Pizza Sauce Recipe

May 14, 2020

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The best homemade Pizza Sauce recipe! Once you try this super simple, perfectly flavorful recipe you’ll never look back!

Spread it over homemade pizza dough for the ultimate pizza or use it as a dip for breadsticks!

Homemade pizza sauce in a bowl with pizza dough in the background.

Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe

A DIY recipe that’s perfect for busy days! This quick and easy pizza sauce from scratch is made of basic ingredients, most all of which you likely already have on hand.

And no waiting hours for a sauce to simmer here. Instead we add tomato paste to thicken it up.

The best kind of recipe right? I’m all about simplifying things when possible for easy weeknight dinners.

This sauce is naturally vegan, has has intense tomato flavor, it’s deliciously seasoned with fresh garlic, and it has the best Italian herb taste.

It also has a great consistency because to me that is key to a perfect pizza sauce. I want the sauce to still exist once the pizza is done baking rather than all of it being absorbed into the crust.

What’s not to love here? It’s a delicious recipe you’ll have on repeat!

Pizza topped with red pizza sauce, mozzrella, tomatoes and herbs. It is cut into slices and sitting on parchment paper over a wooden pizza peel.

Pizza Sauce Recipe Ingredients

Only SIX ingredients to make this (plus salt and pepper)! They are:

  • Extra virgin olive oil: This type of olive oil has the most flavor but if standard olive oil is what you’ve got that will work too.
  • Garlic: The fresh garlic used here adds so much flavor to the sauce. If you want a more mild garlic flavor you can reduce to 1 tsp.
  • Tomato paste: A crucial ingredient. This adds a rich, concentrated tomato flavor and really thickens up the sauce.
  • Canned crushed tomatoes: I highly recommend this option vs. tomato sauce. I’ve done a side by side taste test and crushed tomatoes definitely won.
  • Dried oregano: A key seasoning in pizza sauce, don’t skip this herb.
  • Fresh basil: Another highlight to this sauce. It really livens up the flavors.
  • Salt and pepper: As always add this to taste, just be careful not to overdue it. Remember there’s salt in the dough and toppings as well.

Ingredients used to make shown including olive oil, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper, dried oregano, fresh basil, garlic, salt and pepper.

How to Make Pizza Sauce

Only THREE straighforward steps to prepare it:

  1. Saute garlic in oil in a saucepan just briefly.
  2. Stir in tomato paste and let cook 1 minute while stirring.
  3. Off heat stir in crushed tomatoes, oregano, fresh basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Collage image of steps to make pizza sauce in a saucepan.

How long does pizza sauce last in the fridge?

Pizza sauce should last about 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Can I use tomato sauce?

While it is possible to use tomato sauce the flavor isn’t as good as crushed tomatoes. So I do recommend sticking with the canned crushed tomatoes.

If you can’t find the standard size (15 oz) can of crushed tomatoes you can just measure out 1 3/4 cups from a larger (28 oz) can the reserve the rest for another recipe in the fridge or freezer (or make a double batch of this pizza sauce, making enough for 4 pizzas).

Overhead image of pizza sauce in a white bowl with a spoon in the sauce. Sauce is resting on a wooden plate over a marble surface.

Variations

  • If you don’t have access to fresh basil then yes you can use dried it just won’t taste quite as fresh. Use 1 1/2 tsp dried basil.
  • On the other hand you want to use all fresh herbs then that’s another option too, and it tastes delicious. Use 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh oregano.
  • Try it with fresh tomatoes. To do so, peel then seed and crush fresh Roma or San Marzano tomatoes in a food processor (measure out proper amount needed).
  • Substitute with whole canned Roma or San Marzano tomatoes if that’s what you have, crush in a food processor.
  • Add other Italian style seasonings. Herbs like thyme, marjoram, fennel or rosemary.
  • Stir some finely shredded or grated Parmesan or Romano cheese cheese right into the sauce for another boost of flavor.
  • Try the sauce with red pepper flakes to taste for a nice little kick of heat.
  • For an even thicker sauce use a little more tomato paste, if you want it thinner then reduce the tomato paste amount used.

