The goal of a good pizza sauce is to balance the natural sweetness of the tomatoes with the rich, savory olive oil, pungent garlic and the right amount of salt.
My philosophy is, when there are only a few ingredients, make them count! If you only need a few ingredients to make the best pizza sauce, why not opt for high quality so the simple flavors can shine? This is a good time to break out the good olive oil you’ve been saving for a “special occasion.” It really does make a difference you can taste. While some places simmer the sauce to bring it together I leave it as is and let the sauce cook while in the oven, pizza oven or grill. When the homemade pizza sauce is left uncooked the fresh tomato flavor can shine on the pizza.
Crushed San Marzano Tomatoes – San Marzano are a type of tomato and region of Italy famed for their incredible flavor, vibrant red color and the fact that they have less seeds than Roma tomatoes. It’s a DOP product (meaning designation of origin protection, sometimes also referred to as PDO) and subject to imitation. The tomatoes can now be found grown in the US but I prefer to look for the imported cans from Italy. My favorite brands to look for are Bianco DiNapoli or San Merican (a common brand found in US grocery stores). I use crushed tomatoes in this recipe though you can also buy whole peeled tomatoes and crush them by hand or use an immersion blender.
Garlic – Mincing cloves of garlic freshly peeled will always be the best. Pre-minced jars of garlic don’t taste the same. It loses a lot of the powerful garlic flavor when it’s jarred from soaking in liquid with additives over time.
Olive oil – Extra virgin olive oil is unrefined and made from pure, cold-pressed olives, giving it more of a true olive taste. It’s used to enhance the flavor of the tomatoes and infuse a rich flavor into the simple sauce.
Salt – A little coarse kosher salt goes a long way. Iodized salt granules are much smaller and dissolve instantly compared to larger kosher salt granules. Overall you end up using less salt with kosher plus the flavor is cleaner.
How to Make Pizza Sauce
Mix ingredients. Add the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and salt to a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Let sit. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour hour before using (it’s ok if you don’t – it just gives it time for the flavors to marry together).
Use or store! Use as needed on your favorite pizza recipe.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the Best Way to Store Leftover Sauce?
Save any leftover sauce refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week or in resealable plastic bags in the freezer for up to 3 months.
How is Pizza Sauce Different from Spaghetti Sauce?
Typically pizza sauce is uncooked, made with simply crushed canned tomatoes while pasta sauce like marinara is cooked. In spaghetti sauce the tomatoes are slowly simmered with aromatics like fresh or dried basil and oregano with sautéed onions and garlic. If all you have on hand is a red sauce like marinara it will do in a pinch but it’s worth it to make a batch of this easy recipe! After all, it only takes 5 minutes!
Can I add herbs?
Yes, of course! Adding dried basil or dried oregano will enhance the flavor but I prefer to add the herbs directly on the pizza rather than in the sauce so the flavor of each pizza is customizable. A pinch of red pepper flakes are great for a bit of heat.
My favorite pizza recipes:
I use this homemade pizza sauce recipe wherever I am making pizza, especially when paired with torn mozzarella and fresh basil leaves. Simply spread the sauce over the pizza crust! Here are a few of my favorite pizza recipes and follow me on Instagram for more updates: