Anchovies on pizza is an Italian classic! My search for the perfect homemade Anchovy Pizza with the best flavor combination is over! This recipe begins with a homemade pizza dough, spread with tomato sauce, and topped with cured anchovies, olives, capers, onions, and mozzarella cheese. With a few tips, you’ll learn how to make this mouthwatering anchovy pizza at home.
This best homemade anchovy pizza recipe is exactly what it claims to be. Anchovies on pizza? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS! It’s all about the saltiness and pungent aroma, balanced out by the sweet and tangy flavors from red onions, olive, capers, and tomato sauce. Once done correctly, anchovies add fabulous flavor to your pizza, and I’m confident you’ll love it!
Using good quality anchovies is rule No.1. Knowing when to add them to your pizza is another essential part of a perfect anchovy pizza!
Anchovies on Pizza
What is an anchovy pizza? This classic creation came out of Naples, Italy, right at the time pizza was invented. It’s basically a Napoletana style pizza where a few high-quality local anchovies are added to Margherita pizza.
You may wonder: Do anchovies taste good on pizza?
The short answer is YES! The first time I fell in love with anchovy pizza was in Naples a few years ago. If you use some poor-quality anchovies, it can ruin your anchovy pizza experience.
Today I’ll share with you all the tips and tricks to make the best anchovy pizza in your own kitchen, with a standard oven and simple ingredients (no special flours required)!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Pizza Dough – You can use store-bought or homemade pizza dough for this recipe. You can find how to make homemade pizza dough in the recipe.
- Tomato Sauce – Homemade tomato sauce is the best for pizza. For a quick version, you can simply puree some canned tomatoes, and mix it with pressed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. That’s it! You can also use store-bought pizza sauce or marinara sauce.
- Anchovy Fillet – It’s best to use high-quality anchovies from a jar.
- Mozzarella Cheese – Buy fresh high-quality mozzarella that’s not packed in water. Also avoid pre-shredded which tends to brown too fast and form an unattractive crust. I like whole milk mozzarella with low moisture as it melts better and stays moist and stretchy.
- Olives – I recommend the briny, natural kalamata olives. Cut them into thin slices.
- Red Onion – I used red onions in this recipe, and it adds the nice sweet caramelized flavor to the pizza. You can substitute white or yellow onions. Remember to cut them into thin slices.
- Capers – It lends a nice piquant sour flavor to the pizza.
- Parmesan Cheese and Basil for garnish
Now let’s talk equipment! For the pizza crust, you can make the homemade dough completely by hand. No need to use a stand mixer.
For baking the pizza, some pizza enthusiasts use a pizza stone and pizza steel. If you don’t have them, a cast-iron skillet is a perfect tool to use. Alternatively, a regular pizza pan or baking sheet works well too.
How to Make Anchovy Pizza
1. Make Pizza Dough: (You can skip this step if you use store-bought pizza.) In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until bubbly. Mix together flour, salt, olive oil and yeast mixture with a wooden spoon until the dough just begins to come together. Knead the dough by hand for about 5-8 minutes until it’s soft and elastic. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm and dry area for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
2. Preheat Oven and Prepare Other Ingredients: Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if you use one) to 450°F. In the meantime, get other ingredients ready. Cut mozzarella cheese into small cubes, and cut the red onion into thin slices. Set aside anchovies, caper, and olives (you can cut olives into slices).
3. Prepare the Pizza Crust: Stretch the dough by gently flattening the dough ball into a 12-inch circle. Transfer it to a non-stick pizza pan and use a fork to poke holes across the surface of the dough.
4. Assemble the Pizza: Brush the dough with olive oil and spread tomato sauce onto the pizza crust. Add mozzarella cheese, distributing it evenly over the entire surface. Then add sliced olives, red onions, and capers on top of the cheese. (Don’t add anchovies at this step).
5. Bake the Pizza: Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes first, and take the pizza out and add anchovies. Bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese is melted, and the crust is golden brown.
6. Serve: Remove the pizza carefully from the oven, and transfer to a wooden cutting board. Drizzle the top with olive oil, and garnish with grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
Tips for the Best Anchovy Pizza
- If you prefer a crispy crust, it’s important that your pizza dough is very thin when it goes into the oven. The edges can be slightly thicker. If you’d like to have a thick and fluffy crust, you can adjust the thickness accordingly.
