Authentic Italian Pizza Sauce Recipe – A Family Recipe from Naples

Originating from Naples, the birthplace of pizza, this sauce is a proof that quality ingredients and simple techniques often lead to the best results. In my kitchen, I prioritize using the freshest tomatoes and finest olive oil, highlighting the flavor and straightforward process.

If you want to learn how to prepare this sauce at home, and make the best pizza with it, stay with me because I will present the whole process in the following sections.

Key Takeaways

  • Authentic Italian pizza sauce is a pure blend of the finest tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, and either basil or dried oregano. Its simplicity and use of high-quality ingredients make it a standout sauce in Italian cuisine.
  • The original Neapolitan pizza, with its historical connection to Naples and its recognition as an intangible cultural heritage, relies on the essential use of Authentic Italian Pizza Sauce. It’s a dish that celebrates tradition, simplicity, and the art of pizza-making.

Why is It Unique?

pizza sauce recipe

It’s a sauce that’s uncooked, raw, and unadulterated. Unlike many other sauces, there are no elaborate cooking processes involved. It’s a pure blend of the finest tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt, and either basil or dried oregano.

The authenticity and tradition associated with Neapolitan pizza sauce are unparalleled. It’s a sauce born from the same region that gave birth to the pizza we know and love today. This historical connection adds a layer of authenticity that elevates the sauce to a league of its own.

“Did you know that the official Neapolitan pizza association, known as the “Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana” (AVPN), has strict regulations for what qualifies as an authentic Neapolitan pizza? These regulations cover everything from the type of tomatoes used in the sauce to the specific wood-fired oven temperature for baking the pizza.”

To create this sauce, you must use nothing but the best. Fresh local tomatoes or San Marzano DOP canned tomatoes are the heroes here. These tomatoes bring a rich, vibrant flavor that can’t be replicated with inferior varieties. Pair them with high-quality extra virgin olive oil, and you have a sauce that’s bursting with natural goodness.

When it comes to pizza, less is often more, and this sauce understands that perfectly. It should be applied sparingly on the pizza dough, allowing the flavors to shine through without overwhelming the palate.

How To Prepare?

Pizza Sauce Ingredients

We’ve learned what makes Italian pizza sauce so special, and now we’re ready to make our own delicious sauce from scratch. I love trying out different pizza styles and sauces, and I’ve mastered the art of making this sauce over time. Here are some instructions that you should follow.

  • Tomatoes: Begin by selecting the best tomatoes you can find. Fresh, locally grown tomatoes are excellent, but if you want an authentic taste, consider using San Marzano DOP canned tomatoes. These tomatoes are renowned for their exceptional flavor.
  • Blending: If you’re using fresh tomatoes, you’ll need to blend them to create a smooth consistency. For a chunkier texture, you can crush the tomatoes by hand, which adds a rustic touch to the sauce.
  • Olive Oil: Drizzle extra virgin olive oil into the blended tomatoes. The quality of the olive oil matters, so opt for the finest you can find. This oil enhances the richness of the sauce.
  • Seasoning: Add either fresh basil leaves or dried oregano to the mixture, depending on your preference. A pinch of salt is all you need to bring out the flavors. Avoid the temptation to add garlic salt or Italian seasoning, as they diverge from the authenticity of the sauce.
  • Spice It Up: If you like a spicy kick, red pepper flakes can be a great addition. Just a hint of these flakes will elevate the sauce without overpowering it.
  • Mix and Taste: Combine the ingredients thoroughly, ensuring that the flavors meld together. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remember, simplicity is the key to authenticity.
  • Application: When using this sauce on your pizza, remember that less is more. Apply it sparingly on the pizza dough, allowing the flavors to shine through.
Main Ingredients
Fresh local tomatoes or San Marzano DOP canned tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Basil or dried oregano

Recipe of Original Neapolitan Pizza

Neapolitan Pizza

I’m excited to share with you the recipe for the original Neapolitan pizza, a true culinary masterpiece. At the heart of this iconic pizza lies the essential use of Authentic Italian Pizza Sauce, which we’ve already discussed as the soul of Italian pizza. As you can see, this works perfectly with sourdough variant.

Main Ingredients
Pizza Dough
Authentic Italian Pizza Sauce
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Basil Leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

“The traditional Neapolitan pizza is so highly regarded that it is recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity”


  • Preparation: Start by ensuring you have a well-prepared pizza dough. You can either make your dough from scratch or purchase pre-made dough. The key is to ensure it’s stretched out thinly.
  • Saucing: Here’s where the star of the show comes into play – the Authentic Italian Pizza Sauce. Apply it to the stretched dough, spreading it evenly but sparingly. Remember, the beauty of Neapolitan pizza lies in its simplicity, so don’t overdo it.
  • Cheese and Basil: Add fresh mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce. Tear fresh basil leaves and scatter them across the pizza. This combination of cheese and basil is a classic hallmark of Neapolitan pizza.
  • A Drizzle of Olive Oil: Drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the pizza for that added depth of flavor. A little goes a long way, enhancing the overall taste.
  • Seasoning: A pinch of salt can be sprinkled over the pizza to enhance the flavors. Keep it subtle, as the sauce already contains salt.
  • Baking: Neapolitan pizza is traditionally cooked in a wood-fired oven at high temperatures. If you have one, preheat it to around 800°F (427°C). If not, a preheated conventional oven set to its highest temperature will work. Bake the pizza for a short time, usually around 90 seconds to 2 minutes, until the edges are charred, and the cheese is bubbly and golden.
  • Serve Hot: Neapolitan pizza is best enjoyed fresh out of the oven. Cut it into slices and savor the simplicity and authenticity of this iconic Italian dish.

Additional Tips

Homemade Pizza Sauce

  • Use only top-quality ingredients. Fresh, ripe tomatoes and high-grade mozzarella cheese are essential for an authentic taste.
  • If you’re using a conventional oven, consider investing in a pizza stone or steel. Preheat it along with the oven to achieve that classic crispy crust.
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, try hand-stretching your pizza dough. It takes practice but results in a thinner, more authentic crust.
  • Use fresh basil leaves, preferably torn by hand, to release their aroma and flavor. This herb adds a delightful freshness to the pizza.
  • Neapolitan pizza cooks incredibly fast due to high temperatures. Keep a close eye on it to prevent overcooking. It should have a slight char on the edges.
  • Stick to the basics. Neapolitan pizza is known for its simplicity, so resist the urge to load it with too many toppings. Less is more.
  • Neapolitan pizza is at its best when served piping hot. Enjoy it right out of the oven to savor the full experience.
  • While tradition is essential, don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients or variations to find your perfect Neapolitan pizza.


Do Italians put onion on pizza?

Onion is not a very common pizza topping in Italy. If they use it, they usually slice it thinly and cook it before putting it on the pizza.

Do Italians put egg on pizza?

Egg on pizza is popular in Italy and France. They can cook the egg in different ways: hard boiled, lightly fried, or raw on the pizza before baking.

Do you put cheese on pizza first or last?

Usually, the sauce goes on first, then the cheese, then the toppings. Some exceptions are the Chicago-style deep dish pizza and the pizza al taglio from Rome.

What is the most traditional Italian pizza?

The most traditional Italian pizza is the pizza Napoletana from Naples. It has only a few simple ingredients: tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil.

Last Words

As an experienced cook who has explored various pizza recipes and sauces, I can attest that the key to an authentic Italian pizza sauce lies in using top-quality ingredients and embracing the minimalistic approach. Whether you’re preparing a classic Neapolitan pizza or experimenting with other dishes, this sauce is a versatile gem in the world of Italian cuisine.