Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe

The best homemade Pizza Sauce recipe in 5 minutes without any simmering! 

Meet the best pizza sauce recipe!  This pizza sauce is super simple, flavorful, quick and easy to make, freezes well, and is made with pantry friendly ingredients; but best of all, your pizzas will taste straight out of an Italian pizzeria!  This homemade pizza sauce is made by quickly sautéing the garlic then throwing everything into the blender – that’s it!   Despite its quick preparation, this pizza sauce recipe boasts rich, bright tomato flavor, laced with fresh garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, onion, red pepper and my secret ingredient that takes it to the top. In short, your search for the best pizza sauce stops here!

P.S. We love this pizza sauce on homemade Pizza Dough and Stromboli but it is also fabulous as dip for Garlic Butter Parmesan Breadsticks!

top view of best pizza sauce in a glass jar with a gold spoon

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pizza sauce recipe

We’ve been making a lot of homemade pizza this last year so I thought it was past time I bring you my secret weapon – this sensational pizza sauce recipe – it’s magic!  This quick and easy recipe is so good, you’ll want to mop up every last drop – or just drink the sauce.  This pizza sauce:

  • Easy to Make in 5 minutes
  • Tastes authentic
  • Better than jarred store-bought sauce!
  • Gluten-free
  • Versatile!
  • Freezer friendly

Here’s the breakdown:

Quick and easy to make

This pizza sauce recipe is ridiculously quick and easy to make in just 5 minutes so you can enjoy it right away on homemade pizza, store-bought pizza dough, calzones, Stromboli, or breadsticks!  Now there are no excuses not to make pizza sauce from scratch!

Authentic flavor

Many homemade pizza sauces call for simmering the sauce – but guess what, authentic pizza sauce is not cooked first!  This no-cook technique makes for ridiculously easy sauce and also makes your pizza sauce (and therefore your entire pizza) taste better.  The aromatic sauce cooks under the blast of the high heat oven delivering fresh, zippy tomato flavor.

Better than store bought and even restaurant pizza sauce 

Have you ever tasted a pizza and it was just bland?  There’s not much you can do to salvage it but shower the pizza with red pepper flakes and Parmesan.  The pizza sauce makes or breaks a pizza, whether homemade, takeout or dine-in.  And that’s where this homemade pizza sauce recipe comes in.  It’s 1000X better than jarred and even many restaurant pizza sauces!  Jarred and canned sauces often taste like bland, dull tomatoes.  This homemade pizza sauce, however, is vibrant, hearty, aromatic and full of rich tomato flavor thanks to sweet, complex fire roasted tomatoes and plenty of Italian seasonings!  

Versatile – make it just how you like it

One of the bonuses of homemade pizza sauce is you can customize it to make it perfect for YOU!  Want it garlicky, add more garlic.  Want more basil, add more basil. Want it spicy, add more red pepper flakes.  You can even get creative and add freshly grated Parmesan, balsamic, etc.

Pantry friendly

The best kind of recipe is one you can make any night of the week without running to the grocery store, right?  This quick and easy pizza sauce from scratch is made of basic ingredients – you likely have them all on hand right now!  You can even swap the fresh herbs and garlic for dried – it can be our little secret.   

Perfect Consistency

Many pizza sauces are either too thick or too watery – not this pizza sauce!  The best pizza sauce is slightly thick with some texture to it.  This consistency allows the sauce to sit on top of the pizza dough instead of seeping into it and making the dough soggy. This recipe allows you to control the consistency of the sauce because it starts with fire roasted diced tomatoes – pulse them fine, leave them rough or strike the perfect balance in between.

Freezer friendly

This pizza sauce recipe makes 2 cups, enough for 4-6 pizzas depending on how saucy you like it.  This means you’ll likely have leftover sauce which is a very good thing.  Just pop it in the freezer and you’re ready for pizza night any night of the week.

Now, let’s make some!

Homemade Pizza Sauce Ingredients 

When you find out how easy pizza sauce is to make at home, you’ll kick yourself for not doing it sooner. This homemade pizza sauce is chock-full of flavor, but here’s the big secret — it requires just a handful of ingredients! My biggest tip for making pizza sauce from scratch is to sauté the garlic then load it up with herbs and spices. Remember: this sauce needs to hold its own against all the toppings you’ll be piling onto your pizza! 

