How to Make a Really Good Pizza Sauce

Start to Finish: 5 minutes
Servings: Enough for one pizza
Difficulty: Intermediate

Along with store-bought dough and over-topping, using purchased sauce is one of the sins of pizza making. Jarred sauce is often too sweet and contains questionable ingredients. Create your own so it marries well with the cheese, crust and toppings you choose. Simple is best when it comes to pizza sauce.


  • One 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons yellow onion, minced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano flakes


Drain the can of tomatoes and puree in a blender with the salt.

In a medium saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion, stirring constantly, until fragrant and translucent. Do not allow the aromatics to burn or that flavor will infuse your sauce. Carefully stir in the tomatoes and cook until simmering, just 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the oregano. Set aside until ready to use.

Spread It On

How much sauce you add to your pizza really depends on your tastes, but too much can result in a soggy crust and a drippy bite. For a 12-inch pizza, authentic New York pizza makers add just 2 tablespoons of sauce. Swirl it on with the spoon and bring it just shy of the edges. Top with cheese and a spattering of toppings. Too many vegetables and meats will also make the crust soggy and the pizza unwieldy to eat.

Raw Sauce

Cooking is optional when it comes to pizza sauce. For the easiest option, simply puree the drained tomatoes, olive oil and salt and use modest amounts to top the crust. The sauce will cook in the oven with the dough and toppings.

From Raw Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are the go-to for the best sauce, but if you have a garden load of fresh tomatoes you want to use -- you can.

First, peel the tomatoes by making a small crosshatch in the skin on the bottom of each and then blanching them in boiling water for about a minute. When they cool, the skin slips right off when you peel from the "X". Chop the tomatoes and set aside.

Place about a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-aluminum pan over moderate heat and saute minced garlic and onions until they begin to brown. Add the chopped tomatoes and any reserved juices, fresh oregano, salt and pepper.

Bring to boil and then lower to a simmer for about 2 hours. The sauce should thicken and turn a brilliant red. Use this sauce as you would the quicker versions.