Homemade Chicago-style Pizza Sauce

February 22, 2013

This whole month, I’ve been participating in “Frugal February”.  It’s too easy to feel exhausted after work and go out for dinner or drop $100 at Target because I’m bored – so I decided that at least for a month of February, I would make changes to the way I spend money and what I spend money on.  For a simple example, on days when I might have ordered a pizza I’ve been making a pizza from scratch.  There aren’t any amazing pizza places where I live, so this hasn’t been much of a sacrifice.  The pizza I make at home is way better than any pizza I could have delivered.


Hand shredding mozzarella is easy enough.  For pizza dough, I’ve actually been using the same dough as for my apple pie cinnamon rolls.  That sounds pretty strange, I know!  But it’s whole wheat, comes together so quickly, and tastes amazing.  A good pizza sauce was harder to come by.  Sure, I could buy it in a jar but it tastes more or less the same as spaghetti sauce to me – not appealing.  I like my sauce a little chunky, almost like a Chicago style (even if I don’t like my crust very thick).  This sauce is full of tomatoes and a variety of seasonings, the way I think sauce should be.  This recipe makes enough sauce for a thick layer on a large pizza (or a medium amount of sauce on 2 smaller pizzas).



Homemade Chicago-style Pizza Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 8

  • 2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • heaping ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tbsp light balsamic vinaigrette (or 2 tsp balsamic vinegar + 1 tsp sugar)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste (optional)

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan.
  2. Bring to boil and lower heat slightly. Simmer, stirring often, until tomatoes have released a good amount of liquid and most of the liquid has evaporated off and you’re left with a chunky pizza sauce (20 – 30 minutes). Taste and add more vinegar, sugar, salt or other ingredients to taste.

If your sauce still has too much liquid, use a slotted spoon to transfer to the crust.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 25 Fat: <1g Carbohydrates: 6g Fiber: 2g Protein: 1g


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    Greek Salad Pizza - Hidden Fruits and Veggies Jun 05, 2013

    […] be even better with a homemade crust.  If you’re feeling a chunky sauce, try out this Chicago Style Sauce.  Except for the crust, I’ve left out a lot of the amounts for all of the ingredients so […]

    Christine @ 24 Carrot Kitchen Mar 05, 2013

    How delicious this looks. I have a similar recipe posted. I guess great minds think alike! I want to make your recipe dough. It looks simple and tasty and then I don’t have to use store bought.

      Kelly Mar 05, 2013

      I like how you made yours in a skillet (and got more of a deep-dish crust, I went for Chicago style sauce but then flattened my crust out for convenience). The dough I linked to in the post comes together super easy and I think would work really for a homemade whole wheat option in a skillet– comes together just as quickly as it takes to rise the store bought stuff, so why not!

    Erin @ The Speckled Palate Feb 26, 2013

    This sauce looks delightful, Kelly! And I’m totally with you on having a chunky and spice-filled pizza sauce to go on any kind of pie. We make pizzas here pretty often because it’s easy and oh-so-delicious, so I cannot wait to give your specific sauce a go!

      Kelly Feb 26, 2013

      let me know if you give it a try!

    hisnhershealthynhappy Feb 24, 2013

    I’m sort of embarrased to admit that Ive never had Chicago style pizza! I love chunky sauce too! Looks delicious.

    Natalie Feb 23, 2013

    What a good looking pizza!

    Joanne Feb 23, 2013

    I generally feel too guilty to order in much but i am bad about spending unnecessary money while shopping! Your pizza at home sounds great!

    makingthymeforhealth Feb 22, 2013

    I love Chicago style pizza! There is a place here in the Bay Area called Zachary’s pizza and theirs is really good!

    sally @ sallys baking addiction Feb 22, 2013

    i LOVE chunky tomato sauce so much! And I always have thought chicago style pizza was tastier than NY. I love a TON of sauce on my pizza too. I need to make this!

    cleaneatingveggiegirl Feb 22, 2013

    Oh my gahh!!!! That pizza looks amazing. I absolutely love Chicago pizza and I totally appreciate the idea of making your own sauce. Anytime you can make something from whole ingredients is a major plus!

    Julia Feb 22, 2013

    Other than the fact that this pizza looks absolutely delicious, I want to make it so that I get a free excuse to say “CHI Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaago” all night long! Love this thick crust deliciousness!

    Aimee @ ShugarySweets Feb 22, 2013

    I love the chunky tomato sauce. Well, that’s cause I’m a Chicago girl!! LOOKS delish Kelly!

    cookingactress Feb 22, 2013

    Hahahaa the bf and I are in a constant debate about chicago vs ny style pizza. If I made him these he would be soooo happy, bc I usually subject him to my beloved thin crust ny pizza 😛

      Kelly Feb 22, 2013

      I like both kinds, but they just feel so entirely different. I generally prefer the chunkier, tomato-ier Chicago sauce, but like a thinner crust (which is why the actual pizza I made is somewhere in the middle of the two haha)

    Julia Feb 22, 2013

    This would have been great on my cauliflower crust pizza I just made! I’ll have to try it soon!