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Master the art of authentic Italian pizza with this Neapolitan pizza recipe! This recipe unlocks the secrets of the perfect dough, simple yet flavorful sauce, and quick high-heat cooking for a pizzeria-worthy pie in your own oven.

Neapolitan pizza on pizza peel with basil and fresh mozzarella.
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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!

“Awesome recipe. It is really authentic and so easy! Since we have young kids we decided to add a teaspoon of sugar and it was just perfect.” -Michael

What is Neapolitan pizza?

Neapolitan pizza is pizza made in the style that originated in Naples, Italy. Like any famous dish, there many opinions 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 we 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.
  • 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 pizza 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 with basil.

How to make Neapolitan pizza: step by step

Here is an overview of how to make Neapolitan pizza. For all the details, jump to the full recipe!

Step 1: Make the pizza dough

Step 1: Make the pizza dough. You’ll need 15 minutes to make it, then allow it to rise for 45 minutes. You can also make it ahead and refrigerate or freeze until ready to bake. Go to this Pizza Dough recipe.

Step 2: Stretch the pizza

Step 2: Stretch the pizza dough and place it into a pizza peel. Go to How to Stretch Pizza Dough for our tips. Top the pizza with pizza sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into small pieces.

Step 3 Bake the Neapolitan pizza

Step 3: Bake the pizza on a pizza stone in a 500°F oven for 6 to 7 minutes, or in a pizza oven for 1 to 2 minutes. Go to the full recipe for the tutorial.

Tips for the pizza dough

The essential part of Neapolitan pizza is the pizza dough. Alex and I have been working on our pizza dough recipe for over 10 years. In the process, 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 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 flour: it will still make great pizza!
  • Rest the dough for 45 minutes. This is key to the best fluffy pizza dough.
  • Or, 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.
  • Review our dough stretching tips. When ready to make the pizza, go to How to Stretch Pizza Dough for our comprehensive guide.
How to stretch Neapolitan pizza dough

Do I need pizza oven?

No, you don’t need a Neapolitan pizza oven for this recipe. You can cook it in a standard oven at 500°F along with a preheated pizza stone. But if you want those beautiful black char marks on your crust like in these photos, you’ll need a pizza oven (and use this pizza oven dough).

  • A pizza oven can get much hotter than a regular oven. Your standard oven can get only to 550°F, but a pizza oven reaches temperatures of up to almost 1000°F!
  • What pizza oven to buy? Alex and I use this portable pizza oven. It’s small, transportable, and heats up to 1000°F in just 10 minutes! It’s powered by wood pellets. Using it takes a bit of practice, but it’s revolutionized our homemade pizza.
Neapolitan pizza oven

Toppings for Neapolitan pizza: the tomatoes

🍅 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.

We discovered a trick for making a sauce for Neapolitan pizza: this pizza sauce recipe uses just 5 ingredients to make a flavor-popping sauce that reminds us of the best pizza in Naples, Italy. It uses fire-roasted tomatoes, which taste sweet and smoky right out of the can.

Tips for using fresh mozzarella cheese

Fresh 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 after baking.
  • If the brand seems extra watery, let it sit on a towel for about 15 minutes, then blot away the extra moisture.
  • We like to top the mozzarella with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to tie it all together before 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!

Should Neapolitan pizza have basil?

🌱 Like any famous recipe, there are lots of opinions on what makes an authentic Neapolitan pizza recipe. If you’re making a Margherita 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? If you’re using a Neapolitan pizza oven, the bake time is only 1 minute. You can place the basil on before baking since it’s such a short cook time. But if you’re baking pizza in a standard oven, fresh basil turns black in the 6 to 7 minute cook time. If you’re using a standard oven, add the basil after baking.

Video with step by step instructions

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 the recipe!

More 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:

Dietary notes

This Neapolitan pizza recipe is vegetarian.

Frequently asked questions

Is it possible to make authentic Neapolitan pizza at home without a wood-fired oven?

While a wood-fired oven is ideal, you can achieve a very good Neapolitan pizza at home with a standard oven using high heat. This recipe will guide you through adjustments for achieving a crispy crust despite the limitations of a home oven.

What makes Neapolitan pizza different from other pizzas?

Neapolitan pizza is known for its simplicity and focus on high-quality ingredients. It features a thin, airy crust with a slight char, a simple tomato sauce, and minimal toppings.

What type of flour should I use for Neapolitan pizza dough?

“00” flour, a finely-ground Italian flour, is traditionally used for Neapolitan pizza dough. It contributes to the characteristic light and airy texture. However, bread flour or all-purpose flour can be a suitable substitute.

My dough seems too sticky. What can I do?

Neapolitan pizza dough is on the wetter side. Add flour a little bit at a time until the dough comes together and is no longer sticking excessively to your hands.

How hot should my oven be for Neapolitan pizza?

