Caprese Salad Recipe

Classic Caprese salad is a flavorful, refreshing appetizer that's great for entertaining guests! It's a beautifully presented salad with layers of fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, basil, sea salt and pepper, and drizzles of olive oil and balsamic reduction. Plus, this show-stopping dish is easy to prepare at a moment's notice.

Make a homemade balsamic reduction and drizzle on the caprese salad. (Image: Julia Mueller)

Things You'll Need

  • 5 large vine-ripened tomatoes (or medium heirloom tomatoes)

  • 16 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices

  • 20 small fresh basil leaves

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt, to taste

  • 1/8 tsp black pepper, to taste

  • 2 - 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Gather your ingredients for the caprese salad (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 1

Slice the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese into 1/4-inch thick slices.

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella cheese (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 2

Arrange the sliced tomatoes and mozzarella cheese on a serving dish.

Arrange tomatoes and cheese on a platter (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 3

Drizzle 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over the sliced tomatoes and mozzarella. Use a quality oil for optimal flavor.

Drizzle the tomatoes and cheese with olive oil (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 4

Sprinkle the tomato and mozzarella slices with sea salt and black pepper. Garnish with small fresh basil leaves.

Note: Be sure to use the smaller basil leaves rather than the large ones so as not to overpower the tomatoes and cheese. If you don't have small basil leaves, simply chop large leaves and sprinkle them on.

Sprinkle the tomatoes and mozzarella with salt, pepper, and fresh basil leaves. (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 5

Heat 1/4 to 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar in a small skillet and bring it to a full boil. Allow mixture to boil, stirring occasionally, until it has reduced to 1/2 or 1/3 of its original volume. Remove from heat and allow the reduction to cool before pouring it over the caprese salad.

Make a homemade balsamic reduction and drizzle on the caprese salad. (Image: Julia Mueller)

Step 6

Serve the salad with a serving spoon or fork and small appetizer plates. You can also serve with toasted baguette for a finger food approach!

Classic Caprese Salad (Image: Julia Mueller)


While this caprese salad is amazing as is, it is also amazing with toasted nuts, seeds and a sprinkle of feta or blue cheese. Even sliced apples and pears are a great addition! Keep it classic or change it up to your heart's delight using additional seasonal ingredients.