How to make pizza dough: PizzaExpress gives up its secret Margherita recipe

The perfect lunch to make with the family

PizzaExpress fans will know that not much beats a good old-fashioned Margherita – and now the popular restaurant chain has shared its top-secret recipe. We know, it's BIG news. After much demand on their social media channels, PizzaExpress have divulged exactly what goes into making the iconic pizza, which has been on their menus since 1965. A crisp-yet-soft base, tomato passata, melted mozzarella and fresh basil – now we're hungry. Try cooking it for yourself…


Makes one large pizza, preparation time 40 minutes, cooking time 10 to 12 minutes

  • 150ml warm water – around 27 degrees
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 15g fresh yeast (or 2 level teaspoons of dry yeast)
  • 225g of plain flour (plus extra for working)
  • 1.5 teaspoons of salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil (and a little for drizzling)
  • 80g of PizzaExpress passata (or any tomato passata you have)
  • 70g mozzarella (or any cheese you have)
  • Pinch of oregano
  • 1 Basil leaf (optional)
  • Black pepper


Make your own PizzaExpress Margherita!

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 Step 1

Preheat the oven to 230°C

Step 2

Add the sugar and crumble the fresh yeast into warm water. Allow the mixture to stand for 10 to 15 minutes in a warm place (we find a windowsill on a sunny day works best) until froth develops on the surface.

Step 3

Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture and olive oil. Lightly flour your hands, and slowly mix the ingredients together until they bind.

Step 4

Generously dust your surface with flour. Throw down the dough and begin kneading for 10 minutes until smooth, silky and soft.

Step 5

Place in a lightly oiled, non-stick baking tray (we use a round one, but any shape will do!)

Step 6

Spread the passata on top making sure you go to the edge. Evenly place the mozzarella (or other cheese) on top, season with the oregano and black pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil.

Step 7

Cook in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes until the cheese slightly colours. When ready, place the basil leaf on top and tuck in!


For more inspiration and information on PizzaExpress’ ‘Cook at Home’ range available in most UK supermarkets, just visit

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