When you’re making pizza sauce, it’s tempting just to mix the raw ingredients together and place them on your pizza dough, but you might want to think twice before you do that.
Pizza sauce does not need to be cooked before using it but there are a lot of advantages to doing it that way. Cooking pizza sauce first will develop the flavors leading to a richer and more delicious pizza.
Heating the herbs, onions and tomatoes even for a short period of time will give you a great result.
Below are a few things to keep in mind when you’re making the pizza sauce for your homemade pizza.
1. The Acidity and Sourness of the Sauce Matters
If you don’t thoroughly cook your pizza sauce before placing it on your dough, it can taste very acidic and even sour when the pizza is cooked.
When you open a jar of tomatoes or tomato sauce, it’s going to be cold and probably raw.
Tomatoes are naturally a little on the acidic side, but the longer you cook your sauce, the more that sourness disappears. In fact, if you can cook and simmer the sauce for a minimum of 30 minutes, most of that bitterness will disappear.
2. A Longer Cooking Time Equals More Flavor
Simply put, it takes a certain amount of cooking to make sure the ingredients in the sauce blend together well and develop that delicious flavor that everyone loves when it comes to pizza sauce.
The same isn’t required of store-bought pizza sauce because in most cases, that type of sauce is already cooked and all it needs is to be warmed up and served.
3. The Longer the Sauce Cooks, the Better It Tastes
Not only does cooked pizza sauce make the pizza taste better, but the longer the sauce cooks, the better it tastes.
We mentioned earlier that cooking the pizza for 30 minutes makes it taste good and gets rid of a lot of acidity and bitterness, but if you have the patience to cook your sauce for a full hour.
It will taste even better and will practically eliminate any and all bitterness from the sauce.
4. The Oven Temperature Isn’t Hot Enough
Some people are unaware of this, but pizza needs a super-hot oven in order to cook properly. Ideally, it does best when the oven is heated to about 800 degrees Fahrenheit, but let’s face it, no one’s oven goes that high.
Because of this, pizza needs to cook for long periods of time so that all of the ingredients cook right.
This is hard to do when you have raw pizza sauce on the dough. The pizza sauce needs to cook for a long time in order for it to taste right, but at 400-450 degrees – which is what a lot of pizza is baked at – it would need to bake a ridiculously long time.
5. There Are No-Cook Pizza Sauces You Can Choose
You can indeed find recipes for no-cook pizza sauces, but keep in mind that if you use fresh tomatoes instead of canned, you might still run into that bitterness problem mentioned earlier.
One recipe calls for canned plum tomatoes to be crushed by hand with a little salt added to it and nothing else.
It depends on where you get your tomatoes from that will tell you if the sauce needs to be cooked before placing it on the dough.
If you let the pizza cook long enough for the sauce to cook like it should, it will burn the pizza. It is a lot easier and smarter to make sure the sauce is cooked well before placing it on your pizza and the pizza in the oven.
That way, all the sauce has to do is heat up to the right temperature and that’s it.
Does Pizza Sauce Need to Be Heated Before You Put It on Your Pizza?
Pizza sauce that is already cooked right does not need to be heated before you put it on your pizza. This is true for both fully cooked homemade pizza sauce and store-bought pizza sauce.
Check store-bought sauce to make sure it is really cooked and doesn’t need additional time in the oven or on the stove.
The vast majority of store-bought pizza sauce is fully cooked and therefore doesn’t need to be heated up before being placed on the dough, but you’ll want to check the label to be certain of this every time.
Do You Have to Cook Store-Bought Pizza Sauce?
Most of the time, store-bought pizza sauce is fully cooked and needs no additional cooking time.
Once you check the label to make sure it’s fully cooked, there’s nothing else left to do. Also, keep in mind that once pizza sauce is cooked, it doesn’t matter whether it’s cold or warm when you place it on top of the dough.
The important thing is to make sure the sauce is fully cooked before doing this.
How Long Does Pizza Sauce Take to Cook?
There are hundreds of recipes out there for homemade pizza sauce, and you have to follow yours to the letter in order for it to come out fantastic. Many homemade pizza sauces will have to be cooked for a minimum of 30-60 minutes, but some recipes require longer than that.
Even if you decide to create your own homemade pizza sauce recipe, keep in mind that cooking it for at least 30-60 minutes usually works out best.
You can also experiment with cooked versus uncooked pizza sauce for your next homemade pizza, but in all likelihood you’ll find that cooking your sauce beforehand results in a fresher and more flavorful taste.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.