April 18, 2013

Classic Pizza Sauce Recipe

We included many recipe variations in Modernist Cuisine at Home, because the team had so many great ideas. We couldn’t include each one as a full recipe, though, or the book would have been twice as big. Including many step-by-step photos was also important to us, so sometimes we had to balance how many variations we included with how many photos we used. It made working on the layout a fun challenge.

In particular, our Basics chapter includes many variations. For example, our Marinara Sauce recipe page includes variations for Bolognese, Tomato Sofrito, Pineapple Marinara, and Pizza sauces. Since we’re celebrating pizza this week, we’ve put the Pizza Sauce variation into our standard format for you.

Try this sauce with our Neapolitan dough recipe. We recommend baking on our baking steel for best results.

Jennifer Sugden, Production Editor

Recipe Tags

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Pizza Sauce Recipe

Step 4 Pressure Cook

This recipe is a variation of our Marinara recipe, which is also made in a pressure cooker.

Step 5 sauce

Try the sauce with one of our dough recipes and our baking steel.

Marinated Cherry Tomato, Prosciutto, Parmesean, Arugula


Tips & Substitutions

Steps 1 & 2
  • This sauce is a variation of our Marinara recipe. To make a marinara instead, reduce the amount of garlic, and add minced yellow onions and carrots in step 1. We also have variations for Tomato Sofrito, Bolognese, and Pineapple Marinara sauces.
  • Mince the garlic in a food processor for the best results.
Steps 3 - 5
  • Canned tomatoes work well in this recipe because their flavor profile has already changed in the canning process. Pressure-cooking them won't result in any additional changes.
  • Looking for a pressure cooker? We like Kuhn Rikon models; they are, however, on the expensive end. If you are looking for something more affordable, try Fagor models.
  • We recommend giving the pressure cooker a shake every now and then, especially as it comes up to pressure, in order to prevent burning and sticking.
  • Start the cooking time once the cooker has reached 15 psi.
  • Let the pressure cooker release the pressure naturally, or run the rim of the lid under water to depressurize it quicker.
Steps 6 & 7
  • A thin film of oil may separate at the top, which is normal. If you feel there is too much oil, do not add any more in step 6.
  • For a zestier sauce, try adding chili flakes, anchovies, or fresh basil.
  • This sauce keeps for up to five days when refrigerated or up to six months when frozen.
  • Try this sauce with our Neapolitan Dough recipe.


  1. CJY April 25, 2013 Reply

    When you say ‘Add sauteed garlic’ do you mean only the garlic, or the garlic AND the oil in which you have sauteed it?

    • Sam Fahey-Burke April 29, 2013 Reply

      We mean both the oil and the garlic, but some people prefer a sauce with less oil. You can save some of the oil to brush on your pizza crust after baking to add a little shine and extra flavor instead.

  2. wli888 May 15, 2013 Reply

    I made this sauce along with the Neopolitan pizza dough. Not bad, but I don’t think it needs to be cooked quite so long in the pressure cooker. Sauce got pretty concentrated. I think I will try for a brighter flavor profile next time. Maybe less cooking time will yield a milder flavor.

  3. jb May 28, 2013 Reply

    This is a great sauce. The oil content is a bit high for my tastes, so I’d recommend reserving some of the oil from the garlic to brush on the pizza. Even if you you do use all the oil in the sauce, the flavor and consistency is wonderful.

  4. able_lawrence June 16, 2013 Reply

    How much fresh tomatoes should be used if you don’t get canned tomatoes. We get too much tomatoes from our garden which we give away during the season.

    • Sam Fahey-Burke June 19, 2013 Reply

      Tomatoes are tricky because garden tomatoes differ greatly in size. I recommend going by weight. Use the same amount of grams as recommended in the recipe and the results should be close to the same.

  5. Jorge June 27, 2013 Reply

    Never, ever let garlic become brown while frying it. If it happens, discard and start from scratch. It’s a golden rule in the Mediterranean cuisine, for good reason. I think a good extra-virgin olive oil should be used in every step. If you do so, no one will mean there is too much oil in. Or is it very expensive in the USA? Are 45 min really enough? Even for a pressure cooker, the time appears quite short to me.

  6. darmawan January 29, 2014 Reply

    in my country Indonesia,sweet flavor more likely than only salty. I prefer use fresh tomatoes than in the can, because it was very easy to find in grocery market. By using food processor, it can be very helpful to got tomatoes extract and the granulate, after i use food processor. I mixing the granulate and the water with juice mixer, after that i fry it around 1 hours until its very sticky.

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