crunchy crust, melty cheese. Jen it was perfect. I’ve not been able to make a pizza dough like this. Margherita pizza is my favorite and I’ve Found it. 🙏

    • — Virginia Murrell on June 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • Jenn, this recipe is awesome!!!
    Did not change anything, it’s flavorful and very very easy to make.
    My family loved it!
    Thank you so much for yet another great recipe.

    • — Anju on June 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • Great pizza! Basil is hard to find in stores right now so I did without. For my vegetarian daughter I topped it with sautéed Crimini mushroom slices. The carnivores had the mushrooms and cooked sweet Italian turkey sausage. I did cheat and used jarred Rao’s pizza sauce because I had used it before and knew it was good. I made the dough yesterday and left it in the fridge until this evening. The dough was very easy to make and to work with.

    • — Linda on June 12, 2020
    • Reply

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