This homemade San Marzano pizza sauce recipe is so easy and requires just 3 ingredients. Inspired by the simple, yet delicious Neapolitan pizzas I tried in Italy, it's incredibly fresh, with a hint of sweetness and acidity. The best part? It takes less than 5 minutes to come together, making it the ideal sauce for your next pizza night.
I cannot believe I haven't shared this homemade pizza sauce recipe with you all, yet! It's fresher than any sort of store-bought sauce, and it's SO easy to make. This is my go to recipe that I've been making for years and years, especially as a base for Margherita pizzas. It's a bit thinner than a classic marinara sauce, but not watery.
And if you're looking for a good pizza dough to along with it, I highly recommend my beginner-friendly Roberta's Pizza Dough recipe or intermediate 72 hour cold-fermented pizza dough recipe. For more quick recipes, try out my kale pasta sauce, Carbone's spicy vodka rigatoni, or paneer bhurji sandwiches.
Ingredient Spotlight: What are San Marzano Tomatoes?
There is a lot of hype and confusion around these tomatoes, but I'm here to dispel the myths! San Marzanos are a longer variety of plum tomatoes with low acidity, few seeds, and a rich, concentrated tomato flavor and sweetness.
They are often referred to as the best tomatoes, and according to the AVPN (the True Neapolitan Pizza Association), authentic Neapolitan pizza *must* use San Marzano tomatoes. To qualify as "San Marzano," these tomatoes must follow specific requirements. Here are a few:
- They must grow in the fertile soil around Mount Vesuvius in Campania, Italy.
- Canned tomatoes must contain the real D.O.P certification and be labeled with this designation "Pomodoro S. Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino."
Shopping Tips: Unfortunately, there are a LOT of products in the grocery store with the label San Marzano that are, not, in fact the real thing. When shopping, I urge you to check the DOP label and designations noted above. Avoid canned products labeled "San Marzano Style", purchase whole-peeled tomatoes only, and go for brands like Gustarosso or Rega.
Substitute: If you're having trouble, I also recommend Bianco diNapoli. They're highly concentrated and sweet tomatoes grown in California. This pizza sauce is made of simple ingredients, so it's important to purchase good quality products when possible.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: You only need a little bit of olive oil for the sauce, so I recommend going for the good stuff!
Optional Toppings: Authentic Italian pizza sauce often only contains tomatoes, salt, and olive oil, but sometimes you want to change things up a bit! Here are my recommendations:
- Garlic: Add a pinch of garlic powder. Or, grate ½ a garlic clove if you want it punchier.
- Fresh Herbs: like fresh oregano or fresh basil leaves
- Red Pepper Flakes
For the full list of ingredients and their quantities, please refer to the recipe card.
How to Make Pizza Sauce
Step 1 - Strain the tomatoes: Open the can of tomatoes, and use tongs to pull out the whole tomatoes from their juices. Place the drained tomatoes into a large blender cup with olive oil and salt.
Step 2 - Blend: Puree tomatoes with an immersion blender until mostly smooth. Alternatively, you can use a stand blender or food processor, but a blender will yield a smoother sauce. Avoid over-blending, as that can lead to a more soupy sauce!
TIP: For a thicker sauce, strain the tomato puree over a fine-mesh sieve until it reaches your desired consistency.
Step 3 - Add optional toppings: Stir in any desired toppings, such as chopped herbs or garlic powder.
Step 4 - Sauce: Use as desired on pizza! I usually start with 2 - 3 tablespoons for a personal-sized thin-crust pizza, but you can use more or less depending on the size and thickness of the pie.
Step 5 - Bake: Top with your favorite toppings and a bit of fresh mozzarella and bake! For more tips on saucing and topping pizza, check out my guide to homemade thin-crust pizza.
This recipe makes a large batch (1 cup) of sauce. Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week or in a Ziploc bag in the freezer up to 6 months.
I recommend pairing this sauce with a Neapolitan-style dough, cold fermented pizza dough, or a NY-style dough. I do not recommend a thicker pizza, like Sicilian or Focaccia, because you often need a thicker, sweeter sauce to cut the heavier dough/cheese combination.
Unlike other tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes are juicy, but not watery, with a sweet, rich flavor, and a thin flesh. In short, they're more concentrated and more flavorful!
I've found that Whole Foods, specialty Italian stores, and online retailers are your best bet. If you need any help, feel free to contact me, and I can help do some research.
Yes, you can! However, it does require cooking - Flavor quotient has a great recipe here.
For even more cozy recipes, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter.Happy eating! Love, Karishma
San Marzano Pizza Sauce
- Immersion blender, or Food Processor or Regular Blender
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Strain and blend: Open 1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano DOP Whole-Peeled Tomatoes and use tongs to transfer the whole tomatoes into a large blender cup. Reserve the remaining tomato juice for another recipe and set aside. To the blender cup, add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and ½ teaspoon Diamond-Crystal Kosher Salt, and puree with an immersion blender until the mixture is mostly smooth. Note: Alternatively, you can puree the mixture in a food processor or stand blender. Make sure not to overblend, as the mixture can get too liquidy.
- Season: Taste, and adjust seasonings accordingly. If desired, stir in 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil leaves and ½ teaspoon garlic powder.Note: Some tomatoes can be more watery. In this case, you can strain the sauce over a fine-mesh sieve to your desired thickness.
- Sauce: For a smaller, thin-crust pizza (10 to 12 inches), I like to use 2 - 3 tablespoons of sauce. You can use as much as you'd like, depending on the size and thickness of the pie!