Here’s an amazing quick and easy homemade pizza sauce recipe that takes less than 30 minutes to make. We’ve been using our Italian homemade recipe for many years and I’m excited to share it with you to use on your own pizzas.
By making an Italian pizza sauce from scratch you not only save money, but you have complete control over the quality of your ingredients. That’s a win-win in my book!
Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe
This recipe makes approximately 4 cups (32 oz) of pizza sauce. Considering that commercial pizza sauce jars range from 12 to 14 oz in general, you’ll have plenty for now and later. The sauce is slightly thick – meaning it’s not runny and thin, plus the recipe is flexible enough for you to modify as needed.
In this post I’ll step you through the process of making this recipe so everything is crystal clear. Plus, I’ll share some helpful tips and answer some common questions.
So, if you’re new to Italian cooking, or just unsure about how difficult this recipe is, don’t worry. It’s super easy and not difficult. This traditional Italian pizza sauce uses simple ingredients that when added all together taste great.
Ingredients for this Recipe
Okay, hopefully I’ve just inspired you to save a few dollars. 😊 Let’s now move onto what ingredients you need to make the best homemade pizza sauce you could ask for!
Plain crushed tomatoes
You’ll need a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes. Do not be tempted to use Italian-style where the manufacturer added a lot of flavorful herbs. That might be great for a pasta sauce but not a traditional pizza sauce.
Sometimes finding crushed tomatoes can be challenging, so you can substitute them with diced tomatoes, which you can then simply pulse three times in a blender. That’s literally all you need to do.
All you need is a 6 oz can of tomato paste. The tomato paste makes this a slightly tangy pizza sauce. If you don’t want that, I explain below how to fix it. I will go into more detail about using or not using tomato paste in your pizza sauce further down below. Make sure to check it out if it’s relevant to you.
Two cloves of fresh garlic are all you need. If you’re in a bind and don’t have any, use some garlic powder but the flavor will be different, and I don’t know what quantity you would use. Try to use garlic cloves.
If you grow it in your garden all the better as it will be more potent than store bought. You’ll only need ½ teaspoon of this dried herb.
Yes, believe it or not you’ll want to add ¼ cup of water. If you want to make a thicker homemade pizza sauce, you can omit the extra water. But even with the water, it is still thick because the water will evaporate as it cooks.
Of course, we’ll need olive oil! Use extra virgin olive oil. You will only need 2 tablespoons.
How Homemade Italian Pizza Sauce Saves Money
I want to take a minute and dive into the fact that when you make your own pizza sauce you end up getting more for your dollar. With the price of food so high, it’s no wonder we’re all looking for ways to save.
A quick look at Walmart online and I see name brand pizza sauce jars starting at 13 ounces. I won’t even look at the Walmart brand, just FYI. So, even Rao’s All Natural jar of 13 oz is $4.78, or 36 cents per ounce. You can buy a six pack for $36 on Amazon – not a great deal. I use all organic ingredients in my sauce and it costs far less than $4.78, plus I make nearly 3x the amount!
So, in comparison, looking up prices as of now (2023 – not when I originally posted this recipe), my cost for organic crushed tomatoes is $5.29 (non-organic is only $2.82!), add in a dollar or so for the tomato paste and another dollar to cover the 2 garlic cloves and little bit of dried oregano. That adds up to $7.29 ($4.82 if non-organic). Let’s go ahead and round all the way up to $8.00 for my organic products.
Divide the $8 by 3 (since my batch makes 32 ounces to match the Rao’s All Natural jar of 13 oz.), and it’s only $2.66 for my homemade pizza sauce and all my ingredients are organic which is even more expensive than the non-organic brands I’m comparing it to.
Convinced yet that homemade pizza sauce is the way to go? I hope so!
Steps for Making this Classic Pizza Sauce
Here’s the fun part – making the sauce! Follow along or scroll down to the printable recipe card.Jump to Recipe
Heat the olive oil over low-medium heat in a medium size saucepan.
Once it’s heated, add in the minced garlic. If you don’t have a mincer/garlic press, then just dice them up as fine as you can. Add them to the pan and stir so they are covered with the oil.
Let the garlic cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until fragrant.
Pro Tip: If the garlic burns or starts to burn, you must throw it out and start over. You can’t save burnt garlic and it will ruin the sauce. So don’t let the garlic overcook. If you’re concerned, reduce the heat to low.
Next, add in the rest of the ingredients in no special order. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, and water.
Stir well until the tomato paste is fully dissolved and everything is incorporated well.
Reduce heat to low and let cook uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes. You don’t need to let the sauce cook down like a marinara sauce or spaghetti sauce, so if you want to cover it with a lid, that’s fine too.
When done, give it a taste test and if it’s too tangy then add 1/8 of a teaspoon of sugar and let it cook 5 more minutes. You can also add a dash of salt if you like, but I don’t think it needs it, since I top my pizza with cheese, already loaded with salt. But everyone has their own preferences.
Pro Tips for Making a Homemade Pizza Sauce
There is no doubt that at some point someone will claim my recipe is not traditional, not authentic or not whatever, simply because it’s not identical to their own Italian recipe from their family. That’s okay. My goal is to provide you with a delicious, simple classic pizza sauce that you can easily and quickly make at home.
