The best pizza sauce recipe is also the easiest! The best part is, it’s also an authentic Italian (Neapolitan) recipe–so what are you waiting for? Next time you make pizza, this is your recipe!
I am amazed at how many pizza sauce recipes I’ve found that are so complicated, include a laundry list of ingredients (including sugar) and that are nothing like a pizza sauce that I’ve ever seen in Italy!
Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Since writing this post, I have joined the Greatest Tomatoes From Europe and I 🖤 San Marzano DOP campaigns, educating and informing consumers about the best quality tomatoes, and what to look for on the cans.
Some recipes take so much time because you have to cook the sauce before putting it on the pizza, but pizza sauce should never be cooked! A few of the photos I’ve seen have scarred me for life: red spackle paste? Please let me help you. (Updated: just read some of the reviews below. This recipe is life-changing!) 😀
Why is this the Best Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe?
THIS PIZZA SAUCE IS THE BEST BECAUSE IT’S SIMPLE AND USES ONLY TOP QUALITY INGREDIENTS.
That’s the reason, in a nutshell. So who am I to tell you what the best recipe is? I am by no means a pizza making expert. However, my mother was born in Italy (just north of Naples, where pizza was born), and she and her family (6 sisters who are amazing cooks) know how to make an authentic Italian pizza sauce, trust me on that!
I’ve also been traveling to Italy and eating incredibly delicious pizza there since I was a born. If you’re not looking for a really authentic, traditional Neapolitan and classic Italian pizza sauce, this isn’t for you.
For example, there are a few ingredients you will never find in an authentic Italian, and delicious pizza sauce recipe.
How to Select the Ingredients for your Pizza Sauce
Doesn’t this pizza sauce look more appealing than a dark red spackle-type sauce? It’s light, fresh and delicious, like so many other authentic Italian creations! If you don’t like pieces of tomato or seeds, just use a purée or passata which is smooth. (You can also purée whole or chunky tomatoes to make them smooth.)
Looking for a real (easy) Italian spaghetti sauce?
What Ingredients Are Used in the Best Sauce Recipe?
Pizza’s original home is Naples, so why wouldn’t we use the best pizza sauce recipe from there to make your pizza at home? Given that most of us don’t live in Naples, I will share tips on how you can make the best pizza sauce in your home without stressing about following the “rules” to a T.
Did you know that the term Neapolitan means originating in Naples?
According to the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana, the best pizza sauce recipe includes, but is not limited, to the following:
- TOMATOES: you can use fresh tomatoes, however, for guaranteed quality and taste, try to get your hands on “pomodoro pelato S.Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino D.O.P.” Don’t be scared of that long name, you’ll recognize them as San Marzano tomatoes (but they’re the real deal with the DOP). These are simply the “cream of the crop” of the Greatest Tomatoes from Europe (GTFE).
Of course, you can use any good quality canned tomatoes for great results, including pomodorini (cherry tomatoes) like the photo of the can below. Be careful as to what you consider to be “quality”, so read this post which outlines a few of the brands that you can look for.
- EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL: be sure to use a top quality oil (some are mixed with other oils.)
- CHEESE: grated hard cheese, like authentic Italian Parmigiano Reggiano (sprinkled on the pizza not added to the sauce).
- OREGANO: dried oregano is fine. Fresh herbs are not critical, except for the basil.
- BASIL: fresh basil is best.
- SALT: use a good quality sea salt.
Note: if you want to add hot pepper flakes to the sauce, you can, but in Italy, spicy pizza is called pizza alla diavola, and is topped with a spicy dry cured sausage, more like salami. It’s actually one of my favorite pizzas!
Selecting Ingredients: What to Avoid
Let’s cover the ingredients you should NOT use if you want the best results.
- Inferior quality tomatoes, i.e. tasteless, acidic, and/or sour tomatoes, whether fresh or canned; your pizza will be ruined. Read in more detail about the difference in canned tomatoes from Europe on this fusilli pasta recipe. Most importantly, be aware of cans with the words “San Marzano” that are not DOP or from the special region of Naples (or even Italy)!
- Tomato paste. It simply should never meet pizza dough in any form. Most people do not use tomato paste properly or as it was intended to be used by Italians.
- Sugar. Any type of sweetener is simply unnecessary when you are using top quality, non-acidic, great tasting canned or fresh tomatoes.
- “Italian Seasoning.” This is a non-Italian creation. It simply doesn’t exist in Italy, therefore, belongs in no authentic Italian dish, including pizza.
- Garlic powder or garlic salt. Just no. (No onion or other powders, for that matter.)
