Cold (uncooked) sauce for pizza?

Joined Feb 3, 2008
I was told that the best pizza is made with cold sauce. 

Is this true? And not cooking it before use wouldn't fully release flavors of the herbs, but won't the oven heat do that? And wouldn't it get watery if used in this way?


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Yes, within limits.

Pizza doesn't have a lot of opportunity for flavor. It cooks fast so it tends to rely on heavily seasoned toppings. 

The less cooked the tomato is, the more flavor it has of itself. So Pizza Margherita is just dough, cheese,  fresh tomatoes, fresh basil. And it can be watery if you chose a beef steak style tomato compared to a meatier roma. 

Coming to sauce then. You want to use a tomato product with good flavor and minimal by liquid. So not tomato sauce which is too thin. Diced tomatoes too carry too much side liquid and the texture is wrong. Crushed tomatoes are the best choice. They're already thick, the liquid is tomatoes and not water. Cooking it more only reduces the impact of the tomatoes. All  it needs is some fresh minced garlic, dried oregano, satl and pepper, maybe a dollop of good olive oil. It's spread on thinly so it doesn't taste harsh, It carries the flavor, mouthfeel and moisture on through to the completed product. 

Cook's Illustrated does it this was as well. 
Joined Dec 18, 2010
Even if the sauce is cooked it should be cold or room temp when put on the raw dough else it will be soggy.
Joined Jul 13, 2012
Pizza sauce - tomato puree (if you use tomato sauce add tomato paste), garlic (powder, or fresh), dash of sugar, onion powder, parsley, oregano, salt (I like anchovy paste), peperoncino, dash of balsamic vinegar.  Make it and let it sit covered for a couple of hours.   Pizza dough I like to let rise in a warm place.  Back in the day we used it out of the fridge, but when I rises it makes for a better crust IMO.  Assemble your pizza with all ingredients at room temp (that's how it's made at the pizzeria).  
Joined Feb 3, 2008
Thanks guys! I sent the boy out to pick up a can of crushed tomatoes. I didn't know that some would have added water... And that's what he got.

I had to strain it, ended up with little left, and so added tomato paste. I went easy on the seasoning.

It was DELICIOUS!! It really did give a more robust, fresh flavor.

I'm really glad I did this. Thanks for all the replies. They've been very helpful.
Joined Apr 17, 2016
I only use and prepare ONE type of pizza, Neapolitan. So, this is from that perspective and three months in Italy interning  in a pizza restaurant with 2 Neapolitan brothers doing the cooking.  Ingredients in Italian cooking are the most important thing for flavor. Not a lot of them, but each one is quality. Sauce for Neapolitan is tomatoes and salt, period.However, San Marzano tomatoes are key. They are meaty, not many seeds or gel as they are a roma style tomato. Tomatoes go thru a food mill to remove seeds  San Marzano DOP tomatoes are hand picked when they are ripe, not by machine, all at once, and you get what you get.  In this way they have the best flavor.  Buy a can of your usual and a can of SM DOP. open them both and have a look at the contents, then taste each - cold. See if you can taste the difference. 

Then you add only bufala or fior di latte mozarella. Also, amazing flavor. Then the fresh basil.  The dough is made with starter, aged a few days before use and only flour, water and salt. 

With good ingredients, you don't need a lot of herbs, or spices. 

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