Caprese Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella

Italian caprese salad is a summer classic! Make it extra special with heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella. This is the BEST way to enjoy summer tomatoes.

Table Setting With a Platter of Caprese Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella All on a Yellow Placemat. a Plate With a Serving of Caprese Salad, Two Glasses of Water, Piece of a Baguette on the Table, and Small Bite Pieces on Various Parts of the Table

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Summer is tomato and basil season, and there is nothing easier to make than a fresh Caprese salad.

Caprese Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

What Are the Ingredients for Caprese Salad?

Caprese salad is made with just three basic ingredients—tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil, and perhaps add a dash of balsamic vinegar over the top to bring all the flavors together.

That's it! Easy.

Since there are so few ingredients, it's important that they are of the highest quality you can find. Use tomatoes grown and picked in season such as heirlooms (summer to late summer), fresh mozzarella (buffalo mozzarella if you can find it), and a high quality robust extra virgin olive oil.

What Are Heirloom Tomatoes?

Heirloom tomatoes are what tomatoes used to be before all of the variety and flavor were bred out of them so they could be more easily transported in trucks to supermarkets.

You can find them at farmers' markets, Whole Foods and many supermarkets these days, or you can grow your own. They come in many shades of red, yellow, orange, and green, and are somewhat oddly shaped compared to everyday beefsteak tomatoes.

Heirloom tomatoes bruise more easily than conventional tomatoes, so you have to handle them with a little more care. They cost more, too, but they're worth it! They're juicy and have wonderful flavor.

Olive Oil Drizzled Onto Platter of Caprese Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella, and in the Background, a Basil Plant

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

How To Check If Your Olive Oil Is Good

All oil goes rancid if left to sit around. So taste your olive oil! If it tastes like old peanuts or crayons, it's rancid—throw it out. If it doesn't taste like much of anything, and feels greasy in your mouth? It's lost all the quality attributes that allowed it to be labeled "extra."

A fresh high quality olive oil should taste fresh, and often peppery or grassy.

What To Serve With Caprese Salad?

Caprese salad is the quintessential summer salad, perfect for a light lunch, an alfresco weeknight dinner, or backyard gathering. It can be served as an appetizer or as a side dish, and goes well with anything coming off the grill, like grilled chicken, grilled steak, or grilled fish.

How Far Ahead Can You Make Caprese Salad?

Make Caprese salad just before you plan to serve it. Tomatoes can become mealy and lose their flavor if refrigerated for too long.

Soon after you salt the tomatoes they will start to release their juices, so if you have to make ahead, wait until serving to sprinkle with salt.

Platter of Caprese Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella Next to a Plate With a Serving, All on a Yellow Placemat

Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Got Tomatoes? Here Are 5 Ways to Use Them:

Caprese Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Servings 4 servings

One medium tomato (1/3 pound) yields enough for a salad for one person, a large tomato (3/4 to 1 pound)  yields enough for two people. So scale the recipe up or down accordingly. If you are serving 4 people, you'll need about 4 medium-sized tomatoes or 2 large tomatoes. (These proportions yield a generously portioned salad.)

For a completely different flavor, you can substitute the mozzarella with thin slices of Parmesan.

Feel free to omit the balsamic vinegar if you want highlight more of the flavor of the tomatoes.


  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4 to 1/3-inch thick (a serrated knife works best for slicing tomatoes)

  • Kosher salt or sea salt

  • 1 bunch fresh basil, leaves carefully chopped or torn as not to bruise

  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • Dash balsamic vinegar, optional

  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Salt the tomatoes:

    Sprinkle salt lightly over the tomato slices.

    Salt Sprinkled Onto Heirloom Tomato Slices on a Cutting Board With a Small Bowl of More Salt for Caprese Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella Recipe

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  2. Assemble the salad:

    Assemble the salad by arranging alternating slices of tomatoes, basil leaves, and mozzarella slices.

    Heirloom Tomato Slices Plated With Sliced Mozzarella and Topped With Basil Leaves (Some Whole, Some Broken into Pieces)

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

  3. Dress the salad:

    Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the salad. Add a dash of balsamic vinegar, if using. Sprinkle lightly with pepper.

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    Olive Oil Drizzled Onto Caprese Salad With Tomatoes, Basil, and Mozzarella Topped With Cracked Pepper

    Simply Recipes / Ciara Kehoe

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
245 Calories
17g Fat
11g Carbs
15g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 245
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 45mg 15%
Sodium 446mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 15g
Vitamin C 33mg 164%
Calcium 330mg 25%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 619mg 13%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.