Neapolitan Pizza

5 from 10 votes

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We journeyed to southern Italy to learn the art of making a true Neapolitan pizza. Here we will teach you all of the tips, tricks, and secrets to making the perfect pizza that we learned from the professional pizza chefs at the Accademia MedEATerranea in Naples.

A cooked Neapolitan pizza on a wooden pizza peel.
Featured with this recipe
  1. Greatest Tomatoes of Europe Press Tour
  2. The Tools You Need
  3. Getting The Right Ingredients for the Dough
  4. Pizza Sauce and Topping Ingredients
  5. How to Make Neapolitan Pizza Dough
  6. How to Stretch the Dough
  7. The Secret to Perfect Pizza Sauce
  8. Margherita Style Pizza
  9. More Optional Topping Ideas
  10. Cooking Time and Temp
  11. Tips for Making Neapolitan Pizza
  12. Frequently Asked Questions
  13. More Tasty Italian-Inspired Recipes to Try
  14. How to Make Neapolitan Pizza
  15. Neapolitan Pizza Recipe

Neapolitan pizza is a style of pizza that originated in Naples, Italy. It is made with tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella cheese, however, not just any tomatoes. The tomatoes must be either San Marzano tomatoes or Pomodori Pelati tomatoes. Both are grown in the rich volcanic soil south of Mount Vesuvius, picked at the peak of ripeness, and then canned within hours to preserve the fresh taste and quality of the tomato.

With the right tools, the right ingredients, and the right techniques, enjoying a true Neapolitan pizza in the U.S. is possible. Within a few weeks of getting home from our trip to Italy, I bought everything I needed and successfully duplicated the pizza I had made in Italy. Though it took several attempts practicing with the dough and experimenting with my pizza oven, I eventually got it down. I will try to be as clear and concise as possible so you can do it too!

Greatest Tomatoes of Europe Press Tour

We had the pleasure of traveling to Naples on a tour hosted by the Greatest Tomatoes of Europe and ANICAV, the Italian Association of Canned Tomatoes Producers. ANICAV represents the world’s finest European preserved tomatoes. ANICAV members account for over 60% of all the processed tomatoes in Italy, and nearly all the whole peeled tomatoes produced in the world, including the internationally well-known San Marzano tomato, officially known as the San Marzano DOP dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino tomato.

One of the many highlights of our time in Italy was meeting several Italian tomato growers and producers at CIBUS, the International Food Exhibition in Parma, Italy. We also had the pleasure of touring the Ciao tomato production factory in the San Marzano region of Italy.

The Tools You Need

First, you need the right tools! All of these should be easy to find at most restaurant supply stores and even easier to find online. There are always other options and less expensive choices too.

  • Pizza Oven – Pizza ovens aren’t as difficult to find as you may think. You don’t need a big fancy built-in brick oven in your home to make a Neapolitan pizza. You just need something that can get to a very high temperature (750 degrees F (400 degrees C). Our Camp Chef Pizza Oven was perfect for this. When searching for a pizza oven online, just find one that has decent reviews and can get to high temps and you will be good. There are also electric pizza makers that can get pretty hot, you will just need to cook your pizza longer and you may not yield the same results.
  • Pizza Peel – This will help you get your pizza in and out of the oven. A MUST when working with a pizza oven. I like using a wooden one to get my pizza into the oven and a metal one to turn the pizza and take it out of the oven.
  • Kitchen Scale – If you want the perfect pizza, you need to be exact with your measurements.
  • Dough Bench Scraper – Not necessary, it will just make your life easier. I use my dough scraper for cutting my dough and for cleaning up my flour/dough mess.
Ingredients to make a Neapolitan pizza including 00 flour, brewer's yeast, parmesan, buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, and fresh basil.

Getting The Right Ingredients for the Dough

In Italy, finding the ingredients to make the perfect Neapolitan pizza is easy and inexpensive. In the U.S. not so much. However, it can be done if you are willing to spend a little extra. In my opinion, if you are going to do it, you may as well do it right!

