This classic Caprese Salad is fresh, flavorful and so easy to make! Serve it as an appetizer or side dish alongside your favorite summer meals.
Caprese salad is a tomato, mozzarella and basil salad that’s bursting with fresh flavors. In this beautiful Italian salad, slices of juicy ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella are layered with basil leaves and then drizzled with olive oil. A sprinkle of salt and pepper is the perfect finishing touch for this simple yet elegant salad. You may think of Caprese salad as something you order out at a restaurant, but you can make a stellar Caprese at home in just minutes.
Caprese salad is best enjoyed right after making it. On a hot summer night, it makes a refreshing meal, served with some crusty bread and a crisp glass of wine. You can also serve the salad as an appetizer or side salad.
Caprese Salad Ingredients
The ingredient list is delightfully short and simple! You’ll need only 3 main ingredients for this salad recipe. For the best Caprese salad, use the best quality ingredients you can find. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Red Ripe Tomatoes: Use the best sweet, juicy, ripe tomatoes you can find. To ensure that your tomatoes have the best flavor and texture, store them at room temperature.
- Fresh Mozzarella Cheese: Be sure to use fresh mozzarella, not low-moisture mozzarella, which is the type of cheese you would shred to put on a pizza. Fresh mozzarella is soft and has a higher moisture content. It’s truly irresistible in this salad!
- Fresh Basil Leaves: You can store fresh basil similar to how you would keep a bouquet of flowers to help it last longer. Keep the basil leaves on the stems, give the ends of the stems a small trim, and store in a glass jar of water with just the stems in the water. Pick the basil leaves off of the stems right before you plan to use them.
- Olive Oil: A drizzle of good-quality olive oil adds richness and brings the flavors of the salad together.
- Salt & Pepper: Season to taste with salt and pepper. I like to use flaky sea salt or Kosher salt.
- Optional: Balsamic Reduction (Balsamic Glaze): A drizzle of balsamic glaze is completely optional, and an easy way to add another flavor dimension to the salad.
How to Make Caprese Salad
Making this fresh salad couldn’t be easier! Here are the steps:
- Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into 1/4-inch thick slices.
- Arrange the tomato slices, mozzarella slices and basil leaves in layers on a serving platter.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the salad. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- Serve as is, or drizzle with balsamic glaze and then serve.
Caprese flavors are so fun to play around with. This Caprese Pasta is a simple meal that’s perfect for a summer night. Try one of these Caprese salad ideas next:
- Make the salad with heirloom tomatoes in a variety of colors.
- Layer slices of ripe peaches in between the tomatoes, mozzarella and basil.
- Add avocado slices to the salad.
- Instead of making a layered Caprese salad, toss together cherry tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls and sliced basil in a salad bowl. Then drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper or lightly toss in Balsamic Vinaigrette.
- Add pasta to the variation above and toss lightly with balsamic dressing for a Caprese pasta salad.
- Make Caprese skewers by threading cherry tomatoes, mini mozzarella balls and basil leaves on short wooden skewers or toothpicks. Drizzle with Balsamic Glaze and serve.
What to Serve with Caprese Salad
More Easy Salad Recipes
If you love this Caprese salad, try one of these delicious salad recipes next.
- 1 ½ pounds red ripe tomatoes (3-4 medium)
- 12 ounce ball fresh mozzarella cheese
- fresh basil leaves (about 15 leaves)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and black pepper (to taste)
- balsamic glaze (optional)
- Slice the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella into ¼-inch thick slices. Arrange the tomato slices, mozzarella slices and basil leaves in layers on a serving platter.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the salad and sprinkle with salt and pepper. If desired, drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve.
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