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Homemade Italian Herb Pizza Sauce For Canning

5 from 2 votes

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Getting overrun by your tomato harvest? This easy homemade sauce is my go-to recipe for canning. Let me show you how to can pizza sauce for year round fresh tomato taste.

tomatoes

There is something about this time of year that always makes me question some of my life choices. Have you ever wished you could go back and talk to your younger self?

If I could, I would go back to earlier this year and tell myself, “What kind of crazy are you? No one needs 120 tomato plants! NO ONE!”

Seriously. Who plants 120 tomato plants? ON PURPOSE!

I guess I thought I needed more tomatoes this year. Cuz last year we ran out of tomato soup about February. And that was sad…

So what does a girl do when she’s surrounded by a bazillion and 43 tomatoes? She cans of course!

The nicer ones go into the jars diced or quartered. But the not-so-perfect ones are…well…perfect for saucy kinds of things. Like…uhm…sauce.

Like this Italian Herb Pizza Sauce, and marinara sauce, and cocktail sauce, and enchilada sauce. And the aforementioned tomato soup. Which is kinda saucy. 🙂

First up on the list was this easy homemade pizza sauce recipe. This is our go-to pizza sauce around here. and is one of my pantry staples. Have I mentioned before how much we love pizza?

Friday night is pizza night so we go through a LOT of this stuff! I make it in large batches, but if you don’t happened to be surrounded by 20 pounds of tomatoes, no worries.

You can easily cut this recipe in half. I can this in half pint jars. That gives us enough sauce for 2 large pizzas and 6 to 8 individual ones.

A note about this recipe: Because we are not adding vinegar or lemon juice this sauce must be pressure canned.

Now my friends, to the kitchen!

tomatoes and onion in basket

Easy Pizza Sauce Recipe for Canning

Ingredients

  • 20 pounds tomatoes
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 8 large garlic cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • pint or half pint canning jars
  • new lids (or Tattler reusable lids)
  • rings/screw bands
  • pressure canner

NOTE: If you are using fresh herbs, use 1 Tablespoon of fresh for every 1 teaspoon of dried listed in the recipe.

Instructions

I usually get 14 to 16 half pint jars with this recipe, depending on how thick I let it get.

If I’m just making it plain tomato sauce, I usually get 24 half pints because it doesn’t need to be as thick.

If you don’t grow and dry your own herbs, you can order organic herbs online from Starwest Botanicals.

Here we go!

Prepping the veggies:

Slip the skins from the tomatoes. I show you how to slip skins step-by-step right here.

Remove the cores with your handy dandy corer gadget then quarter them if they are small or roughly chop them if they are large.

Then you need to put them into a large non-reactive pot. Use a potato masher (or your hand) to mash the first layer or so.

The liquid in the bottom of the pot helps keep things from burning when it’s on the heat.

Roughly chop up the onions and garlic cloves. The onions can be pretty big chunks. Then add those to the pot with the tomatoes. Give it all a good stir.

tomatoes, onions, and garlic in sauce pot.
all the veggie chunks in the pot

Cooking the veggies:

Put the pot on medium heat and bring the tomatoes, onions, and garlic to a boil.

After it boils, turn the heat down and let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour without the lid.

What we are doing here is getting everything good and soft and allowing some of the liquid to boil away. Let’s talk about that liquid for a minute.

I have seen people on the interwebs say that you should drain your tomatoes and even salt them first to get rid of as much of the juice as possible so that it doesn’t take as long to get thick. And you can absolutely do that if you want to.

But here’s the thing. That juice has flavor in it. And if you keep all the juice and boil it down you are going to have a deeper, richer flavor to your sauce than you would if you drained it all away.

So I always capture as much of the juice as I can when I’m canning.

veggies coming to a boil.
boiling away

Saucing the veggies:

There are 3 different approaches you can take here. This is where we are going to puree the tomato mixture.

If you have a stick blender (or immersion blender), now would be a perfect time to pull it out. Or you could use a food mill. The 3rd option is to use a regular blender or food processor..

If you are using a blender, you need to allow the mixture to cool off a little before putting it into the blender.

If it’s too hot the blender lid can shoot off and you’re going to have an explosion the likes of which you’ve never imagined.

Tomato insides will. be. every. where.

So please, let it cool.

If you happen to have a high powered blender, it will even puree the seeds.

If you don’t and the seeds bother you, putting it through a food mill will take care of the seeds.

pureed sauce back in saucepot.
and now it’s quite saucy…

Thickening the pizza sauce:

Put the now pureed mixture into a clean pot.

Add all the spices and seasonings. Cuz that’s what makes it Italian Herb Tomato Sauce.

If you want just plain tomato sauce, which I also make gallons of, leave out everything except the salt and pepper.

Don’t worry to much about the taste right now, we’ll adjust the seasonings later. Now bring the sauce back to a boil.

Then reduce the heat to about medium. Stir it occasionally to make sure that it doesn’t stick or burn.