Tips for Making this Recipe & Frequently Asked Questions
How is Pizza Sauce Different from Pasta Sauce?
The main difference is that pizza sauce is raw, whereas pasta sauce is cooked. In the region where my mother is from, oregano is for pizza sauce, not pasta sauce. Also, don’t believe for a minute that either one should be “thick” or “heavy.” If you end up with a thick pizza sauce, you’re not making anything remotely Italian.
THIS IS PHOTO IS NOT PIZZA SAUCE, I’m just sharing my authentic (quick) Italian tomato sauce recipe for pasta. Someone mistakenly thought this was a photo of me cooking pizza sauce, so I’m explaining in more detail.
How do you make Italian pizza sauce from scratch?
It’s so easy: source the best ingredients and follow my recipe below! Here’s my original pizza dough recipe which is a no knead, easy overnight dough, but a more authentic and improved pizza dough recipe can be found here.
Can I Make Pizza Sauce Ahead of Time?
Yes, just keep it refrigerated if you don’t plan to use it right away. It will keep in the fridge for two or three days until you’re ready for pizza night! Use it on this no knead pizza dough.
Can I Substitute Tomato Paste for Pizza Sauce?
Absolutely 100% NO! This is the devil’s pizza sauce if you do this! Tomato paste has no place anywhere on a pizza, or in a pizza sauce. I just don’t understand how Italian cuisine has become so misunderstood and disparate in the US and UK (mostly). Tomato paste is used as a thickener when you have really runny tomatoes, or to add some tomato flavor to a soup, but never used as a pizza sauce base, or even in a pizza sauce. The flavor and consistency are the main reasons for not using the paste. Do a taste test if you don’t believe me.
Can I Freeze Pizza Sauce?
Yes! If you plan to keep it longer than two or three days, put the pizza sauce in a freezer proof container and freeze. It should last about a month in the freezer, but try to use it before then.
Baking a Delicious Pizza Using this Recipe
So this is the part we have the least control over in making a really good Italian pizza: the oven. We can always buy a pizza stone, which helps, but the fact that we can’t get an oven temperature of more than 500 degrees Fahrenheit is the biggest problem. Pizza needs a super hot oven upwards of 700 degrees F.
Without buying a professional pizza oven, the next best thing I’ve found is an inexpensive countertop pizza maker. I love mine and it reaches over 600 degrees F! The Petite Pizzeria that I have has been discontinued, but this Chef di Cucina Pizza Maker looks almost exactly the same and gets rave reviews.
My mother and family’s go to pizza sauce is actually what is called a marinara pizza. Somehow, Americans/Brits got mixed up with what marinara sauce is. A marinara pizza sauce includes garlic and oregano, however, for a Margherita pizza, these are omitted.
How to Make this Authentic Italian
Pizza Sauce Recipe
by Christina Conte enough sauce for 4, 10″ pizzas
FULL PRINTABLE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW
(including recommendations for the best products)
What You’ll Need
A medium sized bowl, kitchen shears, and spoon.
- good quality tomatoes, fresh or canned
- good quality extra virgin olive oil
- fresh Italian basil
- oregano (optional)
- fresh garlic (optional)
- Pour the can of tomatoes into a bowl. If you are using pomodorini or whole tomatoes, crush them with your hands, or you can roughly cut them with kitchen shears. If your tomatoes have a lot of liquid, if you mix them all together, it shouldn’t be too watery. However, if you don’t use an entire can, just leave more of the liquid with the tomatoes you don’t use.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Taste for salt and add if needed. That’s it, the sauce is ready to use!
- (Don’t add too much sauce to the pizza dough; you don’t want to drown it.)
Although this is a “best pizza sauce recipe” post, I want to briefly discuss the toppings. Since the pizza sauce is so tasty on this pizza, you don’t need a ton of toppings. You can have it plain, which is my mother’s favorite pizza. Just go easy on whatever you add: a little fresh mozzarella, some sautéed mushrooms, anchovies, roasted red pepper or pepperoni. You can truly add what you like, just don’t tell me if you add Hawaiian p——-e!
At this point, you may believe me that this is the easiest pizza sauce recipe ever, but you’ll have to taste it to believe that it’s the best. If you try it, please leave a review (see the star rating in the printable recipe card or the WRITE A REVIEW at the bottom next to the comment tab).
(Updated 2/2021: PLEASE READ WHAT READERS HAVE ALREADY WRITTEN
IN BOTH THE COMMENTS AND REVIEWS TABS BELOW!)
I hope this changes your pizza game! Let me know if it does. Ciao!
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