What Is the Right Way to Use Basil for Pizzas? – You Should Know

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After mozzarella, what is the first ingredient coming to your mind while making pizza? Let me guess – basil?

Italian essence or delicious dish, basil, offers everything we love in a pizza. In fact, the pairing between pizza and basil on top is hard to beat.

But do you know when to put basil on pizza to make the best out of it?

Fresh basil works great after the pizza is cooked as whole leaves or chopped. Otherwise, the heat from conventional ovens will disintegrate the leaves, lessening their flavor. But traditional firewood ovens can have basil before cooking. Dried basil can go at any time, before or after as sprinkles.

Learn more about basil, adding it, keeping its flavor intact, and what types of pizza you can make.

When to Put Basil on Pizzas?

when to put basil on pizza

There is no written rule to add basil to pizzas. But the different ways of adding this herb will impact your pizzas’ overall taste.

1. Adding Fresh Basil Before Baking

Do you know fresh one is the best basil for pizza?

Place them below the mozzarella if you add fresh basil to the pizza before cooking. With its fat and thickness, Mozzarella will keep the basil safe from shrinking in the heat.

2. Fresh Basil in Between Baking

When you have placed the pizza in the oven for baking, pause it halfway through the given time. At this point, add the basil. Thus, they won’t be affected much by the heat, instead, will be properly cooked.

Besides, you can add mozzarella on top for further protection and no cheese browning. 

3. Basil After Baking

Adding fresh basil after baking in a warm pizza is the best idea. Since conventional ovens take longer to cook, the basil burns or shrivels from heat quickly. Besides, the flavor is also lost from the heat.

4. For Wood-Fired Oven

In contrast to regular ovens, you should add fresh basil before cooking in the wood-fired oven. Since the cooking time is faster, the basil doesn’t get much heat to disintegrate. So, your basil will be freshly cooked but not destroyed.

What about Dried Basil?

Dried basil is already shriveled and has lost its freshness. It doesn’t have the texture or aroma of the fresh ones. So, adding them before or after cooking the pizza will not vary much.

Sprinkle a little on top whenever you want during the process. But you need to control the amount of dried basil depending on your taste. Better to use a little so that the pizza doesn’t become overpowering.

How to Use Basil-Infused Oil?

Some pizza chefs use basil-infused oil for more flavor. It will have a fresh and herby smell than dried ones. But oil is better used after cooking pizzas. Otherwise, it can change the texture or taste of the heat.

Italian pizzas have a drizzle of oil after the cooked pizza is taken out of the oven. The pizza’s warmth will enhance the oil’s aroma and flavor without making it greasy.

How to Use Basil on Frozen Pizzas?

How to Use Basil on Frozen Pizzas

Frozen pizza is already made; it only needs a little reheating. But how to add basil to it?

Add fresh basil to the sauce before baking and dried ones after baking. But fresh basil is not a good option for frozen pizzas. The leaves can damage by the heat and even turn bitter.

You can slice them for the pizzas rather than whole leaves. Add them before other herbs. Then you won’t have an overpowering taste from pizzas.

Basil on Pizza Sauce

If you are still unsure when to put basil on pizza as a topping, add it to the sauce.

When making the pizza sauce, use regular ingredients like fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, onions, seasonings and pepper, sugar, and fresh basil. Blend them with water, and you have a fantastic pizza sauce for a basil margarita pizza.

You can also use dried basil for the sauce, just a little sprinkle.

Difference Between Fresh and Dried Basil

Apart from the appearance, fresh and dried basil differ in other ways to distinguish your pizza flavors and textures. 

Fresh BasilDried Basil
It remains fresh with a stronger aroma.It is already dehydrated and has lost some of its aromas. 
Offers a bright green color to the pizza and a soft texture.Dried and brown shredded, crispy leaves.
Works as a pizza topping for its large size.Usually used as a sprinkle on top of pizzas or in the sauce. 
Cooking can dehydrate it.Cooking can add some moisture to them. 
You should add it to pizzas after cooking.It can be applied at any time during baking, before or after. 
It has a slightly sweet taste. It has a very mild flavor, similar to mint. 
You can use it as a whole or chopped.Added as small and crumbly basil flakes. 

Way of Using Basil in Pizzas

Way of Using Basil in Pizzas

While you must know when to add basil to pizza, you should also learn ways of using them.

The basil should add flavor and look elegant on top of the pizza. Dried ones are only sprinkled, but you can add the fresh leaves in different ways for pizzas.

1. Fresh Whole Leaves

No work, but this is the classic Margherita pizza basil. After the pizza is freshly baked, use whole leaves with stems removed. Wash and dry them before placing them all around the crust. 

2. Chiffonade Ribbons

If you don’t like basil too much, try cutting them into small, thin ribbons. The color will remain intact, making the pizza aesthetic.