It needs to simmer without a lid to get to the proper thickness.

herbs and spices in sauce in sauce pot.
and now it’s Italian

So what exactly is the “proper” thickness?

That, my friends, is totally up to you!

Since I primarily use this for pizza sauce, I make it pretty thick. No one wants sauce running off of their pizza when they take a bite.

I use what’s called the “plate test” to see how thick it is.

Put a small plate in the freezer for at least 5 minutes.

Take it out and put a spoonful of sauce on the plate. It will almost immediately form a ring of water around the sauce.

Run your finger through the middle of the sauce. Does the sauce run right back together? Or does it stay separated?

Do this a few times at 5 to 10 minute intervals to test the thickness. Wipe off the plate and put it back in the freezer between tests.

Once the ring of water is minimal and the sauce doesn’t go back together, it’s getting pretty thick.

This boiling down step can take a while. The bigger your batch, the longer it takes. Usually at least an hour.

Which gives you plenty of time to prepare your jars and lids. 

I like to can this sauce in half pint jars. That’s just about the right amount for 2 or 3 large pizzas or 4 or 5 smaller individual ones.

Depending on how much sauce you like on your pizza of course.

It can also be canned in pints, though, if you want to.

Perfecting the sauce:

When the sauce has reached the desired thickness, give it a taste. Adjust the seasonings if necessary.

And now that it’s perfect, it’s time to ladle it into your hot jars. For this sauce you need to leave 1/4 inch of headspace.

Make sure you wipe the rims before seating the flat lids, and tighten the rings finger tight.

If you are using the Tattler reusable lids, follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Canning the sauce:

Put the jars in the pressure canner and follow the directions that came with your canner.

Process both half pints and pints for 20 minutes at 6lbs of pressure. Make sure that you adjust the pressure for your altitude.

jars of canned pizza sauce on white towel
half pint jars ready to be put in the pantry!

Storing your pizza sauce:

After the canner pressure has reached zero, and again following the directions for your canner, remove the jars to a towel covered counter or table out of drafts.

Let the jars sit 12 to 24 hours, undisturbed. After a minimum of 12 hours check the seals. If any of the jars haven’t sealed, refrigerate and use within a week.

Wash the jars and label and date them.

Then put your beautiful jars of Italian Herb Pizza Sauce in your pantry to enjoy all winter long!

Canning tomato products can sometimes make for a long day. But I sure am grateful that I took the time when I open one of those puppies up in the middle of the winter!

Now, if you will excuse me, those 120 tomato plants are calling my name. I’m going to go pick another bazillion or so tomatoes and do some more canning. Soup this time I think. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Canning Pizza Sauce

Can I freeze this pizza sauce instead of canning it?

Absolutely! Just put it in air tight containers and toss it in the freezer. To use, let it thaw or reheat in a small saucepan before putting on your pizza crust. Will last up to 5 months in the freezer.

Can I waterbath can this recipe for pizza sauce?

No. As written, this sauce has to be pressure canned because it doesn’t have enough acidity for safe waterbath canning.

Can I use this pizza sauce for other things beside pizza?

Yes you can! I’ve used this sauce for lasagna, spaghetti, and for dipping breadsticks in. You can use it for anything you want to!

More canning recipes you should try:

half pint jar of homemade pizza sauce

Canning Homemade Pizza Sauce

This easy homemade sauce is my go-to recipe for canning. Let me show you how to can pizza sauce for year round fresh tomato taste.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Processing time 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 20 mins
Course Pantry Staple
Cuisine Italian
Servings 16 half pints
Calories 198 kcal

Equipment

  • pint or half pint canning jars
  • new lids or Tattler reusable lids
  • rings/screw bands
  • Pressure Canner

Ingredients
  

  • 20 pounds tomatoes
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 8 large garlic cloves
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions
 

  • Slip the skins on the tomatoes.
  • Core and quarter and add to stockpot.
  • Using a potato masher, mash some of the tomatoes so there is liquid in the bottom of the pot.
  • Add chopped onions and peeled garlic.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring frequently so it doesn’t stick.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. Don't cover the pot so it can start to reduce.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
  • In batches, place in a blender and puree.
  • If you want to remove the seeds, pour into a food mill and press into a clean stockpot.
  • OR use a stick blender in the pot to puree the sauce.
  • Add the spices and seasonings and stir.
  • Return to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer until it is the consistency that you want. Adjust seasonings to taste.
  • Put in half pint or pint jars and process at 6 pounds pressure for 20 minutes. Remember to adjust for your altitude.

Notes

As written, this recipe needs to be pressure canned. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 198kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 10gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.3gSodium: 1331mgPotassium: 1722mgFiber: 12gSugar: 26gVitamin A: 1231IUVitamin C: 55mgCalcium: 214mgIron: 8mg
Keyword canning recipe, pizza sauce
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on August 30th, 2022

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