Perfect Neapolitan Style Pizza Recipe

Looking for a Neapolitan pizza recipe? Inspired by the best pizza in Naples Italy, here’s a recipe for simple Neapolitan style pizza you can make at home.

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. That’s what happened to Alex and me. You know in the movie The Matrix when Neo is given the choice between the blue and red pill, essentially choosing between blissful ignorance or truth? Well, once you’ve had pizza in Naples, it’s that kind of moment. Eating pizza in Naples, the place where pizza was invented, is like choosing the red pill. Once you know what true Neapolitan pizza is, you’ll never go back! And then you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to recreate it at home. Keep reading for all our tips and tricks to the best homemade Neapolitan pizza.

Related: Homemade Pizza for Beginners | Homemade Pizza Recipes

What is Neapolitan pizza?

So what is Neapolitan pizza? Essentially, Neapolitan pizza is pizza made in the style that originated in Naples, Italy. Like any famous dish, there many variations on “authentic” Neapolitan pizza. After eating some of what is considered the best pizza in the world in Naples Italy, we’ve found the following are characteristics of Neapolitan style pizzas:

  • Elegantly simple flavors: At the best Neapolitan pizza restaurant we’ve been to, Da Michele, they served two flavors: Margarita and Marinara. Margarita is tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, and Marinara is simply tomatoes and garlic. Both were sweet 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 but very thin towards the middle.
  • Simple tomatoes: The crust on Neapolitan pizzas is typically spread simply with tomatoes, usually San Marzano variety. For our version of Neapolitan pizza, we’ve used a simple sauce that mimics the flavors we had in Naples.
  • Mozzarella: The cheese in Italy is top notch. Neapolitan pizza often has fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella.

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! Our Best Homemade Pizza Dough recipe calls for fermenting the dough: refrigerating the dough for 3 days before using it. Fermenting the dough brings a nutty, complex flavor to the dough. If you’re able to, we’d recommend placing your pizza dough in a sealed container and refrigerating it for up to 3 days. (For a quicker method, try our Quick Pizza Dough in a Food Processor.)

Another tip for great pizza dough is to use great flour! The flour we use is called Tipo 00 flour; it’s what Neapolitan pizza restaurants use. It makes for a beautiful, supple and fluffy dough. We buy our Tipo 00 flour online.

Related: Want a quick pizza dough without yeast? Rye Pizza Dough Cracker Crust

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 515 degrees Fahretheit along with a preheat pizza stone inside. However, 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? A pizza oven can get much hotter than a regular oven. Your standard oven can get only to 550F, but a pizza oven reaches temperatures of up to almost 1000F.

Until recently, we did not own a pizza oven. However, we’ve discovered a genius pizza oven called the Ooni pizza oven. The Ooni is small, transportable, and heats up to 1000 degrees Fahretheit 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. And of course, you can use any type of pizza oven to bake this Neapolitan pizza recipe.

Related: What’s the Best Pizza Stone?

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! Previously, Alex and I used San Marzanos right out of the can on our pizzas. But we recently discovered a trick for making a tomato sauce that has even more of the savory goodness we remember from our Neapolitan pizza. This Homemade Easy Pizza Sauce uses just 5 ingredients to make a truly standout pizza sauce that reminds us of the best pizza in Naples Italy.

Related: How to Make Artisan Pizza

Does Neapolitan pizza have basil?

Like any famous recipe, there are lots of opinions and ways to make an authentic Neapolitan pizza recipe. When we had Naples pizza a few years ago, our pizza had one leaf of fresh basil on it. One leaf! Somehow, that one leaf brought in just the right amount of basil flavor. Because the Neapolitan pizza oven was incredibly hot (around 1000 degrees F), the basil was still a dark green after baking. However, we’ve found that if you’re baking pizza in a standard oven, since it only gets to 550F, you’ll have to cook it for about 7 minutes. In that time, fresh basil turns fully black. Basil isn’t required for a Neapolitan pizza recipe, but if you want to use it and you’re using a standard oven, make sure to add it after baking.

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

Here’s a photo from when we ate the best pizza in Naples Italy at Da Michele. It goes down as our favorite pizza experience ever. We included this photo in the pizza section in our cookbook!

How to avoid watery pizza made with fresh mozzarella cheese?

Have you ever tried placing fresh mozzarella on a pizza and ended up with a watery mess? Mozzarella cheese has a lot of moisture in it some brands more than others! If you’re using fresh mozzarella cheese for this Neapolitan pizza recipe, we recommend slicing the mozzarella into 1/4 inch thick pieces for topping your pizza. If the brand seems extra watery, let it sit on a towel for about 15 minutes, then blot away the extra moisture. Removing the extra moisture helps so that the resulting pizza won’t be overly wet.

This recipe is…

This Neapolitan Pizza Recipe is vegetarian.

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 artisan pizza recipes:

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

Neapolitan Pizza Recipe


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.83 out of 5)

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

Description

Looking for a Neapolitan pizza recipe? Inspired by the best pizza in Naples Italy, here’s a recipe for simple Neapolitan style pizza you can make at home.


Scale

Ingredients


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 1/4 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 this video 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,

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Dan Moore
    March 10, 2019 at 10:18 pm

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

    • Reply
      Vladens
      April 7, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      *You’re…

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