Last-Minute Pizza Sauce

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Homemade pizza sauce comes together in a pinch with ingredients you can easily keep on hand all the time. Last-Minute Pizza Sauce will save the day!

Last-Minute Pizza Sauce | Good Cheap Eats

Years ago I was under the misunderstanding that you had to have pizza sauce to make pizza, as in some special, magic commercially-prepared pizza sauce. In fact, so dire was my confusion that if I didn’t have a jar of pizza sauce on hand for Pizza Night, I would make a special trip to the store to get some. Gasp!

Thankfully, I’ve learned the error of my ways. Never make a special trip when you’ve got something else that will do already in your cupboards.

And never buy commercial pizza sauce. Ever.

Any tomato or pesto sauce works great on pizza. I’ve even used BBQ sauce and Pad Thai sauce. Use your imagination. Almost anything can work on a pizza crust.

My kids are pizza purists, however. A few of them will experiment with their pizza flavors, but their favorite is simple red sauce, cheese, pepperoni, and olive.

I try to plan ahead for the predictable by filling the freezer with pizza fixings. I stock up on pepperoni when it’s on sale. I buy cheese in bulk and divide it into 1-pound bags. And usually, I have several batches of our favorite red sauce on hand.

But, if I don’t, well, I make this easy Last-Minute Pizza Sauce. It’s easy. It’s last minute. It saves the day.

Last-Minute Pizza Sauce | Good Cheap Eats

How I make this good:

Whenever possible I like to cook with plain old ingredients. While the convenience of mixes and canned sauces is nice, I feel better about feeding my family just real food whenever possible. (Go here for some of my reasons on all that.)

Remember when I told you how versatile Jamie’s Spice Mix was? Well, check this out. Just stir a few tablespoons of it into diluted tomato paste and you’ve got a fantastic (and easy) pizza sauce made with a handful of ingredients that you can easily keep on hand all the time. The spice mix is a custom blend that you make with your own spices instead of relying on preservatives and additives in other mixes. Tomato paste and olive oil…. well, you can’t get much closer to the source without a ton of work.

How to make this cheap:

Here is the key strategy you can use to make this recipe more economical:

  • Shop in bulk. I buy tomato paste, olive oil, and spices in bulk from Costco. This is pretty much the cheapest way to go and makes this Last-Minute Pizza Sauce super affordable.

Tools I use to make this recipe easy:

This is a pretty straight-forward dish. You don’t need any fancy equipment. However, having some good basic kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I like to use in this recipe. You won’t need many!

  • can opener – A good hand held one will do the job.
  • whisk – Get one with a sealed barrel so you can’t throw it in the dishwasher.

This batch makes enough to cover four 12-inch pizzas, depending on how thick you like your sauce spread on the pizza. If you prefer a thinner sauce, feel free to add more water and/or use less per pizza.

Originally published April 16, 2013. Updated October 11, 2016.

Last-Minute Pizza Sauce | Good Cheap Eats

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About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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  1. Margery H. says

    I use one 8-oz. can of tomato sauce and mix in 2 Tablespoons of Italian seasoning blend (bought super-cheap in a huge canister from Costco.) It takes about 30 seconds to make. This is enough for our family of five to eat a huge dinner (including a voracious teenaged son) and have leftovers for about three or four-people lunches.

    I make our pizzas on a mixture of various pans and baking sheets, usually one regular pizza circular pan, three pie pans, and one huge rectangular cookie sheet. I usually have to bake it in two shifts. Maybe I should order a third oven rack for my oven…

  2. Kathy says

    I am pinning this! I always decide to make a pizza at the last minute and then never have the right ingredients!

  3. Melissa says

    You can buy various flavored tomato sauces in the small cans – my favorite one for pizza sauce is the one with basil and garlic. I pick them up on sale with coupons. – I think its Hunts. Otherwise I use plain tomato sauce and add herbs and garlic.

  4. TSandy says

    I love homemade pizza. Your photo looks fabulous and it makes me hungry! I do use my Zo bread machine to make pizza dough. We like sweet pizza sauce (most commonly found on deep dish pizzas) which I also make using tomato paste (plus honey, olive oil, anchovy paste, and spices). Why did I pay for inferior overpriced pizza sauce from the grocery store all those years? I paid $1 for my pepperoni (same name brand found at the grocery store). We have a regional dollar store chain where I find some crazy bargains. Now I have like a 5 year supply of cheap pepperoni in the freezer. Makes pizza night cheap and so much better than anything you can buy.

  5. cindy3539 says

    Finally, a homemade sauce that is tasty! I used the sauced on a pizza today. Thanks for posting.

  6. Mialee says

    Wow! Super easy and delicious! I passed up the jar of pizza sauce at the store because of the extra unnecessary ingredients. And I knew YOU would have a recipe. Thanks for saving Pizza Night from here on out! 🙂

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