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posted January 08, 2024

4 Ingredient Pizza Sauce

Rich, delicious homemade pizza sauce is easy with my 4 Ingredient Pizza Sauce. With this flavorful sauce, you’ll be a pizza master in no time.

Wooden spoon scooping pizza sauce from glass bowl in front of fresh herbs. Text overlay reads: "4 Ingredient Pizza Sauce".

4 Ingredient Pizza Sauce

Who doesn’t love a backyard pizza party? My 4 Ingredient Pizza Sauce will help take your pizza game to a whole new level. Forget that store-bought, canned tomato sauce full of preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients. Ditch the overly-seasoned pizza chain stuff. The best pizza sauce recipes should be simple, and it doesn’t get much simpler than this.

Making your own pizza sauce at home gives you total control of the flavor of your sauce. Additionally, you get to personalize the thickness consistency of the sauce to your liking. With this recipe, you’ll have everything you need to make the best homemade pizza sauce you’ve ever tasted.

What’s the difference between marinara and pizza sauce?

While pizza sauce and marinara sauce have a lot of the same ingredients and flavor profiles, they’re not one and the same. Pizza sauce tends to be thicker with varying sized chunks of tomato. Marinara sauce is typically cooked before use as a dipping sauce or topping. Your pizza sauce will bake while simmering on your pizza in the oven. You can get by using a marinara sauce on your pizzas, but once you try your own fresh, homemade pizza sauce, you’ll never go back.4 ingredients for pizza sauce on cutting board.

Ingredients for Simple Pizza Sauce

Like the name says, this recipe is really made with just four simple ingredients. No hard-to-read ingredients, preservatives, or flavor savers here. This sauce is made from just a handful of items you likely have most or all of in your pantry already. The secret to the sauce is in using the best versions of each of these ingredients. 

  • whole peeled tomatoes
  • tomato paste
  • fresh basil
  • Kosher salt

Tips for Making Pizza Sauce at Home

While this sauce is easy to prepare and only requires a few simple ingredients, there’s still some keys to getting the most out of it. Here are some awesome tips to take your sauce to the next level.

  • Use good tomatoes. If you want that truly authentic Italian flavor, you’ve got to go with San Marzano tomatoes. These are Italian style plum tomatoes with a rich, red color and unique flavor profile you just can’t get with other tomatoes. They do cost a little bit more than basic canned tomatoes, but this whole recipe will cost less than ten dollars. I say don’t be basic. These guys are worth splurging for. San Marzano tomatoes are so prized for their flavor, there is a certification process to ensure you’re getting the real deal and not a knockoff. Check the labels when you’re picking these up from the store. 
  • Crush by hand. You may be tempted to throw your tomatoes in a  blender or food processor to break them up, but resist that urge. Crushing by hand allows you to feel exactly what consistency your sauce is going to be. Using a blender, you will likely break the seeds and release a bitter flavor nobody wants on their pizza. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to squish them by hand.
  • Tubed tomato paste. I highly recommend getting your tomato paste in a tube. It’s much easier to measure, use, and store than canned tomato paste. The recipe calls for around half a 4.5 ounce tube, so you can simply put the lid on and toss it in your fridge until you’re ready to make a fresh batch.
  • Bruise your basil. You read that right, you’re going to smack your basil around a little. I like to chop it into rough pieces with the back of my knife. This gives you a unique texture, and releases the oils you miss with dried basil. For the best flavor, skip the dried herbs and go for fresh basil here.

Knife crushing fresh basil leaves on cutting board.

How Long Homemade Pizza Sauce Lasts

You can make your pizza sauce ahead of time. Once you’ve got the flavor to your liking, simply add your pizza sauce to a glass mason jar or airtight container and place it in your refrigerator. It will keep fresh stored this way for up to five days. After that, your tomatoes may start to get mealy, and you’ll want to prepare a new batch.

It’s possible to store your pizza sauce in the freezer to use later but I don’t recommend it. You’re going to lose some of that zesty, bright punch from the fresh tomatoes, and honestly, thawing it takes longer than whipping up some totally fresh pizza sauce.

