Different Types of Pizza Sauces

Welcome to our flavorful journey through the world of pizza sauces! When it comes to this beloved Italian dish, the sauce plays a vital role in creating the perfect harmony of flavors. Today, we’re delving into the realm of different types of pizza sauces, exploring a myriad of mouthwatering options that will undoubtedly elevate your pizza game.

Whether you’re a traditionalist or an adventurous foodie, we have you covered with a range of sauces that will tantalize your taste buds. So, grab a slice and join us as we uncover the diverse and delectable world of different types of pizza sauces.

Does the Right Pizza Sauce Matter for Your Homemade Pizza?

Yes, the right pizza sauce does matter for your homemade pizza. The sauce is a fundamental component that contributes to the overall flavor, moisture, and balance of the pizza. Here are a few reasons why the right pizza sauce is important:

  • Flavor: The sauce is one of the main sources of flavor in a pizza. It provides a base layer of taste that complements the toppings and enhances the overall eating experience. Whether it’s a tangy tomato sauce, a rich and savory marinara, or a unique specialty sauce, the right choice of sauce can elevate the flavor profile of your pizza.
  • Moisture and Texture: The sauce adds moisture to the pizza, preventing the crust from becoming dry during baking. It also helps create a desirable texture, ensuring that the pizza is not too dry or too soggy. A well-balanced sauce can provide the right amount of moisture, making each bite enjoyable.
  • Balance of Ingredients: The sauce helps balance the flavors of the toppings and the crust. It acts as a bridge between the dough and the toppings, tying everything together. The right sauce can bring harmony to the various components of the pizza, ensuring that no single element overpowers the others.
  • Personal Preference: Pizza sauce preferences can vary widely among individuals. Some people prefer a tangy and robust tomato sauce, while others may enjoy a milder or sweeter sauce. Choosing the right sauce allows you to cater to your own taste preferences and create a pizza that you truly enjoy.

While the sauce plays an important role, it’s also essential to consider the quality of the other ingredients, such as the crust, cheese, and toppings, to create a well-balanced and delicious homemade pizza. Experimenting with different sauce recipes or trying out different store-bought options can help you find the perfect sauce that suits your taste and complements your toppings.

Different Types of Pizza Sauces

The perfect pizza sauce can make or break a dish. Whether you prefer your pizza with a classic tomato-based sauce, something rich and creamy, or an exotic fusion of flavors, there is an endless variety of sauces that will bring your pizza to life. From delicate white sauces to fiery hot salsas, the types of pizza sauces available are as diverse as they are delicious.

Traditional Tomato-Based Pizza Sauces

Traditional tomato-based pizza sauces are a key component of many pizza recipes, providing a tangy, flavorful base for the toppings. Here are some traditional tomato-based pizza sauces commonly used:

  1. Marinara Sauce: Marinara sauce is a classic and simple tomato-based sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and herbs such as basil, oregano, and sometimes parsley. It has a bright and tangy flavor and works well with a variety of pizza toppings.
  2. Neapolitan Sauce: Neapolitan pizza sauce is a traditional sauce used in Neapolitan-style pizza. It consists of San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, salt, and sometimes a touch of olive oil. It has a rich and slightly sweet flavor.
  3. Pomodoro Sauce: Pomodoro sauce is a basic tomato sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil, and herbs such as basil and oregano. It is often cooked down to create a thick and flavorful sauce for pizza.
  4. Pizza Sauce: Pizza sauce is a generic term for a sauce specifically formulated for pizzas. It typically contains tomato puree or crushed tomatoes, garlic, herbs, spices, and sometimes a touch of sugar to balance the acidity. It can vary in flavor and consistency depending on the brand or recipe used.
  5. Spicy Red Sauces: Spicy red sauces are tomato-based sauces that often incorporate spicy peppers and chili flakes to create a fiery kick. They can range from mild to extremely hot, so they’re best used with caution!
  6. White Sauces: White sauces offer an alternative to the more traditional tomato-based pizzas. These creamy bases add a delicious richness to any pizza. Common white sauce recipes include Alfredo, creamy garlic, and béchamel sauce
  7. Peppery Red Sauce: Peppery red sauce is a unique twist on traditional tomato-based pizza sauces. It contains a blend of crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper for an extra punch of flavor.
  8. Fresh Herb Sauce: Fresh herb sauce is an aromatic option for those looking to liven up their pies. This herby sauce uses fresh herbs like parsley, basil, and oregano to create a flavorful base for pizza.
  9. Salsa: Salsa is a great way to add some extra flavor and heat to your pizza. It’s often made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapeños, and cilantro for a zesty kick.

