Here’s how to make pizza sauce – with a recipe courtesy of the famous pizzeria chain, Franco Manca (opens in new tab). Find out everything you need to know about making the best quality pizza sauce with this handy guide.
Firstly, the quality of the tomatoes is key. Beautiful Italian tinned tomatoes, ripened in the sun for sweeteness, will give you a rich base for all your favourite pizza toppings. The chefs at Franco Manca add a little salt to their organic tomatoes before crushing everything together with a potato masher for a deliciously chunky sauce. It doesn't even need to be cooked.
Once you’ve mastered this sauce, you may want to make your own pizza dough (opens in new tab). Then you need to decide what you want to put on top of your pizza. If you like classic flavours, opt for Gino D'Acampo's margherita pizza (opens in new tab) or treat yourself to a classic ham and mushroom combo or spicy chorizo and roasted pepper pairing.
Whatever toppings you choose, one thing is for sure – this sauce will give you the best possible basis to build on...
How to make pizza sauce
In this quick video above, Franco Manca's head chef Rafa explains that he uses "tomatoes that are quite sweet in flavour". This natural sweetness helps to balance the acidity and salt in the sauce.
Once you've mashed the tomatoes as per the instructions, Rafa says "don't worry if you have some bits from the tomatoes". You will want to have a bit of texture so that when you eat the pizza you get little explosions of that delightful tomato taste. Some pizza sauces use herbs like basil or oregano, but here those aromatics are left until the toppings are added – which is when you can add any garnishes you like.
You may wonder why this sauce is raw before it goes onto the pizza base. "We don't cook the tomatoes because we want people to actually taste the flavour," says Rafa. "If you cook them they become quite heavy so you want to taste the freshness and the lightness of the tomatoes."
Although Rafa makes a large batch, the recipe below still makes enough sauce to cover multiple pizzas, so prepare it ahead of time then chill or freeze in individual servings for future use.
For a step-by-step guide including instructions and images, read on.
- 600g tinned tomatoes
- 5g salt
How to make pizza sauce: Step 1
Place the tinned tomatoes in a bowl, add the 5g of sea salt.
How to make pizza sauce: Step 2
Next, use a potato masher to press the peeled tomatoes until most of it is like juice, but with a few chunks remaining.
How to make pizza sauce: Step 3
After that, use a ladle to pour some sauce into the middle of the base. Using a circular motion going outwards, spread the sauce over the base. Leave the edges bare. Top with your favourite ingredients, bake and enjoy!
Can you use pizza sauce on pasta?
There is no reason why you can't use this sauce on pasta, though you may want to blitz it in the blender for a smoother sauce. If it's a little too acidic – something that won't matter so much if it's on a pizza topped with other items – you can add a sprinkling of sugar to balance the flavour. Alternatively, you can adapt it into a marinara sauce.
What is the difference between pizza sauce and marinara sauce?
The main difference between this sauce and a classic marinara sauce is the number of ingredients. Essentially, this has just two ingredients while a marinara sauce usually has a base of onions sauteed in olive oil, then a blended mix of tinned tomatoes, garlic, and herbs such as oregano and basil is added to the onions and simmered for 20 minutes.
How to store pizza sauce
Firstly, if you're batch cooking this sauce with the plan to save some for later it's recommended that you sterilise the jars (opens in new tab) beforehand. This is to prevent harmful bacteria from getting trapped in the containers and contaminating the sauce.
Secondly, make sure the containers are airtight before you store them in the fridge or freezer.
How long does pizza sauce last?
Properly stored, this fresh sauce will last for 3-5 days in the fridge and 4-6 months in the freezer. Use clean, airtight containers and divide them into portions so you can take what you need when you need it. Let the sauce defrost overnight in the fridge or on the kitchen counter and bring to room temperature before using.
Easy pizza recipes
Baked egg pizza
This moreish ham and egg recipe requires a shop-bought jar of sauce, but you can use some from the batch you made.
Get the recipe: Baked egg pizza (opens in new tab)
Chicken, mushroom and tomato pizza
Likewise, all you need to change in this recipe is the passata. Swap it for some of your pizza sauce.
Get the recipe: Chicken, mushroom and tomato pizza (opens in new tab)
Pepperoni pizza with chilli and onion
Pepperoni pizza is a family favourite and one that's easy to recreate at home.
Get the recipe: Pepperoni pizza with chilli and onion (opens in new tab)
Substitute the pizza sauce in this recipe for a portion of the batch you've already made.
Get the recipe: Healthy pizza (opens in new tab)
Roasted vegetable pizza
Lastly, replace the ketchup in this recipe with your sauce, for a mouthwatering veggie pizza.
Get the recipe: Roasted vegetable pizza (opens in new tab)
Debra Waters is an experienced online editor and lifestyle writer with a focus on health, wellbeing, beauty, food and parenting. She currently writes for Goodto and Woman&Home, and print publications Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman’s Weekly. Previously, Debra was digital food editor at delicious magazine and MSN. She’s written for M&S Food, Great British Chefs, loveFOOD, What to Expect, Everyday Health and Time Out, and has had articles published in The Telegraph and The Big Issue.