This pizza sauce recipe is easy to make and tastes fresher than store bought. Homemade pizza sauce is much lower in sodium than most store brands, too.
Why you’ll love it: You probably have everything you need to make homemade pizza sauce in your pantry.
How long it takes: 5 minutes to prep, and 30 minutes to simmer
Equipment you’ll need: blender or immersion blender, saucepan
Servings: makes 2 cups
What would pizza be without the sauce? A good Italian style pizza sauce can make or break a pizza. It’s so disappointing when your pizza tastes like it was made with plain tomato sauce out of a can or worse. Some pizzas have such a skimpy amount of sauce that you can’t even taste it.
When you make your own pizza, you want to be sure that your sauce is amazing. Why go through all the work otherwise? That’s why you’ll love this homemade pizza sauce recipe. It’s easy and turns out perfectly every time. I’ve tweaked and tasted it until it’s just right.
Of course, the best part of making your own is that you can tweak and taste it until it’s just right for you. That’s the beauty of cooking!
About This Recipe
This sauce is really easy to make. I bet you have everything you need to make homemade pizza sauce in your pantry right now: onions, garlic, canned tomatoes, dried basil, olive oil, and seasonings. Throw all the ingredients in a blender, pour the sauce in a pan, and simmer for 30 minutes .
And don’t wear white while you’re stirring. And definitely don’t cook in your birthday suit.
Ouch. (Not that I would do that or anything.) Partially cover the pan to contain the spatters (my mother speaking). Or go to the dollar store and get one of those wire mesh pan covers.
This recipe makes 2 cups of sauce, easily enough for two pizzas, depending on the size of the pizzas and how much sauce you like. You can make it a day ahead to use later or freeze half to use another time. Enjoy!
I’ll get you started here and give you lots of helpful tips. Look for the printable recipe card near the end of the post for complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Onion: You’ll need about half an onion. I usually use yellow onions for cooking but any type will do.
- Garlic: Use fresh garlic cloves for the best flavor. I add one large clove but you can make it more (or less) garlicky, however you like it.
- Canned Tomatoes: Choose no-salt-added tomatoes so you can control the amount of sodium in your sauce. Everything’s going into the blender so it doesn’t really matter whether the tomatoes are diced or whole. You’ll need a large can (28 oz.) or two small cans.
- Tomato Paste: With all those tomatoes, you may think you can skip the tomato paste. Wrong! Tomato paste has a concentrated flavor and it adds richness and umami to the sauce. Trust me, you need it. You won’t use a whole can, just 2 tablespoons.
- Red Pepper Flakes: Add just a pinch for a little tingle on your tongue. If you have really picky eaters in your family, you may want to omit the spice.
- Brown Sugar: A bit of sweetness balances out the tangy acidic tomatoes.
- Olive Oil: A couple of tablespoons add flavor and richness to the sauce. You could substitute butter if you prefer.
- Dried Oregano and Dried Basil: Most people have these two herbs in their pantry and they are basic to Italian cooking. Italian seasoning is a good alternative. If you have fresh herbs in your garden, by all means substitute those. You can triple the amount added because fresh herbs aren’t as potent as dried.
- Kosher Salt: Start with a half teaspoon but taste the sauce to determine if you need more.
Freezing Leftover Tomato Paste
You only need 2 tablespoons of tomato paste for the sauce and you’re wondering what to do with the rest of the can. Don’t throw it away! Divide the rest of the paste into 2 tablespoon amounts and put it into snack size bags. Seal the bags, flatten each one, and put them into a freezer bag. They’ll keep for a few months in the freezer. The next time you need a couple tablespoons of tomato paste, just open a packet and drop the frozen paste in.
How To Make This Recipe
Are you ready to get some sauce cooking? Get your blender out. If you don’t have one, an immersion blender or a food processor will do the job, too.
Roughly chop up the onion and garlic. There’s no need to be precise because it will get chopped more completely in a minute.
Open the can of tomatoes. Don’t drain them, the juice is good, too. Add all of the ingredients to the blender. If you’re using an immersion blender, purée the sauce right in the saucepan.
Process until the sauce is just the right consistency for you. There definitely shouldn’t be huge chunks of tomato or onion. I like my sauce to have some texture but maybe you like your sauce completely smooth. It’s up to you.
