New York-Style Pizza Sauce Recipe

No need to go in search of a slice joint, you can make a New York-style pizza at home any time you want, starting with this faithful and perfectly calibrated recipe for the sauce.

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Why It Works

  • Adding butter to a sauce helps round off the rough edges and gives it a richer, fuller mouthfeel (the olive oil is still there for flavor).
  • Starting with whole peeled tomatoes generally sets you up with higher quality tomatoes, and therefore better results (they also break down better than diced, which are treated to maintain their shape, and are more consistent than crushed.

A classic New York slice is as much a work of pizza art as are the finest pies of Italy. This recipe recreates the flavor of the tomato sauce on New York City's pizza perfectly. The result is a slightly sweet and aromatic sauce that's flavored with oregano, basil, garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes. Together with the other components, which you can find at this article on how to make a New York slice at home, you'll be ready for a taste of New York no matter where you live. Here's a non-shocker: It's also good served with pasta.

Recipe Facts

Active: 15 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Makes: 2 to 4 pies, depending on how much sauce you like

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  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, grated on microplane grater (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 (6-inch) sprigs fresh basil with leaves attached
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and split in half
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  1. Process tomatoes and their juice through food mill, pulse in food processor until pureed, or puree with hand blender. Puree should not be completely smooth, but should have no chunks larger than 1/16 of an inch. Set tomatoes aside.

  2. Combine butter and oil in medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and large pinch salt and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil sprigs, onion halves, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to lowest setting (bubbles should barely be breaking the surface), and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by 1/2, about 1 hour. Discard onions and basil stems. Season to taste with salt. Allow to cool and store in covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Special equipment

Food mill, food processor, or hand blender

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