  • Tipo 00 flour – For a true Neapolitan pizza, you do need the right flour. Regular bleached flour just is not going to cut it. It will work for American-style pizza but if you want to make an Italian pizza you need to use Italian flour. It does make a difference. I ordered some Caputo flour on Amazon because it was cheaper than anything I could find in the specialty stores in my area.
  • Brewers yeast – Fresh brewer’s yeast is what they use in Italy to make their pizzas. However, the right kind of brewer’s yeast is hard to come by here in the States. I did some research and found that dry, active baker’s yeast is a great substitute. The first time I made this pizza at home I used regular, dry yeast and it was fine but for my second attempt, I used Caputo baker’s yeast and the dough turned out much better. If you can use fresh brewer’s yeast, you will use double the amount (3g).
  • Fine Sea Salt – Fine sea salt will be the easiest thing to find at your grocery store. It dissolves quickly and easily in your dough mixture and gives it a nice flavor.
Ingredients to make pizza dough. Caputo flour, yeast, and salt.

Pizza Sauce and Topping Ingredients

If you have the right tomatoes, Neapolitan pizza sauce is EASY. You almost can’t mess it up. All it takes is some DOP tomatoes or true, whole pomodori palate, a little bit of olive oil, and a touch of salt. Nothing more, nothing less. No basil, no pepper flakes, no oregano, and absolutely no sugar.

  • Italian tomatoes – True Italian tomatoes (or Pomodori Pelati) can be tricky to find in your local grocery store, but not impossible. If not, just know your best bet is San Marzano tomatoes that have the official “DOP” (Denominazione di Origine Protetta) seal and serial number.
  • Olive oil – Do yourself a favor and find a GOOD extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over your pizza. Find an olive oil with the “DOP” seal and you will know it’s great Italian quality.
  • Mozzarella – The best mozzarella to use, and the most traditional, is “mozzarella di bufala” or buffalo mozzarella. This is another thing that is quite difficult to find in the U.S. since fresh mozzarella cheese is a very expensive thing to have imported. I found some buffalo mozzarella at a specialty grocery store called “Buf”. It isn’t imported but it is buffalo mozzarella. It is a little stronger than regular mozzarella which tastes amazing on pizza. If you can’t find buffalo mozzarella, any kind of quality, fresh mozzarella from cow’s milk will work. Cheap “block” or “shredded” mozzarella is not a good substitution. It is much too dry.
  • Parmigiano reggiano – Parmigiano Reggiano is Parmesan cheese from the Parma region in Italy. That is how it gets its name. The most true parmigiano reggiano will be “DOP” and will work great. The age really won’t make a huge difference. I found some excellent DOP parmigiano reggiano at Costco and it was very reasonably priced. This is great sprinkled right over the sauce of the pizza before adding the toppings.
  • Fresh basil leaves – Fresh basil is also another very easy thing to find. Basil from the garden is going to be the best and less expensive, but any fresh regular basil you can find will work great.
A close up of a label from a can of tomatoes from Italy showing the DOP seal and the official region seal and serial number.

How to Make Neapolitan Pizza Dough

Neapolitan pizza dough is traditionally made is only four ingredients, flour, water, yeast, and salt. That’s it! It doesn’t need anything else. As far as the method goes, we learned a unique way of making it at Accademia MedEATerranea. The Maestro Pizzaiolo, Mimmo Onze, showed us how to make a flour “well” right on your countertop and pour the water into the middle. It looks like a big floury Crater Lake.

You add the yeast and just start gently mixing it. Then add the salt and keep adding in flour from the sides of the well until it all just kind of comes together. It’s okay if a little water leaks out, just try to keep it contained as best as you can until it is all combined.

Pizza dough spread out on a wooden pizza peel.

How to Stretch the Dough

Stretching pizza dough is an art form and takes lots of practice. The nice thing about this dough is that it is very pliable and easy to stretch. Getting it perfect every time takes some time, and that’s okay. There are a few different ways you can stretch the dough.

Pizza sauce made from DOP San Marzano tomatoes for Neapolitan pizza.

The Secret to Perfect Pizza Sauce

The secret to making Neapolitan pizza sauce is way easier than you think, you actually don’t cook it. You want those tomatoes so pure and uncooked that you don’t even want to use a blender of any kind to crush them. Blending them will cook them too much.

First, put the tomatoes in a bowl. Next, crush the tomatoes with your hands or use a potato masher or ricer. Then, add the salt and olive oil and continue to crush. That is your pizza tomato sauce. It’s a beautiful thing!

An uncooked pizza on a pizza peel.

