Best Tomatoes for Pizza Sauce – Complete Guide
The goodness of a pizza is determined by the quality of the ingredients used to make it. The pizza sauce is one of the main components which binds all the flavors together, and the secret to a good pizza sauce lies in the type of tomatoes used.
Not all tomatoes are the same and some will taste better than others. Naturally, these better-tasting tomatoes will make a better-tasting pizza sauce and a better-tasting pizza!
So, what are the best tomatoes for pizza sauce? The best tomatoes for pizza sauce have a meaty texture with little to no seeds and develop a great flavor when cooked down to a saucy consistency. Some of the best varieties include San Marzano, Roma tomatoes, Super Italian Paste, Giulietta tomatoes, Amish Paste, and Viva Italia tomatoes.
Read on to find out more about the best tomatoes for pizza sauce, how to choose the best varieties, and how to make a delicious homemade pizza sauce that would make the Italians proud:
How To Choose The Best Tomatoes For Pizza Sauce?
The pizza sauce is an integral part of a pizza, which is why you must use the best and freshest tomatoes to make it.
With so many different varieties of tomatoes to choose from, it all comes down to how good they taste and how good of a sauce they can make.
When choosing the best tomatoes for pizza sauce, you need to keep the following factors in mind:
Criteria 1: Low Seed Content
Most traditional pizza sauce recipes will require you to use the entire tomato including its core and seeds (minus the stem).
Since pizza sauce uses a lot of tomatoes, it may not be viable to take out the seeds from each tomato before using it.
Also, it would significantly reduce the number of tomatoes that will go into the sauce since a huge chunk would be discarded.
The solution to this is to simply pick tomatoes with fewer seeds from the get-go.
Certain varieties have a much lower seed content and are ideal for making pizza sauce.
Criteria 2: Low Water Content
Contrary to popular belief, the best tomatoes for pizza sauce are actually not very juicy.
You might think that juicy and watery tomatoes will make a good pizza sauce when in reality, it will make the sauce thin and watery, which is something you do not want.
The perfect pizza sauce is thick, creamy, and spreadable.
To achieve this, you will need tomatoes that aren’t very juicy and have a low water content so that they can cook down to the desired consistency.
Criteria 3: Fleshy
Tomatoes that have low water content and fewer seeds will naturally be fleshier and have thick walls.
This fleshiness contributes to the perfect texture and a thicker sauce.
Sometimes, fleshier will also mean bigger. As long as the tomato has low water content and lots of fleshy bits, it is okay to use. You may use fewer tomatoes to achieve the same weight due to the difference in size.
Best Tomatoes For Pizza Sauce
Now that you know what to look for in a tomato to make the best pizza sauce, let’s look at some of the best varieties for the purpose:
|1.||San Marzano||Longer and thinner than a typical plum tomato, dense and sweet flavor, fewer seeds, thin skin that makes them easier to peel, difficult to source, pricier, D.O.P. certified|
|2.||Roma||Hybrid between San Marzano and two other tomato varieties, lower water content, thick wall, firm and dense flesh, fewer seeds, strikingly red color, elongated pear or egg-like shape|
|3.||Super Italian Paste||Thick, meaty flesh, fewer seeds, reddish-orange hue, Italian heirloom tomato, not commonly found in local grocery stores|
|4.||Giulietta||Mild and sweet flavor, large in size and egg-shaped, need staking when growing|
|5.||Amish Paste||Firm, meaty flesh, fewer seeds, sweeter and fresher flavor, developed by the Amish, big for a paste tomato|
|6.||Viva Italia||Excellent raw flavor, intense flavor when cooked, great for making pizza sauce|
1. San Marzano Tomatoes
San Marzano is a type of plum tomato that is a favorite among pizza makers around the world.
In order to be legally called a San Marzano tomato, it has to be grown in the Valle del Sarno (Valley of Sarno) in Italy.
They are longer and thinner than a typical plum tomato, typically growing to 2 to 3 inches, and contain fewer seeds.