Here’s what I used in this easy homemade pizza sauce recipe: 

  • Canned fire roasted diced tomatoes: Fire roasted tomatoes are tomatoes that have been roasted so they boast a complex sweet smokiness and are far less acidic than traditional tomatoes AKA you get TONS of flavor without the work!  Fire roasted tomatoes are located next to the traditional diced tomatoes – just make sure you purchase the ones without any added seasonings. You can use plain diced tomatoes if you can’t locate fire roasted but be aware you may need to add more sugar.
  • Tomato paste: Adds a rich, concentrated tomato flavor and thickens the sauce.  We won’t use the whole can for this recipe, so you can either purchase it in a tube or I like to freeze tomato paste by the tablespoon wrapped in parchment paper for future use.
  • Garlic cloves: Free to use more garlic depending on your garlic love. 
  • Olive oil: Use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor. 
  • Dried herbs and spices: This easy pizza sauce recipe is seasoned with dried oregano, basil, onion powder, thyme, pepper and red pepper flakes. No skimping on flavor here!  You can add more or less red pepper flakes depending on how much of a kick you would like.
  • Sugar: Tomatoes are highly acidic so they need to be balanced by some sugar. The amount of sugar will vary (even between the times you make the recipe), depending on personal taste and the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Chicken BouillonMy secret ingredient! For additional depth of flavor, I’ve added just ½ teaspoon granulated chicken bouillon. Bouillon might sound like an odd ingredient, but I have tried making homemade pizza sauce with and without it, and it is far superior with the bouillon – just think salt with flavor!  The bouillon mimics the complex flavor of a sauce that has been reducing all day. You can use granulated chicken bouillon, better than bouillon or bouillon cubes. If you use cubes, you will need ½ cube. Crush it up without dissolving in water before adding to the blender.

Can I use crushed tomatoes?

Yes! I prefer blending diced fire roasted tomatoes to make my own “crushed tomatoes” to control the consistency, but you may substitute them with one 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes – go for fire roasted Muir glen brand if you can. If you can only find a 28 ounce can, then measure roughly half, about 1 ¾ cups, and freeze the rest for later, or make a double batch of pizza sauce!

Can I use tomato sauce?

Please do not use tomato sauce in place of the fire roasted diced tomatoes.  While crushed tomatoes are an acceptable substitute, tomato sauce is not.  It has the least amount of flavor of all three and a thin consistency.  We want chunky pizza sauce so it sticks to the pizza dough and doesn’t make the dough soggy!

homemade pizza sauce in a glass jar with a gold spoon showing the chunky texture

CAN I USE FRESH TOMATOES?

Absolutely!  San Marzano tomatoes are the gold standard when it comes to anything Italian. San Marzano tomatoes originate from the rich volcanic soils of Italy and are highly prized for their sweet, intense tomatoey flavor. You will need the equivalent amount of one 14 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes listed in the recipe. 

Make sure you peel and seed your tomatoes first, then working in batches, chop them in the food processor for a chunkier sauce or process further for a soother sauce. San Marzano tomatoes are less watery than Roma tomatoes, so keep that in mind if using any tomato other than San Marzano. If your sauce is too watery, you may need to add additional tomato paste or reduce it on the stove.

Depending on how sweet or acidity your tomatoes are, you may need to add more or less sugar to the pizza sauce. You should still add the tomato paste to the sauce because it thickens it up and adds concentrated tomato flavor.

Can I use fresh herbs?

Absolutely! If you have access to fresh herbs, pizza sauce is a fabulous use for them because they are added and chopped directly in the blender and the sauce isn’t simmered so the keep their potent flavor.  You will want to use:

  • 1 ½ tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme

How to Make Pizza Sauce

Pizza sauce is almost a non-recipe because it’s ready in just two easy simple steps!

  • First, briefly sauté the garlic in a splash of olive oil to enhance and caramelize the flavors.
  • Second, add the garlic along with the rest of the ingredients to a blender and blend to desired consistency – I like mine a little chunky.

