Everything Basil Pizza

This epic basil pizza is all about BASIL. It’s got a thick layer of peppery basil pesto, and topped with loads of fresh basil leaves!

Basil Pizza

Are you basil obsessed? There’s nothing better than the peppery fresh flavor of this bright green herb, right? Here we’ve harnessed everything that’s incredible about basil and made it into our new favorite pizza topping. That’s right: Everything Basil Pizza! (Get it? Sounds a lot like…this?) Garlicky, thick homemade basil pesto is slathered onto our perfect pizza dough, and it’s topped with gooey mozzarella and a huge handful of fresh basil leaves. Here’s how to make the brightest green, tastiest basil pizza you’ll ever make.

Related: 12 Best Basil Recipes

Basil pesto

How to make basil pesto

So, the first step in making basil pizza is making basil pesto! If it’s not the season for basil, you can also use purchased basil pesto and store-bought fresh basil leaves, of course. But if you’ve got a big bushy plant of basil, pesto is the place to use it.

We have several different pesto recipes. Our favorite is our Best Basil Pesto, our classic recipe that calls for 2 cups of basil leaves. You can get away with making a half recipe if you only have 1 cup of leaves: especially if you have a small blender or immersion blender since the quantities will be smaller! Other variations on our basil pesto use different types of nuts: we have our Basil Cashew and Basil Walnut Pesto variations. And we also have a Vegan Pesto, though we’d assume if you’re making a pizza you’ll be okay with eating cheese.

No matter which variation you make, it’s seriously easy to make pesto! Here are the main steps:

  • Place the nuts, Parmesan cheese, and garlic in a food processor and blend until finely chopped.
  • Add fresh basil leaves, lemon juice and salt. Start the food processor and add the olive oil in a steady stream. Add a bit more olive oil to bring to the desired consistency, if necessary.
Everything basil pizza

How to make pizza dough

The other main step in this basil pizza is making pizza dough! To shortcut the time required, you can also use store-bought dough (obviously!). But for the very best basil pizza, our homemade pizza dough is a must. It’s the perfect texture: fluffy and chewy on the inside, and crispy on the outside. Here are a few things to keep in mind with pizza dough:

  • Pick your dough recipe. Our favorite is our Easy Pizza Dough, which has the absolute perfect texture. Another great option is our Thin Crust Pizza Dough, which is easy to roll out and results in a thinner, crispier crust.
  • The dough requires a 45 minute rise, so plan ahead. Kneading the dough takes only 8 minutes: most of the time required for making pizza dough is letting it rise. This recipe requires a 45 minute rise time, so start making it about 1 hour before you’d like to eat your pizza.
  • Stretching the dough takes a bit of practice. Pizza dough requires a little bit of finesse is shaping the dough. The key here is to pat the dough into a circle, then drape it on your knuckles to stretch it. If the dough ever becomes transparent, stop immediately so that it doesn’t tear. If at any time the dough resists stretching, set it down and let it rest for a minute. Once you pick it up again, the gluten will have relaxed and it will be possible to stretch. See the video in the pizza dough recipe for more!

Pizza making tools

You’ll also need a few tools to bake your perfect pizza dough:

  • Pizza stone: A pizza stone is what makes Italian pizza crust crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Here’s the best pizza stone we’ve found.
  • Pizza peel: What’s a pizza peel? It’s a paddle used to slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone in the oven. We recommend this Standard pizza peel or this Conveyor pizza peel.
Basil pizza

How to make basil pizza

Once you’ve got your basil pesto and pizza dough, this basil pizza is a breeze! Simply spread a layer of pesto onto the crust, and mozzarella and Parmesan cheese on the top. We added a sprinkle of dried basil for good measure, but it’s not necessary for flavor.

In order to keep the basil leaves bright green, place them on the pizza after baking it. If you place the basil leaves on the pizza while baking, they’ll turn black. You can see in the photos above that some of the basil is already getting a little black in spots, just because of the heat of the pizza!

Basil pizza

How to grow basil

Here are a few tips on how to grow basil at home, and how to store it! Growing your own basil is much cheaper and easier than buying it from the store. 

  • Plant it either in a raised bed garden or in pots on a sunny ledge. We recommend buying a start plant at your local farmers market or garden store. Then plant it in a pot with plenty of drainage (or your garden) — and make sure to prune it regularly by removing branches back to the first set of 2 leaves. For more on how to grow basil, see our posts How to Grow Basil and How to Harvest Basil.
  • Store cut basil in a mason jar with water. Find a large jar and add a bit of water in the bottom: then place the basil stems in cut side down and cover with a lid. Store in the refrigerator and it will last for 4 to 5 days, instead of just hours on the counter! For more, see How to Store Fresh Basil.
Basil pizza

This basil pizza recipe is…

Vegetarian.

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Basil Pizza

Everything Basil Pizza


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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices

Description

This epic basil pizza is all about BASIL. It’s got a thick layer of peppery basil pesto, and topped with loads of fresh basil leaves!


Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Make the pizza dough: Follow the Best Pizza Dough or Thin Crust 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. Prepare the toppings: Make the Best Basil Pesto (or Cashew PestoWalnut Pesto, or Vegan Pesto). Thinly slice the fresh basil (or keep it whole if you like).
  4. 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 this video for instructions. Then gently place the dough onto the pizza peel.
  5. Spoon the pesto onto the dough and spread it out with the back of the spoon. Then top with the mozzarella cheese in an even layer, then the Parmesan cheese. Add a pinch of dried basil and if you like, a sprinkle of kosher salt. (Most pesto is salty enough, but it depends on your pesto and cheese.)
  6. 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).
  7. Top with the basil leaves. Slice into pieces and serve immediately.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Basil pizza

Looking for more pizza recipes?

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

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