San Marzano tomatoes have a dense, sweet flavor and have been used to make true Neapolitan Pizza.
They are superior to other tomato varieties because of their perfect texture and well-balanced flavor.
The sweetness of the tomato takes center stage without being too acidic.
They are fleshier, have fewer seeds, and have thin skin that makes them easier to peel.
Since San Marzano tomatoes are difficult to source, they are usually used in canned form and are either peeled whole or cut in half.
They are also pricier than other tomatoes, which is why it is important that you are able to identify authentic San Marzano from the dupes.
Look for the words Denominazione d’Origine Protteta or D.O.P., which indicate that they are authentic San Marzano tomatoes.
Rega Whole Peeled San Marzano Tomatoes are D.O.P. certified tomatoes imported from Italy and perfect for pizza and pasta sauce.
2. Roma Tomatoes
A close runner-up to San Marzano tomatoes, Roma tomatoes are a hybrid between San Marzano and two other tomato varieties.
Also called Italian plum tomatoes, they were introduced by the USDA Agricultural Research Service in 1995 and bear many similarities with San Marzano.
The prime choice for sauces and canning, Roma tomatoes have a lower water content compared to other tomato varieties and a thick wall and firm and dense flesh.
They also have fewer seeds, making them an ideal option for cooking down and turning into pizza sauce.
What makes them stand out is their strikingly red color which gives the pizza sauce a beautiful hue, and an elongated pear or egg-like shape. Roma tomatoes don’t get very big and usually grow to about 3 inches long.
Contadina Whole Roma Tomatoes are seasoned to perfection with basil and contain no artificial flavors or additives.
3. Super Italian Paste
Super Italian Paste tomatoes have a thick, meaty flesh and fewer seeds, making them another great option for making pizza sauce.
They also have a reddish-orange hue which works in their favor as a good choice for making tomato-based sauces.
These are not as common as Roma tomatoes and chances are that you won’t find them at your local grocery store.
If you want to use this Italian heirloom tomato for your pizza sauce, you’ll have to head to the specialty store or grow it on your own.
4. Giulietta Tomatoes
Giulietta tomatoes are another great option ideal for making pizza sauce. They have a mild and sweet flavor and work as a terrific base for herbs and seasonings. They are large in size and egg-shaped, growing up to 6 feet tall, and often need to be secured by staking.
5. Amish Paste
Amish Paste tomatoes are similar to Roma tomatoes in terms of their shape and texture. Both have firm, meaty flesh and fewer seeds, making them a great choice for making pizza sauce.
The difference between Amish Paste and Roma tomatoes is their taste.
Amish Paste tomatoes have a sweeter and fresher flavor, which some people may not like as much, particularly when making pizza sauce.
These tomatoes were developed by the Amish and date back at least 150 years. They were made to be the perfect canning tomato and reach up to 12 ounces, which is quite big for a paste tomato.
6. Viva Italia Tomato
Viva Italia tomatoes are another great choice for making pizza sauce with many chefs swearing by this variety. (Bonus points for having Italia in its name!)
They have an excellent raw flavor that becomes even more intense when cooked, which is why you’ll probably enjoy them more in sauce form rather than directly off the vine.
How To Make The Perfect Pizza Sauce?
The perfect pizza sauce doesn’t require too many ingredients. It needs just a handful of high-quality tomatoes and seasonings to create the most flavorful base for your favorite pizza.
Here’s what you need:
- 15 oz. canned or fresh tomatoes
- 4 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried basil
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp granulated sugar, or to taste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Gather all the ingredients, making sure to choose the right tomatoes for the perfect flavor and consistency.
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes or until the garlic is a little soft.
- Add the canned/fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, and all the herbs and seasonings to the garlic and oil.
- Stir to mix all the ingredients together.
- When the sauce begins to bubble, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Use the sauce right away or transfer it to an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator until it is time to use it.
Note: store this pizza sauce in a glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. You may also store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. Before spreading it on your pizza dough, allow it to come to room temperature for the best results.