Seriously, that’s all there is to it! You won’t use all of the pizza sauce on a single pizza, so refrigerate or freeze the leftovers to use later. (Keep reading for my storage tips). 

showing how to make pizza sauce by adding diced tomatoes, tomato past, garlic, olive oil, basil, oregano, thyme and red pepper flakes to blender

HOW MUCH SAUCE DOES THIS recipe MAKE?

This pizza sauce recipe makes 2 cups of sauce. You will want to use about ⅓ cup per pizza, so this equates to enough sauce for 6 pizzas.  You can also use leftover sauce for dipping sandwiches or breadsticks. The sauce also freezes exceptionally well so you don’t have to worry about wasting any!  Next time you’re ready for pizza, the sauce will be waiting for you!

How to make pizza with sauce

  • Brush dough with olive oil: Before adding the pizza sauce to your unbaked pizza dough, I suggest brushing the dough lightly with olive oil.  This creates a barrier between the sauce and the dough to prevent a soggy crust. 
  • Season with garlic salt: Next, sprinkle the dough lightly all over (don’t forget the crust) with garlic salt.  Now, both the pizza dough and the pizza sauce are independent seasoned which means they are independently delicious and exponentially delicious together.
  • Add sauce: Spread the sauce evenly across the pizza dough using the back of a spoon or a spatula, leaving about 1/2″ border for the crust.
  • Add cheese: Top with 4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (*preferably fresh mozzarella not packed in water) or freshly shredded mozzarella cheese.  If you use fresh mozzarella cheese, chop it and set aside to drain on paper towels before using. Sprinkle the pizza with 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan.
  • Add toppings: Add any additional toppings of choice such as pepperoni, sausage, bacon, Canadian bacon, bell peppers, mushrooms, olives, artichokes, tomatoes, pineapple and/or fresh basil.
  • Bake: Bake per the directions in this Homemade Pizza Dough recipe. 

Tips for Making the BEST Pizza Sauce 

  • Use quality tomatoes: Homemade pizza sauce uses so few ingredients that it’s crucial you use high-quality canned tomatoes. I recommend the brand Muir Glen, but of course, use whatever you can get your hands on.  
  • Use fire roasted tomatoes: Regular canned tomatoes won’t give you the same depth of flavor as fire-roasted ones. They cost a little extra, but are so worth it! 
  • Don’t skip the tomato paste! It makes the pizza sauce thicker which is key to non-soggy pizza!
  • Use fresh ingredients:  Use fresh basil and fresh garlic for the best flavor.
  • Check your herbs: Dried herbs and spices have long shelf lives, but they do eventually go off. Sniff your herbs and spices before adding them to the pizza sauce. If they have a strong scent, they’re good to go! If you can hardly smell them or if they smell off, they should be replaced. 
  • Add some sugar: Tomatoes are very acidic, so you need to balance that out with some sugar. The sugar just rounds out the flavors of the sauce. I suggest tasting the pizza sauce without sugar then adding sugar to taste.
  • Sauté the garlic:  While you don’t need to cook or simmer the sauce, a brief sauté of the garlic is essential to enhance the flavor and removes the harsh bite. Just take care you sauté it in enough oil and don’t overcook it or it will taste bitter and ruin your entire pizza sauce recipe!

Pizza Recipe Variations and Substitutions

  • Fresh tomatoes:  Peel, seed and crush fresh San Marzano or Roma tomatoes in a food processor then measure out 1 ¾ cups to use in the pizza sauce recipe.
  • Use whole canned tomatoes:  If you only have canned whole peeled tomatoes on hand, never fear!  You can substitute the diced tomatoes with whole canned San Marzano tomatoes that you blitz in a food processor.
  • Use crushed tomatoes: Substitute the diced tomatoes with one 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes – go for fire roasted Muir glen brand if you can.
  • Add other Italian style seasonings: You can swap the proportions of the herbs listed in the recipe such as adding more thyme and less oregano or add additional herbs altogether such as marjoram, fennel and/or rosemary. You could also add Italian seasoning, if desired. 
  • Use fresh herbs:  Fresh basil, oregano and thyme would instantly elevate your pizza sauce recipe!
  • Garlic powder:  If you are in a zero-chopping mood, then you can substitute the garlic cloves for garlic powder.  You will need ¾ teaspoon. 
  • Make it garlicky:  For the garlic lovers!  Add even more garlic if you don’t want to not be kissed tonight.   
  • Add balsamic:  I often will add up to 1 teaspoon quality balsamic vinegar.  It enhances the sweet tanginess.
  • Add Parmesan:  I usually shower freshly grated Parmesan all over my pizza before I pop it in the oven, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add it directly to the sauce!
  • Make it spicy: Love spicy pizza sauce? Add more red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne. 
  • Adjust consistency:  For a thicker pizza sauce, add more tomato paste; for a thinner pizza sauce, reduce the tomato paste or thin with water.
showing how to use pizza sauce recipe by spreading it onto pizza dough with a spatula

