Best Pizza Sauce

The BEST Pizza Sauce is easy to make, luxuriously thick, and loaded with flavor. This homemade pizza sauce recipe will take your favorite pie to the next level...and it also makes an amazing dipping sauce!

The BEST Pizza Sauce with text overlay.


If you enjoy different types of pizza, you'll also love Caprese French Bread Pizza or Pineapple Pulled Pork Pizza with Bacon, Jalepeños, + Cilantro!

My family likes pizza -- a lot -- so "Pizza Night" is a regular thing around these parts. Sometimes we order delivery, but more often than not, the kids help me whip up a few homemade pies. And regardless of the rotation of our favorite toppings, those pizzas always include this amazing, homemade, BEST Pizza Sauce!

I actually first shared this pizza sauce recipe six years ago as a dipping sauce for my kids' beloved Pizza Quesadillas. And while those quesadillas are certainly tasty, it's the sauce that always gets the rave reviews from recipe commenters. And I have to's so tasty that once you try it, you won't go back to whatever you used before!

Aerial view of labeled ingredients.


This recipe is very much a case of simple ingredients combining for amazing flavor.

  • Tomato puree OR tomato sauce. Tomato puree is thicker than tomato sauce, and it's typically what I use when making Pizza Sauce. That being said, this recipe does thicken as it cooks, so tomato sauce will work as well. You could also use crushed tomatoes if you prefer.
  • Tomato paste. An essential addition thanks to its highly concentrated tomato flavor!
  • Sugar. My family enjoys a slightly sweet undertone in our Pizza Sauce, but a bit of sugar is also important for curbing the acidity of the tomatoes. However, you may certainly tweak the amount of sugar to your liking. You could also substitute honey.
  • Dried herbs. Namely, basil, oregano, parsley, and thyme. Keep in mind that this is an herby, flavor-packed bland sauce here!
  • Fennel seeds. SECRET INGREDIENT ALERT!!! I'll be the first to admit that I hate licorice and I strongly dislike fennel. However, crushed fennel seeds are what set this Pizza Sauce apart from others! It's the ingredient that will cause your house to smell like a pizzeria while making this recipe. And I promise that you will enjoy the flavor even if you happen to be a fellow licorice-hater. 😉 (See the next section for how to crush your fennel seeds.)
  • Garlic powder + onion powder.
  • Salt. I use fine sea salt...RealSalt is my favorite brand.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes. I usually add just a pinch, but feel free to stir in more for extra kick.
Jar of homemade Best Pizza Sauce with spoon.

How to Crush Fennel Seeds

Crushing the fennel seeds has two purposes. ONE, it releases their oil...and hence, their flavor. And TWO, who wants to bite into a whole fennel seed? The crushed bits blend much more smoothly into a sauce.

As far as how to crush your fennel seeds, there are various options.

  • You could of course whiz them up in a spice grinder, should you be lucky enough to own one of those. A clean coffee grinder would also work.
  • Using a mortar and pestle is typically my preferred method. Alas, when I unpacked my kitchen boxes after our last move, I located my mortar...but the matching pestle was nowhere to be found. *adds to Amazon list*
  • So instead, I've been resorting to a good ol' fashioned method knows as bashing the seeds instead.
Fennel seeds in a bag.

Simply put your fennel seeds into a small zip-top baggie and then gently pound and mash them with the flat side of a meat mallet...or a rolling pin...or just about any other solid, heavy kitchen accoutrement you can find.

How to crush fennel seeds with a mallet.

Ta-daaaaa! Crushed fennel seeds.

Ingredients in pot to make Best Pizza Sauce recipe.

How to Make Pizza Sauce

Now it's time to make the BEST Pizza Sauce! Ready for the oh-so-complicated steps?

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to a low simmer (AKA, occasional bubbles), and stir every 5 minutes or so.
  3. Cook until your sauce is thick, luxurious, and deeply flavored, which typically takes around 25 to 30 minutes. But if you're in a hurry, you may certainly remove it from the heat after just 15 minutes or so.

And that's it! Allow to cool a bit before spreading on your pizza.

Pizza Sauce Recipe being spread on a pizza.

Dipping Sauce Option

And don't forget that this makes a fabulous dipping sauce as well! Serve warm for dunking meatballs, breadsticks, quesadillas, and so much more.


This pizza sauce recipe yields about 1 heaping cup. I find this to be the perfect amount for two 12- or 13-inch pizzas, though you may prefer more (or less?) sauce on a pizza. In that case, the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled.

