Classic Italian Pizza Toppings: Ideas for Your Homemade Pizza

Once you've mastered making your own pizza dough at home, the real fun begins: exploring all the endless types you can make. Of course, part of the beauty of pizza is the almost-limitless opportunity for creativity with the toppings, but here are some standard topping combinations commonly found in Italy to get started—and inspire your own creations. 

This is also a handy guide for those planning a trip to Italy, to help you with ordering in pizzerie, because it's not always obvious which type of pizza comes with what, and some pizze in Italy can be quite confusing to the average American—for example, a pepperoni pizza in Italy (note that there is only one "p") is a pizza topped with bell peppers, not spicy salame (which is called salamino piccante).

Italians usually drink beer with pizza, but if you're looking for a wine to pair with it, try a light, zesty red, for example, a Chianti d'Annata, or a Valpolicella Classico, or something even zestier, for example, sparkling red Lambrusco.

  • 01 of 08

    Pizza Margherita: the Original, Created for the Queen

    Margherita pizza
    Michele Falzone/Getty Images
    • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or chopped canned tomatoes
    • 1 ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced into rounds
    • 3 to 4 fresh basil leaves

    Spread the tomato sauce on the dough, distribute the rounds of mozzarella evenly, drizzle with a few drops olive oil, add the basil and bake (some people add the basil after baking).

  • 02 of 08

    Pizza ai Quattro Formaggi: Four-Cheese Pizza

    Four-cheese pizza
    Lara Hata / Getty Images
    • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or chopped canned tomatoes
    • 1/4 pound shredded mozzarella
    • 1/3 cup (each) shredded Pecorino Romano, gorgonzola, groviera (Swiss Cheese), and fontina or asiago
    • 1 black olive (optional)

    Spread the tomato, and sprinkle it with the cheeses; the pizza will look almost white. Place the olive in the center (if using) and bake.

  • 03 of 08

    Pizza Marinara: the Garlicky Sailor's Delight

    Pizza marinara
    Peter Van den Bossche/Creative Commons
    • 2 cloves (more or less to taste) finely sliced or minced garlic
    • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or chopped canned tomatoes.

    Spread the sauce over the pizza, sprinkle the garlic, drizzle with olive oil and bake.

    This super-simple pizza is cheeseless (perfect for vegans or the lactose-intolerant) and might also be sprinkled with a bit of oregano.

  • 04 of 08

    La Napoletana: Another Cheeseless Classic

    La Napoletana
    Garrett Ziegler /Flickr / CC By 2.0
    • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or chopped canned tomatoes
    • 3 to 4 anchovy filets (or more, to taste)
    • 1 tablespoon or so rinsed salted or pickled capers
    • A dusting of oregano
    • A few black oil-packed olives (optional) 

    Spread the tomato sauce over the pizza, dot it with the remaining ingredients, drizzle with a few drops olive oil and bake.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Pizza Prosciutto Crudo e Rucola: Pizza With Prosciutto and Fresh Arugula

    Pizza With Prosciutto and Fresh Arugula
    Sarka Babicka/Getty Images
    • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or chopped canned tomatoes
    • 1 ball fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced into rounds
    • 1 to 2 cups fresh arugula
    • 4 to 5 slices of prosciutto

    Spread the tomato sauce on the dough, distribute the rounds of mozzarella evenly, drizzle with a few drops olive oil, bake. After baking, top with arugula and whole prosciutto slices.

    This fantastic pizza is basically a margherita with a generous handful of fresh, peppery wild arugula (rocket in the U.K.) and whole slices of prosciutto added on top after baking.

  • 06 of 08

    Pizza Prosciutto e Funghi: Prosciutto and Mushrooms

    Prosciutto and mushroom pizza
    Rick Poon/Getty Images
    • 1 cup finely sliced Champignon mushrooms
    • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or chopped canned tomatoes, 2 to 3 ounces finely sliced ham, and 1/4 pound shredded mozzarella.

    Spread the tomato sauce, sprinkle the other toppings over it, drizzle with a few drops olive oil and bake.

  • 07 of 08

    Pizza Quattro Stagioni: the Four Seasons

    Pizza Quattro Stagioni
    Monty Rakusen/Getty Images
    • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or chopped canned tomatoes
    • 1/4 pound shredded mozzarella
    • 3 to 4 canned artichoke hearts, quartered
    • 5 to 6 black brine-packed olives
    • 1/2 cup finely sliced mushrooms
    • 2 ounces finely sliced ham, shredded
    • Optional: grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

    Spread the tomato and the mozzarella, arrange the other four toppings each in its separate quarter of the pizza; sprinkle with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (if using), drizzle with a few drops olive oil and bake.

  • 08 of 08

    Pizza Vegetariana: Vegetables Galore

    Pizza vegetariana
    Kerin Forstmanis / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Lots of variabilities, though the vegetables used are almost always cooked: stewed peppers, stewed or grilled eggplant or zucchini, artichoke hearts, spinach, etc. 

    • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or chopped canned tomatoes
    • 1/4 pound shredded mozzarella
    • Whatever vegetables you prefer 

    Spread the tomato sauce, arrange the vegetables on top. Drizzle with a few drops olive oil and bake.