Margherita Style Pizza

The most traditional kind of Neapolitan pizza is the pizza Margherita. You may know the story of how Raffaele Esposito created this pizza for Queen Margherita of Savoy. He created three different kinds of pizza for her but she particularly appreciated the tricolor one with mozzarella, tomato, and basil. This makes the colors of the Italian flag. To this day it is the most popular and well-loved style of pizza in Italy!

Buffalo mozzarella, basil, oregano, and garlic in bowls.

More Optional Topping Ideas

Neapolitan pizza is more of a technique or method of making pizza rather than a specific kind of pizza. For example, a Neapolitan pizza can be made with sausage and friarielli (a kind of Italian broccoli) and still be considered “Neapolitan”. Try some of these other topping ideas to make even more variations!

  • Meat – Sausage, prosciutto (or Parma ham) are both great options for protein.
  • Greens – Argula is a great way to introduce a peppery flavor to Neapolitan pizza.
  • Garlic – This topping is not usually on a pizza Napoletana. Adding this gives that garlicky flavor that most Americans love.
  • Veggies – Peppers, olives, or mushrooms are a great add-in to the toppings.
  • Fruit – Eggplant and cherry tomatoes are sweet and rich in flavor.
  • Cheese – Mozzarella, parmesan, pecorino, or burrata shredded and sprinkled on top adds that special cheesy touch.

Cooking Time and Temp

Another thing that sets authentic Neapolitan pizza apart is how quickly it cooks. These pizzas cook quickly and at a very high temperature. You want to cook these at 750 degrees F (400 degrees C) for just 60 seconds or so. The crust is thin and will cook quickly. Keep a very close eye on it while it is in the oven so you can see exactly when to take it out.

Tips for Making Neapolitan Pizza

Follow these helpful tips to ensure your Neapolitan pizza is cooked perfectly! This Neapolitan style pizza has a few extra steps but is easy to accomplish.

  • High-quality ingredients – Try your best to find the best ingredients to make sure that your
  • “Hide” the Basil: When putting your pizza together, tuck the basil under the cheese a little bit to “hide” it. This is a great tip that will prevent the basil from burning.
  • Pizza peel – Combine equal parts of cornmeal and flour and then rub it on your pizza peel. This will help the pizza to slide easily into your pizza oven.
  • Toppings – Work quickly while your pizza is on the pizza peel. If you keep your dough on the peel for too long it will absorb the flour on the peel and it will stick. Get those toppings on as fast as you can.
  • Rolling pin – For this Neapolitan marinara pizza, you do not need a rolling pin. It is best to let the dough rise and stretch gently using your hands. The texture is similar to flatbreads and has a thin crust that is crispy.
  • Burning pizza – Don’t burn the bottom of your pizza! If the bottom of your crust is cooking faster than the top, slide the pizza peel under the pizza and lift it toward the top of the pizza oven where it is hotter. This will cook the top faster and prevent the bottom from burning. This is called “doming”.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute X for Y?

For this recipe, try not to swap out ingredients if you can. For everything you swap out, it will reduce the quality and authenticity. If your goal is to make a real Neapolitan pizza it is worth it to do it the right way with the right ingredients.

Can I just use my regular oven?

Most likely your regular oven won’t get as hot as it needs to be. If you absolutely can not use a pizza oven or a pizza maker that gets to 750 degrees F, you can use a pizza stone in your regular oven and heat it as high as you can. You may need to cook it a little longer and it might not quite be the same but you can get close. Be sure to follow the instructions that come with your pizza stone very carefully or you could risk breaking it.

Where did you guys stay in Naples? How was it?

We stayed at the Hotel San Francesco al Monte and it was FANTASTIC. Probably the most unique place I have ever stayed. It is an old monastery that was built into the side of a hill and turned into a hotel. The rooms are gorgeous and parts of the hotel are underground! It has an incredible view of Naples and I would 100% stay there again in a heartbeat.

More Tasty Italian-Inspired Recipes to Try

These Italian-inspired recipes are the perfect dinner, lunch, or side dish! They are all full of the best flavors and are authentic.

