Our Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Sauce

We all know a great pizza must have a perfect crust. Chewy with a few crispy bits here and there; delicious flavor all its own.

But an amazing “pie” is just as much about the pizza sauce, too.

[Jump to recipe]

Our Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Sauce - This easy classic homemade pizza sauce simmers for a good long time to allow the tomatoes, garlic, and oregano to mingle and meld. Freeze the leftovers so you have pizza sauce at hand whenever you have a hankering for good homemade pizza.

(I remember as a kid, making those English muffin pizzas [totally a legit quick dinner!] with – yes – ketchup in place of the sauce. Red sauce is red sauce, right?! Uh, no. Not even close. So gross.)

In my opinion, a great classic pizza sauce has a pronounced tomato flavor (with a pinch of sugar to both highlight tomatoes’ sweetness and also balance the acidity), a good amount of garlic, a nice hit of earthy oregano, a slight bit of heat, and, well, not much else. Simple is better.

This homemade pizza sauce recipe, slightly adapted from Sunset magazine, calls for either fresh or diced tomatoes – fresh can be better, but diced are still absolutely terrific. Just start with good tomatoes and your sauce will be all the better for it. (And, of course, canned whole tomatoes will work too).

The key to the recipe, other than the simple list of meaningful ingredients, is the time it takes to simmer uncovered. It cooks for an hour and a half, allowing the flavors to mellow and meld and the sauce to thicken to the perfect consistency. And then I like to hit it with the immersion blender to make it nice and smooth.

Our Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Sauce - This easy classic homemade pizza sauce simmers for a good long time to allow the tomatoes, garlic, and oregano to mingle and meld. Freeze the leftovers so you have pizza sauce at hand whenever you have a hankering for good homemade pizza.

Making it kid-friendly

Making this sauce for kids? Consider leaving out the red pepper flakes, or only adding a small pinch. I like to make two separate batches – one with more heat for the adults, and no heat for the kiddos. If you end up with leftover sauce, try freezing it for easy homemade pizza-makin’ later on.

Print Recipe

Our Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Sauce

This easy classic homemade pizza sauce simmers for a good long time to allow the tomatoes, garlic, and oregano to mingle and meld. Freeze the leftovers so you have pizza sauce at hand whenever you have a hankering for good homemade pizza.

Yield: 4 cups

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about two or three large cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano (if using fresh, add at the end of the cooking time)
  • 2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes (undrained) or 2 pounds diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this makes for a lot of heat, which we love, but I recommend you start out with 1/4 teaspoon or even just a generous pinch if you're unsure)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper to taste


  1. In a medium saucepan over low heat, warm the olive oil.
  2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about a minute. If you're using dried oregano, add that along with the garlic. If you're using fresh, add it to the sauce at the end of the cooking time.
  3. Increase the heat to medium. Add the tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper.
  4. Leave over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until boiling. Reduce heat to low for a nice simmer.
  5. Simmer uncovered for 90 minutes.
  6. Stir in fresh oregano, if using.
  7. Allow the sauce to cool to a safe temperature and then, using an immersion blender or working in batches with a blender,
  8. If using fresh oregano, stir that in after the hour and a half cooking time.

Adapted from Sunset Magazine

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87 Responses to “Our Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Sauce”

  1. Michele posted on March 3, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Do we have to take the seed out when making it it fresh tomatoe? Thanks

    • Karen Troughton posted on March 4, 2014 at 11:08 am

      Nope! :) No need – throw them in seeds and all.

  2. rob posted on March 4, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    I don’t have a blender. Not necessary cause it rocked. Also, I’d like to say emphasis on the garlic. I did 2 large cloves, not nearly enough and did only half recipe. Used 1lbs of fresh Roma tomatoes. I DE-skinned them first, a step that is necessary if not using a blender. Either way great recipe, easy to do. Also had to add water a few times during the simmering process. I’d assume this part would vary depending on the type of tomato you use.

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  4. Korona posted on March 24, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I LOVE this recipe…it’s so easy (which is great when dealing with an active 2-year-old)! My husband and I have not been able to find a great pizza joint since we moved, but now we can make our own pizza! Will definitely share with my Facebook friends.

    • Karen Troughton posted on March 24, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      I’m so glad you like it! And I have an active 2-year-old, too, so I can totally relate. :)

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  7. Natalie posted on May 1, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Mine turned out really good, and tasted amazing! But i don’t think i did it right though; mine turned orange haha

    • Karen Troughton posted on May 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Oh weird! Did you use fresh tomatoes? Mine can vary in color depending on the type of tomatoes I use. I’m glad it still tasted good, though! I say, keep making it orange if you can. It can be your signature. :)

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  9. Ken posted on June 15, 2014 at 12:19 am

    What’s the best way to store the sauce and how long does it keep?

    • Karen Raye posted on June 15, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Hi Ken, it’ll keep in the fridge for 3-ish days (airtight container), or I like to freeze it in silicone muffin tins, then plop the frozen pucks into a zipper bag. Then on pizza night, I just pull two or three out of the freezer to thaw. I’ve kept it in the freezer for up to 6 months with no problems.

  10. Aimee posted on June 30, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU so much for this recipe! Our family finally dipped our toes into making homemade pizza, and I think we will rarely be going back to store-bought! I did want to share that I made this recipe in an even easier way that just involves getting one pot and one blender dirty (lazy and simple, just the way I like it). I just blend the raw garlic (whole cloves) with some of the tomatoes to make it just liquidy enough to blend well. After that, I add rest of the tomatoes and blend it all up. Then just pour that into the pot, add your ingredients to that (minus oil, though I suppose I could still add some for extra flavor), reduce, and then DONE! It was so yummy, my picky husband couldn’t stop raving about this pizza (which I’m sure was in large part due to the yummy sauce), Anyways, thank you!! :)

    • Karen Raye posted on July 5, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad you and your family like it! Thank you for your nice comment. :)

  11. Brian posted on July 31, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    This looks wonderful! I can’t wait to try it out on my grilled pizzas! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Kristin posted on August 31, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Do I need to blanch the toms first to get rid of the skins? (I hope not:)

    • Karen Raye posted on September 1, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Nope, I don’t! They tend to cook down to almost nothing; and if you hit it with an immersion blender at the end, even better!

  13. Jeff VanBergen posted on September 1, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    This recipe is so solid that it turned out great with a little bit of this and a little more of that. Used my son’s Bullet because our Betty Crocker blender is a piece of [expletive deleted]. 
    Wife taught me to toss the tomatoes into boiling water for 15 sec then iced water. Most of the skins split and pulled right off. Looked watery at first but the 90 min simmer took care of that.

  14. Becky posted on September 14, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    This was delicious, and even great the next day tossed with some leftover spaghetti, kale and chickpeas :)

  15. suzette posted on February 9, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    How long can it last in the fridge or freezer? Thanks

    • Karen Raye posted on February 14, 2015 at 7:37 am

      Hi Suzette, I find it keeps 3-4 days in the fridge and a good 6 months in the freezer.

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