Iron Mike's Sweet Tomato Pizza Sauce - the Spirit of Cincinnati

Total Time
Prep 5 mins
Cook 25 mins

So I grew up in Cincinnati. 18 years of Cincy Chili, Ribs, Ice Cream, and, of course, LaRosa's Pizza, whose sauce is flavorful and SWEET. Now that I've been away, I find you can't get any pizza remotely close ANYwhere else. Now this is no copycat recipe, but it captures the spirit of Buddy L's pizza sauce. It complements vegetable toppings as well as meats... My wife and I have not ordered pizza out since this sauce was concocted... I HIGHLY recommend using caetb's pizza dough with this sauce. (Pizza Dough - the one with the wine...) I put the ingredients in the bread machine and it turns out great every time. I cook the finished pizza between 400 and 425 degrees fahrenheit for 9-12 minutes on a normal cookie sheet, or 11-15 minutes on an "air cookie sheet." (My wife and I prefer the normal cookie sheet, so the crust cooks and the cheese doesn't burn...) I'd love to hear feedback from others, especially misplaced Cincinnati Folks - let me know your thoughts! Mike's Notes: Since I concocted and posted this recipe, I have been back to Cincinnati... Needless to say, when I had the "real thing," I was mildly disappointed! Doh! I'm thinking about decreasing the "sweet" contents by 1/2 tbsp each on the honey and brown sugar - it IS awfully sweet! Okay - enough already - enjoy!

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the Tomato Puree; watch out for splatterage!
  3. Add everything else and simmer uncovered on low, stirring frequently, for 30-60 minutes, until desired consistency.
  4. Tips:.
  5. Freeze leftover sauce until ready to use; When using on pizza dough, thaw to room temperature; Thaws nicely in the microwave.
  6. Don't use too much pepper.
  7. You can mince a baby carrot in the garlic press after microwaving it for 5-10 seconds- just cut it in half before putting it through the press- and that equals about 1/2 Tablespoon.
  8. Either Light or Dark Brown Sugar is fine, but the dark brown sugar makes the sauce DEEP red- almost maroon.
  9. If you want the sauce even sweeter, just add more Honey next time.


Most Helpful

The sweetness of the sauce was fantastic...I made this sauce for my family and mother-in-law with rave reviews....well...since I am only civil with my mother-in-law she begrudgingly gave me a "That was good" me...that is code for grand slam...thank you for the great recipe..

scswanson2002 August 09, 2010

I have to admit right up front that I didn't put all the sweet in this--I thought it would be too much for my family. I used a tablespoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of honey and it was PERFECT for our family, still quite sweet. We experimented with toppings, and the best ones with this topping are toppings with more salt and spice in them (think pepperoni and jalepenos). We also topped with crushed red pepper which took it right over the top. The combination of sweet, salty, and spicy is FANTASTIC! We will definitely be making this again, and I really appreciate the recipe.

Chef SuzyQ February 28, 2010

Hats off to Iron Mike! I made this and this is the best tasting pizza/pasta sauce I have tasted in so very long. I know make it in big batches and freeze the extra. I use it for both pizza & pasta. I get rave reviews every time. I made a egg plant parm with this. And it was the best egg plant parm I've tasted in my life. So again thank you so very much Mike. I'll be making this for many many years to come.

Tracy S. August 20, 2009

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