Can I use pasta sauce for pizza? 

Absolutely!  Pizza sauce is made of many of the same ingredients as pasta sauce (AKA marinara sauce), but often pasta sauce is more complex due to the inclusion of sofrito and simmering all of the ingredients together so the flavors can build and meld.  In contrast, pizza sauce is not as complex because the ingredients are just blended in a blender.  If you want to use pizza sauce on pasta, you’ll want to simmer the ingredients so the flavors can build.  

Quick dinner tip: If you have some leftover marinara, then it would be delish on pizza!  You can even use your favorite store-bought pasta sauce. Rao’s is by far my favorite brand of pasta sauce and comes in all sorts of varieties such as tomato basil, arrabiata, roasted garlic sauce, and roasted garlic Alfredo. 

What’s the difference between marinara and pizza sauce?

Pizza sauce and marinara are not the same thing although they do contain many of the same ingredients.  They differ slightly in flavor and cooking technique – marinara sauce is simmered and pizza sauce is not precooked; this affects the consistency, complexity and versatility of the sauces. 

  • Cooking technique:  Pizza sauce is made by throwing all of the ingredients in the blender including tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, herbs and seasonings. It is then spooned directly onto the pizza without cooking it first.  The idea is that the sauce will actually cook on the pizza. Marinara sauce is usually made by sauteing garlic and onions in a pan, sometimes with diced carrots and celery, then simmered with tomatoes, broth, herbs and seasonings. 
  • Consistency:  Pizza sauce is thicker than marinara so it doesn’t slip of the pizza dough or sink into the dough and make it soggy. Marinara is meant to be thin enough to envelop pasta.  
  • Flavor:  Pizza sauce is more of a tomato-based sauce without the addition of broth.
  • Complexity:  Pizza sauce is less complex in flavor because it isn’t cooked first.  This is intentional because it is meant to be a building ingredient that complements the other pizza toppings without overshadowing them.
  • Uses:  Pizza sauce is formulated for just pizza whereas marinara sauce is meant to be the star of the show whether for pasta or meatloaf.

How do you thicken pizza sauce?

Pizza sauce is meant to be on the thick side so it doesn’t make your pizza soggy.  Your pizza sauce may be too think if you use fresh tomatoes. If it is thin for whatever reason, here are few ways to thicken it:

  • Add tomato paste: Add additional tomato paste to thicken – a little goes a long way!
  • Add dried mushrooms: Shiitake or other dried mushrooms are excellent thickening agents for tomato sauces.  Chop them or grind them into powder before adding to the sauce. They will hydrate in 10 minutes or so when simmered and suck up any excess liquid in the process.
  • Reduce sauce: Add the sauce to a large sauté pan (the wider the pan, the faster it will thicken), bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until reduced and thickened to desired consistency. 
  • Thicken: Add ½ tablespoon of cornstarch before simmering per above directions.  You can also add a cornstarch slurry to your already simmering sauce if it isn’t thickening.  To do this, whisk cornstarch with as little water as possible to make a paste, then whisk into sauce. You never want to mix cornstarch directly into a hot sauce/liquid without making a slurry first or it will never dissolve.
top view of homemade pizza sauce recipe with a gold spoon with basil on top

How to Store Pizza Sauce 

Transfer leftover pizza sauce to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Can You Freeze Pizza Sauce? 

