Perfect Neapolitan Pizza Recipe

In Healthy Dinner Recipes/ Recipes

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 Matrix when Neo is given the choice between the blue and red pill, basically choosing between blissful ignorance or truth? Well, once you’ve had pizza in Naples, it’s that kind of moment. Eating pizza in Naples, 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: Everything you need to know about making artisan pizza

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 are all sorts of variations on “authentic” Neapolitan pizza. After eating some of what is considered the best pizza in Naples Italy, we’ve found the following are characteristics of Neapolitan style pizzas:

  • Relatively plain 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 just tomatoes and garlic.
  • 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 amazing. Usually Neapolitan pizza has fresh 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 10 years. We’ve even learned a few things from some of the premiere pizza restaurant chefs in America to hone our dough recipe, who have studied the pizza in Naples!. Our best pizza dough recipe is in our cookbook Pretty Simple Cooking. This recipe calls for fermenting the dough: basically keeping it for 3 days in the refrigerator before using it. Fermenting the dough brings a nutty, complex flavor to the dough. We’d recommend placing your pizza dough in a sealed container and refrigerating it for up to 3 days if you think ahead enough! If you don’t have our cookbook, you can use these pizza dough recipes;

Our other 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. If you’re a pizza nerd, make sure to try using Tipo 00 flour.

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 very hot oven. However, if you want the beautiful black marks on your crust like in these photos, you’ll need a pizza oven. Why buy 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 can get up to almost 1000F!

Until recently, we did not own a pizza oven. But we have recently discovered an amazing pizza oven called the Ooni. The Ooni is small, transportable, and heats up to 1000 degrees Fahretheit in just 10 minutes! It’s powered by wood pellets. The Ooni takes a bit of practice, but it’s revolutionized our homemade pizza. Here’s the Ooni pizza oven that we use!

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

What sauce should I use for Neapolitan pizza?

As mentioned above, most Neapolitan pizza recipes use straight tomatoes right on 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. However, we recently discovered a trick for making a tomato sauce that has even more of the savory goodness that 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.

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 back end 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 even 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. If you’re using fresh mozzarella cheese for this recipe, we recommend slicing it into chunks and then letting it sit on a towel for about 15 minutes, then blotting away extra moisture. Doing this removes extra moisture so that the resulting pizza won’t be overly wet.

This recipe is…

This Neapolitan Pizza Recipe is vegetarian, refined sugar free, and naturally sweet.


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

Neapolitan Pizza Recipe

1 Star (2 votes, average: 5.00 out of 1)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 slices
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian


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.



  1. Prepare the dough using either the stand mixer or food processor methods (you also can knead by hand; 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 Easy Pizza Sauce.
  4. Cut the mozzarella cheese into chunks and let it sit on a paper towel to remove moisture for at least 15 minutes. 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). Carefully place the dough on a pizza peel spread with flour or cornmeal.
  6. Spread the pizza sauce across the dough. Top with mozzarella cheese, saving out a small bite for tasting.  Taste a bite of the mozzarella cheese; if it does not taste salty, add a few pinches of kosher salt to the pizza.
  7. 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).
  8. 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).
  9. If you used a regular oven, top with basil leaves. Slice into pieces and serve immediately.

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

About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.

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