Classic Margherita Pizza: Ingredients and Step-by-Step Guide

Classic Margherita Pizza

The Margherita pizza is a timeless classic that represents the essence of Italian culinary tradition. With its simple yet flavorful combination of ingredients, this pizza celebrates the colors of the Italian flag—red, white, and green. This article provides a comprehensive guide to making a classic Margherita pizza at home, highlighting the ingredients, preparation steps, and tips for achieving a deliciously authentic result.

Classic Margherita Pizza
Classic Margherita Pizza


Pizza Dough

To make one 12-inch (30 cm) Margherita pizza, you will need:

  • 300 grams (2 1/2 cups) of Italian 00 flour: This finely milled flour is ideal for pizza dough, providing a light and elastic texture.
  • 200 milliliters (about 3/4 cup) of lukewarm water: Adjust as needed to achieve the right dough consistency.
  • 7 grams (1 packet or 2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast: Helps the dough rise and develop flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar: Feeds the yeast and aids in fermentation.
  • 1 teaspoon of salt: Enhances the dough’s flavor and regulates yeast activity.
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil: Adds richness and helps with dough elasticity.

Pizza Toppings

  • 150 grams (5 ounces) of fresh mozzarella cheese, preferably mozzarella di bufala: Sliced or torn into pieces. This cheese melts beautifully and provides a creamy texture.
  • 200 grams (about 3/4 cup) of San Marzano tomatoes or good-quality canned whole tomatoes: Crushed or pureed into a sauce.
  • Fresh basil leaves: A handful of whole basil leaves, torn or sliced.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: Drizzled over the pizza before and after baking for added flavor.

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Prepare the Dough

  1. Activate the Yeast: In a small bowl, combine the lukewarm water, sugar, and yeast. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until foamy.
  2. Mix the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the activated yeast mixture and olive oil.
  3. Knead the Dough: Mix the ingredients until a rough dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 8-10 minutes until smooth, elastic, and no longer sticky. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment for this step.
  4. First Rise: Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.

Step 2: Prepare the Pizza

  1. Preheat the Oven: Place a pizza stone or upside-down baking sheet in the oven and preheat to the highest temperature possible (typically around 500-550°F or 260-290°C) for at least 30 minutes. A hot oven and preheated surface are crucial for achieving a crispy crust.
  2. Divide and Shape the Dough: Once risen, punch down the dough to release air bubbles. Divide it into two equal portions if making smaller pizzas. On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a round or oval shape, about 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter.
  3. Assemble the Pizza: Transfer the shaped dough to a piece of parchment paper. Using a spoon or ladle, spread the tomato sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a small border around the edges. Distribute the mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce.
  4. Bake the Pizza: Carefully slide the pizza (with parchment paper) onto the preheated pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned in spots.

Step 3: Finish and Serve

  1. Add Fresh Basil and Olive Oil: Remove the pizza from the oven and immediately scatter fresh basil leaves over the hot pizza. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil for added flavor and shine.
  2. Slice and Serve: Transfer the pizza to a cutting board, slice into wedges or squares, and serve hot. Enjoy the classic flavors of a Margherita pizza straight from your own kitchen.

Tips for Success

  • Quality Ingredients: Use the best quality tomatoes, mozzarella, and olive oil you can find. Freshness and flavor make a significant difference in the final taste of the pizza.
  • Hot Oven and Surface: Preheat your oven and pizza stone/baking sheet thoroughly. The intense heat ensures a crispy crust and perfectly melted cheese.
  • Handling the Dough: Allow the dough to rest and rise properly for optimal texture and flavor. Punching down the dough before shaping helps redistribute air bubbles.
  • Toppings Placement: Spread the tomato sauce thinly and evenly, avoiding overloading the pizza. Even distribution of toppings ensures even cooking and a balanced flavor.


In conclusion, the Margherita pizza is a culinary masterpiece that encapsulates the essence of Italian cuisine—simple, flavorful, and steeped in tradition. By following this step-by-step guide and using high-quality ingredients, you can recreate the authentic flavors of Naples in your own kitchen. Whether shared with family and friends or enjoyed solo, a homemade Margherita pizza promises to delight with its crispy crust, creamy mozzarella, tangy tomato sauce, and fragrant basil. Embrace the art of pizza-making and savor the delicious results of this timeless classic.