- I recommend preheating your oven to a very high temperature. I like to set it to 450°F. If you use a baking stone or cast-iron skillet, allow it to preheat for about 30 minutes. Once you put the pizza in the oven, it should cook properly in 13-15 minutes.
- Use high-quality anchovies (ideally from a jar). This is the secret to the best anchovy pizza. Only add them for the last 5 minutes of baking.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the Best Anchovies to Use?
The Best anchovies come in a jar, not a can! The most important thing for this recipe is to use good quality anchovies that don’t smell weird or taste fishy. These Spanish fish are usually packed in olive oil with a tender and meaty texture.
They are often more expensive than canned anchovies, but taste so much better. You can find them in local supermarkets, or order them online from Amazon.
When to Put Anchovies on Pizza?
I recommend adding anchovies for the last 5 minutes in the oven. This will allow them to heat up and get integrated into the pizza.
If you add them with other toppings at the very beginning, the baking process can change the delicate texture and complex flavor of anchovies. Sometimes they can be reduced to “little skidmarks of salt”.
How about Anchovy and Pineapple Pizza?
For some people, anchovy and pineapple pizza is food made in the heaven. They claim there’s nothing better than the sweetness from the pineapple to cut through a salty anchovy pizza. But for others, it’s easy to hate with this flavor combination. So if you are a Hawaiian Pizza lover, go ahead and add some pineapple slices to your anchovy pizza!
If You Love This Recipe Try These Out:
If you tried this recipe, let me know how your anchovy pizza turns out in the comments below!
Best Anchovy Pizza Recipe (+VIDEO)
Homemade Pizza Dough:
- 1 packet active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
- 1 cup warm water 105-110°F (40-43°C)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for brushing)
- 1/3 cup tomato sauce (see recipe notes for homemade tomato sauce)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese cubed
- 6 anchovy fillet (It’s best to use high-quality anchovies from a jar)
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives sliced
- 1/4 medium-sized red onion thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon capers
- optional parmesan cheese and basil for garnish
- Prepare Pizza Dough: In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes until bubbly. Mix together flour, salt, olive oil and yeast mixture with a wooden spoon until the dough just begins to come together. (It will look shaggy and dry, but don’t worry).
- Scrape the dough onto a cutting board and knead the dough by hand for about 5-8 minutes until it’s soft and elastic. (You may need to dust the dough so that it’s not sticking to the surface of your cutting board). Place the dough in a greased mixing bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm and dry area for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. (If you are preparing in advance, see the recipe note for freezing instructions.)
- Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven (and pizza stone if you use one) to 450°F for about 30 minutes.
- While the oven is preheating, get other ingredients ready. Cut mozzarella cheese into small cubes, and cut the red onion into thin slices. Set aside anchovies, caper, and olives (you can cut olives into slices). If you make your own tomato sauce, simply whisk together pureed tomatoes, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
- Assemble the Pizza: Stretch the dough by gently flattening the dough ball into a 12-inch (30cm) circle. Transfer it to a non-stick pizza pan, cast-iron skillet, or pizza stone. Use a fork to poke holes across the surface of the dough.
- Brush the dough lightly with olive oil (about 1 teaspoon). Using a large spoon, add the tomato sauce onto the pizza dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. Spread the sauce evenly and thinly with the back of the spoon. Add cubed mozzarella, distributing it evenly over the entire surface.
- Add sliced olives, red onions, and capers on top of the cheese. (Don’t add anchovies at this step).
- Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes (the pizza is par-baked now). Take the pizza out and add anchovies.
- Bake for another 5 minutes until the cheese is melted, and the crust is golden brown. (You’ll know it’s ready when the cheese is bubbling and the crust is getting golden!)
- Remove the pizza carefully from the oven, and transfer to a wooden cutting board. Drizzle the top with olive oil, and garnish with grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Slice and serve immediately.
- If preparing the dough in advance, you’ll let it rise first. Then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer-safe bag. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours or frozen for 3 months. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator, and bring it to room temperature before using (let it sit in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap for at least 30 minutes).
- Homemade Tomato Sauce: simply mix together 1/2 cup pureed canned tomatoes, 2 tsp minced garlic, 1/2 tsp olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste.
Editor note: Originally published May 28, 2020 and updated September 10, 2020.