The key to a Neapolitan pizza is very high heat. Aim to preheat your oven (ideally with a pizza stone) to its maximum temperature, which is usually around 500°F (260°C) or higher.

What if my oven doesn’t get that hot?

Don’t worry! You can still achieve a good result. Preheat your oven to the highest setting and preheat a pizza stone or baking sheet for at least 30 minutes to maximize heat retention.

How can I transfer the pizza to the hot oven without a pizza peel?

You can use a parchment paper “peel.” Slide the pizza onto a large piece of parchment paper dusted with flour. Then, carefully slide the parchment paper with the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven.

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Margherita pizza

Neapolitan Pizza Recipe


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5 from 5 reviews

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

Master the art of authentic Italian pizza with this Neapolitan pizza recipe! This recipe unlocks the secrets of the perfect dough, simple yet flavorful sauce, and quick high-heat cooking for a pizzeria-worthy pie in your own oven.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ball Homemade Pizza Dough*
  • ⅓ cup Easy Pizza Sauce**
  • 2 to 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (or about ¾ cup shredded mozzarella)
  • Parmesan cheese, for topping (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 basil leaves
  • Semolina flour or cornmeal, for dusting the pizza peel

Instructions

  1. Make the pizza dough: Prepare the dough using this pizza dough recipe. (This takes about 15 minutes to make and 45 minutes to rest.)
  2. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500°F (or preheat your pizza oven).
  3. Make the pizza sauce.
  4. Slice the mozzarella into ¼ inch thick pieces. If it’s incredibly watery fresh mozzarella (all brands vary), allow it to sit on a paper towel for 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. Top with a thin layer of fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a few pinches of kosher salt.
  6. If you’re baking in a pizza oven, add the basil leaves. For baking in a standard oven, skip this step.
  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). Allow the pizza to cool for a minute or two before adding the basil on top (whole leaves, lightly torn, or thinly sliced). Slice into pieces and serve immediately.

Notes

*Make the pizza dough 1 hour in advance (for day of preparation), or you can make it in advance and refrigerate up to 3 days. Refrigerating the dough actually adds to the flavor! Allow refrigerated dough to come to room temperature before using by letting it stand for about 30 to 45 minutes.

**Make the pizza sauce up to 1 week in advance and refrigerate.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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23 Comments

  1. Kim says:

    This pizza recipe looks to die for! It’s going to be chilly here this weekend, so I’m hunkering down at home. I got a pizza stone for Christmas, so this is the perfect way to test it out. I cannot wait to try it!

  2. Robert Eagleton says:

    8Grams Yeast for 500g of flour, NO WAY. I use .5g for 670g of Flour.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Cool! Do you do a long ferment?

  3. Wendy Ingorvaia says:

    Great recipe ideas. I’m lucky because I’m able to get fantastic pizza dough right from a nearby Italian market. I haven’t tried the fire roasted tomatoes yet. I’m using my Ooni which is great.
    The ONE thing that isn’t perfect is the cheese. I tried fresh mozzarella, buffalo, low moisture whole milk , and the fresh plain mozzarella seemed to work best. However none of them give me that delicious stretch as you eat it. Have you mastered that?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      The best we can easily find is whole milk mozzarella.

  4. ilFornino New York says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post on Neapolitan pizza. I baked a lot of pizza in my wood-fired pizza oven. But I was looking for the best one, and I found it. I cooked this recipe the last weekend, and it is also the best pizza I’ve ever had.






  5. Joe says:

    Great Article
    Delicious Pizza Thank You.

  6. Michael says:

    Awesome recipe. It is really authentic and so easy! Since we have young kids we decided to add a teaspoon of sugar and it was just perfect.






  7. Peter M Plantec says:

    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. Alex Overhiser says:

      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 :)

  8. Peter M Plantec says:

    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.

    1. Jefe says:

      OMG…”I learned in Italy where I took a course in making real Neopolitan pizza”… Peter M. Plantec…What a complete choad!






  9. Timothy says:

    i enjoyed viewing your video

  10. Lee Power says:

    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.

  11. Hector R. Malave says:

    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.

  12. Dean says:

    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. Alex Overhiser says:

      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.

  13. Glenda Hill says:

    Only ever eat pizza Napoli: always with anchovies, capers, basil and the usual base ingredients.

  14. Louise says:

    Soz Dan hun, but you’re so wrong; pizza in Sorrento doesn’t even touch pizza from Naples…

  15. Dan Moore says:

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

    1. Vladens says:

      *You’re…

    2. Jessica Patulo says:

      Hi, tried your dough last night and really liked it! We have a pizza oven and are having a large gathering next weekend. Have you tried doubling your recipe? Just curious if that would work to cut down on the number of batches?






      1. Alex Overhiser says:

        Doubling works fine if you’re hand kneading… it might be too much if you’re using a smaller mixer. Also, we definitely recommend the 3-day ferment if having a party if you didn’t try that. You can make it all ahead and it tastes great.

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