Savor a symphony of flavors as we delve into the fascinating world of herbs and spices that take pizza to new culinary heights. We’ll discover the ideal blend of natural gems to elevate your pizza-eating experience from average to spectacular on this olfactory voyage. Every herb and spice, from the earthy warmth of basil to the powerful kick of oregano, contributes something special to the creation of a culinary masterpiece. Come along as we reveal the mysteries of the finest herbs and spices, creating a flavorful harmony that will entice your palate and leave you yearning for that ideal slice. Prepare yourself for a taste experience that will change the way you perceive pizza.
Garlic provides a foundational flavor for most varieties of pizza and Italian food in general. This pungent root beautifully caramelizes to make a rich base for any pizza sauce, from a robust tomato sauce to a creamy white sauce. Minced garlic is also often deep-fried or freeze-dried and used as a topping on finished pizzas. You can also use garlic powder or garlic salt. Learn about the different types of garlic you can use!
Oregano is an aromatic, shrub-like herb that lends a beautiful richness to tomato sauces and pizza. This herb smells earthy and grassy, providing a strong foundation along with garlic. Oregano is commonly described as warm and peppery. Without oregano, pizza sauce loses its signature depth of flavor.
Basil is one of the most recognizable herbs associated with pizza. Basil is the herb sometimes featured in its whole-leaf form on top of the simple Margherita pizza. It also lends a peppery flavor to pizza, but it leans more sweet than oregano. Pizzas featuring pesto sauce use a large volume of basil to make pesto.
Thyme is a floral herb used sparingly to provide balance to tomato sauces used in pizza. This herb perfectly plays off of sweet basil and earth oregano. Thyme is a strong and perfume-like herb used often in French cooking. When used too heavily, thyme can make recipes take on a synthetic flavor.
Like thyme, rosemary is a strong and aromatic herb that must be used with care. This spiky herb, often used in rustic chicken and fish dishes, lends a signature flavor to pizzas. When too much rosemary is present in a recipe, the dish can taste like perfume or heavily aromatic. Like many of the best herbs and spices for pizza on this list, too much rosemary can ruin a pizza recipe.
Black pepper works wonderfully to balance sweet and juicy pizza sauces and rich, meaty toppings. Freshly ground black pepper provides a slight spice and bitterness to cut into robust mushrooms and gooey cheese. Like many of the best herbs and spices for pizza, a little goes a long way to promote a good balance.
Crushed Red Pepper
Crushed red pepper sits on the pizzeria tables in many iconic pizza restaurants around the country. These commonplace red and brown flakes provide small pockets of spice to rich and fatty pizzas. Sprinkle this spice very sparingly after the pizza is finished and is cooling for the best effect.
While parsley may seem unnecessary, this herb serves a purpose. Parsley delivers a fresh, grassy flavor that relieves the heaviness of most slices of pizza. The next time a sprig of parsley appears on your plate, tear it up and add it to your pizza instead of putting it to the side! You’ll be glad for the taste of fresh greens.