These sauces can be prepared at home using fresh ingredients or purchased pre-made from stores. Additionally, each pizza establishment may have its own variations and secret recipes for their tomato-based pizza sauces, contributing to the unique flavors found in different regions and pizzerias.

Popular Non-Tomato-Based Pizza Sauces

While tomato-based sauces are the most traditional and commonly used sauces for pizza, there are also popular non-tomato-based sauces that can be used to create unique and delicious pizzas. Here are a few examples:

  • Pesto Sauce: Pesto sauce is made from fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. It has a vibrant green color and a rich, herbaceous flavor. Pesto sauce works well with a variety of toppings, especially those with a Mediterranean or Italian influence.
  • Alfredo Sauce: Alfredo sauce is a creamy and indulgent sauce made from butter, cream, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. While it is commonly associated with pasta dishes, it can also be used as a sauce base for white pizzas. Its rich and creamy texture pairs well with toppings such as grilled chicken, mushrooms, and spinach.
  • BBQ Sauce: BBQ sauce adds a tangy and slightly sweet flavor to pizzas. It is typically made with a combination of tomato sauce, vinegar, molasses, brown sugar, and various spices. BBQ sauce pairs well with toppings like grilled chicken, red onions, bacon, and pineapple.
  • Olive Oil and Garlic: For a simple and lighter alternative, some pizzas use a base of olive oil and minced garlic instead of traditional sauce. This combination provides a subtle and aromatic flavor, allowing the toppings to shine.
  • Buffalo Sauce: Buffalo sauce is a spicy and tangy blend of butter, hot sauce, vinegar, garlic powder, and Worcestershire sauce. It can be used as a base for pizzas with toppings such as roasted chicken, blue cheese crumbles, and red onions.
  • Hot Wing Sauce: Hot wing sauce is a popular variation of Buffalo sauce, and it is often used to top pizzas. It has a spicy kick from the hot sauce and vinegar, but it also contains brown sugar for added sweetness. This combination pairs well with toppings like grilled chicken, jalapeños, mozzarella cheese, and blue cheese crumbles.
  • Ranch Sauce: Ranch sauce is a cool and creamy dressing made with buttermilk, mayonnaise, garlic powder, and fresh herbs. It can be used as a pizza base for topping combinations such as grilled chicken, bacon, red onions, and mozzarella cheese.
  • Wasabi Sauce: Wasabi sauce is a unique twist on traditional pizza sauces. It has a bold, spicy flavor from the wasabi paste and is often used to top vegetarian pizzas with ingredients like bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions. These assorted sauces provide endless possibilities for creative and flavorful pizzas.
  • Mayonnaise: Mayonnaise is a creamy, egg-based sauce that can be used as a unique base for pizza. It’s often blended with garlic and lemon juice to add some extra flavor. It pairs well with toppings such as smoked salmon, capers, and arugula.
  • Garlic Aioli Sauce: Garlic aioli is a mayonnaise-based sauce that is flavored with garlic and lemon juice. It has a milder flavor than traditional mayonnaise, but it still adds creaminess to the pizza. Toppings like grilled shrimp, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes work well with this sauce.

These non-tomato-based sauces offer a range of flavors and can be used to create unique and creative pizza combinations. The choice of sauce ultimately depends on personal preference and the desired flavor profile of the pizza. Feel free to experiment and try different sauces to discover your favorite combinations!


