So you have mastered homemade pizza dough and know your way around a pizza oven. You have experimented with cheeses and made your own mozzarella.
You maximize flavor and grow your own fresh herbs for your homemade pizza. But you are still not sure if you should use store-bought pizza sauce or homemade pizza sauce? It’s actually one of the most common questions we get emailed through our blog here.
If you are still reaching for that store-bought pizza sauce in your cupboard, then it might be time to upgrade. I mean, we get it. It’s easy to pop open a jar of store-bought red sauce. It’s convenient and affordable, so why not make it easy on yourself.
But we are here to convince you that making homemade sauce is convenient and affordable, too, with the added benefit of it actually tasting better and making a better pizza.
What is Pizza Sauce?
Pizza sauce is often thought of as the key ingredient that can make or break a good pizza. There is a lot of debate online about the difference between pizza sauce and pasta sauce. While they both are from tomatoes, there are some menial differences depending on who you ask.
In a nutshell, pasta sauce is cooked tomato sauce that starts from either fresh or canned tomatoes and is cooked with herbs and spices. Every chef has their own version. Some are simple, some are full of herbs, some are chunky, and others are smooth.
Pizza sauce is not one thing. If you ask a trained pizzaiolo what makes a great pizza sauce, you are going to get a lot of different answers depending on the pizza style they make.
A pizzaiolo that specializes in Chicago-style deep-dish pizza uses a cooked tomato sauce, and a pizzaiolo that makes Neopolitan pizzas uses uncooked tomatoes for a zingy fresh taste. Both uncooked pizza and cooked pizza sauce are the right way to make the sauce.
Store-bought Pizza Sauce or Homemade Pizza Sauce
While store-bought pizza sauce is fine in a pinch, it really isn’t the best option. The taste is flat, and it has more sugar and chemicals than you would expect. The average jar of manufactured pizza sauce has 5 grams of sugar and 350 milligrams of sodium. Plus, there is little fiber, and the lack of taste makes this a poor choice.
Instead of using the bland sauce, you should consider making your own pizza sauce. Making your own sauce lets you control the amount of sugar, salt, and fiber you put in it. Plus, you can add your favorite herbs and spices to customize your sauce.
If you like a little heat, you can add some red pepper flakes. If you love oregano in your sauce, like on a Greek pizza, you can add more of it, and if you have a vampire problem, you can garlic up your sauce for safety. You are the master of your own sauce. It feels good to be in charge, trust us.
Ok, now that I’ve convinced you to make your own sauce, we are going to explain how to make it convenient and affordable. To make it convenient, make a big batch and freeze it.
We freeze our pizza sauce in reusable storage bags. Our homemade dough recipe makes two pizzas, so we portion our sauce for two pizzas. But you can portion it out to however many pizzas you usually make at a time.
Making your own sauce is affordable as raw ingredients like tomatoes are always cheaper than prepared. We suggest using quality canned tomatoes in the winter and fresh tomatoes in the summer season. Your local farmers market is a great place to find fresh tomatoes and herbs for your homemade pizza sauce.
Homemade Sauce Two Ways
As we mentioned before, there are two schools of thought on whether pizza sauce should be cooked or not. We present you with a recipe for each one. We suggest you try them both and see which one you prefer as it really is a matter of taste.
Basic Cooked Pizza Sauce
- 1 (28-ounce) can of whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 medium cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 medium yellow onion halved
- A small handful of fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Place tomatoes in a blender and blend until almost smooth. Set aside. Heat oil and butter in a sauté pan with garlic, oregano, and basil. Cook for two to three minutes.
Then, pour in the tomato from the blender and add the halved onion—Cook for 2 hours on a simmer. Remove the onion and let cool. Use right away or freeze for later.
This is a basic recipe but feel free to add red pepper flakes or more herbs and garlic. Highly recommend a little kick no matter how basic you go!
Simple Fresh Pizza Sauce
- 1 (28 oz can) of whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1teaspoon oregano
- Pinch of sea salt
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic minced
Place tomatoes in a bowl and use your hands to squish them. Add other ingredients and mix well.
If in season, you can use fresh whole tomatoes. Just blanch them and peel.
Try both recipes and see whether you prefer the fresh zing of uncooked sauce or the deep flavor of a cooked sauce.
Best Store-Bought Pizza Sauce
In a [very] unofficial taste test that we conducted with a few willing participants (our friends and family), we tried to find the best store-bought sauce. Homemade pizza sauce vs store bought is generally pretty easy to distinguish, so we limited to just store-bought pizza sauce.
So here we give you the top five best store-bought pizza sauces. So if you find yourself in a bind and need to use store-bought sauce, these are your best options, according to our panel of tasters.
Have you tried any of our top 5? And do you prefer store-bought pizza sauce or homemade pizza sauce?