Learn how Italians make pizza with this San Marzano pizza sauce recipe. It's packed with flavor and incredibly easy to make. Because no sugar is added, it's the perfect low-carb sauce, suitable for any type of pizza. You can also use this no-cook tomato sauce as a base for various pasta recipes as it adds so much flavor to any dish. By the way, if you want to make pizza, check out my pizza dough recipe!
Pasta sauce is a sauce that is served with pasta and can range from tomato-based sauces to herb-based sauces to cheese-based sauces (like Alfredo sauce). It can also contain meat. On the other hand, pizza sauce is a tomato sauce that is traditionally made uncooked and with just a few ingredients.
Although marinara sauce is a tomato-based pasta sauce and has ingredients similar to this sauce, the difference is that marinara sauce is cooked and includes onions and sometimes additional ingredients like capers, olives, or wine. However, this Neapolitan-style pizza tomato sauce can be used as a base for making pasta sauce or added to your favorite Italian recipes.
Absolutely! Since there are only San Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, basil, garlic, oregano, and sea salt in this tomato sauce, it's gluten-free, low-carb, free from added sugar, and healthy.
Best tomatoes for low-acid pizza sauce
The best tomatoes for this true Italian tomato sauce are whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes (D.O.P.). They are widely recognized as the best canned tomatoes because of their low acidity and distinct tomato flavor. They also have fewer seeds than other canned tomatoes, making them perfect for pizza tomato sauce. I don't recommend using crushed tomatoes as they don't have as much flavor as whole peeled tomatoes. I also don't recommend using a basic tomato sauce.
Note: Authentic Italian pizza sauce is never made with tomato paste. Tomato paste is an excellent ingredient in other recipes, but it should never be an ingredient in a sauce used for pizza. It makes the sauce unnecessarily acidic and adds no benefit in flavor or texture.
Can I make it with fresh tomatoes?
This recipe was created with canned San Marzano tomatoes because they have great flavor and are easy and simple to use. Making this sauce with fresh tomatoes, such as cherry or roma tomatoes, is labor-intensive because the tomatoes need to be blanched beforehand. I don't recommend pureeing the tomatoes with the skin on, as the texture of the sauce would suffer.
Fresh vs. dried herbs
You can make this recipe with either fresh or dried herbs. Usually, I use fresh basil but dried oregano because I almost always have fresh basil at home but no fresh oregano. Use the following amounts for either dried or fresh herbs.
- Basil - 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried
- Oregano - ½ tablespoon fresh or ½ teaspoon dried
If you use fresh herbs, be sure to mince them finely. Rolling up the basil, finely slicing it, and then chopping it a few times is the easiest and quickest method to cut the basil.
Top tips for success
- Use only high-quality ingredients like extra-virgin olive oil for the best possible taste.
- Don't puree the sauce with a blender. The sauce is not supposed to be ultra-smooth and spreadable. Italian-style red sauce is rustic and has an irregular texture. Simply crush the tomatoes with your hands until it's almost like a puree.
How long does it last in the fridge
It tastes best when used within 1 week. However, you can safely store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Trust your senses and look, smell, and taste. In doubt, discard leftovers.
You can freeze the sauce in portions and thaw as needed. It freezes well for up to 3 months. Make sure to store it in freezer-safe bags or containers to avoid freezer burn and preserve the flavor of the sauce. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or on the kitchen counter for 1 hour.
What to make with it
Because of its great taste, this San Marzano sauce is my favorite for making Margherita pizza. All you need is a pizza dough, this sauce, mozzarella cheese, a few basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil. It's also great with sourdough pizza crust! You can also use it for making air fryer pizza rolls or air fryer pizza.
San Marzano Pizza Sauce (sugar free)
- 14 oz San Marzano tomatoes, whole peeled
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely minced
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Put the tomatoes with the juice into a large bowl. Crush the tomatoes with your hands to break them into small pieces. Be careful not to splash the released juices on your clothes.
- Add the olive oil, basil, garlic, dried oregano, and sea salt and stir to combine.
- Transfer to an airtight jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Stir before using.
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