This pizza sauce is incredibly easy to make, tastes delicious & is flavor-packed. Made with fresh tomatoes, garlic and herbs, this has the rich & deep flavors of a classic pizza sauce & is naturally gluten-free and vegan. The road to fresh, delicious, homemade pizza starts with a really great sauce. With the right ingredients and techniques you can create a dish that is both delicious and satisfying. Moreover, you can feel really good about making it yourself.
Homemade pizza is greater than the sum of its parts. It is so much more than just the crust, sauce, and toppings. Pizza lovers will agree that something quite amazing happens when these components come together in a perfectly baked pie, as the cheese mingles with the toppings and the sauce bakes into the crust.
When taking these things into consideration, pizza sauce is a key component that adds sweetness, acidity, moisture and flavor to your pizza and for that reason, it is important to use a pizza sauce that can deliver.
Why Homemade is the Best
Of course, there are so many options ranging from store-bought varieties to homemade versions. For those times when you are perhaps in a hurry and need convenience, a jar of store-bought pizza sauce may suit your needs.
The outcome will be dependent on the quality, thickness, and flavor of that sauce. Sometimes, those sauces may be good enough, but what they lack is freshness, taste & best flavors.
For that, a homemade sauce is the way to go. When time and ingredients allow, a homemade sauce can give you the best flavor, but beyond that, it is about designing a sauce that suits your taste.
How is it made
When making a fresh sauce, tomatoes can be prepared by removing the skins and seeds. This is a worthwhile step and is as simple as scoring the skins with a sharp knife and plunging them into a pot of boiling water for just a few seconds. A dip into an ice bath to cool them will help the skins slip off quite easily.
Next, cutting them in half will expose the seeds which are easily moved with a gentle squeeze to yield just the flesh which is what you are after. From there, you are all set to move forward with the process of preparing your sauce.
Alternately, a quicker fresh version is viable that involves pureeing fresh whole tomatoes. This method bypasses the peeling and seeding. By simply pureeing the tomatoes in a blender or food processor, you begin with a sauce that can be then cooked for a thicker consistency, depending on your desired outcome.
The benefit here is the fresh flavor of the tomatoes with greater ease and speed than the blanching method. This recipe uses this easier method.
How to Make Pizza Sauce (stepwise photos)
1. Rinse and dice 500 grams tomatoes (1.1 pounds). Add them to a blender.
2. Make a smooth puree.
3. Heat a heavy bottom pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil becomes hot, stir in ¾ tablespoon finely chopped garlic.
4. Fry the garlic for a minute or two until it turns fragrant. Stir in ½ to 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes (optional).
5. Lower the heat and let the chilli flakes fry in the oil for 30 seconds.
6. Pour the tomato puree and stir.
7. Quickly cover the pan as it begins to splash. Cook for about 15 minutes until the tomato puree turns slightly thick.
8. Next add 1 teaspoon sugar & ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt. Sugar helps to balance the flavors.
9. Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon oregano and ½ to ¾ teaspoon basil. You can add more herbs to your liking.
10. Give a good mix and continue to simmer until pizza sauce cooks down to a thick yet spreading consistency. This takes another 5 minutes. Turn off the stove. Taste test and add more salt if required.
Cool it before spreading on your homemade pizza base.
Cool this completely and store in an air tight clean dry glass jar. It keeps good for 2 weeks in the refrigerator & for 3 months in the freezer.
Ingredients & substitutes
Having great ingredients is key so starting a pizza sauce with fresh, ripe tomatoes will always be optimal. If possible, it is best to work with tomatoes at the height of their season when they taste the best. The best tomatoes for making a pizza sauce are plum or roma tomatoes which have less water and therefore, yield a thicker sauce.
This does not mean that other tomatoes won’t work, however. Other garden varieties like beefsteak tomatoes can bring a great deal of flavor to the table, though you should be prepared to cook this type of sauce down a bit to get a sauce that is thick enough to stand up to your pizza.
One rule of thumb when creating your pizza sauce is that you should always use the best ingredients available to you. With that in mind, there are times when fresh tomatoes are not at their peak.
At times like that it may be in your best interest to use canned, whole tomatoes in place of fresh. Because canned tomatoes are picked and processed when tomatoes are ripe, you can count on consistency and flavor.
