How to Make Neapolitan Pizza Sauce

pizzerialocale Neighborhood Neapolitan

You’ve heard us praising Neapolitan pizza as our choice for the best pizza, the one most faithful to tradition and history, and frankly, to our minds, the tastiest of all pizzas. There are a number of factors that qualify a pizza as a true Neapolitan, including the tomato sauce.

In this case, like most Italian cooking, simplicity is best. Some cooks experiment with long cook times and added sugar in their sauces to make them more “interesting,” but nothing can beat a good Neapolitan sauce that allows the true flavors of the tomatoes to come through. Neapolitan pizza sauce is different from the “regular” pasta sauce you may be used to: lighter, which prevents the flavor of the sauce from over powering the flavor of the dough. But just because it’s different, that doesn’t make it difficult! You don’t have to settle for processed and prepared pizza sauce. We can teach you how to make our own Pizzeria Locale pizza sauce quickly and easily right in your own kitchen tonight!

But first, let’s talk more about that sauce…

The first thing people notice about Neapolitan pizza sauce is that it light and tangy. In fact, it is uncooked, and we always uses canned tomatoes. Why? 

There are a number of different reasons. One is that canned tomatoes are picked and processed at the peak of their freshness and canned immediately in their own liquid, thus preserving all their innate flavor. Because tomato quality can differ depending on season and sourcing, using canned tomatoes gives you the same excellent experience every time. In addition, canned tomatoes are perfect for the sauce because they are acidic and slightly sweet. Fresh tomatoes just don’t deliver the same zippy flavor. 

The sauce is uncooked for the same reason: its flavor stays tangy and fresh. A cooked tomato sauce has darker, richer flavors that aren’t as fresh and bright. On the other hand, that darker, richer cooked tomato sauce is perfect for American Italian classics like lasagna and chicken parmigiana, as well as for other kinds of pizza like New York and Detroit styles. 

So why the uncooked sauce? The difference is that those other pizza styles normally don’t have char on the crust, whereas Neapolitan crust is charred. The lightly bitter flavor of the char is balanced with the sweet uncooked tomato flavor. That’s what makes this specific style of sauce perfect for our Neighborhood Neapolitan pizza!

The most popular tomato choice for Neapolitan pizza sauce is San Marzano tomatoes, a type of Italian plum tomato originating from the town of San Marzano sul Sarno, near Naples in southern Italy. The tomato has a stronger, sweeter, and less acidic taste than most other types of tomatoes, and is, therefore, a good choice for pizza sauce. At Pizzeria Locale we use Roma tomatoes, which are grown in California, and have a similar taste.

Pizzeria Locale’s Neapolitan Pizza Sauce

What surprises people most often about our sauce is how simple and yet flavorful it is. This recipe is super-quick to prepare, and it’s so easy to do, we know it will keep you from buying pre-made sauce at the store! You’ll need one 16-ounce can of puréed Roma tomatoes, although you can use San Marzanos if you’d like. We believe it’s worth investing in an organic brand, because this is all about the tomatoes. You’ll need to mince some fresh garlic, and for the salt, use Sicilian sea salt, as it tends to have the best flavor. Dried oregano and chili flake work perfectly for this recipe.


  • one 16-oz can of puréed Roma tomatoes
  • minced garlic 
  • salt
  • dried oregano
  • chili flake


  • Open the can of tomatoes and, using a spatula, remove all the tomatoes from the can into a bowl.
  • Sprinkle the salt evenly over the top of the tomato sauce.
  • Follow by sprinkling the oregano and chili flake over the top; add the minced garlic.
  • Using a whisk, mix all the ingredients together.

And that’s it! As you know from reading our blog, Neapolitan pizza is traditionally baked in a hot, wood-fired oven; now you know in addition that the sauce isn’t boiled before being added to the pizza. You’re becoming a pizza expert! So, now all you need to do to make an authentic Neapolitan sauce is combine the ingredients, spread the sauce on your pizza, and enjoy.