How to Freeze Pizza Sauce

  1. Measure out the amount you’ll want for each pizza then pour into airtight food storage containers, make sure there is at least 1/2-inch at the top for sauce to expand as it freezes.
  2. Label container (I usually just use tape and a permanent marker) with the current date.
  3. Freeze up to 3 months.
  4. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator then the next day use over your pizza dough.

Can You Use Pasta Sauce for Pizza?

No, I don’t recommend it. Though marinara sauce and pizza sauce are both tomato based the two sauces actually have a few main differences:

  • One of the main differences is the consistency of the sauces. Marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce is thinner while pizza sauce is generally thicker (which makes for a non-soggy crust).
  • Pizza sauce usually includes an oregano based flavor whereas spaghetti sauce has more of a basil seasoned flavor.

Spooning homemade pizza sauce over a round of pizza dough.

Looking for a White Pizza Sauce Recipe?

Try the white Alfredo style sauce I use on this pizza.

Tips for the Best Pizza Sauce

  • Don’t skip the brief saute for the garlic. This removes the harsh bite, which would otherwise overpower the sauce. On the other hand don’t brown it or it will taste bitter!
  • Also saute the tomato paste to help rid it of that tin-like flavor. This also helps add a deeper tone to it, somewhat of a caramelization.
  • Use fresh basil and fresh garlic for best flavor.

More Favorite Sauce Recipes to Try

Homemade pizza sauce in a bowl with pizza dough in the background.
5 from 4 votes

Pizza Sauce

The best easy pizza sauce! Once you try this super simple, perfectly delicious recipe you'll never look back! Basic ingredients, quick method and it's packed with fresh flavor.
Makes nearly 2 cups (enough for 2 - 3 pizzas depending on how much sauce you like).
Servings: 12
Prep5 minutes
Cook2 minutes
Ready in: 7 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano (or 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and saute 10 seconds, then add tomato paste and stir garlic in.
  • Cook and stir for 1 minute, spreading paste along bottom of pan and stirring while cooking.
  • Remove from heat, stir in crushed tomatoes, oregano, fresh basil and season with salt and pepper to taste.* If using as a dip then heat sauce through.
  • Spread over pizza dough or store in the fridge up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Notes

  • *Not every can of crushed tomatoes and paste will taste the same, some may be more acidic than others. To balance this out you can add a pinch or two of sugar as needed.
  • For a little kick to the sauce add a few pinches of red pepper flakes.
  • If you love herby flavors you can also add in other herbs to taste such as thyme, rosemary, marjoram or fennel seed.
  • Pair this sauce with my pizza dough recipe for a perfect homemade pizza!
Nutrition Facts
Pizza Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 31 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 79mg3%
Potassium 147mg4%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 193IU4%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 18mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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17 Comments

  • Brandy Sullivan

    Your recipe is the best flavor wise, and also because you put the herb dried or fresh measurements…I hate guessing and never know…THANK YOU!

  • Joni

    This looks like a perfect way to use up all of the tomatoes from my garden! One question, can I cook as is and can it for later use?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I don’t know that it would have the proper acidity for canning unfortunately. I’m not too familiar with it.

    • Joe

      Joni, I was thinking the same thing. You would need to add bottled lemon juice to add acidity. Probably just a tbsp per jar. Problem would arise when we can, either with hot water bath or pressure canner. I’m afraid we would over cook it. I’m just gonna can extra jars of chunky tomatoes and use those to follow the recipe.

  • Simpson

    I like the way of making it with minimum ingredients 👍

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Sometimes just the best way to go! It lets the flavors of the main ingredients shine.

  • Carolyn Taley

    I definitely am going to try this and your homemade crust but I am not able to use the crushed tomatoes due to the seeds (my husband has diverticulitis)! How would I replace with tomato sauce?? THANK YOU!!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Just use equal parts tomato sauce, then if you want the sauce a little thicker you can add a little more tomato paste. Hope you both love it!

  • Charlie

    This is the right way to make pizza sauce. Minimal cooking/heating, initial only. The baking of the pie is the cooking process for everything, including the sauce. This along with your spot-on dough recipe and some high end parm/moz/rom+ and fresh herb toppings, etc. should produce a fine pizza pie!

  • Naomi B

    Oh my goodness, Jaclyn! I’m making pizza for dinner tonight and was just researching homemade pizza sauces when your email came in! Well an absolute no-brainer whose recipe I’ll be using! You haven’t failed me yet!