Shirley’s Pizza Sauce (canning or freezing)

I grew up on this pizza sauce and I love it more than any other I have tried.  I know it may be too late for some of you to get good, ripe tomatoes right now, but this recipe will be around if you want to try it next year.

Please note:  We’re not Italian and I may not be telling you the proper way that you feel things should be done when one is making pizza sauce (like when to add spices, which spices to use, etc.). I’m just telling you the way we make it.  And yes, that is the word margarine that you see in the ingredient list.  I actually buy it special just for this recipe.


First, you put a pot of water on the stove and wait for it to boil (yeah, that sure is fun). Normal people blanch (shout-out to my favorite slutty Golden Girl) their tomatoes by waiting for the water to boil and putting the tomatoes in the water one at a time.  I have no idea if my mother did this or not.  I was busy doing something else.  Ahem.


When the skin on the tomato starts to split you take them out of the water with a slotted spoon. Please note Shirley’s blurry slotted spoon at the top of this picture.


And then you put (omg, plunge!) them in cold water. And seriously, you can add ice to the water to make this process work better for you, but my mother has no patience. She plops them in the water and immediately starts peeling the skin off of them. While they’re still fucking hot. And then she gets bitchy and yells at me when I’m taking too long trying to get a semi-decent picture.  Which I didn’t get because she makes me nervous with the bitching.  Vicious cycle.  I am abused.  Heh.


Remove the core/stem/whatever you want to call it part of the tomato and peel off the skin. My mom tosses them in a colander as soon as she does this.

Note: If you need more serious instruction on blanching tomatoes, you might want to try this site.


Put all of the skinned tomatoes back into a large pot and let it simmer on medium heat until they cook down. You can help them along by smashing/smooshing them with a spoon.


This is what it looks like at the beginning of cooking them down.


Cauldron.  Hair of dog.  Eye of newt.  Make this shit go KaPOOT!


I start adding the ingredients/seasonings after it’s cooked down a bit. And then we let it cook a while longer until we get the sauce as thick as we like it. Your kitchen will smell great.


We do half-pint and pint jars (we average about 10 pint jars). Or we put it in Ziploc bags and freeze it flat.

Shirley's Pizza Sauce (canning or freezing recipe)
This recipe is for pizza sauce that you can in pint size jars and let sit on your shelf - think Ragu® Pizza sauce only 150% better.
Original Source/Author:
: Pizza Sauce
  • ½ bushel tomatoes (steamed skins off/cooked open kettle until mushy)
  • Add:
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 3 cans tomato paste (6 ounce)
  • 1 stick of margarine
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 large (or 3 small) onions, chopped
  • ⅔ medium green peppers, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup chopped basil leaves
  1. Steam skins off off tomatoes. Cook in open kettle until mushy.
  2. Add all other ingredients.
  3. Cook 2 hours or until sauce starts to thicken.
  4. Put into pint cars and process forty-five minutes in boiling water bath.



Shirley’s Pizza Sauce (canning or freezing) — 8 Comments

  1. Aw, don’t go giving Shirley a big head. I just howled when I’m re-read that recipe and saw “cook open kettle until mushy” – what are we Amish?

  2. dry basil and parsley? it says chopped, but the dry ones come chopped……oh, nevermind. dinosaurs can’t eat pizza anyway….

    • we only use the stuff that comes off the spice rack for this sauce, but I’m pretty sure that I’ve added the “real” stuff that isn’t dry and just used the same amount. Of course, Shirley might have been drinking when she wrote down the recipe…


  3. This also looks delicious. I may try and make it and throw it on some spaghetti squash, or I could be nice (once) and let the kids make their own pizzas. But the resultant mess would probably make me reconsider that for another year.

  4. I have no idea how much a bushel is (or half a bushel, for that matter.) Google says a bushel is 53lbs so half of that is 26.5lbs (then divide by 2.2 to get kilograms cos I’m in Australia and we use metric so, 12kg of tomatoes) – is this correct?? It seems like a lot! Can you clarify approx weight of tomatoes you used?? I’d really like to give this a try sometime. Thanks ladies! (loving your site, by the way)

  5. Unfortunately, this entry is getting spammed to death and I’m going to close it so Robyn and I don’t have to keep reading about whatever the hell it is that people who are trying to sell something spam other people with.