How to Make Neapolitan Pizza

A cooked Neapolitan pizza on a wooden pizza peel

Neapolitan Pizza

5 from 10 votes
We went all the way to Italy to learn the art of making a true Neapolitan pizza. Here we will share with you everything we learned and MORE!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Refrigeration time 1 day
Total Time 1 day 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 10


  • Pizza Oven
  • Pizza Peel
  • Kitchen Scale


Neapolitan Pizza Dough

  • 800 grams flour "00" (Caputo Classico, Chef's, or Pizzeria flour will work great)
  • 500 ml cool water
  • 28 grams fine sea salt
  • 1.5 grams baker's yeast (traditionally you will want 3g of active fresh Brewer's yeast but that is difficult to come by)
  • corn meal optional and to taste, to prevent pizza from sticking to pizza peel (see notes above)

For The Neapolitan Pizza Sauce and Toppings

  • 1 can (28oz) DOP San Marzano Whole Canned Tomatoes (Pomodori Pelati)
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • parmigiano reggiano grated, to taste
  • 1 pound buffalo mozzarella (mozzarella di bufala) or fresh mozzarella will work fine
  • fresh basil leaves to taste
  • olive oil to taste


For the Dough:

  • On a wooden or marble work surface, shape the flour into a large well. Pour water into the center of the well and sprinkle the yeast over the top.
    A mound of flour with water a well in the middle that has been filled with water
  • Start mixing the flour into the middle little by little into the water. When the water starts looking a little milky, add the salt.
    Water that has been mixed into a mound of flour, ready to be mixed together
  • Continue working the flour into the water until it becomes doughy.
    Flour and water that has been combined and ready to be kneaded
  • Knead the dough vigorously with your hands for 15-20 minutes, adding a bit of water or flour if necessary, until the dough is soft and smooth. Once you have the right consistency, shape the dough into a ball and cover it with a plastic bowl so the dough is protected from the air (you can also place the dough IN the bowl and cover it with a lightly damp towel or plastic wrap) and allow to rise 4-5 hours at room temperature. For the best results, cover and refrigerate overnight.
    A large pizza dough ball
  • Cut dough into 5 equal pieces (appx. 250g each) and shape into balls. Place balls in a deep baking dish or pan so they aren't touching and cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with cooking spray (or a kitchen towel) so the dough balls don't try out. Allow to rise another 4-5 hours at room temperature.
    Pizza dough balls being weighed on a scale
  • Preheat your pizza oven to 750 degrees F (400 degrees C). Working with one pizza at a time, stretch out pizza dough on a floured surface until about 11-12" in diameter. This may take some practice to get perfect. See notes above.
    Pizza dough spread out on a wooden pizza peel
  • Rub a little cornmeal and flour or your pizza peel and place the dough over the top of the pizza peel. Working quickly so the dough doesn't stick to the peel, spread on your sauce and add the toppings (see below).
    An uncooked pizza on a pizza peel
  • Place your pizza in your preheated pizza oven and bake for 60-90 seconds, turning a few times throughout the process for even heating. When the crust is golden brown with a few dark spots, remove it quickly (see above for more cooking tips).
    A Neapolitan style pizza in a pizza oven

For The Sauce:

  • Place tomatoes in a large bowl and crush with your hands, a potato masher, or a potato ricer. Do not use a blender or immersion blender as these can cook your tomatoes. Add olive oil and salt and continue to crush the tomatoes. When tomatoes are fully crushed, you have your perfect pizza sauce!
    Pizza sauce made from DOP San Marzano tomatoes for Neapolitan pizza

Nutrition Information

Calories: 430kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 18gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 1432mgPotassium: 122mgFiber: 2gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 307IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 243mgIron: 4mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her three beautiful girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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  1. I would think you could find brewer’s yeast at your local beer brewing supply store, or just buy it from one of the beer making suppliers on line? I assume this is the type of brewer’s yeast to which you are referring. If one did this, is there a brand or type of brewer’s yeast that you would recommend…. SafAle, etc?

  2. 17 ounces of water to 3.5 cups of flour can’t possibly be right. We have to almost double the flour to get to the dough stage. Totally messed up.

    1. There must have been an issue converting to cups from grams. 800 grams of flour is a little over 6 cups.

  3. 5 stars
    Wow!! How can I ever eat regular pizza again?? This is delicious!! What a difference the cheese & the right tomatoes make!

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this amazing neapolitan pizza recipe! So easy to make and tasted really delicious! Highly recommended, will surely have this again!