Here’s a recipe for Neapolitan style pizza you can make at home, inspired by the best pizza in Naples Italy! Includes a step-by-step video.

Neapolitan pizza recipe | Best pizza in Naples Italy | Neapolitan pizza oven

When you’ve had the best pizza in Naples Italy, it’s hard to go back. You know in the movie The Matrix when Neo is allowed to pick the blue and red pill, a choice between blissful ignorance or truth? Eating pizza in Naples, the place where pizza was invented, is like choosing the red pill. Once you’ve tasted Neapolitan pizza, you’ll never go back. Then you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to recreate it at home! Luckily, we did that for you. Here are all our tips and tricks for the best homemade Neapolitan pizza, so you can enjoy it for a lifetime!

Video: how to make Neapolitan pizza (2 minutes!)

Perfecting real Neapolitan pizza can be tricky. It’s easiest to learn by watching. Since we can’t come to your kitchen to show you ourselves, here’s the next best thing! This step-by-step video shows exactly how to make the pizza, from kneading to shaping to baking. We highly recommend watching this before you start!

What is Neapolitan pizza?

Neapolitan pizza is pizza made in the style that originated in Naples, Italy. Like any famous dish, there many variations on what it means to be “authentic.” After eating some of what is considered the best pizza in the world on the ground in Naples, here’s what Alex and I found are characteristics of Neapolitan pizza:

  • Simple flavors: The best Neapolitan pizza restaurant we’ve been to, Da Michele, served only two flavors: Margherita and Marinara. Pizza margherita is tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, and Pizza marinara is simply tomatoes and garlic. Both were perfection in their simplicity.
  • Soft, thin crust, cooked in a very hot oven: Most Neapolitan pizzas are baked in a wood fired pizza oven that’s around 800 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. The crust is typically blackened by the fire, with puffed edges and very thin towards the middle.
  • Simple tomatoes: The crust on Neapolitan pizzas is typically spread simply with tomatoes, usually San Marzano variety. The recipe below uses a simple sauce that mimics the flavors we had in Naples.
  • Mozzarella: The cheese in Italy is top notch. Neapolitan pizza often uses fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella cheese.

Neapolitan pizza recipe | Best pizza in Naples Italy | Neapolitan pizza oven

How to make Neapolitan pizza dough?

The essential part of Neapolitan pizza is the pizza dough. Alex and I have been working on our recipe for over 10 years. In honing our dough recipe, we’ve learned a few things from some of the premiere pizza restaurant chefs in America, who themselves have studied the pizza in Naples!

  • Use Tipo 00 flour. Tipo 00 flour is the type of Italian flour that Neapolitan pizza restaurants use. It makes for a beautiful, supple and fluffy dough. You can find it at your local grocery or online. If you can’t find it, you can use all-purpose; it will still make next level pizza!
  • Refrigerate the dough 2 to 3 days before baking (optional). If you can, we recommend placing your pizza dough in a sealed container and refrigerating it for 2 to 3 days. This naturally ferments the dough and brings a nutty, complex flavor to the dough. Of course, this is optional: sometimes it’s not possible to think ahead!
Neapolitan pizza oven

Do I need Neapolitan pizza oven?

Wouldn’t it be nice if every human could own a Neapolitan pizza oven? We wish! No, you don’t need a Neapolitan pizza oven for this recipe. You can cook it in a standard oven at 500 degrees Fahrenheit along with a preheated pizza stone inside. (Don’t have one? Here’s the best pizza stone, plus some care tips.)

But, caveat! If you want those beautiful black char marks on your crust like in these photos, you’ll need a pizza oven. Why use a pizza oven? And what’s the best one to use?

  • A pizza oven can get much hotter than a regular oven. Your standard oven can get only to 550 degrees, but a pizza oven reaches temperatures of up to almost 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit!
  • What pizza oven to buy? Alex and I use a genius pizza oven called the Ooni pizza oven. The Ooni is small, transportable, and heats up to 1,000 degrees in just 10 minutes! It’s powered by wood pellets. Using the Ooni takes a bit of practice, but it’s revolutionized our homemade pizza.
Neapolitan pizza recipe | Best pizza in Naples Italy | Neapolitan pizza oven

What sauce should I use for Neapolitan pizza?

Most Neapolitan pizza recipes call for placing tomatoes right onto the dough. The San Marzano variety of tomato is a type of Italian tomato that is most often used on Neapolitan pizza. You can find canned San Marzano tomatoes in many grocery stores in the United States these days.

But recently, Alex and I discovered an even better trick for making a tomato sauce that was closer to what we remember from our Neapolitan pizza. Using fire-roasted tomatoes! They have a flavor that’s extremely sweet right out of the can. This Easy Pizza Sauce uses just 5 ingredients to make a flavor-popping pizza sauce that reminds us of the best pizza in Naples Italy.

Does Neapolitan pizza have basil?

Yes and no! Like any famous recipe, there are lots of opinions on what makes an authentic Neapolitan pizza recipe. If you’re making a Margherita-style pizza, we’d say basil is a must. When we had Naples pizza a few years ago, the pizza had one leaf of fresh basil on it. One leaf! Somehow, it brought in just the right basil flavor.

Should you put the basil on a pizza before or after baking? The answer depends on your oven. If you’re using a Neapolitan pizza oven, the bake time is only 1 minute. Because it’s in the oven for such a short time, the fresh basil stays green! But if you’re baking pizza in a standard oven, you’ll have to cook it for about 7 minutes. In that time, fresh basil turns fully black. So if you’re using a standard oven, make sure to add the basil after baking.

