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Pizza marinara is classic Neapolitan pizza. There’s no cheese, so it’s all about the tomatoes, garnished simply with garlic and oregano. Buon appetito!

Pizza marinara
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Alex and I journeyed hours to get to Naples, Italy, the birthplace of pizza. And our pilgrimage ended at one place: Da Michaele, the famous generations-old pizzeria. The green and white tiled wood-fired oven, the tangy tomato sauce, and the doughy crust: it is all precisely authentic. They serve only two flavors, the most classic of all Neapolitan pizza: Pizza Margherita (mozzarella, tomatoes and basil) and Pizza Marinara (tomato only — no cheese!). And my, oh my, was it epic. Want to make classic pizza marinara at home? Here’s our recipe: and we think it’s pretty darn perfect.

Related: Looking marinara-style sauce to put on pizza? Go to Easy Pizza Sauce.

Pizza marinara

What is pizza marinara?

Pizza marinara is the simplest of classic Neapolitan pizza: that is, pizza in the style that originates from Naples, Italy. This pizza has simple toppings, a dough that’s thin in the middle and poofed on the outside, usually baked in a wood-fired oven at super high temperatures. Pizza marinara has no cheese: just tomato sauce, thinly sliced garlic, and oregano. It’s similar to pizza margherita, but without the cheese. Some sources state pizza marinara originated as early as the mid 1700’s in Naples.

As you can imagine, with only a handful of ingredients, the flavor of pizza marinara depends on the quality of the ingredients. Here’s a bit more on how to make pizza marinara that’s seriously classico.

Want Neapolitan pizza with cheese? Here’s our master recipe for perfect Neapolitan pizza.

Pizza sauce

For the tomatoes

The quality of the tomatoes in a pizza marinara is paramount. In Italy, the variety of tomatoes that are used for Neapolitan pizza are called San Marzano tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes are grown in a specific area in Italy and have a beautifully sweet flavor. They’re becoming more popular here in the US and are available under many different brands.

Now, we are pizza purists over here. We used to only use canned San Marzano tomatoes in our pizzas. However, we’ve found a type that has a flavor even closer to what we remember from Naples: fire roasted tomatoes! You know how sometimes if you taste a bite of tomatoes straight from the can and it tastes bitter? Fire roasted tomatoes come out of the can with a sweet flavor: and no bitterness at all. Canned fire roasted tomatoes are available at many mainstream grocery stores and also online.

This pizza marinara uses our “famous” easy pizza sauce that takes only 5 minutes to make in a blender. All you need is fire roasted tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, dried oregano and salt. It’s so simple that we have it memorized. And you will be absolutely amazed when you take a taste out of the blender. We promise!

How to make pizza dough

For the dough

Alex and I have spent 10 years researching our pizza dough recipes. They’ve been through many revisions until we tweaked to the absolute perfect dough. You can use either of the two pizza dough recipes for your pizza marinara (and of course, you can shortcut by using store-bought dough):

  • Best Pizza Dough This is our standard pizza dough that comes out perfect. We make it using stand mixer, but you can also knead it by hand.
  • Easy Thin Crust is similar but makes a thinner dough that you roll out — it would also work well here!
Pizza marinara

For the pizza stone

In order to make the most authentic pizza marinara, you’ll need a pizza stone for baking it. Why? Well, classic Neapolitan pizza ovens reach up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the pizzas in just a minute or two. Your standard oven can only get up to 500 degrees max (unless you want to get a pizza oven…see below!). So the pizza stone helps to get heat under the pizza itself; it makes it crispy on the bottom but soft on the inside.

Now, if you use a pizza stone…you’ll need a pizza peel too! Keep reading for our recommendations:

Pizza marinara

What about a pizza oven?

A pizza oven is not necessary for making homemade pizza marinara. But if you want to step up your pizza game, traditional artisan pizza is cooked at temperatures way hotter than your standard oven can achieve. We’ve found a relatively inexpensive pizza oven that heats to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes! Here’s the oven we use, the Ooni pizza oven, and why we think it’s the best pizza oven out there.

Ready to make pizza marinara?

Well, that’s all you need to know to make a classic Neapolitan pizza marinara! Top the crust with the pizza sauce, a sprinkle of sliced garlic, and fresh oregano. We like to serve ours with a drizzle of olive oil to get just the right moistness when serving. Let us know if you try it in the comments below!

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Pizza marinara

Pizza Marinara

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4 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices 1x


Pizza marinara is classic Neapolitan pizza. There’s no cheese, so it’s all about the tomatoes, garnished simply with garlic and oregano. Buon appetito!




  1. Make the pizza dough: Follow the Best Pizza Dough recipe to prepare the dough. (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 (here’s the pizza oven we use).
  3. Make the pizza sauce: Make the Easy Pizza Sauce.
  4. Prepare the toppings: Thinly slice the garlic clove. Chop the oregano leaves.
  5. Bake the pizza: When the oven is ready, dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or semolina flour. (If you don’t have a pizza peel, you can use a rimless baking sheet or the back of a rimmed baking sheet. But a pizza peel is well worth the investment!) Stretch the dough into a circle; see How to Stretch Pizza Dough for instructions. Then gently place the dough onto the pizza peel.
  6. Spread the pizza sauce over the dough using the back of a spoon to create a thin layer. Top with thinly sliced garlic.
  7. Use the pizza peel to carefully transfer the pizza onto the preheated pizza stone. Bake the pizza until the cheese and crust are nicely browned, about 5 to 7 minutes in the oven (or 1 minute in a pizza oven).
  8. Remove from the oven. Garnish with a drizzle of olive oil, a few pinches of kosher salt, and the fresh oreagno. Slice into pieces and serve immediately.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Looking for more pizza recipes?

Outside of this truffle pizza recipe, here are some of our favorite pizza recipes:

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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  1. La vera pizza says:

    “San Marzano tomatoes are grown all over Italy and have a beautifully sweet flavor.”

    Literally no. They’re called San Marzano because they come from San Marzano (and the neighboring towns). If you’re buying “San Marzano tomatoes” from elsewhere, you’ve been duped.

    In any case, I would strongly recommend against trying to make this in a regular home oven. You’ll just get a sad, dried out pizza with none of the fresh tomato flavor.

    1. Sonja Overhiser says:

      San Marzano variety of tomatoes are grown in different areas: they’re even grown in California! However, if you’re talking about “certified San Marzano tomatoes”, they are grown only in a specific region in Italy called Sarnese Nocerino. For that type of tomato, look for certified or D.O.P. (in English, the Protected Designation of Origin) on the label. We’ll clarfiy this in the notes.

  2. ajay singh says:

    can you add cheese to it and a good test will come