Learn how to make the traditional Neapolitan pizza sauce recipe, ready in 5 minutes with just 3 ingredients!
Once you learn how to make Neapolitan pizza dough, all you have to do is top it with the classic Neapolitan pizza sauce.
There are two versions of Neapolitan pizza sauce, the classic pizza sauce recipe, and the famous marinara.
Both of them feature one of the most popular ingredients in Italian cuisine: tomatoes!
I'm sharing below both recipes, so you can pick your favorite homemade pizza sauce to bring your pizza to the next level!
Neapolitan Pizza Sauce Recipe Ingredients
To make authentic pizza sauce according to the Neapolitan tradition, all you need is just 3 ingredients:
- Whole canned plum tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes)
- Fine sea salt
- Bicarbonate of soda (also called baking soda)
Best Tomatoes For Pizza Sauce
Using the right ingredients is crucial for the best pizza sauce. You can use canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes to make it.
If you're going to use canned tomatoes, the best ones to look for is the San Marzano variety.
They grow in Italy, in the Campania region, and have a PDO (protected designation of origin) status.
San Marzano tomatoes have a long shape, bright red color, easily peelable skin, meaty pulp, and very few seeds.
Their flavor is not too sweet and not too bitter.
The best fresh tomatoes to use are San Marzano tomatoes or more widely available Roma tomatoes.
They're both meaty, easy to peel, and with very few seeds.
Pizza Sauce VS Marinara Sauce
The traditional Neapolitan pizza sauce recipe, used for the famous Margherita Pizza, only features three ingredients: tomatoes, salt, and a pinch of baking soda, no spices or herbs are added.
The marinara sauce, which is mostly used for Marinara pizza, on the other hand, features some extra ingredients: a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, freshly-dried oregano, a peeled clove of garlic, and freshly-cracked black pepper.
No matter which sauce you choose, the pizza sauce should never be cooked: if it is cooked, then you're making pasta tomato sauce (sugo di pomodoro in Italian), which is used to dress pasta.
How To Make Pizza Sauce
Here is the authentic Neapolitan recipe for preparing tomato sauce for pizza, in the Margherita version and in the marinara version!
Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe.
STEP 1. Blend the tomatoes.
Slice in half your canned tomatoes and discard their inner juices and seeds.
Transfer the tomatoes into a blender, and add in any pulp left in the can, making sure there are no seeds. Blend for a few seconds, until smooth.
STEP 2. Season the pizza sauce.
Now you need to adjust the acidity of the sauce.
Contrary to common belief, adding sugar is wrong since it actually doesn't help balance the sauce.
Instead, add a pinch of baking soda and mix, tasting as you go: if the sauce is still too acidic, just add another pinch of baking soda.
Finally, add a pinch of fine sea salt and your sauce is ready!
For a classic Neapolitan pizza base (about 21 cm large) you will need about 80-90 grams (about 3oz) of sauce, so with this recipe, you can prepare about 5 pizzas.
You can then bake the pizza in the oven, or even better in your air fryer (yes, trust me, it's good!). Check out all the tips on how to bake pizza in the air fryer.
Marinara Sauce For Pizza
To make the traditional marinara sauce, after step two of the recipe, add a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil, a generous pinch of oregano, a garlic clove, and a pinch of freshly-cracked black pepper.
Let the ingredients marinate for about 30 minutes, then, just before use, discard the garlic.
Pizza Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes
If you want to use fresh tomatoes (and I highly recommend it when they're in season), there are just a couple of extra steps to make.
Blanch about 500 gr of tomatoes in simmering water for a couple of minutes, then peel the skin off and proceed with step one of my Neapolitan sauce recipe.
Once ready, use it up straight away, and store the leftover sauce in an airtight jar, in the fridge for up to 2 days.
You can freeze your homemade pizza sauce in freezer-friendly containers for up to 6 weeks.
More Traditional Italian Recipes To Try
- Italian Breaded Chicken Cutlets (Cotolette di Pollo)
- Steak Pizzaiola - Carne alla Pizzaiola
- Pollo alla Cacciatora (Chicken Cacciatore)
- Duck Ragu' - Ragu' d'Anatra
- Traditional Italian Pasta e Fagioli
- Polpette - Italian Meatballs
- Authentic Italian Potato Frittata
- Ossobuco alla Milanese
- Italian Fried Mozzarella Sandwich
Did You Make This Recipe?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
Neapolitan Pizza Sauce
- 500 g whole canned plum tomatoes (San Marzano if possible), about 2 cans
- a pinch of baking soda
- fine sea salt, to taste
- Slice in half your canned tomatoes lengthwise. Discard their inner juices and seeds by using a teaspoon.
- Transfer the tomatoes into a blender, and add in any pulp left in the can, removing any seeds. Blend for a few seconds, until you have a smooth tomato pulp.
- Add a pinch of baking soda and mix. If the sauce is still too acidic, just add another pinch of baking soda. Then season with a generous pinch of fine sea salt and your sauce is ready.
Marinara Sauce:For the marinara sauce, add a swirl of extra-virgin olive oil, a generous pinch of oregano, a garlic clove, and a pinch of freshly-cracked black pepper. Let the ingredients marinate for about 30 minutes and, just before use, remove the garlic.
Storage Tips:Once ready, use it up straight away, and store the leftover sauce in an airtight jar, in the fridge for up to 2 days. Or freeze in freezer-friendly containers for up to 6 weeks.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.