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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.

Our very favorite homemade pizza sauce | Kitchen Treaty

(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

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

  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

This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a portion of the proceeds.

   

80 Responses to “Our Very Favorite Homemade Pizza Sauce”

  1. Rochelle @ WheatlessRochelle.com posted on February 6, 2013 at 10:01 am

    This sounds great! I’m looking forward to making my own pizza sauce this summer when I have a crop of tomatoes to use. I’ve pinned the recipe. Thanks!

    • Kare replied on February 13th, 2013 on 4:29 am

      I am getting so excited for summer and gardening! I plan to focus on tomatoes (salsa! pizza sauce! italian tomato sauce! caprese salads!), pumpkins, and strawberries. I think I’ve been trying to do too much every year and I end up overwhelmed. But this year, I’m mostly all about the tomatoes. (This sauce is woooonderful when made with fresh ones.)

  2. Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies posted on February 6, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I never make my own pizza sauce. But I FINALLY started making my own crust after all these years, so I guess the sauce should be next, right? :)

    • Kare replied on February 13th, 2013 on 4:26 am

      It will be an epiphany, I promise! :)

    • gem replied on September 8th, 2013 on 11:01 pm

      shore is

    • Dark Tree replied on March 15th, 2014 on 5:37 pm

      I make my own pizza too, but I really need to start making my own sauce. I want to grow the vegetables (and fruit if I can) that I eat so tomatoes would be something I’d definitely grow.

  3. a farmer in the dell posted on February 7, 2013 at 10:22 am

    how did you know I was in need of a new pizza sauce recipe :)

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  9. Ashton Edwards posted on May 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    This is my first time making pizza sauce! I hope I like it! I added a bit more sugar to this recipe though because I like a sweeter taste to my pizza, but everything else pretty much right on! It’s simmering now hope it turns out well!! Thanks for your post!!

    • Karen Troughton replied on May 6th, 2013 on 8:29 am

      A little more sugar sounds great! Hope you loved it. :)

  10. Everybody posted on May 14, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    Canned tomatoes tend to be sour, but fresh tomatoes gives a deeper and more sweet taste.
    I only use fresh tomatoes in my pizza and pasta sauces.

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  12. Sharon posted on June 19, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    It is now simmering on the stove. Can’t wait to taste it. It was simple to make. Thanks for the recipe.

  13. Rasa posted on July 14, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    On the stove now, smells sooo good! First time making fresh pizza sauce. Thanks for the recipe!

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  15. Ray posted on August 14, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Do you need to peel the tomatoes? Or will they blend right into the sauce? Can’t wait to try this!

    • Karen Troughton replied on August 16th, 2013 on 8:02 am

      Hi Ray, you can, but I just throw them right in peel and all and find they cook down no problem. Sometimes I puree the sauce at the end, too, and that of course takes care of any leftover big peel hunks too. Hope you love it!

      • Jim S replied on August 20th, 2013 on 8:24 am

        Looks great! Can’t wait to try! Have you ever canned this recipe? I’ve got over 10 pounds of tomatoes and was hoping to start doing some canning for sauce and juice as well. Just wasn’t sure if this works well to be canned also. Thanks again for the recipe!

  16. GEORGE posted on August 23, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Hi

    Very good receipe.excellent.

    do you have a pizza base recipe. I want to know how to make a good pizza base

  17. KristyAspire posted on September 4, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Awesome, I have these ingredients on hand…will a food processor work in place of a blender?

  18. sommer posted on September 6, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    This is so tasty!!Thanks!

  19. Chrystal D posted on September 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    This sauce was fantastic! We recently switched to clean eating so I used fresh tomatoes. My family likes a lot of flavor so I added more spices than the recommended amount. I doubled it and used one batch for pizza and froze the other half which we used later over spelt pasta and veggies. Both ways were delicious! This will be my new sauce to make for weekly pizza night.

  20. Liz posted on September 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Just made this tonight, it is pretty darn good I have to say. Especially for the ease of the recipe!

    • Liz replied on September 9th, 2013 on 8:00 pm

      Ooops! Forgot the stars…

  21. Sara Ella posted on September 10, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    This looks so yummy! Thanks for the recipe ;) I featured you on my blog today. My post was all about the best fresh tomato recipes!

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  24. Valerie posted on September 12, 2013 at 6:00 am

    Hi Karen..I’m going to try your recipe, Thanks! Do you have a preference of tomatoes? I have 3 kinds in my(my husbands) Garden, Cherry, Roma, and Globe.
    Thanks!
    Val

  25. Matt posted on September 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    I made this on the weekend and it tasted so much better than store bought. Thanks so much for making our homemade pizza better.

  26. Matt posted on September 19, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I made this on the weekend and it tasted so much better than store bought. Thanks so much for making our homemade pizza better.

  27. Katie posted on September 21, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    This sauce is delicious. I have been making my own sauce for awhile now using canned sauce/paste, but now that I have room for a garden, I wanted to use some fresh tomatoes!

    This was really really great. I mean, I could eat it plain. I was disappointed with the yield, however… I doubled the recipe to freeze some and ended up with only 2 3/4 c. of sauce instead of 8. So I have to make a lot more than called for to get the yield I want… but it’s worth it. Yum!

    5 stars for taste, but I’m only giving it 4 because of the misrepresentation of the yield. Thanks for the recipe; it’s a keeper.

  28. Katie posted on September 21, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    This sauce is delicious. I have been making my own sauce for awhile now using canned sauce/paste, but now that I have room for a garden, I wanted to use some fresh tomatoes!

    This was really really great. I mean, I could eat it plain. I was disappointed with the yield, however… I doubled the recipe to freeze some and ended up with only 2 3/4 c. of sauce instead of 8. So I have to make a lot more than called for to get the yield I want… but it’s worth it. Yum!

    5 stars for taste, but I’m only giving it 4 because of the misrepresentation of the yield. Thanks for the recipe; it’s a keeper.

  29. mendel posted on September 22, 2013 at 10:11 am

    the best pizza sauce ever 2nd time making it

    5 star rating is too little as much stars possible

  30. Kevin Erickson posted on September 22, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Wondering if anyone used fresh basil in this recipe?

  31. Mary posted on September 26, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Getting ready to make this sauce now. Have been looking for a recipe that doesn’t use sauce or paste as a base. I am so excited to try this. Thanks for all of the positive posts.

  32. judith posted on September 28, 2013 at 4:43 am

    I had a bushel of tomatoes to do something with. It is on the stove right now with evoo, fresh basil, garlic, onion, sugar, salt pepper and skins, and just a pinch of red pepper flakes. I add more later if I want. After I let this cook for a while, I puree it in my extra large cusinart and put it through a mesh strainer to keep the seeds and skins out of the final product. I return it to stove and let simmer more. I freeze it and use it for any sauce based diss except reg. sauce for speg. and meatballs.

  33. Coops posted on October 5, 2013 at 1:23 am

    I just picked lots and lots of tomatoes(4-6kgs). Mine at cherry types so I don’t peel, I roast/bake them for 2 hours. So I’m guessing I can just stick mix them at the end? With only 20 min cooking?
    Also I’m roasting my garlic mmmmmmm and adding that with a chutney/relish as my sugar. Ill omit the herbs, placing them fresh on the pizza as is my style..
    Cheers :)

  34. Jessica posted on October 31, 2013 at 7:23 am

    This pizza sauce is SO GOOD! Thank you so much for sharing!

  35. Dan posted on November 10, 2013 at 5:12 am

    I want to add fresh basil and fresh oregano, would it be better to add the fresh basil at the end of the cooking as well?

    • Karen Troughton replied on November 14th, 2013 on 8:07 am

      Hi Dan, yes, I would recommend adding fresh basil at the end of the process. Cheers!

      • Dan replied on November 14th, 2013 on 11:41 am

        OMG! I added fresh basil, oregano and thyme with cherry tomatoes and I used this sauce and spinach chorizo pizza and chorizo spaghetti and it was out of this world good! Thanks!

      • Dan replied on November 14th, 2013 on 11:42 am

        OMG! I added fresh basil, oregano and thyme with cherry tomatoes and I used this sauce with a spinach chorizo pizza and chorizo spaghetti and both were out of this world good! Thanks!

      • Dan replied on November 14th, 2013 on 11:46 am

        OMG! I added fresh basil, oregano and thyme with cherry tomatoes and I used this sauce with a spinach chorizo pizza and a chorizo zucchini spaghetti and it was out of this world good! Thanks. I will never go back to canned.

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  38. Peeekay posted on December 11, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Love the idea of using fresh tomatoes for the sauce. I normally use this one when I’m in a hurry. It’s delicious. Thanks for posting this. goo.gl/O9r2EW

  39. rick posted on December 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    just tried this. deeeeluxe. best homemade pizza sauce i’ve had ever. thanks for this. the key is the reduction. don’t rush it.

    • Karen Troughton replied on December 16th, 2013 on 6:44 am

      Yes, simmer a nice, long time. :) Glad you liked it!

  40. Lewin posted on December 18, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Great recipe looks delicious! Hope it tastes as good as it looks :-) See alot saying about fresh basil am thinking its a must!

    Lewin

  41. DaSarge posted on December 31, 2013 at 10:12 am

    The sugar in tomato GRAVY (not sauce) of all types is to add to the flavor when a carrot isn’t available, and it will also cut down on the agita’. People can have varying degrees of gastric reflux disease or simply a reflux syndrome, but acids, such as are found commonly in tomato gravies are killers to people who are sensitive. Sugar, particularly brown sugar calms all that down, and virtually eliminates this.

  42. Monica posted on January 7, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Hi, I was wondering could this sauce be canned?

  43. Yvette Tillema posted on January 11, 2014 at 4:45 am

    It’s true, it’s great, the heck with that store bought stuff

    • Sudhakaran replied on March 16th, 2014 on 9:17 am

      I do not know if the light bulb does anything. I think it is just a ccloeltable like one of the pins. Let’s see if we have any other responses to your question. Maybe one of the other penguins has found a use for it.

  44. Liz posted on January 12, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    OMG I have this in the oven right now on top of a homemade whole wheat crust…and it smells OVER THE TOP awesome!!! (and I didn’t change a THING.) Thank you soooo much! Bookmarked!

    • Karen Troughton replied on January 14th, 2014 on 6:53 am

      I love how this sauce makes the house smell! A benefit of the nice, long simmer. Nothing like homemade pizza. Thanks for the comment! :)

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  46. Sara Beth posted on January 29, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Thanks for the trackback/pingback. The pizza sauce recipe is delicious. I’ll definitely have to explore some your other recipes soon. :-)

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  51. 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 replied on March 4th, 2014 on 11:08 am

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

  52. 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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  54. 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 replied on March 24th, 2014 on 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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  57. 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 replied on May 2nd, 2014 on 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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  59. 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 replied on June 15th, 2014 on 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.

  60. 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 replied on July 5th, 2014 on 8:45 pm

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

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