Yes! This homemade pizza sauce freezes exceptionally well, so go ahead and make a double or triple batch and always have homemade pizza sauce at your fingertips. Store leftover sauce in freezer bags or freezer-safe containers to up to 6 months. To thaw, place in the fridge overnight. 

Can You Prep Pizza Sauce in Advance? 

Absolutely! In fact, I think it tastes even better after the flavors have time to come together in the fridge. Homemade pizza sauce will last up to 5 days in the fridge. Store in an airtight container for best results. 

Can I Double This Recipe? 

Easily! You can double or triple this recipe and store it for later. Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to blend the sauce in batches to prevent making a mess. 

Ways to Use This Pizza Sauce recipe

Homemade pizza sauce is obviously delicious on pizzas, but there are so many more ways to use it! Here are some of my favorites: 

Looking for More Italian Sauce Recipes? 

showing how to use pizza sauce recipe by adding mozzarella and basil to pizza sauce

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Pizza Sauce Recipe

Meet the best pizza sauce recipe! This pizza sauce is super simple, flavorful, quick and easy to make, freezes well, and is made with pantry friendly ingredients; but best of all, your pizzas will taste straight out of an Italian pizzeria! This homemade pizza sauce is made by quickly sautéing the garlic then throwing everything into the blender - that’s it! Despite its quick preparation, this pizza sauce recipe boasts rich, bright tomato flavor, laced with fresh garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, onion, red pepper and my secret ingredient that takes it to the top. In short, your search for the best pizza sauce stops here!
Servings: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30-60 seconds, then transfer to a blender.
  • Add the rest of the pizza sauce ingredients to the blender and blend to desired consistency (I leave it a little chunky).
  • You’ll use about 1/3-½ cup for one 12-inch pizza.

Notes

Storage

Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

Tips and Substitutions 

  • Use fire roasted tomatoes: Regular canned tomatoes won’t give you the same depth of flavor as fire-roasted ones.  I recommend the brand Muir Glen, but of course, use whatever you can get your hands on. 
  • Use whole canned tomatoes:  If you only have canned whole peeled tomatoes on hand, never fear!  You can substitute the diced tomatoes with whole canned San Marzano tomatoes that you blitz in a food processor.
  • Use crushed tomatoes: Substitute the diced tomatoes with one 15 oz. can crushed tomatoes – go for fire roasted Muir glen brand if you can.
  • Garlic powder:  If you are in a zero-chopping mood, then you can substitute the garlic cloves for garlic powder.  You will need ¾ teaspoon. 
  • Make it garlicky:  For the garlic lovers!  Add even more garlic if you don’t want to not be kissed tonight.   
  • Add balsamic:  I often will add up to 1 teaspoon quality balsamic vinegar.  It enhances the sweet tanginess.
  • Add Parmesan:  I usually shower freshly grated Parmesan all over my pizza before I pop it in the oven, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add it directly to the sauce!
  • Make it spicy: Love spicy pizza sauce? Add more red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne. 
  • Adjust consistency:  For a thicker pizza sauce, add more tomato paste; for a thinner pizza sauce, reduce the tomato paste or thin with a splash of water.

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8 Comments

  1. Patricia Baidinger says

    I never saw what temperature or how long to bake the pizza. Love the recipe!

  2. Debby says

    This sauce is to die for. The best I have ever tasted.

    • Jen says

      YAY! Thanks so much Debby for the being the first to review this recipe, I’m thrilled you loved it!

  3. K says

    This is a really good sauce, fast and easy. I made it last night and will use it going forward. Exactly what I was looking for but not finding. We used it on French bread pizza last night. Winner winner! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • Jen says

      Thanks for taking the time to comment! I’m so pleased this will be your new go-to recipe!

  4. Pamela Fawcett says

    This sauce is magnificent,divine.
    It made my vegan pizza taste like the best pizza I ever had at an Italian restaurant
    Before going vegan.
    I doubled it, made two pizzas, and have an awesome jar full in the fridge. I will use this on pasta, meatball subs, and sausage subs. Thank You

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Pamela, I’m so pleased it was a huge hit and transformed your pizza into the best ever! I love that you will be using the extra sauce on so many different things!