homemade pizza sauce
Basics, Sauces

Homemade Pizza Sauce

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This pizza sauce is made entirely from scratch, and it’s perfectly smooth and thick. It’s fantastic on top of pizza, but it can also double as a marinara sauce or a steak sauce!

Pizza sauce from a jar is great and all. But whenever I have the time, I really love to make my own pizza sauce at home! If not only gives you so so much more customizability in terms of herbs and spices, but it’s also so much more flavorful! Plus, if you make your own pizza dough, you get to brag that your pizza was made entirely from scratch. And brag, I do.

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    I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with this classic red style pizza sauce, but something I recently learned is that “pizza sauce” has a lot more meanings!

    What is pizza sauce?

    Generally speaking, pizza sauce is really any sauce that’s used to top pizza. Most commonly, it’s either a tomato based, red sauce or a dairy based, white sauce. I’m a sucker for a classic red sauce pizza, which is the type that I make most often.

    The most common question I get about red pizza sauce is “what’s the difference between pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce?” The main difference between pizza and spaghetti (marinara) sauce is the thickness and the texture.

    Pizza sauce tends to be more runny and smooth, with all of the ingredients being finely diced or even pureed. Marinara sauce on the other hand is usually thicker (so it can stick to and coat pasta) and chunkier (to give some different textures).

    But to be honest, there isn’t a huge difference between the two. You can even get away with substituting one for the other, if needed.

    Pizza sauce ingredients:

    • Olive Oil: Olive oil adds a nice subtle favor to the sauce, and also helps with cooking the onion and garlic. You can use neutral flavored oil in its place, but the olive oil does also add a nice flavor.
    • Onion: Not a super necessary ingredient, but I find myself missing the taste of it when I leave it out. I like to use red onion whenever I can because I like the slightly milder flavor it has, but yellow or white onion work fantastic here as well.
    • Garlic: Again, not a necessary ingredient, but garlic adds another nice layer of flavor.
    • Salt and oregano: Mostly for flavor and seasoning. Specs of oregano throughout the sauce is also a visual plus!
    • Tomato paste: Adds an extra kick of tomato flavor and helps deepen the color of the sauce.
    • Tomato Puree: This is the base of the sauce. You can use either canned pureed tomatoes or puree your own. I like to just wash and peel 6 to 8 medium sized Roma tomatoes and blend them into a smooth puree.
    • Sugar: A fantastic addition to any tomato based sauce because it helps dull some of the acidity in the tomatoes and bring out their natural sweetness.
    • Ketchup: What? Yes! It’s a bit strange, but the ketchup adds a sort of smokey, sweet & salty, tangy flavor that adds complexity to the sauce. It’s completely optional, and I’ve made this sauce without it hundreds of times. But I would recommend giving it a try if you can!

    How to store pizza sauce:

    Allow your pizza sauce to cool completely before transferring to an airtight jar or container for storage. This pizza sauce will last up to 1 week in the fridge. If you don’t plan on using it before then, you can also freeze this sauce!

    How to freeze pizza sauce: To freeze, place your cooled sauce in either an airtight (freezer safe) container or a plastic bag. I recommend the plastic bag just for the sake of making defrosting easier. If using a bag, push as much air as possible out of the bag. Seal the container or the bag well and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

    To defrost frozen pizza sauce, you can set it out at room temperature for a few hours to defrost or overnight in the fridge. If stored in a plastic bag, you can even pour the frozen sauce out into a pot and heat over low heat to defrost.

    Watch: How to make pizza sauce at home:

    Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe

    This pizza sauce is made entirely from scratch, and it’s perfectly smooth and thick. It’s fantastic on top of pizza, but it can also double as a marinara sauce or a steak sauce!
    Prep Time 10 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Servings 1 cup


    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium red onion finely grated
    • 2 cloves garlic finely minced
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 15 ounce can tomato purée (about 1 & 1/2 cups)
    • 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ketchup


    • In a large skillet or saucepan, combine your olive oil, onion, and garlic. Place your pan over medium heat and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion turns translucent and softens. Add salt and oregano to the onion and garlic. Cook for another minute or so to slightly toast the oregano. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute to toast as well.
    • Pour in the tomato puree, sugar, and ketchup to the sauce. Turn the heat up to high and bring the sauce to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until thickened to your liking. Taste for salt and adjust if needed. Cool slightly before using to top pizza.


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