White Pizza Sauce Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 15 min.
This yummy white pizza sauce is rich, creamy and cheesy. It’s perfectly garlicky and can be spruced up with herbs if desired. Use it to make a white sauce pizza with your favorite toppings.

Updated: Jan. 11, 2024

Close your eyes, and think of pizza. What color sauce do you see? For years, I would have told you the image behind my eyes was New York-style pizza with red sauce. Now I’m not so sure. I fell in love with white pizza sauce when I became the chef at a pizza restaurant. We put a white pie with roasted garlic, bacon and kale on the menu. The pizza was so delectably rich and creamy, I ate it at least once a week.

I also love how easy it is to make a white sauce. Red sauces can simmer for hours, but a white pizza sauce recipe can come together in only 15 minutes. You can whip up a batch while your homemade pizza dough rises! It also stores well, so you can make it ahead of time to prepare for pizza night or a build-your-own pizza party. The cheesy, garlicky sauce tastes fantastic on pizza, and it’s also delicious as an Alfredo dipping sauce for copycat Olive Garden breadsticks.

How to Make White Pizza Sauce

The only tools you to make white pizza sauce are a saucepan and a whisk. Start by cooking minced garlic in butter. When it smells incredible, add all-purpose flour, and whisk until well combined. In a slow, steady stream, add half-and-half cream. Whisk constantly to break up any lumps of flour. The mixture will thicken as it simmers. Finally, remove the pan from the heat, and stir in shredded cheese.

Ingredients for White Pizza Sauce

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  • Butter and flour: The butter and flour combine to create a roux, a combination of fat and flour used to thicken sauce.
  • Garlic: If you like your pizza extra garlicky, feel free to mince a few extra cloves.
  • Half-and-half cream: You can use whole milk to make white sauce for pizza, but half-and-half cream creates a creamier, more decadent sauce.
  • Parmesan cheese: There is a difference between Parmigiano-Reggiano vs. Parmesan. We recommend going with the real deal here. Parmigiano-Reggiano has a vibrant, nutty flavor that’s hard to beat.
  • Italian seasoning: This optional ingredient adds herbaceous flavor to white pizza sauce, and it studs the off-white sauce with green specks. You can use any dried herbs or spices as a substitute. For fresh herbs, use our fresh to dried herb conversion.

Directions

Step 1: Make a roux

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In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic. Cook, stirring, for one minute. Stir in the flour until blended.

Editor’s Tip: White sauces use what’s called a white roux. It only needs to cook for about two minutes to remove the flour’s raw taste.

Step 2: Add the half-and-half cream

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Gradually add the half-and-half cream. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, stirring, for one to two minutes or until thickened.

Editor’s Tip: Fun fact: You just made a bechamel! This creamy combination of butter, flour, and milk is one of the five French mother sauces. When you add cheese in the next step, it turns this classic sauce into a mornay sauce.

Step 3: Stir in the cheese

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Remove the pan from heat. Stir in the cheese. If desired, stir in Italian seasoning.

Editor’s Tip: It’s important to add the cheese off the heat. High heat can cause cheese sauce to break, which means it separates and curdles. It’s still edible, but it looks rather unappetizing. The sauce should have enough ambient heat to melt the cheese if you add it one handful at a time, stirring to incorporate before adding the next handful. (If the sauce does break, don’t worry. Here’s how to save a broken sauce.)

Recipe Variations

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  • Make it gluten-free: To make a gluten-free white pizza sauce, make a gluten-free bechamel with a gluten-free flour blend that includes xanthan gum (a stabilizer and binding agent that helps the sauce stay nice and smooth). Then add cheese as directed.
  • Use a different cheese: Swap in other white melting cheeses, such as Gruyere or white cheddar.
  • Add a little lemon: A small squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of lemon zest will perk up the other flavors in this creamy sauce.

How to Store White Pizza Sauce

Store white pizza sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. The sauce will thicken as it cools, but you should still be able to spread it over pizza dough. If it is too thick, warm it over low heat, stirring or whisking constantly to loosen the sauce. If needed, add a splash of milk.

To freeze white pizza sauce, spoon it into a freezer-safe container. Place a layer of plastic wrap directly on top of the sauce. Seal tightly, and freeze for up to three months.

White Pizza Sauce Tips

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What is white pizza sauce made of?

We make this white pizza sauce by combining butter, flour, garlic, half-and-half cream and Parmesan cheese. It creates a cheesy white sauce similar to a homemade Alfredo sauce. However, there is no universal white sauce for pizza, so white pizza sauce recipes can vary. Some white pizzas use an olive oil or flavored oil as the base, while others use creamy cheese such as ricotta or mascarpone. I’ve also made white pizza with pure heavy cream as the sauce.

How do you fix a lumpy white pizza sauce?

If your white pizza sauce becomes lumpy, use a blender or an immersion blender to smooth out the lumps. A cheese sauce can become grainy or lumpy if it gets too hot. An immersion blender is handy when you don’t want to create additional dishes: You can whiz the sauce directly in the saucepan.

How much sauce do you use per pizza?

We recommend using about 1/2 cup white pizza sauce for a 12-inch pizza. Avoid using too much sauce on pizza. It makes the crust soggy, and it can cause the toppings to slide off when you pick up a slice. Spread the sauce onto the pizza dough using a rubber spatula or the back of a large spoon. The sauce will spread out as the pizza bakes, so don’t worry about covering every inch.

What pizza toppings are best with white sauce?

Use any pizza toppings you would use for a red sauce pizza. Mozzarella, Parmesan or ricotta are great cheese choices. Regarding meat and vegetables, have fun and experiment! We love chicken, crispy bacon, pancetta, artichokes, roasted garlic, mushrooms and spinach on white pizza. Get inspired by some of our favorite white pizzas: chicken Alfredo pizza, white pizza with roasted tomatoes, Greek pizza and sausage-topped white pizza.

White Pizza Sauce

Prep Time 15 min
Yield 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half cream
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, optional

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add cream. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese and, if desired, Italian seasoning.

Nutrition Facts

1/4 cup: 128 calories, 10g fat (6g saturated fat), 41mg cholesterol, 113mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 0 fiber), 3g protein.