Every time I travel to Italy, I promise I am going to bring home the Italians’ appreciation for simple beauty and pleasure. They take such delight in savoring their time with family and friends, whether it be for a cappuccino or glass of wine. And their approach to food and ingredients is the same:

Simply the best.

Meaning that the best is usually the simplest. Such a philosophical opening, I know, to a post about Neapolitan pizza sauce but it fits. Because this ridiculously easy pizza sauce is simply the best in its preparation and ingredients.

Now that’s Italian!

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Is it Napolitan or Neapolitan or Napoli sauce?

It’s all 3!

My grandma Nina is Napolitan (meaning she’s from Naples) and she called it Napolitan. Some restaurants or families might say Napoli sauce.

Wait…a no-cook pizza sauce?

Yup! The sauce cooks on the pizza right in the oven! Like I said…simple!

San Marzano tomatoes in a white bowl with a black spoon for Neapolitan pizza sauce
San Marzano tomatoes have the perfect sweet flavor for a no-cook pizza sauce.

It’s truly an authentic Italian pizza sauce recipe with only 3 ingredients. And it’s typically used for a Pizza Margherita which is the hallmark of Neapolitan pizza or pizza from Naples, Italy.

Plus— there’s practically no instructions for how to make it. It’s mostly taste and test and practice but you can’t mess it up!

What you’ll need for simple Neapolitan pizza sauce

With an ingredient list that short, you’ll want to use the highest quality ingredients possible.

Ingredients for Neapolitan Pizza Sauce including sea salt, olive oil

Here’s what you’ll need:

How to make Neapolitan pizza sauce

Crush the tomatoes in a bowl to the texture you want.
olive oil being poured into white bowl of crushed tomatoes for neapolitan pizza sauce
Add olive oil and stir. And then taste!
hands adding salt to crushed tomatoes in white bowl for Neapolitan pizza sauce
Sprinkle in Italian sea salt. And taste again!

All the equipment you need is a medium sized mixing bowl, a wooden spatula or spoon or a clean set of hands.

Let’s get to work:

  • Empty the canned tomatoes into the mixing bowl.
  • Taste your canned tomatoes as not all are the same.
  • Use your hands or the flat edge of the wooden spatula or spoon and crush the tomatoes to a chunky texture.
  • Add in a tablespoon of olive oil and stir.
  • Stir in a teaspoon of sea salt, stir and taste. Add more salt as needed.

Told you it was SIMPLE!

Tasting canned tomatoes

When it comes to canned tomatoes, not all are the same. Because the flavor of a tomato is dependent on the soil, irrigation and climate, you need to know what flavor profile you’re dealing with.

Taste canned tomatoes before you season them.

I tend to go on and on about the taste and quality of San Marzano tomatoes. That’s because they are naturally sweet and less acidic. They’re worth the extra buck or two because you’re going to taste the difference in your pizza.

Insider tips for the best Napolitan pizza sauce

  • Double check the can to make sure you have whole peeled tomatoes.
  • Make the sauce the day before. The olive oil and salt will intensify the tomatoes a bit as the sauce sits in the fridge. Taste and correct for seasoning again!
  • Avoid the temptation to cook the sauce. Cooking the sauce is going to intensify the tomato flavor while reducing the purity and freshness of it.
  • Add seasoning a little bit at a time. You can always add more salt…it’s harder to take it away.

Seasonings to add

If you can’t imagine a pizza sauce without oregano, then feel free to add just a bit of the following:

Fresh herbs. Fresh basil and thyme.

Crushed red pepper. For a little heat.

Sugar. If you feel your tomatoes are too acidic, add 1/2 teaspooon to start.

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


hand crushing of canned whole tomatoes for Neapolitan pizza sauce
5 from 4 votes

No Cook Neapolitan Pizza Sauce

If homemade pizza is on the menu, you're probably going to need a sauce. Skip the store and head right to the pantry for a can of San Marzano tomatoes. And then pack your bags because this simple, authentic Neapolitan pizza sauce is a no cook recipe that is going to transport you straight to Italy!
Prep Time:5 minutes
Total Time:5 minutes
Servings 4 pizzas

Instructions

  • Empty can of tomatoes into a medium glass mixing bowl.
    28 oz can of whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • Using your hands or a wooden spoon, crush the tomatoes breaking up the tomatoes in your hands so they're "piecey" but not too small.
  • Taste the tomatoes. This is important so you can adjust your seasoning later.
  • Stir in the olive oil and sea salt and taste again. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
    1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon Italian sea salt
  • Cover and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before using on pizza.
Course: Main Course, Pizza
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!
5 from 4 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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7 Comments

  1. Love knowing that cooking the sauce isn’t the best way to go – thank you! And while we’re at it, let’s just come right out and admit it: pizza is, indeed, the world’s perfect food. 🤓5 stars

    1. Yes! And it’s so much easier…you get all the flavor of the toppings too soaked into the sauce at it caramelizes and cooks on the pizza♥️. And I totally, 100% couldn’t agree more…it’s the whole package! Thanks Denise!

    1. This makes me so happy! Yes – I love tossing with hot pasta for a quick dinner and a touch of parmesan but you also could use it as a dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks, focaccia or these really fun cheesy stuffed meatballs (my kids esp loved them when they were little). Feel free to heat it a bit or bring to room temp. Thanks so much Tammy for taking the time to comment!😊

  2. Hello Lori,IMade your pizza dough,great and I made meatballs and the sauce your way and it was delicious.My wife loves it,thick and tomatoey.I’m used to my family cooking and when I moved away I cooked the way I that was right,thanks for saving me.Now my house is smelling like my grams house,which brings back great memories. Thanks

    1. Awwww – Jim! I love this so much! Anytime our house can smell like Gram’s (and that’s what we called my grams too ♥️), you know you’ve done something right! Thank you for sharing! p.s if you feel like making a star rating, I’d sooo appreciate it 😊