This pizza sauce recipe is the best you’ve ever tasted! Whole tomatoes simmered with garlic, onions, fresh basil, and spices. Tastes like it came from your favorite pizzeria! A total game-changer for home-cooked pizza.
Some foods just don’t taste the same when you make them yourself – and for me, pizza used to be one of them. No matter how hard I tried or what ingredients I used, homemade pizza was never as good as takeout. I would make the dough from scratch, use fresh toppings, and buy high-quality cheese. And it would still never be as good as a restaurant.
Then one day, it hit me: It’s the sauce. I was using pizza sauce from a jar, which was OK. But then I tried stepping up my game by creating my own easy homemade pizza sauce, and everything changed!
Instead of a high-sugar, high-sodium jar of pizza sauce from the store, I now have an easy way to make red sauce pizza that’s fresh, healthy, and delicious. And it’s freezable, which lets me store small batches of the sauce for individual use whenever the need arises.
This pizza sauce recipe is versatile, too. I use it for many Italian dishes, like pasta, calzone, and even dipping sauce for bread or chicken nuggets. This pizza sauce would be delicious with any recipe that calls for red sauce.
INGREDIENTS – WHAT YOU NEED
Easy homemade pizza sauce is made with tomatoes, olive oil, butter, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, sugar, salt, and pepper.
HOW TO MAKE PIZZA SAUCE
Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush them into small pieces with your hands.
Preheat a large skillet to medium heat, and add olive oil and butter. Add onions and cook for 3-5 minutes until translucent.
Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, sugar, salt, and pepper.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
FREEZE FOR LATER
Make the recipe to completion and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature. Divide sauce into individual freezer bags (that are already labeled), with each bag holding enough for one pizza.
Lay bags flat in the freezer
Thaw a bag in your fridge the night before you want to use it.
HOW LONG DOES PIZZA SAUCE LAST?
Because the best pizza sauce recipe is made fresh, it will last for one week in a sealed container in the fridge. In the freezer, it will keep for up to 6 months before its flavor changes.
IS PIZZA SAUCE VEGAN?
The only non-vegan ingredient in this sauce is butter, which can be subbed out for margarine, vegan butter, or olive oil.
CAN YOU MAKE PIZZA SAUCE SUGAR-FREE?
Many people are looking for ways to cut or reduce sugar from their foods, and store-bought sauces are one of the biggest culprits for added sugar. My pizza sauce recipe calls for a relatively small amount to reduce the tartness of the sauce.
If you want to eliminate sugar completely, try substituting caramelized onions or pulverized carrots. Each of these help balances the acidity of the tomatoes. Another technique I’ve heard of (but haven’t yet tried) is to add a pinch of baking soda to the sauce. Some people swear by it!
CAN YOU USE PIZZA SAUCE ON PASTA?
You absolutely could serve easy homemade pizza sauce over pasta. The flavor profile may be different than your average spaghetti sauce, but it would still be tasty!
The differences between pizza sauce and pasta are subtle but significant. Both are tomato-based sauces, but pizza sauce typically has more herbs, spices, and seasonings. It’s also made “raw,” to get cooked while the pizza is cooking. Pasta sauce is often simmered for several hours before it’s ready. This recipe produces a cooked sauce that’s meant for pizza but would be delicious over pasta, too.
CAN YOU FREEZE PIZZA SAUCE?
You betcha! For make-and-freeze pizza sauce, cook the recipe to completion and allow the sauce to cool to room temperature. Then divide the sauce into individual freezer bags (that are already labeled), with each bag holding enough for one pizza. Lay flat in the freezer, and you’ve got pizza sauce on standby whenever you need it. Thaw a bag in your fridge the night before you want to use it.
PRO TIPS/RECIPE NOTES
This is the best pizza sauce recipe for experimentation. Spicy pizza sauce, pizza sauce with crumbled sausage, velvety pizza sauce with ricotta cheese blended in…It’s up to you! Next time you make a batch of this sauce, have a second saucepan on the stove. About halfway through the cooking process, pour half of your pizza sauce into the other saucepan and customize it as you like.
This pizza sauce recipe is a perfect dipping sauce for breadsticks, mozzarella sticks, and garlic bread. Tear small chunks of Italian bread, warm them up in the oven and give everyone a small ramekin of sauce for dipping. Or toast small slices of Italian bread with shredded mozzarella on top, then cut them into dipping squares.
If you’re not cool with using your hands to break apart the whole tomatoes, you can slice them with a sharp knife and then gently smash them with a potato masher. Or try wearing disposable food service gloves to keep your hands tomato-free.
OTHER ITALIAN DISHES
- Make this amazing Garlic Chicken Pasta.
- Create this delicious Baked Chicken Pesto Alfredo Pasta.
- Prepare this Easy Homemade Lasagna.
- Make these amazing Pesto Spinach Lasagna Rollups.
- Prepare this savory Crockpot Lasagna Soup.
The next time you make this pizza sauce recipe, I would love to see it! Snap a picture and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #happymoneysaver and tagging me @happymoneysaver!
Simple Pizza Sauce Recipe
- 28 oz can whole tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup onion small dice
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp fresh basil 1 teaspoon if using dried
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano 1 teaspoon if using dried
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes optional
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Pour tomatoes in large bowl and crush into small pieces with hands.
- Preheat large skillet to medium heat, add olive oil and butter. Add onions and cook 3-5 minutes until translucent.
- Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds.
- Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
This recipe was first posted on August 3, 2015, but was updated with new photos and better-detailed instructions on October 19th, 2022.
Food is my love language. But so is saving money. So I like to combine the two a lot and make thrifty make ahead and freeze meals to save time. Because life is busy, and freezer meals can come to the rescue for all of us. And yes, they actually CAN taste good. Read more...