Make your own delicious home canned pizza sauce from fresh tomatoes OR tomatoes that were frozen during the gardening season to reduced the cooking time. Details and tips on how to strain tomatoes and then cook and can the sauce to be ready for your next pizza night!
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However, for a number of reasons (time issues, weird tomato season, other commitments), I couldn't find the time to make all our tomato recipes one year when the tomatoes were coming in fast and furious.
We were almost out of the other canned goods, but I had a few cans of pizza sauce left, so I concentrated on the other tomato recipes and just froze enough bags of paste tomatoes (with a few heirlooms thrown in for great flavor) to be able to make the sauce later.
In January when things are typically more quiet, I pulled out the frozen tomatoes and decided to show you how to make the pizza sauce from frozen tomatoes.
You can actually make this sauce from fresh tomatoes, too, but frozen is my preferred way now since it makes the cooking down part go so much quicker. Read on for all the details!
How to Make Home Canned Pizza Sauce
A few years ago I learned that freezing tomatoes before making sauce is a quicker way to a thick sauce.
Since then I've frozen our paste tomatoes at least a day or two before making sauce, even during canning season because less time cooking is a good thing! (Of course this is optional and you can make this sauce from fresh tomatoes as well.)
Detailed quantities and instructions are included in the full recipe box below, but here are a few extra tips to help with each step:
Step 1: Puree & Strain Tomatoes
To Use Frozen Tomatoes
- Thaw tomatoes (overnight is good) in a bowl or the sink (in case the bags leak).
- Drain the accumulated clear juices- open one corner of the baggie and pour off the juice.
- Run through a food mill to remove the seeds and skins.
Pictured above on the left is a Victorio Food Strainer and Sauce Maker. It's like the little girl with the curl: when it's good, it's very very good and when it's bad...well, you know. Even though the author in the post I linked to above didn't heat her frozen tomatoes, this food mill just didn't want to work with them until I heated them a bit.
I ended up reverting back to my vintage metal tripod food press (which you can still buy new here - guess some designs have staying power!) for some of the cold pulp, but it takes more elbow grease, that's for sure, and doesn't result in as much usable pulp as the Victorio (I did use the Victorio for applesauce for the first time this year and it worked wonderfully for that!).
To Use Fresh Tomatoes
- Wash, core, and halve tomatoes.
- Bring to a boil in a large stock pot.
- Strain skin and seeds through a food mill.
UPDATE - this may be the easiest way to get tomato sauce ever:
I used the electric FreshTech Harvest Pro Sauce Maker with both the fresh tomatoes shown in the video as well as 12 bags of frozen tomatoes later and it worked fabulous with them both. I had sauce in no time without needing to bother with heating in any form. I truly do love this machine - it really makes this easy!
NEW UPDATE: Sadly, this sauce maker isn't made anymore! I use it multiple times a season for tomato products and apples and it really saves so much time and effort, so I've rounded up a couple options for you to check out if you'd like an electric sauce maker:
- Weston Deluxe Electric Tomato Strainer, Food Mill, Sauce Maker
- VEVOR Electric Tomato Strainer, 400W Tomato Sauce Maker Machine (half price of the one above)
- KitchenAid KSMFVSP Fruit and Vegetable Attachment Strainer (most inexpensive option if you have a KitchenAid)
Step 2: Make Pizza Sauce
Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes and then add the tomato puree and all the seasonings. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and then simmer 30 minutes.
Blend the sauce to make it smooth (yes, you'll appreciate the smooth sauce on the pizza). You can carefully transfer batches to a blender or you can do what I do - use an immersion hand-held blender right in the pot.
Bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer the sauce on low until it thickens to your desired consistency. This will take 1-2 hours, depending on if you started with frozen tomatoes (less time) or fresh (more time). It also will depend on how juicy the tomatoes were you started with - paste tomatoes take less time, slicing are juicier and will take longer.
Step 3: Water Bath Can the Sauce
You can always freeze the sauce - let it cool and transfer to freezer safe containers for up to a year - but for the most convenience, can the pizza sauce to be shelf stable.
I've found that half-pint 8-ounce or 12-ounce jars are good sizes for medium-to-large pizzas. The 12-oz. jars are actually the perfect size (whole pints are too much, which causes the dough to not cook fully in the center) but they're harder to find, so use what you have.
If you're new to canning this tutorial will take you through each step. You can also watch all the easy steps to water-bath canning in this video:
How much to make?
We make this easy homemade pizza a couple times each month, though sometimes we make it with pesto instead of tomato sauce, and so I aim to have 20-24 jars on our shelves in varying sizes to last a year.
Oh, and this sauce is also good in any Italian recipe, so it finds its way into things other than pizza - a lot.
More Easy Canned Tomato Recipes
- Water-Bath Safe Canned Roasted Tomato Sauce
- Addictive Tomato Chutney
- Nice and Thick Salsa for Canning
Home Canned Pizza Sauce from Fresh or Frozen Tomatoes
- Sauce maker/food sieve
- 12-quart or large stock pot
- water bath canner and supplies
- 22 pounds tomatoes fresh or whole frozen
- 3 cups chopped onions
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cups olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1/2-1 tablespoon black pepper, or to taste if you're not as much a pepper fan as we are
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey or to taste
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste - use less if you're unsure
- Bottled lemon juice or citric acid: 1 tablespoon lemon juice OR 1/4 teaspoon citric acid for EACH pint and 12-oz jars; 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice OR 1/8 teaspoon citric acid for EACH half-pint jars I usually use citric acid, as it doesn't add more liquid to our sauce
- To prepare tomato puree from frozen tomatoes:(Assuming they were cleaned and cored before freezing) leave to thaw 24 hours; drain accumulated juices and put through a strainer to remove seeds and peels.
- To prepare tomato puree from fresh tomatoes:Wash, core and halve tomatoes; heat to boiling (I use a 12-quart stockpot and a 6-quart soup pot for 22 pounds); put through a strainer to remove seeds and peels.
- Make the pizza sauce:In a 12-quart or larger stockpot cook onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until the onion softens, 5-10 minutes. Add tomato puree and all the seasonings (basil through pepper flakes), bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for about 30 minutes, uncovered. Process with an immersion blender to make a smoother sauce (or carefully blend in batches).
- Bring back to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until sauce reaches desired consistency (reduced by 1/4 to 1/3), usually an hour or two, depending on if you started with fresh or frozen tomatoes. Make sure to stir occasionally to prevent sticking (if you have a thin-bottomed stock-pot, stir more often to prevent scorching).
- To can:Add the lemon juice or citric acid to each clean, warm jar, fill jar with sauce leaving 1/2-inch headspace and attach lids and rings until fingertip-tight. Place in canner rack and repeat with remaining jars to fill canner (keep sauce and jars warm, as you will need to do a couple canner loads when using half-pints).
- Process both pints and half-pints for 35 minutes in a boiling-water canner (find more details in our Canning 101 steps found in the recipe index).
- Remove to a towel-lined surface and let sit undisturbed for 24 hours before checking seals, labeling and storing in a cool, dark place.