A simple and delicious homemade caprese pizza is topped with fresh mozzarella, basil, and a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze.
Pizza is one of my most favorite foods. Soft bread mixed with chunky tomatoes, melty mozzarella, and fresh ingredients makes the yummiest combination. I strive to fill by body with wholesome foods, but I am a true foodie at heart and love many of the foods I probably shouldn’t. 😉 How ironic that I have a sensitivity to certain foods, including dairy and sometimes gluten, which prohibits me from eating many of these foods as often as I’d like.
Every so often I can eat it small portions of dairy and not feel any ill-effects. It’s usually in the form of pizza instead of other foods, like ice cream or gourmet cheese. We love to make our pizza homemade because it’s much tastier and also less expensive than delivery. Since we make everything from scratch, we also know exactly what’s in the food we’re eating, which when you look at the ingredient lists of most of the pre-packaged foods out there, is a really good thing!
Although you can buy pre-made sauce and dough, it really isn’t that difficult to make your own. The sauce can even be made a day or two ahead to lessen the amount of work at one time.
Homemade pizza dough is my favorite. I’m a bread lover, so I like my crust thick and fluffy. The nice thing about this dough is that the crust can be made as thick or thin as you’d like. You can make two thin crusts or one thick crust pizza. Just remember the baking time will vary depending on whichever you choose to make.
When making your own dough, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure you use fresh yeast. Old yeast may not activate and have the same rising power as fresh yeast.
- The water should be warm enough to activate the yeast, but not too hot or it can destroy it.
- Don’t add too much flour or over-work the dough. This will make the crust hard and tough.
- Let the dough rise in a warm place. If your kitchen is too cold, turn your oven on the lowest setting for 1-2 minutes and then turn it off. You can also place a pan of boiling water onto the bottom of the oven and the warmth and steam from the water will create an ideal place for your dough to rise.
I love the addition of fresh basil leaves and the balsamic glaze. The basil adds such a clean, fresh flavor and the glaze adds a bit of tang, which compliments the sweetness from the tomatoes nicely. I also added a few chopped grape tomatoes on top, but they do add a bit of moisture, especially in conjunction with the fresh mozzarella, so I had to broil the top for the last minute to evaporate some of the water that had collected on the surface.
You can make the sauce, dough, or the glaze ahead of time and store in the fridge until ready to use. You can also many of these items already made at your local grocery, which will help if you’re in a pinch for time.
Feel free to vary the toppings to suit your taste. Add some extra veggies or meats, like prosciutto, Canadian bacon, or sausage. You can even omit the balsamic glaze, if you’re not a fan.
Looking for a delicious, gluten-free pizza? Check out the recipe for this Pizza Margherita with a gluten-free dough and homemade sauce!
- pizza crust, recipe below or store-bought
- sauce, recipe below
- mozzarella, 8 oz ball with water drained (shredded will also work)
- handful of fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper
- Olive Oil, for drizzling
- balsamic glaze, recipe below or store-bought
- 2½-3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (For these photos I used half White Whole Wheat Flour and half all-purpose)
- 1 package Rapid Rise Yeast (or 2¼ teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil or Avocado Oil
- 1-2 tablespoons Honey or organic sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup very warm water (120-130ºF)
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil (I use Avocado Oil)
- 2 tablespoons minced onion
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 1 (14-15 oz) can Whole Peeled Tomatoes, hand crushed
- ¼ cup chopped basil leaves
- salt and pepper, to taste
- little Honey or organic sugar, optional
- *Tip: Sauce can be made 1-2 days in advance and stored in the fridge.
- Pour the can of whole tomatoes into a small bowl and use your hands to crush or kitchen scissors to cut up the whole tomatoes and set aside.
- Drizzle oil into a medium saucepan and set it over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Allow mixture to come to a simmer over medium heat.
- Stir in chopped basil and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook mixture until it thickens, about 10-15 minutes. Taste again and adjust seasonings. You can also add a touch of honey or sugar for sweetness, if needed.
- For the crust, I use Rapid Rise yeast to cut the rising time down. If you are using regular active dry yeast, you'll have to let it rise a bit longer.
- Place 1 cup of flour, rapid rise yeast, oil, honey, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Slowly add your warm water and begin mixing with an electric mixer or wooden spoon.
- Beat until the mixture is smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Begin adding additional flour ½ cup at a time until it forms a soft dough.
- Place dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes or until dough is soft and smooth. Be careful not to add too much flour or the crust will be hard. Place dough into a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel and let rest in a warm place for 15 minutes. If using active dry yeast, let rise about 40-60 minutes.
- *Tip: If your kitchen is cool, you can turn on your oven to the lowest setting for 1-2 minutes and then turn off. Oven should be warm but not too hot to touch. Place bowl inside of the warm oven to rise. Alternatively, you can place a pan of boiling water in the bottom of your oven (turned off) and close the oven door. The steam and moisture will also be a good environment for the dough to rise.
- *Tip: Glaze can be made in advance and stored in the fridge. If it gets too thick from the cold, just place the container in a bowl of very warm water to heat it back up.
- Place balsamic vinegar and honey in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to cook, stirring often, until sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes, give or take. Remove from heat until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place dough onto a lightly greased pizza pan or cookie sheet and gently stretch it out to about 12-14 inches, but be careful not to overwork the dough. The size will determine how thick or thin the crust is—smaller pizza for thicker crust, spread it out larger for thinner crust. If you get a hole in the crust when stretching it out, just pinch the dough back together.
- (Optional: For thick, fluffy crust, you can cover the dough on the pan and let rise again for 15-30 minutes)
- Place a few spoonfuls of sauce onto the dough and spread it over the crust. You may not need all of it. Top with slices or torn chunks of mozzarella. It's okay if there is sauce showing. Sprinkle the top with salt, freshly cracked pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Place pan into the preheated oven and bake for 10-15 minutes (time will vary depending on how thick the dough is) until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Sometimes I stick it under the broiler for the last minute just to brown the top, but that's optional.
- Remove from oven, top with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serves 2-4 people.