How to Create the Perfect Pizza Sauce

Creating the perfect pizza sauce is a matter of personal taste and can vary depending on the style of pizza you’re aiming for. However, here’s a basic recipe and some tips to help you create a delicious homemade pizza sauce:


  • 1 can (14-ounce) crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional, to balance acidity)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about 1 minute until fragrant, being careful not to let it burn.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes or tomato puree to the saucepan, along with the dried oregano, dried basil, and sugar (if using). Stir well to combine.
  3. Simmer the sauce on low heat for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. This helps the flavors meld together and the sauce to thicken slightly. If you prefer a smoother consistency, you can use an immersion blender or regular blender to puree the sauce.
  4. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper according to your preference. You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes for some heat if desired.
  5. Let the sauce cool before using it on your pizza. This allows the flavors to develop further.

Tips for the Perfect Pizza Sauce

  • Use good-quality canned crushed tomatoes or tomato puree for a rich and flavorful sauce.
  • Fresh herbs can be used instead of dried herbs for a more vibrant flavor. Use about 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs in place of 1 teaspoon of dried herbs.
  • Allow the sauce to simmer and reduce to intensify the flavors. This helps create a concentrated and delicious sauce.
  • Adjust the seasoning to your liking. Taste the sauce as you go and add more herbs, salt, or other spices as needed.
  • If you prefer a smoother sauce, blend it using an immersion blender or regular blender after simmering.
  • Consider experimenting with additional ingredients such as red wine, balsamic vinegar, or a touch of honey for added depth and complexity.

Remember, the perfect pizza sauce is subjective, and you can customize it based on your preferences. Feel free to adjust the ingredients and quantities to create a sauce that suits your taste and complements the toppings you plan to use.

What Are the Best Pizza Sauce Pairings

The best pizza sauce pairings can vary depending on personal taste and the specific toppings you’re using. However, here are some classic and popular pizza sauce pairings that work well together:

Margherita Pizza:

  • Tomato-based sauce: Margherita pizza traditionally features a tomato-based sauce that complements the fresh ingredients. Pair it with a simple marinara or Neapolitan sauce.

Pepperoni Pizza:

  • Spicy tomato sauce: Pepperoni’s bold and slightly spicy flavor pairs well with a tangy and slightly spicy tomato sauce. Consider adding a touch of red pepper flakes to the sauce for an extra kick.

BBQ Chicken Pizza:

  • BBQ sauce: BBQ chicken pizza typically features a tangy and sweet BBQ sauce as the base. The smoky and savory flavors of the sauce pair well with grilled chicken, red onions, and sometimes bacon.

White Pizza:

  • Garlic and olive oil: White pizzas, which don’t have a tomato-based sauce, often use a base of garlic and olive oil. The combination of minced garlic and a drizzle of olive oil provides a light and aromatic flavor that allows the toppings to shine.

Mediterranean-style Pizza:

  • Pesto sauce or olive oil: Mediterranean-style pizzas with toppings like feta cheese, olives, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes can be paired with either a pesto sauce or a simple olive oil base. Pesto adds a vibrant herbal flavor, while olive oil keeps the focus on the Mediterranean ingredients.

Meat Lover’s Pizza:

  • Rich and savory tomato sauce: For a hearty meat lover’s pizza with toppings like sausage, bacon, and ham, a rich and savory tomato sauce works well. Consider using a pizza sauce with a slightly thicker consistency to hold up to the robust flavors.

Remember, these are just suggestions, and the best sauce pairing ultimately depends on your personal preference and the flavor profile you want to achieve. Feel free to experiment and create your own unique sauce pairings based on your favorite toppings and taste preferences.

How Many Calories In Pizza Sauce?

The calorie content of pizza sauce can vary depending on the specific ingredients and quantities used in the recipe. However, on average, a serving of pizza sauce (about 1/4 cup or 60 grams) contains approximately 20 to 40 calories. This estimate is based on a basic pizza sauce recipe made with tomato puree or crushed tomatoes, herbs, spices, and minimal added fats or sweeteners.