I encourage everyone to adjust quantities to suit their own tastes and preferences. But begin by using my recipe as a starting point. If you like it as is, then great! But if you make tweaks, let me know below. I’d love to hear about it.
Here are some tips and answers to questions you may be wondering about, just like I did when I started cooking more homemade Italian recipes.
Can I use Tomato Paste as Pizza Sauce?
The short answer is yes, you can use tomato paste for pizza sauce, but it won’t taste good without some tweaking. Tomato paste is very tangy as it doesn’t have any sugar. Tomato paste is simply tomato puree that is processed down into a condensed thick paste. You can read my article about tomato paste vs tomato puree for more details on the subject.
If you only have tomato paste on hand and need to create your own pizza sauce, it is doable. Making pizza sauce from tomato paste will require you to basically make a regular pasta sauce then add in the seasoning. You can follow my recipe for making marinara from tomato paste and swap the herbs for just oregano.
Can I Make Pizza Sauce without Tomato Paste?
You may be wondering if you need tomato paste at all. It’s a reasonable question, especially if you’re looking to make a sauce and don’t happen to have any paste in your pantry. Is it worth a trip to the store? Well, you’re in luck because it probably isn’t worth it.
You can cut corners by omitting the tomato paste, but it’s important to understand that the tomato paste is what helps thicken the pizza sauce. So in this case, I recommend simply preparing the pizza sauce without the paste or the extra water. Let the sauce cook down until it is thickened.
Another trick is to add some corn starch to thicken the sauce if you want to keep a thick consistency. I don’t have a specific quantity, so add a little at a time. Mix with a little cold water – then add it to the crushed tomatoes.
Pro Tip: Always mix corn starch with cold liquid.
You may find that if you don’t want a thick sauce, then using just the canned crushed tomatoes for your pizza sauce works perfectly well.
How to Store Homemade Pizza Sauce
If you’re wondering how long homemade pizza sauce lasts, it depends on how you store it. If you store it in the refrigerator, it will last up to a week in an airtight container.
If you want to store it long term, you can keep it in the freezer in an airtight container for 6 to 12 months. Six months is standard, but frankly, I’ve used frozen sauce that’s been in the freezer for over a year, and it was just as good as before.
You can also can your pizza sauce just like you would homemade spaghetti sauce, but I don’t do canning at this point. You can check out this article about canning tomatoes using a water bath and pressure cooking. Just scroll down until you see the actual canning instructions.
Is this pizza sauce traditional?
This seems to be a common question and frankly, I can only assume yes. This recipe was created by my Italian husband and me when we were first married. We made a pasta sauce and added oregano and realized we stumbled upon a pizza sauce due to the oregano. We made tweaks and adjustments to the recipe until we perfected it, and stopped buying it at the store.
The ingredients are traditional in the sense that they are all ingredients commonly used in Italian cooking and in recipes from both sides of our families.
I believe that traditional Italian cooking is simple cooking with simple ingredients. This fits that category.
Why do you only use oregano?
Oregano is the key to making a good Italian homemade pizza sauce. According to history, the story is told that when WWII soldiers came home from overseas in Italy, they also brought with them the secret herb that made the Italian pizzas so much better than what they were used to here in America. And so oregano became a new and welcome addition to the family backyard garden and pizza makers haven’t looked back since!
However, with all that said, we live in an age of culinary freedoms, so if you want more herbs try it. If I want onions, basil or even fennel flavors, I add them as toppings, not herbs in my sauce. But try it any way you want, and you may love it!Jump to Recipe
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Ever wonder what the difference is between tomato puree and tomato sauce? We explain the difference.
I hope you enjoy the recipe below and that the video is helpful. Let me know how it goes for you and if you make any tweaks to make it your own – I’d love to hear it!
- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (plain, not Italian style)
- 1 6oz can tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried oregano adjust to taste
- 2 TBLE extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/8 tsp sugar This is optional. Only use if you want a sweeter less tangy sauce.
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in medium saucepan.
- Add the minced garlic cloves and stir frequently for 2 to 3 minutes over low heat- until aromatic. If garlic browns and burns toss out and start over.
- Add in the can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water and oregano. Mix well until sauce is evenly mixed.
- Turn heat to low and cook for about 20 minutes or longer stirring occasionally. (This is a good time to get the toppings ready).
- Taste the sauce and when ready remove from heat and turn off stovetop.
- Your homemade pizza sauce is ready to use! Freeze any left over for the next time.
- Add more oregano if you prefer a stronger flavor.
- You want the sauce thicker than a regular pasta sauce, hence the tomato paste. So if the water thins it too much, simply cook it down a bit with the lid off.
- As with most of my recipes, freeze what you do not use. Next time when you want to make a pizza, the sauce only needs to be thawed over the stove or in the refrigerator!
- For more flavors add in additional herbs such as basil, or add some onion powder. This will make it taste more like a pasta sauce, but it can still work for pizza.
- If you prefer a less tangy sauce, omit the paste and water and let it cook down to a thicker consistency.