Best Pizza Sauce being stirred together in pot.

Freezing It

This sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about a week.

Should you choose to make extra sauce, however, it freezes beautifully for up to 3 months. Simply thaw in the fridge overnight before you wish to use it.

Close-up of Best Pizza Sauce spread on pizza crust.

So who's ready to make the tastiest Pizza Sauce ev-ah?!

Pizza Night will never be the same again. 🙂

More Italian-Inspired Recipes

Pizza Sauce ingredients in a pot.

Best Pizza Sauce

The BEST Pizza Sauce is easy to make, luxuriously thick, and loaded with flavor. This homemade pizza sauce recipe will take your favorite pizza to the next level, and it also makes an amazing dipping sauce!
Course: Pantry Staples
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 16 servings (this recipe yields 1 heaping cup total)
Calories: 11kcal
Print Pin Rate


  • 8 ounces (1 cup) tomato puree OR tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed (see NOTES below)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes


  • In a small saucepan set over medium heat, stir together the tomato puree/sauce, tomato paste, sugar, basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, crushed fennel seeds, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer, reduce to a low simmer (occasional bubbles) and cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until thick and flavorful, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
  • Allow to cool a bit before spreading on pizza crusts, or serve warm as a dipping sauce. Cover and store leftover sauce in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for up to three months.



    • Grind them in a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder.
    • Use a mortar and pestle.
    • Or place them in a sealed plastic baggie with the air squeezed out and (on top of a cutting board) pound the seeds in the bag using the flat side of a meat mallet, a rolling pin, or another flat, heavy object.
  • This sauce can splatter a bit as it bubbles, so I recommend making it in a deep saucepan, if possible.
  • The total yield of this recipe is 1 heaping cup of sauce, which in my experience is enough to cover two medium (12- to 14-inch) pizzas.
  • If you are short on time, you may cook for only 10 to 15 minutes. A longer cooking time just further thickens the sauce and deepens its flavor.


Calories: 11kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 122IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

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Recipe Rating


    1. I made this using my tomatoes from my garden. I cooked them in my crockpot until thickened added the seasoning and then canned it. This sauce is definitely a keeper. Thank you for sharing.

  1. 5 stars
    my go to sauce for sure! Rich, fresh flavor. Used the glut of tomatoes from the garden in place of tomato sauce - amazing! thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    I will try as fennel adds a lot.
    The ingredients list at fennel says to see notes, but notes do not address fennel.
    Were the notes truncated?

    1. Hi John! I'm so sorry about that. You're right -- the fennel seed notes were missing from the recipe card...I'm not sure what happened! But I just added the info and fixed the recipe card. Thank you for letting me know and I hope you enjoy the pizza sauce! 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    We really like it. I've been looking for a really good pizza sauce. Store bought sauces are not very good. I will be making this again.

    1. 5 stars
      This is the best sauce I’ve ever made. Thick but smooth, zesty and a bit sweet. I used Cento tomato purée and paste because it rates high. I just halved the Thyme to 1/4 tsp based on a comment and used very few red pepper flakes. Just put dry ingredients in a sandwich bag and hit quite a few times with a mallet and cook low so barely bubbles & no steam burn off.

  4. 5 stars
    Incredibly easy and so much better then store bought sauce! I was out of fennel so subbed anise seed which worked great. I also added a splash or two or red wine. Thanks!

  5. 5 stars
    This sauce was very authentic. I usually find dried thyme overpowering so I will reduce next time unless I have fresh. Overall it was a hit and I will definitely add to my go to recipes!

  6. 5 stars
    Outstanding, and soooo easy to make! This is my first time making pizza sauce, and I picked a winner recipe!!

  7. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. I love how easy this recipe is to make. The little bit of sugar makes such a difference with the flavor of the tomatoes!

  8. 5 stars
    We've been making pizza at home more since it's something fun and easy to do with the kids. I love how easy it is to make this sauce and not have to buy a store bough canned sauce anymore! So delicious!

    1. 5 stars
      Upfront, I'm a sauce snob lol. Sweet Baby Jesus this sauce was delicious. I followed the recipe exactly and beautiful results. Thank you for sharing and this wonderful, easy sauce is now my go to.

  9. 5 stars
    This pizza sauce was perfect for our family pizza nights. I just love making homemade recipes, so much better than store bought! I'll definitely keep this on hand from now on. Thanks! 🙂