Caprese Salad

5 from 19 votes

Tomato Caprese Salad is a simple classic summer salad made with very few fresh ingredients. Plus tips for the best presentation and flavor.

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During the summer, when tomatoes are at their freshest and basil is plentiful, tomato caprese salads are a must for me! This classic Italian salad only needs tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil, and it’s seasoned simply with salt and pepper and extra virgin olive oil. It’s so easy to make a caprese salad not to mention it’s fresh, simple, and so good!

Simple classic caprese salad on a serving platter
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When you need a quick appetizer or side dish, this Caprese salad is perfect! The fresh flavors of the ripe tomatoes pop and are balanced with the creamy mozzarella. It’s a simple dish that lets the freshness of its ingredients do all the talking.

“I’m obsessed with this recipe!! Thanks for the inspiration!” Mina

Recipe at a glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Italian
Primary Cooking Method: No-Cook
Dietary Info: Vegetarian, Low-Carb
Key Flavor: Fresh tomatoes and savory cheese
Skill Level: Easy


  • Straight from the Garden: Grab those ripe tomatoes, fresh-off-the-block mozzarella, and basil that smells like summer. It’s the simple things that count.
  • Just a Dash and Drizzle: Salt and pepper, then olive oil over the top. That’s all the dressing this Caprese salad needs to bring out its best.
  • No Fuss Assembly: Lay out your slices, tuck in the basil, and you’re practically done.
  • Ready in a Snap: This dish doesn’t like to wait, and neither will you. Best enjoyed the moment it’s made.
  • Anytime, Anyplace: Whether it’s a quick solo lunch or the start of a dinner party, this salad fits the bill, bringing a bit of sunshine to your table no matter the occasion.

Ingredients to Make Caprese Salad

  • Tomatoes: For the best flavor, make sure your tomatoes are perfectly ripe. I like to use plum tomatoes, which are sweet.
  • Mozzarella: Use fresh mozzarella slices for a wonderful, rich, and creamy bite. I like to use buffalo mozzarella, which is richer and creamier. Sometimes, they come pre-sliced, which is a bonus!
  • Basil: Fresh basil leaves add a wonderful freshness to each bite, and I love the color they add to the plate. It’s a must.
  • Salt and pepper: Add to taste, but make sure to use coarse salt and black pepper.
  • Oil: Use extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over the salad. It is much richer in flavor than regular olive oil and helps to meld all of the ingredients together.
  • Swap in Different Tomatoes: Cherry, heirloom, or even green tomatoes can add a fun twist and a splash of color.
  • Cheese Varieties: Beyond fresh mozzarella, try burrata for extra creaminess or smoked mozzarella for a hint of smokiness.
  • Herb Choices: While basil is traditional, feel free to mix in some arugula or spinach for a peppery or earthy note.
  • Balsamic Glaze: For a sweet and tangy finish, a drizzle of balsamic reduction can add depth to the lightness of the salad.
Ingredients to make the recipe


How to Make a Caprese Salad

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella and arrange them on a serving platter alternating between the two.

Alternating tomat and mozzarella slices on a serving platter

Place the basil leaves between the tomato and mozzarella slices, and sprinkle more on top. When you’re ready to serve, season with salt and black pepper and drizzle the oil on top.

Alternating tomato and mozzarella slices with basil on serving platter

Tips for Making the Best Caprese Salad

  1. Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella into evenly sized pieces so that you get even bites of everything. It really helps for the best presentation too
  2. Use room temperature tomatoes. Warmer tomatoes are so much more flavorful than those straight out of the fridge. Take them out at least an hour before you plan to make this recipe.
  3. Use small basil leaves. They have a more intense flavor than the larger ones.
  4. Add balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze. While it’s not traditional to add balsamic vinegar based on the original Italian recipe, it’s very common to include it in the U.S. I prefer balsamic glaze or reduced balsamic vinegar for its sweeter taste.

Frequently asked questions

Can you make a caprese ahead of time?

It’s best to make this salad when you want to serve it so that the tomatoes and mozzarella don’t dry out. If you want to get ahead of things, you can slice the tomatoes and cheese and plate them up a couple of hours ahead of time and keep it covered at room temperature. Add the basil, seasonings and oil just before serving.

What do you serve with this tomato salad?

This salad is perfect to serve by itself as an appetizer. Alternatively, you can serve it as a side alongside grilled chicken tenders or grilled salmon for a fresh and light main meal.

What else can you add to this salad?

The beauty of this Italian salad is it’s simplicity, but you can easily add other ingredients if you like. Avocado works really well as do kalamata olives, cucumbers and even pasta. You can also drizzle it with a balsamic reduction.

Close up shot of serving caprese salad

Slice up fresh mozzarella, grab the freshest ripest firm tomatoes, some garden picked basil and get ready for a mouth-watering caprese salad appetizer. It’s the perfect summer recipe!

More similar salad recipes

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Caprese Salad

Tomato Caprese Salad is a simple classic summer salad made with very few fresh ingredients. Plus tips for the best presentation and flavor.
5 from 19 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Appetizer
Calories 222
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
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  • Arrange the tomatoes and mozzarella slices on a large serving platter, alternating between them. Tuck the basil leaves between the tomato and mozzarella slices, and sprinkle more on top.
  • Season the tomatoes and mozzarella slices with salt and black pepper to taste and then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil on top.
  • Enjoy immediately.


Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. It’s best to consume it within 24 hours but it will keep well for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1g, Calories: 222kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 45mg, Sodium: 359mg, Potassium: 189mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 896IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 292mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine Italian
Course: Appetizer
5 from 19 votes (18 ratings without comment)

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  1. Mina says:

    I’m obsessed with this recipe!! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Yumna Jawad says:

      Thank you so much!!