It’s important to note that the calorie content can increase if additional ingredients such as olive oil, sugar, or cheese are added to the sauce. Additionally, commercial pizza sauces or pre-packaged sauces may have different calorie values depending on their specific formulations.

If you are concerned about the calorie content of pizza sauce, it’s recommended to refer to the nutritional information provided on the product packaging or use a recipe calculator to estimate the calorie content based on the ingredients and quantities used in your homemade sauce.

Why Should You Consider Using Pesto Sauce on Your Pizza?

Using pesto sauce on your pizza can offer a delicious and flavorful alternative to traditional tomato-based sauces. Here are some reasons why you should consider using pesto sauce on your pizza:

  1. Unique and vibrant flavor: Pesto sauce is made from fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. It has a distinct and vibrant flavor profile that adds a burst of freshness to your pizza. The combination of basil, garlic, and Parmesan creates a rich and herbaceous taste that complements a variety of toppings.
  2. Versatility: Pesto sauce pairs well with a wide range of ingredients, making it a versatile option for pizza toppings. It goes particularly well with vegetables like tomatoes, roasted red peppers, artichokes, and mushrooms. It also complements proteins like grilled chicken, shrimp, and Italian sausage. The flavor of pesto sauce can elevate the overall taste of your pizza and provide a unique twist.
  3. Creamy and moist texture: Pesto sauce has a smooth and creamy texture, which adds a layer of moisture to your pizza. This can help prevent the crust from drying out during baking, ensuring a more enjoyable eating experience.
  4. Colorful presentation: Pesto sauce adds a vibrant green color to your pizza, creating an attractive and visually appealing presentation. It can make your pizza stand out and add a touch of freshness and vibrancy to your meal.
  5. Tomato-free option: Pesto sauce is an excellent choice for those who prefer to avoid or are allergic to tomatoes. It offers a delicious alternative to traditional tomato-based sauces, allowing you to enjoy a flavorful pizza without the need for tomatoes.

When using pesto sauce on your pizza, consider balancing the flavors by pairing it with complementary ingredients. For example, you can add sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves on top of the pesto sauce to create a Caprese-style pizza.

Ultimately, using pesto sauce on your pizza is a matter of personal preference. It provides a unique flavor experience and allows you to get creative with your toppings. Give it a try and discover the delightful combination of flavors that pesto sauce can bring to your pizza.



What are the different types of pizza sauces available?

There are various types of pizza sauces, including marinara sauce, tomato-based sauces, white sauce, pesto sauce, barbecue sauce, and olive oil-based sauces.

What is marinara sauce and what does it taste like?

Marinara sauce is a classic tomato-based pizza sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, onions, herbs, and spices. It has a tangy and slightly sweet flavor.

What is white sauce and what does it taste like?

White sauce, also known as béchamel sauce, is a creamy and savory sauce made from butter, flour, milk, and sometimes cheese. It has a rich and velvety taste.


In conclusion, exploring the world of pizza sauces opens up a universe of flavors and possibilities. From classic marinara to unique and exotic options, there is a sauce for every pizza lover’s palate. Each type brings its own distinct characteristics, enhancing the overall taste and experience of the pizza.

Whether you prefer a traditional Margherita, a spicy Arrabbiata, a creamy Alfredo, or a tangy BBQ sauce, the choice of pizza sauce can transform a simple dish into a culinary masterpiece. Experimenting with different types of pizza sauces allows you to customize your pizza to your liking and discover new flavor combinations. So, the next time you reach for a slice of pizza, consider the sauce as an essential element that can elevate your dining experience to new heights.

Why You Trust Us

You can trust that you will receive honest and reliable information from our blog. As chef and blogger Amparo Zapata, I have over 8 years of experience as a Spanish chef. My role at Layla’s Authentic Spanish Restaurant and focus on our blog is to educate people about traditional Spanish cuisine. You can be confident that any recipes or cooking tips shared here are authentic and have been tried and tested in our restaurant kitchen. Our only goal is to spread the joy of Spanish home cooking and help you replicate the amazing flavors of Spain in your own home. I hope that through our blog, we can become a trusted resource for all things related to Spanish food.

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