This delicious Caprese Salad is a classic recipe made with five fresh ingredients – tomato, mozzarella, olive oil, basil, and balsamic glaze!
The freshness of this salad makes it one of my go-to favorites in the spring and summer. Garden ripe tomatoes and aromatic basil, along with creamy mozzarella drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, make this such a star salad or side dish. And the addition of my homemade balsamic glaze makes it even more delicious! The flavor combination and presentation make this such a crowd favorite dish!
With just a few fresh and simple ingredients, you can make this Caprese salad recipe in minutes. And it’s a dish you are sure to want to add to your menu!
How to Make Caprese Salad
You’ll only need a few fresh and delicious ingredients to make this salad recipe.
Tomatoes are the star of this show. Choose the freshest, fully ripe tomatoes that you can and then slice into 1/2-inch slices. The better the tomatoes, the better the salad!
What Type of Tomatoes Are Best for Caprese salad?
I think that heirloom tomatoes that are grown locally, whether in your own garden or from a local CSA or farmer, have the most flavor. But the best tomatoes for a Caprese salad is really subjective – you can use your favorite from Roma tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, and even cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes for a smaller tomato (like I use in my caprese salad skewers).
How to Store Fresh Tomatoes
Tomatoes are best when they are stored at room temperature. I do not advise refrigerating tomatoes.
I love to use a traditional mozzarella (Fior di latte) in my Caprese salad. Its texture holds up well to large tomato slices, like a beefsteak, without becoming watery. Fior di latte mozzarella is traditionally made of fresh, whole cow’s milk and has a lightly sweet taste. The texture is creamy, while still having a bit of chew.
If you are making your salad with cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, you will want to look for mozzarella balls or to cut your mozzarella into chunks so that they are relatively close in size to the tomato you are using.
If I am serving with Roma tomatoes, I enjoy using Burrata cheese from time to time. Burrata cheese is part of the mozzarella cheese family. It is a “pouch” of mozzarella cheese filled with shreds of mozzarella cheese and fresh cream. It has a looser texture than the traditional mozzarella mentioned above and a richer flavor.
How to Slice Fresh Mozzarella
Traditional Mozzarella slices easiest when firm and straight from the refrigerator. Make sure to use a very sharp knife or even use dental floss for slicing your mozzarella into beautiful slices. Once sliced, your mozzarella is perfect for layering.
I prefer to use fresh basil harvested from my herb garden in my Caprese Salad. It tastes so fresh and smells amazing! If you don’t grow your own, you can choose fresh basil from the farmer’s market or produce section of the grocery store.
How to Store Fresh Basil
Place the fresh basil stems into a cup or vessel of fresh water and keep at room temperature. This will keep the basil as fresh as possible until you are ready to assemble your salad. Do not refrigerate the basil.
How to Chiffonade Fresh Basil
To cut thin ribbons of basil, neatly stack the basil leaves together and roll the stack of leaves from one end to the other to form a tight cylinder. Then, using a sharp knife, slice the basil into thin ribbons.
I prefer to use an organic extra virgin olive oil. Use the highest quality olive oil that you can. A little drizzle of olive oil adds so much flavor to the salad.
Balsamic Vinegar or Balsamic Glaze
This recipe adds balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze to the traditional four ingredients for Caprese salad.
Balsamic vinegar is a dark, slightly sweet vinegar that is used in many sauces, dressings, and marinades. It adds acidity to the Caprese salad which helps to round out the flavors. Just a few drops are all that is needed if you use balsamic vinegar.
I love to reduce balsamic vinegar down to make a homemade balsamic glaze to use on a variety of dishes, including this Caprese salad. It only takes minutes to make and is so delicious, but you can use a favorite store-bought balsamic glaze if you wish. It adds a bit of sweet and tangy flavor to each bite of Caprese salad and enhances the presentation, as well as the deliciousness, of the dish.
1. Assemble the Salad in Layers
To start assembling the salad, simply place a slice of tomato onto a platter. Then add a slice of mozzarella, then repeat with another tomato, and so on, repeating until complete.
2. Top with Basil
Next, chiffonade the basil by rolling it tightly and cutting it into ribbons, then add to the top of tomatoes and mozzarella assembled.
Then drizzle the salad with olive oil. Finally, drizzle with Balsamic Glaze.
Serve the Caprese Salad immediately for the freshest, most scrumptious flavor.
More Favorite Caprese Recipes
Topping On Bart’s Best Hamburgers
Here’s how you make Caprese salad. It’s a classic that just works with so many meals or just right by itself on a hot summer day!
- 2 large tomatoes, washed and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- 12 ounces Mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, washed, rolled and sliced into thin strips
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, optional
- Assemble caprese salad by alternating tomato and mozzarella slices on a medium platter. Top the slices with strips of basil and drizzle with olive oil. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
- Serve immediately.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
If you love caprese salad as much as I do, you might want to try my caprese salad skewers that are perfect bite-sized appetizers when entertaining or for special occasions.
From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published in 2010.