Authentic Italian Margherita Pizza Recipe: A Taste of Napoli

Italian Margherita Pizza Recipe

The Margherita pizza, named after Queen Margherita of Savoy, is a classic Neapolitan creation celebrated for its simplicity, vibrant colors, and delicious flavors. This article provides a step-by-step guide to crafting an authentic Italian Margherita pizza at home, honoring its rich heritage and culinary tradition.

Italian Margherita Pizza Recipe
Italian Margherita Pizza Recipe

Origins and Cultural Significance

Margherita pizza traces its roots back to Naples, Italy, where it was reportedly created in 1889 by pizzaiolo Raffaele Esposito. The pizza was crafted to honor Queen Margherita during her visit to the city, featuring toppings that resembled the colors of the Italian flag—red (tomatoes), white (mozzarella), and green (basil). This symbolic creation quickly became a favorite and eventually gained international acclaim, solidifying its status as a quintessential Italian dish.

Ingredients for Margherita Pizza

Pizza Dough:

To create an authentic Margherita pizza, start with a traditional Neapolitan pizza dough. You’ll need:

  • 500 grams (about 4 cups) of Tipo 00 flour: This finely ground flour is essential for achieving a tender yet chewy crust.
  • 325 grams (about 1⅓ cups) of lukewarm water: Helps activate the yeast and hydrate the dough.
  • 10 grams (about 2 teaspoons) of salt: Enhances flavor and helps regulate yeast activity.
  • 3 grams (about 1 teaspoon) of active dry yeast: Provides leavening for a light, airy crust.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: Adds richness and helps in dough elasticity.

Tomato Sauce:

The tomato sauce for Margherita pizza should be simple and flavorful:

  • San Marzano tomatoes: These tomatoes, grown in the volcanic soil of Mount Vesuvius, are prized for their sweetness and low acidity.
  • Salt: Enhances the natural sweetness of the tomatoes.
  • Fresh basil leaves: Adds a fragrant herbal note to the sauce.

Cheese and Toppings:

  • Fresh mozzarella cheese: Opt for buffalo mozzarella (mozzarella di bufala) or cow’s milk mozzarella (fior di latte) for a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • Fresh basil leaves: Essential for garnishing and adding a burst of fresh herbal flavor to the finished pizza.

Step-by-Step Preparation

1. Making the Pizza Dough:

  1. Mixing the Dough:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the Tipo 00 flour and salt. Create a well in the center.
    • In a separate bowl, dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until frothy.
    • Pour the yeast mixture into the well of flour. Gradually incorporate the flour into the water, stirring with a wooden spoon or your hands until a rough dough forms.
    • Drizzle with olive oil and knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  2. First Rise:
    • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

2. Preparing the Tomato Sauce:

  1. Blanching the Tomatoes:
    • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Score the bottoms of the tomatoes with a cross and blanch them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes.
    • Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl of ice water to cool. Peel off the skins and remove the cores.
  2. Making the Sauce:
    • Crush the blanched tomatoes by hand or with a fork to achieve a chunky texture.
    • Season with salt and let the sauce sit for 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
    • Stir in torn basil leaves just before using.

3. Assembling and Baking the Pizza:

  1. Preparation:
    • Preheat your oven to its highest setting (typically around 500-550°F or 260-290°C) with a pizza stone or upside-down baking sheet inside to heat up.
  2. Shaping the Dough:
    • Punch down the risen dough and divide it into two equal portions.
    • On a lightly floured surface, gently stretch and shape each portion into a thin round or oval, about 10-12 inches (25-30 cm) in diameter.
  3. Assembling:
    • Transfer the shaped dough to a pizza peel dusted with semolina flour or cornmeal for easy sliding.
    • Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges.
    • Tear pieces of fresh mozzarella and distribute them evenly over the sauce.
  4. Baking:
    • Carefully slide the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven.
    • Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
    • Remove from the oven and immediately garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Serving and Enjoying Margherita Pizza

Margherita pizza is best enjoyed fresh out of the oven, allowing the flavors of the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to shine. Serve hot and sliced into wedges, accompanied by a crisp Italian white wine or a refreshing salad of mixed greens dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.


Crafting an authentic Italian Margherita pizza at home allows you to experience the rich flavors and cultural heritage of Naples, Italy. By following this recipe and using quality ingredients, you can create a pizza that celebrates simplicity and tradition—a true homage to Queen Margherita’s iconic namesake dish. Whether enjoyed as a family meal or shared with friends, Margherita pizza promises to delight your senses and transport you to the bustling streets of Naples with every delicious bite.