How to Make 4 Ingredient Pizza Sauce

This pizza sauce is not only unbelievably tasty, it’s super easy to make. Seriously, it’s going to take longer to read how to make it than it will to actually do it. Here’s how to create this rich sauce for your next family pizza party:

  1. Squish and seed tomatoes. Pour an entire 28 oz can of San Marzanos whole peeled tomatoes, including juice, into a large bowl, and squish them by hand. Once you have a texture you’re happy with, remove any seeds and those yellow stem pieces. This will leave you with a gorgeous, red sauce.
  2. Add tomato paste. Add your tomato paste directly to your hand-crushed tomatoes and mix gently. Continue adding and lightly stirring until your sauce is your preferred consistency. You’ll typically use 3-4 Tablespoons, or around half a 4.5 ounce tube.
  3. Bruise basil. It’s time to chop your basil, but not in the usual way. Using the back of your knife, chop your fresh basil leaves into rough pieces, releasing the oils. Once fragrant, add them to your mixture.
  4. Salt to taste. Add salt to your sauce, a pinch at a time. Stir in, taste, and add as needed. The salt will bring out the natural tart and tangy flavor of your tomatoes, and the sweetness of the basil. Once you can taste the salt, you’re good to go. Combine well and add to your dough, or store for later.

Hand crushing tomatoes in glass bowl.

Ways to Use 4 Ingredient Pizza Sauce

Now that you know how easy it is to make your own pizza sauce at home, you can use it for all sorts of things. It makes a great dipping sauce for fresh garlic breadsticks. You can also use it as a pasta sauce or add it to savory meatballs for a little kick. And of course, you can have fresh, homemade pizzas any time. Just spoon some of this rich and vibrant sauce on my Homemade Grilled Pizza Dough and then add your cheese and favorite toppings for pizza in minutes. Here are a few ideas to get you started, available soon in the Hey Grill Hey app:

  • Hot Honey Pepperoni Pizza
  • BBQ Chicken Pizza
  • Margherita Pizza

Pizza sauce being spooned onto pizza crust.

Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe

Making this sauce is as easy as pie. If you loved making this easy pizza sauce recipe, feel free to give it a 5 star rating, and tell us about your experience in the comments below. Don’t let the pizza party stop now. Head over to The Grill Squad to learn everything you’ll ever need to know to make delicious pizzas at home from start to finish from my friend Chef Jack Carlisle. He is a pizza master, owned his own wood-fired pizza joint for years, and taught me everything he knows!

Hey Grill Hey is here to help you become a backyard BBQ hero and feed the people you love. To see all the latest recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, and behind-the-scenes fun, make sure you’re following us on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.

Wooden spoon scooping 4 ingredient pizza sauce from glass bowl.

4 Ingredient Pizza Sauce

Susie Bulloch
Rich, delicious homemade pizza sauce is easy with my 4 Ingredient Pizza Sauce. With this flavorful sauce, you'll be a pizza master in no time.
3 from 1 vote
Prep Time : 10 minutes
Total Time : 10 minutes
Servings : 8 pizzas
Calories : 5kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 1 28 ounce can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3-4 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves (roughly chopped)
  • 2-3 teaspoons Kosher salt

Instructions

  • Squish tomatoes. Pour entire can of tomatoes into large mixing bowl and squish tomatoes by hand to desired consistency. Remove yellow stem parts and seeds, and discard.
    1 28 ounce can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • Add paste. Squeeze 3-4 Tablespoons (about 1/2 a 4.5 oz tube) into bowl, and mix gently.
    3-4 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • Bruise basil. Take 2-3 Tablespoons of fresh basil leaves from plant or bunch. Using the back of your knife, smack basil to release oils, roughly chop, and add to the tomatoes.
    2-3 Tablespoons fresh basil leaves
  • Salt to taste. Sprinkle in some salt. Start with around 1 teaspoon. Stir everything together. Continue salting to taste until you can taste the tomato and basil, and just notice the salt.  Use the sauce immediately, or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
    2-3 teaspoons Kosher salt

Nutrition

Calories: 5kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.03g | Saturated Fat: 0.01g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.004g | Sodium: 629mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 118IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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