Neapolitan pizza recipe | Best pizza in Naples Italy | Neapolitan pizza oven
Here’s a snapshot of eating the best pizza in Naples Italy at Da Michele. It goes down as our favorite pizza experience ever, immortalized here and in the pizza section of our cookbook!

How to avoid watery pizza made with fresh mozzarella cheese?

Mozzarella cheese has a lot of moisture in it, which can sometimes result in a watery pizza! The moisture varies based on the brand. If you’re using fresh mozzarella cheese for this Neapolitan pizza recipe, do the following:

  • Slice the mozzarella into ¼ inch thick pieces for topping your pizza. (Using huge chunks causes a water build up.)
  • If the brand seems extra watery, let it sit on a towel for about 15 minutes, then blot away the extra moisture.

This Neapolitan pizza recipe is…

Vegetarian.

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Neapolitan pizza recipe | Best pizza in Naples Italy | Neapolitan pizza oven

Neapolitan Pizza Recipe


  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 slices 1x

Description

Here’s a recipe for simple Neapolitan style pizza you can make at home, inspired by the best pizza in Naples Italy! Includes a step-by-step video.


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Prepare the dough using the Best Pizza Dough recipe (follow this video instruction for more). Follow the preparation instructions in the dough recipe if prepared in advance.
  2. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500°F. OR preheat your pizza oven (here’s the pizza oven we have!).
  3. Make the Homemade Pizza Sauce.
  4. Slice the mozzarella into ¼ inch thick pieces. If it’s incredibly watery fresh mozzarella (all brands vary), you may want to let it sit on a paper towel to remove moisture for about 15 minutes then dab the mozzarella with the paper towel to remove any additional moisture.
  5. When the oven is ready, stretch the dough into a circle; see How to Stretch Pizza Dough for instructions. Sprinkle a pizza peel with semolina flour or cornmeal, then carefully place the dough on top. Spread the pizza sauce across the dough. Top with mozzarella cheese.  Taste a bite of the mozzarella cheese; if it does not taste salty, add a few pinches of kosher salt to the pizza.
  6. If you’re baking in a pizza oven, add the basil leaves. For baking in a standard oven, add the basil leaves after you bake (the leaves turn black in a standard oven).
  7. Transfer the pizza to the pizza stone on the pizza peel, then bake until the cheese is melted, about 7 minutes in the oven (or 1 minute in the pizza oven). Slice into pieces and serve immediately.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Pizza, Vegetarian Pizza, Neapolitan Pizza, Italian Pizza, Pizza Oven, Vegetarian, Entertaining,

Looking for artisan pizza recipes?

This Neapolitan pizza is one of our favorite artisan pizzas we’ve ever made at home! Here are a few of our other favorite homemade pizza recipes:

Last updated: February 2020

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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12 Comments

  1. Your wrong!!!!Ive been many times and pizza is from sorrento!!!!Though it’s moments away from Naples Sorrento is the real deal!!!!

  2. Hello, I have a question, the photo of your neapolitin pizza shows a typical neapolitan crust but when I watch the pizza dough video, the crust looks puffy, like typical American type pizza. Is there something you do to make it the more classic neapolitan type crust?

    1. Hi!

      The dough is the same for both that you are seeing. The dough with the blackened crust is cooked in our Ooni pizza oven so you get the high heat bake.

  3. Really enjoyed your information on he Neapolitan pizza. I have been baking a lot of pizza during the Covid-19 pandemic. I have been in Naples, Italy as well and for me is also the best pizza ever.

  4. This line raised an eyebrow: “Like any famous dish, there many variations on what it means to be ‘authentic.'”

    Nope. There is literally a written public document from the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana — an association that details what constitutes a true Neapolitan pizza — which describes in minute detail exactly what an authentic Neapolitan pizza is. Of course personal tastes differ and each may have a different favorite variation. But unlike most other famous dishes, this one actually has a very clear definition of authenticity.

  5. I started reading this and became disappointed when I realized this is likely very good pizza, but it’s not really Neopolitan pizza. I learned in Italy where I took a course in making real Neopolitan pizza. I make mine with #00 flour from Naples which is widely available in the US. I use only Imported San Marzano tomatoes hand crushed with a touch of salt and some fresh Italian basil for the sauce. The mozzarella must be made with water buffalo milk, that is critical. YOu will not find a Neopolitan pizza with cow’s milke cheese on it. I age the crust for two days in the refrigerator ten bring to room temp and assemble the simple pizza. I bake it in a wood-fired pizza oven at about 900 degrees. My oven is an inexpensive stainless steel unit that uses hardwood smoking pellets as fuel. I’ve gotten it up to 1,060 degrees. The pie is baked for only 90 seconds during which we turn it 4 times to assure even baking.

    Sorry, but you went to so much troubble writing and illustrating an excellent article but this is NOT authentic Neopolitan pizza. Call it your version of Neopolitan Pizza, not authentic.

  6. My apologies, I went directly to your written recipe, and it was not authentic. There was no video on the web page I read. So I immediately responded. Still no video. But I read your entire article and your instructions differ greatly from the written recipe. I agree with your article’s procedures and you mention the San Marzano and the Buffalo Mozzarella. So clearly you do know your Neopolitan Pizza. It’s a touchy point for me since so many pizzerias offer “Neopolitan” pizza and get it completely wrong.

    1. Thank you for reading and for the comments! We agree that our home oven version is nothing as amazing as the real-deal in a wood fired oven :)