The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Tomatoes for Pizza Sauce

Best Tomatoes for Pizza Sauce – A Comprehensive Guide

Pizza, a favorite dish enjoyed by people all over the world, owes much of its deliciousness to the quality of its ingredients. Among these ingredients, pizza sauce plays a crucial role in bringing together the flavors and creating a memorable culinary experience. The choice of tomatoes used in the sauce is a key determinant of its taste and texture. Not all tomatoes are created equal, and some varieties are better for making pizza sauce than others. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best tomatoes for pizza sauce, how to choose the right varieties, and provide a delicious homemade pizza sauce recipe that will make any pizza lover proud.

How to choose the best tomatoes for pizza sauce

There are several factors to consider when choosing tomatoes for pizza sauce. Here are the most important criteria to keep in mind:

1. Low seed content

Traditional pizza sauce recipes often call for using the entire tomato, including the seeds and core (without the stem). However, removing the seeds from each tomato can be time-consuming and impractical, especially when making a large batch of sauce. Therefore, it makes sense to choose tomatoes with lower seed content from the start. Certain tomato varieties are naturally low in seeds, making them ideal for making pizza sauce.

2. Low water content

Contrary to popular belief, juicy and watery tomatoes are not good for pizza sauce. Such tomatoes tend to make the sauce thin and watery, compromising the desired texture. A perfect pizza sauce should be thick, creamy and easy to spread. To achieve this, tomatoes with a low water content are preferred. These tomatoes can be cooked down to the desired consistency without diluting the sauce.

3. Meaty texture

Tomatoes with low water content and fewer seeds tend to be fleshier, with thicker walls. This fleshiness contributes to the desired texture and makes for a thicker sauce. While fleshier tomatoes may be larger in size, as long as they meet the criteria of low water content and plenty of fleshy bits, they are suitable for making pizza sauce. Using fewer larger tomatoes can achieve the same weight as smaller tomatoes.

Best tomato varieties for pizza sauce

Now that we understand the key criteria for selecting tomatoes for pizza sauce, let’s explore some of the best tomato varieties that meet these criteria:

1. San Marzano Tomatoes

San Marzano tomatoes, a type of plum tomato, are a favorite of pizza makers around the world. To be legally called San Marzano, these tomatoes must be grown in the Valle del Sarno in Italy. They are longer and thinner than typical plum tomatoes, usually 2 to 3 inches long, and contain fewer seeds. San Marzano tomatoes are known for their dense, sweet flavor and are used to make authentic Neapolitan pizza. They have a fleshy texture, fewer seeds, and a thin skin that peels easily. While authentic San Marzano tomatoes can be difficult to find, they are often available in canned form, either whole or halved.

2. Roma Tomatoes

Roma tomatoes, also known as Italian plum tomatoes, are a close cousin to San Marzano tomatoes. They are a hybrid developed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service that combines the characteristics of San Marzano and two other tomato varieties. Roma tomatoes have a lower water content than other tomato varieties, with a thick wall and firm, dense flesh. They also have fewer seeds, making them an excellent option for cooking in pizza sauce. A notable feature of Roma tomatoes is their striking red color, which adds a beautiful hue to sauces. They typically grow to about 3 inches long.

3. Super Italian Paste

Super Italian Paste tomatoes are another great option for making pizza sauce. These tomatoes have thick, meaty flesh and fewer seeds, making them ideal for making sauces. They have a reddish-orange color that adds visual appeal to tomato-based sauces. However, Super Italian Paste tomatoes are not as common in local grocery stores as other varieties. To use these Italian heirloom tomatoes in pizza sauce, you may need to visit specialty stores or consider growing them at home.

4. Giulietta Tomatoes

Giulietta tomatoes are an excellent choice for pizza sauce. They offer a mild and sweet flavor and serve as a perfect base for herbs and seasonings. These tomatoes are large in size and have an egg-shaped appearance, reaching heights of up to 6 feet when grown. Due to their size, they often require staking for support during cultivation.

5. Amish Paste Tomatoes

Amish Paste Tomatoes are similar in characteristics to Roma tomatoes, but have their own unique characteristics. These tomatoes have firm, meaty flesh and fewer seeds, resulting in a sweeter, fresher flavor. Developed by the Amish community, Amish Paste Tomatoes are larger than typical paste tomatoes, making them ideal for making pizza sauce. Their robust flavor makes them a popular choice for home gardeners and tomato lovers.

6. Viva Italia Tomatoes

Viva Italia tomatoes are known for their excellent raw flavor that intensifies when cooked. The intense flavor profile of these tomatoes makes them ideal for making pizza sauce. They are an ideal choice for those looking for a rich and flavorful sauce for their pizzas.

Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe

Now that we’ve explored the best tomato varieties for pizza sauce, let’s delve into an easy and delicious homemade pizza sauce recipe you can try:

  • 2 pounds of San Marzano or Roma tomatoes (or any other variety suitable for pizza sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Start by preparing the tomatoes. If using fresh tomatoes, blanch them in boiling water for about 1 minute, then place them in an ice bath to cool. Peel and seed the tomatoes, then chop into small pieces. If using canned tomatoes, simply drain and chop.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes to the saucepan along with the dried oregano, dried basil, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for about 30-40 minutes or until the sauce reaches the desired consistency. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  5. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  6. If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can use an immersion blender or a regular blender to blend the sauce until smooth. Be careful when blending hot liquids as they may splash.
  7. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to taste. You can add more herbs, salt, or pepper to taste.
  8. Allow the sauce to cool completely before using on your pizza, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Choosing the right tomatoes for pizza sauce is essential to creating a flavorful and enjoyable pizza experience. By considering factors such as low seed content, low water content, and fleshy texture, you can select tomato varieties that work well for making pizza sauce. San Marzano, Roma, Super Italian Paste, Giulietta, Amish Paste, and Viva Italia tomatoes are some of the best options available. Experimenting with different varieties can help you discover your favorite flavor profiles. By following a simple homemade pizza sauce recipe, you can create a delicious sauce that will enhance the overall flavor of your homemade pizzas. So go ahead and explore the world of tomatoes for pizza sauce and take your pizza making skills to new heights. Enjoy!


What makes certain tomatoes better for pizza sauce than others?

Certain tomatoes have a meaty texture, lower seed content, and develop a rich flavor when cooked to a saucy consistency. These characteristics make them ideal for pizza sauce.

Are San Marzano tomatoes the only choice for pizza sauce?

While San Marzano tomatoes are highly regarded for pizza sauce, there are other excellent options. Roma tomatoes, Super Italian Paste, Giulietta tomatoes, Amish Paste, and Viva Italia tomatoes are also great choices.

Can I use regular grocery store tomatoes for pizza sauce?

Yes, you can use regular grocery store tomatoes for pizza sauce. Look for varieties that have a lower water content, fewer seeds, and a meatier texture. Roma tomatoes are often readily available and suitable for making pizza sauce.

Is it necessary to seed tomatoes for pizza sauce?

It is not necessary to remove the seeds from tomatoes, especially if you choose tomato varieties with a naturally lower seed content. However, if you prefer a softer sauce, you can strain or remove the seeds before cooking the tomatoes.

Can I use canned tomatoes to make pizza sauce?

Yes, canned tomatoes can be used in pizza sauce. In fact, canned San Marzano tomatoes are a popular choice among pizza lovers. Be sure to choose whole or diced tomatoes and drain them before using in the sauce.

How long can I keep homemade pizza sauce?

Homemade pizza sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. It is important to allow the sauce to cool completely before storing to maintain its freshness.