Pizza Sauce Recipe

I need a sauce recipe! Sauce is by far the weak link in my operation. It has been made the same way for years and I am ready to change it. Our current bland recipe is:
2 cans of Redpack Pizza Sauce
1 can of Redpack Puree
1 can of water
8 oz of sugar
16 oz of romano cheese
Thats it! (we do sprinkle oregano on the mozzarella when preparing)

I have been trying to educate myself on tomato products and sauce recipes. I opened a can of Stanislaus Fully prepared pizza sauce and it was way better than what I am currently using. I added a little Romano to it and my employees loved it. Very pricey though. Was thinking about going with their full red and adding spices to it, but I need some suggestions for spice amounts. Also, I am worried that my customers will not be up to the change even if I think it is for the better.

Whatever brand you go with, please take my suggestion to do the math down to the “per pizza” cost. When I wrapped it down, changing to a premium brand tomato (I went Stanislaus) it added about 4.8 cents to my 16" pie and something like 2.6 to my 12" pie.

I personally recommend against the pre-seasoned ready to use sauces. While convenient and often tasety enough, you are at more mercy of production variations, even within their tolerances. If you end up with the +.05% side of all the seasonings and the pH, and you get an off batch.

We go with a very simply seasoned sauce with fresh pack tomatoes and a little dry seasoning. My recipe is going to be

2 can 7-11 ground tomatoes
2 can Saporito Super Heavy (to drop costs a little by stretching)
1.5 can water or tomato juice
1 oz dried oregano
1 oz ground black pepper
1 oz granulated roasted garlic
.5 oz dried basil
(rehydrate the herbs in some of the warm water above for 10 minutes)

Whisk to combine and refrigerate overnight . . . can use right away. Best after two days. I buy my herbs from a co-op and they are a good bit brighter than anything I’ve gotten from a food distributor or membership store. Depending on the flavor balance of your cheese and dough and stuff, you may want to add salt to even it all out. Mine went fine without.

I will be testing adding some oil for the oil soluable bits of the herbs, maybe 3 or 4 oz, but optional. For us it is all about the tomato, and a little seasoning. Never went with the 2lb bag of seasonings from a company somewhere. Want the flavor control for myself.

Thanks for the tips. Does the 7/11 make it chunky or does whisking it remove most of the chunks?
I am afraid not adding sugar will make it too acidic and drive my regulars away.

My recipe is very similar to Nick’s … also, agree with him about the importance of getting the right spices; they can dramatically change the flavor of your product. I also add a little sugar, crushed red pepper, & salt to my recipe . As for the 7/11, if you don’t want the chunks (though the vast majority will never notice them) use Sapporito’s “Tomato Magic” instead - it’s basically the same product, except made with skinned tomatoes. I’ve used it on a couple occasions when Restaurant Depot was out of 7/11 & was happy with the results.

Pizza sauce is very individual. Everyone seems to have their own ratios of “stuff” in it. So here are my thoughts on it. Everyone else will have their thoughts.

I’m not a fan of adding water or using a ready-made sauce as a base, since it already has spices and herbs in it. I’m also not a fan of adding cheeses. It’s just an opportunity for mold to start, plus it doesn’t make sense to me. Unless someone is not adding any cheese after they lay on the sauce?

I never would cook a sauce to reduce it.

I use small amounts of spices and herbs. My sauce is a subtle base and my toppings are the stronger flavors. The stronger your sauce, the more all of your pizzas taste the same.

I combine the herbs I use into a small cup and mix in just enough water to make it a paste. Then, I cover with clear wrap and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds at 500 watts power. If you’ve never done that, you might be surprised at the result. The herbs are now bursting with flavor and aroma. “Rehydrating” doesn’t release the flavors, it just makes the herbs wet.

Anyway, try that little microwave trick , if you want.

Besides cooking the dried herbs, what does your process do for you? I am intrigued, but want to hear the goal and what it does.

Apparently the plant cell structure breaks open at 160 degrees to release the flavors more. Please try it and see, Nick. I’d be interested to hear if you notice the difference.

If you want to tone down the acidity of the sauce try adding some grated Parmesan cheese (I add both Parm and Romano). The calcium content helps to neutralize the acidity while adding a great flavor. Anyone who has ever attended our annual pizza seminar might remember the sauce that we used, all of our sauces contain grated/powdered cheese to take the edge off of the acidity. Sugar only masks the acidity, cheese addresses the the issue.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Thanks Tom. We do add romano now and I think I would continue that with a new recipe adding in additional spices. Do you think the sugar is not needed with the cheese in the mix?
At this point I am thinking Tomato magic, Saporita extra heavy, romano, salt, garlic, pepper, and oregano. Hitting the depot on Thursday.
As far as the change. How should I introduce it to my customers?

Personally, I don’t like to add sugar due to the increased risk of scourching around the edges. If you add garlic, be sure to nuke it well before adding it to the sauce. Failure to do so will activate the pectins in the tomato causing the sauce to thicken, like Jello, you will then be adding more water to thin it down and diluting the flavor.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I forgot to add, ditto for onion too. Before adding onion or garlic to your sauce, put it into a bowl of water and nuke it to a boil, then pour the contents into the sauce.
Tom Lehmann/TDD

Another approach nuetralizing the garlic/onion issue is to carmelize it in the oven. That adds a very nice flavor that boiling does not. We run chopped garlic and bit of onion through our oven twice before adding to the sauce. You need to bunch it up rather than spread it out so it does not burn.

Even our granulated roasted garlic product kicks off the pectin to some degree. Heat deactivates the enzymes nicely before going into the sauce, and all is smooth and predictable. Sorry I forgot to mention that. Our rehydration water is steaming . . . about 2 cups of the total water bill is heated.

Tom, how much cheese are you adding? We have been using 8oz of sugar in a batch based on four cans of tomato product. If my goal was to replace the sugar with grated parm, how much would suggest trying?

I use 1/4 cup per can of tomato product for my sauce.

Am I wrong about cheese contributing to mold in sauce? I’d appreciate your ideas.

I get it after about 2 days, if I use cheese.
My refrigerator is set to 2C. The finished sauce is stored in a large plastic tub, cleaned and alcohol is used before introducing the sauce.
Sauce is mixed in a different clean bowl, then poured into the clean tub. Clear wrap is set on the top of the sauce, then the tub is capped airtight.
It stays in the reefer and a clean ladle is used to transfer a daily amount to another clean tub for use on the line. No used ladles or spoons touch the reefer storage of sauce.

Any ideas? I would like to not use sugar, too…


I have never had a problem with mold. I have always prepared the sauce so it has 2 or 3 days to allow the herbs and spices to build flavor. I use Stanislaus tomato products which are the highest quality fresh packed.

We have always added cheese and have never had a problem with mold. We have probably had a batch up to 5 or 6 days in the cooler.

I use 2-ounces of Parmesan and 1-ounce of Romano for each #10 can.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Would it be as effective to do on spot to sprinkle when saucing pizza or does it need time to neutraulize acidity

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