Perhaps the best part of making pizza sauce is the flexibility it allows when it comes to flavor. For those cooks who prefer a simple sauce, you can certainly create something very straightforward with the seasonings of your choice.
Others who are looking for something with a little more depth of flavor can reach for fresh herbs, garlic cloves, red chilli flakes & black pepper for some heat.
Fresh herbs provide a robust flavor when you have them on hand, though dried herbs certainly have their place in this process.
For those cooks who love garlic, nothing beats the punch of flavor it brings to your cooking, so use freshly chopped garlic. But garlic powder can offer a subtle nuance if used sparingly.
Finally, crushed black pepper & red chilli flakes can provide a desired level of heat to the pizza sauce. Even cayenne pepper can be used if you love the deeper color and depth of flavors it provides.
The point here is that homemade pizza sauce is customizable to your liking.
There are many ways to give your sauce a character. A good, full-bodied olive oil is best for maximum flavor that can really shine in your pizza sauce. However you may use any other for convenience.
Adding sugar will steer your sauce into a sweeter direction, while an unsweetened sauce will allow the acidity of the tomatoes to come through. You have total control over the taste and that is something you cannot get from a jar.
Ideas to use pizza sauce
If it just so happens that you find yourself with extra pizza sauce on your hands, there are a number of ways for you to utilize it. Here are a few suggestions:
Use it to create a sauce for a baked pasta dish.
Spread it over your roti/ chapati to make roti pizza.
Use it for a dipping sauce for cheese sticks, bread sticks, or garlic bread.
Freeze it to have on hand for the next time you are making pizza.
Pizza sauce keeps good in the fridge for 2 weeks if stored well in a clean dry glass jar . For better shelf life use dry spoons. It can be frozen for longer storage.
No both are different. The consistency of pizza sauce is thicker than that of pasta sauce. However you may toss your pasta in pizza sauce and add some pasta cooked stock to help coat your pasta well with the sauce.
Yes you can freeze pizza sauce for 3 months. To retain the maximum flavors and taste, cool it right away after cooking and store it in a freezer safe glass containers and freeze it.
Add nothing but simmer longer to evaporate most of the liquid in the tomatoes. This also develops a deeper & richer flavor & thickens your pizza sauce.
You don’t need tomato paste to make pizza sauce, though it gives a much deeper flavor. Just puree fresh pulpy tomatoes and cook them down until the sauce becomes thick.
How to make no cook pizza sauce?
For those looking for a homemade sauce that does not require cooking, you can reach for canned tomato paste. This option will yield a thicker sauce that can be adjusted with the addition of a little water. From there, you can easily proceed with garlic, herbs, and seasonings according to taste.
What you will end up with is a pizza sauce with a more cooked flavor and a concentrated tomato flavor.
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
- 500 grams tomatoes (ripe, 1.1 pounds, 2 cups tomato puree)
- ½ to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes (adjust to taste)
- ¾ tablespoon garlic fine chopped or minced
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- ⅓ to ½ teaspoon salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (to balance the flavors)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon dried basil (or 2 tbsps fine chopped fresh basil)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed black pepper
How to Make Pizza Sauce
- Rinse tomatoes under running water and dice them. Puree them in a blender.
- Heat oil in a pot and add finely chopped garlic. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes until garlic becomes aromatic.
- Then add red chilli flakes if using and give a quick mix.
- Pour the tomato puree and stir. Cover immediately and cook on a medium to low heat until the sauce thickens slightly. This takes about 15 mins.
- Stir in between to prevent the tomatoes from burning. Be careful as the sauce splashes. You may turn down the heat and stir.
- Then add salt, sugar, oregano, black pepper and basil. Mix and continue to cook for another 5 mins, until the sauce becomes thick. When it is done you will see traces of oil on the sides and top.
- Turn off and add more salt if needed. Cool this completely and store in an air tight glass jar.
- Pizza sauce keeps good in the refrigerator for 2 weeks and for 3 months when frozen.
- I prefer to add the herbs after the sauce is half cooked. If you prefer to add in earlier you may add them along with the red chilli flakes.
- Nutritional values are for the entire yield (1 cup)
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me
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