Remove the stem, and stack the leaves together from smallest to largest. Now roll the leaves into a cylindrical shape. Use your knife to cut them across into thin slices. Better to add them after cooking when hot.

3. Torn or Chopped

When you are not in an aesthetic mood and want your pizza in a hurry, roughly chop or tear the leaves. Be careful not to bruise them.

What Changes does Basil Bring on Flavor?

What Changes does Basil Bring on Flavor

Defining the flavor of basil is difficult, but it will undoubtedly enhance the taste. In addition, the flavor depends on the texture and type of basil. In most cases, fresh or dried basil works as a garnish. 

The fresh ones add a little sweetness and a strong aroma. When dried from cooking, they taste slightly bitter to the pizza or the sauce. So, control the amount you add depending on the flavor. 

Advantages of Using Basil

Basil has an intense aroma and flavor, which is very pleasant. Not only for the taste, but they also have other benefits for use as a pizza ingredient. 

  • Keeps the pizza fresh with its freshness without causing any sogginess.
  • Offers an incredible aroma for a traditional touch on pizzas. 
  • A natural antioxidant that fights off diseases, including cancer.
  • Increases flavor of the sauce.

Types of Pizzas with Basil

You can make a variety of pizzas with basil. It isn’t limited to classic Margherita only.

Pizza Toppings 
Pizza MargheritaFresh basil, tomatoes, mozzarella, and olive oil.
Pizza CapreseFresh basil or basil-infused oil, mozzarella, tomatoes, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.
Pizza ParmigianaFried eggplant slices, fresh basil, grated Grana Padana cheese, tomato sauce, mozzarella, and olive oil. 
Pizza Ortolana Zucchini, eggplant, fresh basil, tomato sauce, olive oil, and mozzarella. 
American PizzaAny topping of choice, dried basil, and pizza sauce.
Pizza Proscuitto Sliced ham, tomato paste, burrata sauce, and dried or fresh basil.
Polo Ad Astra PizzaFresh basil, cajun chicken, red pepper, tomato sauce, onions, and mozzarella.

Some Commonly Used Basil Varieties for Pizzas

The world has countless types of basil that are not stacked yet in the kitchen. But here are some common ones that you can use for pizzas.

  • Holy basil
  • Thai basil
  • Sweet basil
  • Italian large leaf basil
  • Napotelano basil
  • Genevose basil
  • African blue basil.

Pizza Recipe with Basil

Basil is so flavorful that you don’t need many ingredients to make a delicious pizza.


  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cups olive oil
  • 2 Sliced tomatoes
  • 6 to 7 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup sliced or grated mozzarella cheese.


It’s easy.

  1. Make your dough with dry ingredients and warm water.
  2. Add a little olive oil and knead into a ball.
  3. Leave it to rest for at least 2 hours to rise.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  5. Now make the crust, and add the pizza sauce, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.
  6. Drizzle a little olive oil on top.
  7. Place the pizza into the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese melts and the edges are a fine golden color. 

Should We Use Oregano or Basil on Pizzas?

Should We Use Oregano or Basil on Pizzas

Oregano and basil are complementary to their flavors. You will get a minty feel from them, but basil is sweeter.

In case you want a substitute for basil, oregano is a great choice. Or they can work together on pizzas. However, we can’t use a lot of oregano, unlike basil, since the flavor is a bit overpowering.

For pizzas, fresh oregano is better, but you can also throw in dried oregano.

Adding Parsley to Pizzas

Parsley is another great pizza herb that can work as a basil or oregano substitute. It will add freshness and also a little bitterness to the pizza. Although we can chop them and spread them all over the pizza after cooking, parsley is more commonly used on pizzas as a pesto.


  • How to keep basil green on pizzas?

To keep the flavor and color of basil, don’t add them before baking. If you don’t want to eat raw leaves, add them in the middle of baking. Rather than whole leaves, you can also make basil chiffonade which tastes excellent and remains fresh and green. 

  • Is basil a traditional ingredient for pizzas?

The first-ever pizza made in Naples, Italy, had basil. From then on, our Neopolitan pizza has basil as the primary topping alongside mozzarella and sauce. Be it Margherita or any other pizza recipe with basil; there is a traditional feel.

  • When to add basil on pizzas to prevent burning?

Either wet the basil before placing it on pizzas or cover them under mozzarella to avoid burning from the heat. But the right method is to add them after baking in ovens. 


Basi has a fresh aroma and intense flavor to offer a zing to the pizza. But knowing when to put basil on pizza is crucial. Otherwise, the sole purpose of adding flavor is ruined. The leaves are delicate and can burn easily from extreme heat.

Regardless of how you want to add them, ensure they don’t burn. Not only does it ruin the taste, but it can also harm your health. Fresh leaves, on the other hand, offer various benefits.