Authentic San Marzano Pizza Sauce Recipe – Taste Italy at Home

Authentic Italian Pizza Sauce Recipe
Authentic Italian Pizza Sauce Recipe

San Marzano tomatoes, grown in the fertile volcanic soil of the Campania region in Italy, are renowned for their sweet flavor, low acidity, and minimal seeds. These characteristics make them ideal for creating a rich and flavorful pizza sauce that enhances any homemade pizza.

Authentic Italian Pizza Sauce Recipe

Ingredients of San Marzano Pizza Sauce


  • Canned San Marzano tomatoes (full or crushed)
  • olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • onion
  • Dried oregano
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • salt and pepper

Choosing the Right Tomatoes

When crafting San Marzano pizza sauce, tomato quality is paramount. Opt for canned San Marzano tomatoes for convenience and consistency. Fresh San Marzano tomatoes can also be used when in season for a more vibrant flavor.

Fresh vs. Canned San Marzano Tomatoes

While fresh San Marzano tomatoes are preferred during peak season, canned San Marzano tomatoes offer a convenient and year-round option. Ensure the canned tomatoes are certified with the official DOP (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta) seal for authenticity.

Preparation Steps

  • Creating authentic San Marzano pizza sauce involves a few key steps to bring out the best flavors from the tomatoes.
  • To start, blanch the tomatoes briefly to facilitate easy peeling. Once peeled, crush or puree them using a blender or food processor to achieve a smooth consistency.
  • Boil a pot of water and make a bowl of ice water. Score the tomatoes with an “X” at the bottom and blanch them in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Transfer immediately to the ice water bath to stop the cooking process. Peel off the skins once cooled.
  • After peeling, crush the tomatoes with your hands or puree them in a blender until smooth. For a chunkier sauce, lightly crush the tomatoes with a potato masher instead of pureeing.
  • Sauteing onions and garlic in olive oil forms the flavor base of San Marzano pizza sauce.
  • Finely chop onions and garlic cloves. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and saute the onions until translucent. Add crushed garlic and cook till aromatic, being alert not to brown.
  • Enhance the sauce with dried oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Adjust the seasoning to taste and simmer the sauce to meld the flavors.
  • Mastering the art of San Marzano pizza sauce requires attention to detail in cooking techniques and ingredient proportions.
  • Simmer the sauce over low heat to develop depth of flavor. Stir occasionally and cook until the sauce thickens to your desired consistency.
  • Allowing the sauce to reduce naturally concentrates the flavors. Avoid using thickeners to maintain the pure taste of San Marzano tomatoes.
  • Balance the acidity of the tomatoes with a pinch of sugar if needed. Adjust the salt levels to taste for a well-balanced sauce.
  • Enjoy your homemade San Marzano pizza sauce on a variety of dishes beyond pizza.

Storage Tips

Stock remaining sauce in sealed bottles and refrigerate it (for a week or freeze for longer protection.)

Freezing and Thawing

For freezing, portion the sauce into freezer-safe bags or containers. Melt overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Shelf Life and Refrigeration

Refrigerated sauce should be consumed within a week to maintain freshness and flavor.

Recipes to Try

Dishes Featuring San Marzano Sauce

Experiment with different recipes using your homemade San Marzano pizza sauce.

  • Classic Margherita Pizza

Spread the sauce over pizza dough and top with fresh mozzarella cheese and basil leaves. Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese melts for a traditional Italian Margherita pizza.

  • Best Cheese Pairings

Mozzarella di bufala or fresh buffalo mozzarella complements San Marzano pizza sauce beautifully with their creamy texture and mild flavor.

Baking Techniques

Preheat your oven to the highest temperature possible for a crisp crust and bubbly cheese topping.

Enjoying Your Homemade San Marzano Pizza Sauce

Creating San Marzano pizza sauce at home allows you to experience the authentic flavors of Italy while customizing the sauce to your taste preferences. Whether you’re making pizza, pasta, or other dishes, this sauce adds a delicious touch of Mediterranean flair.


  • Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned San Marzano tomatoes?

Fresh San Marzano tomatoes are excellent when in season. If using fresh tomatoes, blanch and peel them as directed before using in the sauce.

  • What makes San Marzano tomatoes different from other tomatoes?

 San Marzano tomatoes are known for their sweet flavor, low acidity, and firm flesh, making them perfect for sauces and canning.

  • How can I tell if canned tomatoes are authentic San Marzano tomatoes?

 Look for the DOP (Denominazione d’Origine Protetta) certification on the label, which ensures the tomatoes are grown and processed in the designated region in Italy.

  • Can I store San Marzano pizza sauce in the freezer?

 Yes, portion the cooled sauce into freezer-safe containers or bags and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.

  • What are some creative uses for San Marzano pizza sauce besides pizza?

Besides pizza, you can use San Marzano pizza sauce in pasta dishes, as a dipping sauce for breadsticks, or as a base for stews and soups.

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