quick and easy pizza sauce

Quick Pizza Sauce

Ironically, the same day Joseph and I went to the store to stock up on lots of garlic and olive oil so that we could start making our own garlic olive oil for our pizza instead of buying it, the store was out of the fresh tomato sauce we usually buy for pizza. Why not make that too, I figured?

garlic cloves

Of course I’ve known all along that we could make our own sauce, and we have done this occasionally, but we often make pizza on Friday nights and after a long week, yes, I’ll admit it, we cut some corners and tend to just rely on store-bought sauce. The small Italian store near my office makes some great marinara sauce and it’s pretty cheap. So pure laziness wins out.

Sautéing Garlic

But when they didn’t have it, I pulled out my smart phone and went to my number one source for recipe basics: Cook’s Illustrated. And boy, did they deliver. This sauce is so quick and easy to make that we can’t even rationalize buying sauce from the store anymore. You don’t even have to cook it if you don’t have time!

Quick Pizza Sauce

I was completely sold before we even made it and told Joseph all about my plan to store smaller containers of the pizza sauce in the freezer so we would always have sauce ready for pizza night. Being the grounded individual that he is, he recommended that we try the sauce before committing to making gallons of it and swearing off the store-bought stuff.

Quick Pizza Sauces

One bite of our pizza that night, and he was ready to swear off the store-bought stuff. It’s tasty, it’s super easy, and it’s cheaper than buying pre-made sauce. Not only that, but you probably have all of these ingredients in your pantry right now. What more can you ask for? Now I just need to load up on small freezer containers so I can pack the freezer with sauce….

Quick Pizza Sauce


Quick and Easy Pizza Sauce

Yield: About 3 cups

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Don't have time to cook the sauce? Just mix all the ingredients together and let them stand while you work on the pizza dough. If you won't be cooking the sauce, you may want to drain some of the liquid from the can of tomatoes if there's a lot of juice in there.


  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes or tomatoes packed in puree, chopped coarse
  • Salt and ground black pepper


  1. Heat the garlic with oil in a saucepan over medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the tomatoes. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce is thick enough to mound on spoon, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.



7 Responses to “quick and easy pizza sauce”

  • Leslie Says:

    Funny–I was in the same position last night when we made calzones! I threw together some tomatoes, salt, garlic, pepper and basil and oregano. It was fast, easy and tasted as good as my regular sauce. This looks like as good a recipe as my made-up-on-the-fly sauce, and uses fewer ingredients so I’ll probably switch to this in the future! Thanks!

  • Liz Says:

    We just made pizza last night (with marinara sauce from the Italian market), but you inspire me to try to make garlic oil and this sauce before the next time!

  • Quiana Says:

    Just found your blog after looking for imagines of Morning Glory Muffins and came across the ATK chocolate chip cookies you made! Love this pizza sauce recipe too. I make it in batches and freeze it with our pizza dough (Peter Reinhart’s recipe). When we make it for our friends they all agree it doesn’t make sense to order pizza every again!

  • Sheryl B Says:

    Man, so deceptively simple, it doesnt seem like it would have so much flavor. And yet it does! So tasty!!!!

  • Jessica Says:

    Made this last night. So easy and very tasty! How long do you think I can keep the leftover sauce?

    • Kristen Says:

      I’d say 4-5 days in the fridge, but a couple months in the freezer. We typically put it in the freezer and then throw it in the fridge the day before we plan to use it.

  • Sheryl B Says:

    Your pizza sauce has changed my cooking. And it’s made me a very popular cook. Just sayin, this stuff is awesome. Or like crack. Take your pick, its fantastic. Especially in its simplicity. THANK YOU so much for posting- I absolutely love this stuff.

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