Okay, now pour the sauce into a deep saucepan or skillet. Whatever you choose, make sure it has a lid.
Simmer the sauce for about a half hour, partially covered to reduce spatters. Cook until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly. It should not look watery or juicy. If the sauce is too thin for your liking, simmer it longer. You’ll notice the color will darken slightly.
That’s it! Taste the sauce to make sure the seasoning is perfect and then your homemade pizza sauce is ready to use. Enjoy it on pizza or try one of the ideas listed below.
Looking for a recipe for homemade pizza crust? Try this easy pizza dough recipe. You can even make it ahead and stick it in the refrigerator or freezer.
Well, this homemade pizza sauce, naturally! The first time I made this sauce and added it to my homemade pizza, my husband dubbed it my best pizza ever. No kidding, I’m not making that up! Cooking from scratch pays off, don’t you think?
They contain similar ingredients: tomatoes, herbs, and garlic. Usually pizza sauce includes tomato paste, and is more heavily seasoned with salt and sugar. It seems like there are lots of opinions on what goes into pizza sauce and what goes into marinara. I don’t claim to be an expert. I just know that this homemade pizza sauce recipe tastes great and you can use it on whatever you like, including pasta.
Make It Your Own
- Use fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes. Many of you have gardens that are bursting with fresh tomatoes. Choose a meatier tomato like Roma or plum. Peel the tomatoes by scoring them with a knife (make an “x” in the end) and plunging them briefly in boiling water. The skins will crack and you’ll be able to slip them right off.
- Make it without tomato paste. If you’re not a fan of tomato paste or don’t happen to have any, simply omit it and substitute tomato sauce or tomato purée for the canned tomatoes.
- Change up the seasoning. The seasonings in this recipe can be adjusted any way you like. If you like sweeter sauce, add more brown sugar; if you don’t care for sweet sauce, omit the brown sugar. Use fresh herbs instead of dried (use three times as much fresh as dried). Add more salt or cracked black pepper. Add more or less red pepper flakes.
- Add cheese! Stir in a quarter cup of grated Parmesan cheese after the sauce has simmered.
- Alternatives to pizza sauce: Top your pizza with homemade basil pesto or arugula pesto. We love BBQ chicken pizza topped with homemade BBQ sauce.
You can make the pizza sauce ahead. I like to make a double or triple batch and keep it in the fridge or freezer so it’s ready to add to pizza or any other recipe (check out the recipes below).
Refrigerate: The sauce will keep in the fridge for up to five days in a covered container.
Freeze: The sauce can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.
How To Use Pizza Sauce
This homemade pizza sauce can be used in so many ways besides pizza. Here’s (quite) a few ideas for you:
- Pizza sliders (baked in the oven)
- Zucchini pizza bites – a quick appetizer, easy lunch, or healthy snack
- English muffin pizzas
- Pizza quesadilla on the grill – pepperoni and cheese
- Pizza pasta (one pan, 6 ingredients)
- Pizza baked chicken
- Pepperoni pizza quinoa stuffed peppers
- Pizza stuffed spaghetti squash
- Pizza turkey burgers
- Pepperoni pizza tortilla pinwheels (use homemade pizza sauce to dip them in)
- Pepperoni pizza dip
- Parmesan crusted pepperoni pizza grilled cheese sandwiches
- Pizza chicken tenders
- ½ medium yellow onion, cut into large chunks
- 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 can (28 ounce) no salt added tomatoes (diced or whole)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- Blend all ingredients in blender until combined and fairly smooth. Sauce should not be completely smooth but with no large chunks remaining.
- Pour sauce into a large heavy saucepan or a deep skillet. Over medium low heat, simmer sauce, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, or until reduced and thickened.
- Makes about 2 cups, plenty for two large pizzas.
- The sauce can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- If you like, substitute fresh tomatoes. Choose a meatier tomato like Roma or plum. Peel the tomatoes by plunging them briefly in boiling water. The skins will crack and you’ll be able to slip them right off. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
- The seasonings in this recipe can be adjusted any way you like. If you like sweeter sauce, add more brown sugar; if you don’t care for sweet sauce, omit the brown sugar. Use fresh herbs instead of dried (use three times as much fresh as dried). Add more salt or cracked black pepper. Add more or less red pepper flakes.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.