Tips For Making The Best Pizza Sauce
Making pizza sauce is very easy. All it takes is a few ingredients and a simple cooking method. Here are a few useful tips for making the pizza sauce even better:
- Avoid adding too many ingredients to the pizza sauce. Keep it simple and let the handful of ingredients shine through.
- If you are using large tomatoes such as San Marzano, cut them into smaller pieces before adding them to the sauce so that they cook quickly and more evenly.
- If you are using smaller tomatoes such as Roma tomatoes, leave them whole or simply cut them in half. Chopping them up will cause them to break down before they get a chance to release their flavor.
- If you want a smoother sauce, you can remove the skin of the tomatoes before adding them to the sauce. An easy way of doing this is to cut a slit on the bottom of each tomato and submerge it in boiling water for ½ a minute. You should then be able to peel off the skin with ease.
- If your pizza sauce ends up being too thin and watery because of the crushed tomatoes, you can fix it by adding a bit of extra tomato paste or simmering the sauce for an additional 5 to 10 minutes until you reach the desired consistency.
- Allow the pizza sauce to cool to room temperature before storing it in the refrigerator, where it can typically last for up to a week.
Other Types Of Pizza Sauces
When it comes to pizza sauces, you just can’t go wrong with tomato-based sauces. Flavored with ingredients like minced garlic, basil, and oregano, it is the go-to choice for most people. However, it’s not the only option.
There are so many variations of pizza sauce, some of which aren’t even tomato-based. Some interesting options include:
- Pesto – made from olive oil, garlic, parmesan cheese, roasted pine nuts, basil, and lemon, pesto has a nutty and garlicky flavor. It has a savory, earthy, and umami flavor and is a delicious alternative to tomato-based pizza sauce, particularly for plain cheese pizza.
- Garlic Ranch Sauce – a cream-based dressing made from mayonnaise, sour cream, dill, buttermilk, lemon juice, and garlic, garlic ranch sauce can be used both as a base and topping for pizzas.
- Marinara Sauce – marinara sauce is very similar to pizza sauce, but they are not the same. Marinara sauce has a thinner consistency and can be used as the base, topping, as well as a dip.
- Buffalo Sauce – made with a mixture of hot sauce, butter, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce, buffalo sauce is very hot and creamy and makes the perfect base sauce for buffalo pizza!
- Hummus – hummus is a delicious Middle-Eastern spread or dip made from chickpeas, tahini, lemon, and spices, and can be used to make hummus pizza, a unique and fun spin on traditional tomato-based pizza.
- Italian Dressing – mainly used in salads, Italian dressing on pizza may just blow your mind. Spread it on the crust before topping it with your choice of toppings and enjoy this fun and refreshing take on pizza sauce.
- Barbeque Sauce – a great substitute for tomato-based pizza sauce, barbeque sauce is sweet, tangy, and so delicious. Its subtle smokiness with a hint of spice is the perfect base for your next pizza. Spread some barbeque sauce on the crust, top it with some chicken, onions, bell peppers, and red pepper flakes, and enjoy a delicious homemade barbeque pizza!
Now that you know all about the best tomatoes for pizza sauce and how to make the most scrumptious pizza sauce at home, here are a few additional questions we thought you might have:
Can I substitute pizza sauce with tomato sauce?
While you can substitute pizza sauce with tomato sauce, the latter is a bit thinner.
You may have to thicken it by adding some tomato paste.
To give it a pizza sauce-like flavor, you can season it with some oregano and garlic powder.
Are pizza sauce and pasta sauce the same?
Pizza sauce and pasta sauce contain many similar ingredients, but there are a few key differences between the two.
Pizza sauce typically has a thicker consistency and is made using just a few basic ingredients.
Pasta sauce, on the other hand, is a long-simmered sauce and contains peppers, meat, cheese, and other ingredients.
How to tell if pizza sauce has gone bad?
Homemade pizza sauce has a very limited shelf life and will start to spoil in a few days if it isn’t stored properly.
Some tell-tale signs include visible green, black, or white mold and the sauce giving off an unpleasant odor and no longer tasting good.