When does a Margherita pizza deserve to be called authentic Margherita pizza(If you are looking for the Margherita pizza dough recipe, or you want to know how to top it, click the links!)

Is it just a matter of taste?


Very often, people (even Italians) are not able to distinguish if they are eating an autentic Margherita pizza. Of course, the taste is personal, as they say, “To each his own!”

BUT there are clear criteria before you can say, “This is real Neapolitan!”

How to recognize it then? Check for these 7 features:

1. Authentic Margherita pizza: texture

The most important feature that a real Neapolitan pizza should  have is a pliable texture. Therefore, a Margherita pizza should remain soft (not over crunchy) so that the slice can be easily folded.

2. Authentic Margherita pizza: color of the pizza base

Both the outer-crust and the bottom of the authentic Margherita pizza must have a golden-brown color with a few burned spots. 

In short, if they serve to you a pale pizza or a burnt pizza…it’s not an authentic Neapolitan Margherita.

Example of homemade Margherita pizza: the slice is easily foldable and it has a golden-brown color.
Example of homemade authentic Margherita pizza: the slice can be easily folded and it has a golden-brown color.

3. Authentic Margherita pizza: size

  • The authentic Neapolitan pizza should be not greater than 35 cm in diameter (14 in). Furthermore it should be round in shape but not perfect! A stretched by hand pizza can’t be perfect. Therefore if a Margherita pizza is perfectly round, this means it’s not stretched by hand!
  • The center of the pizza has to be very thin (max 4 mm thick). But you won’t achieve this result by using a rolling pin. This is one of the 5 most common mistakes in making authentic Italian pizza at home.

Hence, if you want to make a real Margherita pizza at home you should stretch the dough balls by using a traditional stretching method.  I know it can appear a little hard, but don’t worry! The methods I’m talking about are much simpler than you can imagine! To know more read the page about the know-how. There you will also find a video about a very simple stretching tecnique, shown at slow motion.

4. Authentic Margherita pizza: outer crust

The outer crust has to be puffed-up, but not higher than 2 cm (3/4 in.) Furthermore it should be soft, full of air-bubbles and with the typical taste of well-cooked bread. (See the photo below.)

Example of homemade authentic margherita pizza with a golden brown outer crust.
Example of homemade authentic Margherita pizza: the outer-crust is puffed-up and full of air-bubbles.

5. Authentic Margherita pizza: appearance of the top of the pizza

The keyword is “contrast“. In an authentic Margherita pizza you should be able to distinguish the redness of the tomatoes in contrast with the whiteness of the mozzarella. You can also distinguish the green basil. Don’t forget we are also very proud of our Italian flag, which is: green, white and red!

Neapolitan Homemade Pizza - margherita pizza
Example of homemade Margherita pizza in which you can distinguish the contrast between the red color of the tomato sauce and the whitness of the mozzarella.

6. Authentic Margherita pizza: aroma

An authentic Margherita pizza must remind you of freshly baked bread, to which the aromas of tomatoes and a fresh whiff of basil have been added.

Is your mouth watery?

7. Authentic Margherita pizza: taste

It must be intense but balanced.

When you eat the authentic Margherita pizza, you should be able to distinguish:

  • the freshly baked bread flavor,
  • the tangy taste of tomato,
  • the zesty extra virgin olive oil,
  • the subtle taste of melted mozzarella,
  • the sweetness of basil.

If you have been frustrated in finding authentic Margherita pizza, how about if it’s time that you made it yourself?

Are you up to doing it?

Let’s start with the orginal Neapolitan pizza dough recipe!

For your information only:
If you also want to know about Neapolitan pizza nutritional values, here they are!

According to the AVPN (Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) Margherita pizza has an energy value around 800 Kcal.

With this, now you really know all about authentic Margherita pizza!

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