How to make The Best Pizza Dough + Margherita Pizza

Every good pizza begins with good pizza dough! Soft, slightly crispy, and chewy – homemade dough is unmatched. Once you try it, store-bought won’t cut it. Elevate your pizza game with this must-have recipe!

How to make The Best Pizza Dough + Margherita Pizza

Every good pizza begins with good pizza dough! I’ve been obsessed with making pizza ever since I got my stand mixer. Well actually before that. haha Homemade pizza dough is so much better! To me, good pizza dough needs to be soft, chewy with a slight crisp.

pizza dough

Living in New York was a wild ride, especially when I first moved there. Money was tight, and I was crashing at my friends’ places, so pizza became my go-to meal. Who could resist grabbing a slice on the way home from work? It was quick, tasty, and budget-friendly – the perfect solution!

I’ve worked on this recipe for months and I believe I finally perfected it for a quick and easy dough. I know there’s pizza crust experts out there but this is my way of doing it and I love the results! It’s chewy, soft and so so good. My tried and true pizza recipe.

How to make homemade pizza dough

Making pizza dough is relatively easy. It’s simple to make with very few ingredients. It just requires a tad bit of patience (rise time) but it’s so worth it.

Step 1: To make pizza dough, begin by blooming the yeast. In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast and sugar. Stir the mixture to dissolve. Cover with a damp towel and bloom for about 10 minutes or until it gets frothy.

Step 2: Next, add the bread flour, salt and sugar. At this point, you can also add garlic powder, Italian seasoning, etc if you’d like the dough to be flavored. Using a stand mixer, attach the dough hook and knead until a rough dough forms. (begin at a low speed then gradually increase to make sure the flour doesn’t fly everywhere).

Alternatively, if you don’t have a stand mixer you can use a wooden spoon to mix the wet and dry ingredients until a rough dough forms. Add the dough to a floured surface and knead for about 5-10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth.

Step 3: In clean bowl, add olive oil then place the dough ball inside. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm area for at least one hour or until the dough doubles in size.

Step 4: Divide dough into equal sized balls then roll the dough out into the desired shape and size. Add your favorite toppings and bake in a 500 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden and crispy.

This recipe makes either four 8-inch pizzas or two 12-inch ones, so feel free to plan ahead! You can store any extra dough in the fridge for up to 3-5 days in an air-tight container.

Of course if you’re short on time, you can definitely use store bought pizza dough. But I absolutely love making it from scratch and highly recommend.

Homemade pizza dough ingredients

  • Yeast- Fleischmann’s Rapid Rising Yeast.
  • Flour- Bread flour or AP flour. I recommend bread flour.
  • Water- warm water. Make sure it’s not too hot and not too cold.
  • Sugar- the yeast needs “food” to bloom .
  • Salt- sea salt or pink Himalayan salt.
  • Olive oil- Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Seasonings- you can add garlic powder or herbs if you want to flavor your crust.

Through my time living in NYC, I discovered the joy of a simple slice of NYC cheese pizza. Thin, fluffy pizza dough topped with the perfect blend of marinara sauce and ooey-gooey mozzarella cheese, all cooked to perfection in a wood-fired oven. I love to eat it with some parmesan and crushed red pepper flakes on top and add a side of ranch – OMG, the best.

I know, I know a pizza diet might not have been the healthiest choice, but who cares? I lived my best pizza life back then! But now, since I’m far from the Big Apple, I decided to bring that pizza magic into my own kitchen.

I’ve become a pizza enthusiast, and one of my all-time favorites is the classic Margherita pizza. Cheesy deliciousness, topped with fresh herbs and spices. It’s simple but packs so much flavor.

So, even though my pizza journey started with tough times in New York, I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. I’ve learned to appreciate the simple joys in life, like a good slice of pizza. And now, no matter where I am, pizza will always be a good idea, especially when I make it at home!

What’s Margherita pizza?

Margherita Pizza or Pizza Margherita as the Italians call it, is the definition of less is more. It features a thin, chewy crust, seasoned marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil topped with olive oil. Simple ingredients that make the most delicious and flavorful pizza.

My favorite thing to order was a Margherita pizza. So I decided to make one at home. This is my take on one of my favorite types of pizza.

Rapid Rise Vs Active Rise Yeast

There are a different types of yeast. The 2 I’m most familiar with is Rapid Rise and Active Rise. If you use Active Rise, please know the rise time will be twice as long (about 3 hours) vs Rapid Rise which takes 1 hour to rise.

What you’ll need for Margherita pizza

  • Marinara sauce- Use your favorite marinara sauce. My favorite is from Rao’s.
  • Fresh Basil- fresh is best!
  • Fresh Mozzarella – I like to fresh sliced mozzarella and shredded mozzarella.
  • Olive oil– It helps the cheese melt together.
  • Italian seasoning- I love adding oregano and Italian seasoning to my pizza for extra flavor.
  • Red Pepper Flakes– use to your discretion.
  • Truffle Oil- optional, but I love topping my finished pizza with truffle oil.

Additional toppings

More pizzas to enjoy

check out some of my favorites on the blog.

If you try this my Homemade Pizza Dough recipe or Margherita pizza please be sure to leave a comment, and or tag me on Instagram @cookwithci. I would love to see your recreations and hear your thoughts.

Homemade Pizza Dough + Margherita Pizza

Pizza whenever you like once you learn how to make this delicious pizza dough. Nothing better than making your favorite pizza at home!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Rest 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • Cast Iron Skillet or pizza stone
  • Stand mixer optional


For the Pizza Dough

  • 1 1/4 cup water warm
  • 1 tsp rapid rising yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups bread flour + more if needed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp olive oil

Margherita Pizza

  • 1/4 cup Marinara sauce
  • mozzarella sliced and shredded
  • fresh basil
  • red pepper flakes
  • cherry tomatoes sliced in half
  • shallot sliced, optional
  • truffle oil optional
  • Italian seasoning


  • In a large bowl, mix together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Cover with a warm towel and allow to bloom (get foamy) for 10-15 minutes.
  • Slowly add flour and salt to the wet mixture. Mix until combined and dough begins to form. Lightly flour your surface and your hands and knead the dough until it comes together. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour as needed.
  • Once the dough has come together and formed a ball. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, Cover with a warm towel, and allow to rise for at least 1 hr. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough. And cut in half.
  • Add the dough to well greased cast iron pan. Use your fingers to spread the dough until the pan is full covered. Pinch the edges to form the crust.

Assemble the pizza

  • Preheat oven to 500 degrees
  • Add marinara sauce, tomatoes, sliced shallot, fresh sliced mozzarella. Then sprinkle shredded mozzarella on top. Top with Italian seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil. Cook for 10-12 minutes
  • Remove from the oven, top with fresh basil and white truffle oil if desired. Allow the pizza to cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Keyword Easy Recipes, pizza

Did you make it? 

Tag @cookwithci on Instagram and hashtag #CookwithCi

Explore More

Welcome to CookWithCi, where I share my love for cooking. Here you’ll find a variety of delicious and fun recipes. From comfort to simple. There is a recipe for everyone. I hope you are inspired to get creative in the kitchen. xoxo!

Most Popular

Let’s Be Friends