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Classic Caprese Salad Recipe

You just found the best tomato caprese salad recipe. This version uses that perfect combination of balsamic glaze and oil to get new new favorite appetizer.

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serving mozzarella and tomato salad with fresh basil leaves

What Makes This the Best Caprese Salad

Fresh salads are always present at my parties, and this classic caprese salad recipe is a mainstay! 

You only need a handful of ingredients, so I always make sure to use the best of the best — ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, high-quality olive oil and balsamic, and, of course, large, fresh basil leaves.

One of the most common culprits for soggy, mushy salads is adding the toppings or dressing too early. I drizzle the olive oil and balsamic glaze on top just before serving, which will give you the best caprese salad recipe ever!

What is Caprese Salad?

Caprese salad is a classic Italian dish made with fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil leaves, olive oil, and balsamic glaze. The ingredients are typically arranged in layers that alternate slices of tomatoes with slices of cheese and whole basil leaves. The whole thing is topped with olive oil and balsamic.

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ingredients needed to make caprese salad

Tomato Caprese Salad Ingredients

  • Mozzarella – fresh
  • Tomatoes – ripe
  • Basil – fresh
  • Olive Oil – high quality
  • Balsamic Glaze
  • Salt & Pepper – to taste

What are the Best Tomatoes for Caprese Salad?

The best tomatoes for the best caprese salad are, above all, ripe, juicy, and fresh. I’m using Brandywine, but you could also use heirloom tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, or even green tomatoes. 

They should be firm (but will yield slightly to pressure when you squeeze them), have a vibrant color, and smell sweet.

How to Make Caprese Salad with Balsamic

A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.

STEP ONE: Slice the mozzarella (if not using pre-sliced) and the tomatoes. Aim for as close to ¼ inch thick slices as you can get. Clip and wash the fresh basil, and choose the largest leaves you can find.

adding sliced mozzarella cheese and tomato slices on a white platter

STEP TWO: Layer the mozzarella and tomatoes on a plate and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. 

drizzle mozzarella caprese salad with olive oil and season with salt and pepper

STEP THREE: Drizzle the balsamic glaze and add the basil on top just before serving, then enjoy!

drizzle balsamic glaze

Classic Caprese Salad Recipe Variations

  • Use mini mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes instead and create some caprese salad skewers for a fun — and portable — twist. Simply thread the tomatoes, cheese, and fresh basil onto wooden skewers and serve with the balsamic glaze on the side.
  • Toss cooked pasta with diced tomatoes and mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, and balsamic for Caprese pasta salad. It’s a great update to classic pasta salad recipes.
  • Break out your barbecue and grill up thick slices of tomatoes with mozzarella on top until lightly charred and a little bit smoky. Serve with basil and balsamic on top to make a hot, grilled version of tomato caprese salad.
  • Add some day-old crusty bread cubes and sliced red onion along with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and balsamic glaze for caprese panzanella.
  • Toast some baguette and top it with ricotta, tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to create a caprese bruschetta. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze and olive oil for a heartier side dish or even an appetizer.
caprese salad with balsamic glaze

How to serve this Recipe for Caprese Salad

This recipe for caprese salad is best served fresh the day you make it. That said, if you want to slice and layer the tomatoes and mozzarella a day in advance, you can store it in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy it. Add the olive oil, balsamic, and basil just before serving.

Tomato Caprese salad tastes great alongside so many different dishes: grilled chicken, steak, or vegetables, spaghetti, lasagna, or of course, garlic bread

How to Store Tomato Caprese Salad

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1-2 days. I can’t say enough how much better it is fresh! 

While the individual ingredients do keep well, the cheese and tomatoes have a tendency to go soggy when everything is combined. You can extend the shelf life if you store everything separately.

add fresh basil leaves to tomato caprese salad

Best Caprese Salad Recipe FAQs

Why is Caprese salad good for you?

Caprese salad is good for you because it’s made with fresh, wholesome ingredients.

Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A and C, which can support your immune system and skin. Mozzarella cheese is packed with protein and calcium, and basil is full of antioxidants. Plus, olive oil has been shown to support heart health!  

Is balsamic glaze the same as balsamic vinegar?

Balsamic glaze and balsamic vinegar are similar, but they aren’t the same thing. Balsamic vinegar has a thin consistency, is less sweet, and is typically used as a standalone ingredient. 

Balsamic glaze is balsamic vinegar that has been cooked down to a syrupy consistency. It’s thicker and sweeter and is often used as the finishing touch to dishes like this caprese salad recipe.

easy tomato caprese cheese salad

What can I use instead of balsamic glaze?

If you don’t have a balsamic glaze, you can substitute it with a simple balsamic vinaigrette. Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then drizzle it on top of the tomatoes and mozzarella. Or, an aged balsamic vinegar would taste great if you happen to have some on hand!

Can I add other ingredients to my Caprese salad?

Yes, you can other ingredients to your caprese salad recipe if you’d like. As noted, traditional versions stick to tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and a balsamic glaze. But I’ve added avocado, prosciutto, arugula, and pine nuts in the past and it was delicious!

serving mozzarella and tomato salad with fresh basil leaves

Caprese Salad with Balsamic

Samantha Erb
Enjoy a burst of Italian flavor with this easy-to-make tomato caprese salad, a perfect blend of juicy tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, fresh basil, and a rich balsamic glaze.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 204 kcal


  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella
  • 4 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic glaze


  • If the mozzarella does not come pre-sliced, slice the mozzarella.
  • Slice the tomatoes in ¼ inch slices as evenly as possible.
  • Clip and was the fresh basil only ripping the largest leaves.
  • Layer the mozzarella and tomatoes on a plate.
  • Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper per taste.
  • When the salad is ready to be served, drizzle the balsamic glaze over the salad.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • I used Brandywine tomatoes, but you can use whatever tomatoes are fresh and in season. 


Serving: 8gCalories: 204kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 13gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 359mgPotassium: 198mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1054IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 298mgIron: 1mg
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About Samantha

I’ve always had a love of cooking and creating new recipes, so it only made sense to create a food blog so I could share those recipes with you. This site is designed to provide easy and flavorful recipes with as little ingredients as possible. That means you still get great flavor combinations without all that extra time and effort. Read more...

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