Italian food is known for its multidimensional layers of flavor. Recipes are labored over in this cuisine, and sauces bubble away for hours.
This is true for pizza sauces as well, with traditions for pizza making incorporating the best herbs and spices for pizza.
The best ingredients for pizza help balance and lift every slice into a delicious bite. Because pizza is such a rich meal, herbs and spices help cut through the heaviness of gooey cheese and chewy crust to deliver an assortment of different tastes.
Below are my eight favorite herbs and spices for pizza. These flavors are vital for making great pizza and Italian food in general!
Herbs And Spices for Pizza
Add these spices, herbs, and seasonings to your pizza sauce, dough, or sprinkle them on top!
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.
Herbs And Spices for Pizza
- Black Pepper
- Crushed Red Pepper
Herbs and spices provide the crucial foundation for all pizzas.
While not everyone will add crushed red pepper or rosemary to their recipe, many varieties of pizzas beautifully utilize many of these best herbs and spices for pizza. Try thyme or parsley to elevate your homemade recipe.
Learn about the different kinds of pizza crust you can use to make pizza at home!
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