White Pizza Sauce

Creamy white sauce for pizza recipe

The Spruce / Viktoriya Stoeva

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 7 mins
Total: 12 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yields: 1 1/3 cups
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
58 Calories
3g Fat
5g Carbs
3g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 58
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 2g 9%
Cholesterol 9mg 3%
Sodium 122mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 86mg 7%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 73mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pizza sauce doesn't have to be tomato-based one hundred percent of the time. There are plenty of alternatives for topping a flavorful pie, from vegan pesto to the classic pesto alla genovese to a bold olive tapenade. But an all-time favorite has to be a white sauce: garlicky, creamy, and delicious. Made from simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, our Italian-seasoned white sauce makes a cheesy addition to your meaty or vegetarian pizza, and it can also be used to top focaccia, vegetables, or pasta. Omnivores can mix this sauce with shredded chicken or sausage to stuff calzone, or make open-faced sandwiches with the meats of their choice.

Although people think of white sauce as similar to alfredo sauce, but there are differences. Italian alfredo is a butter and cheese-based pasta dish that results from mixing egg pasta with butter and abundant amounts of Parmigiano. What is known in the U.S. as alfredo is a take on the original, but filled with cream, milk, and other ingredients. Our sauce is an in-between: buttery and cheesy, minus the cream.

This simple sauce has a real punch of flavor and the recipe makes a generous amount, enough for one large pizza or six to eight servings of pasta.

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Click Play to See This Creamy White Pizza Sauce Come Together

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 3 tablespoons flour

  • 1 1/4 cups milk

  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or a blend of dried basil and oregano)

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 dash sea salt (or kosher salt)

  • 1 dash freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for creamy white pizza sauce

    The Spruce / Viktoriya Stoeva

  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring with a fork until the mixture is thick and pasty.

    Butter and flour paste in pan with a fork

    The Spruce / Viktoriya Stoeva

  3. Turn up the heat to medium-low and then slowly add in the milk, whisking it all together and stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

    Milk added to pan

    The Spruce / Viktoriya Stoeva

  4. Add the Italian seasoning (or basil and oregano), garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Allow your sauce to simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it has thickened.

    Spices added to sauce in a pot

    The Spruce / Viktoriya Stoeva

  5. Stir in the freshly grated Parmesan cheese until the cheese has melted and is well incorporated. Your white sauce will thicken further as it cools, so add a bit more milk if needed and, conversely, don't worry if it seems too thin while on the stovetop over the heat. 

    Parmesan cheese added to sauce

    The Spruce / Viktoriya Stoeva

  6. Use to top your favorite pizza crust or pasta.

    Pasta topped with white sauce

    The Spruce / Viktoriya Stoeva

How to Store

  • If you have leftover sauce, place it in an airtight container in the fridge once it has cooled off. Use the sauce within 3 to 5 days, but reheat only what you need, as repeated reheating and cooling will spoil the sauce.
  • Reheat the sauce in a saucepan on the stovetop. Add a few tablespoons of milk to thin the sauce, if necessary. If using the sauce for pasta, thin it with a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.
  • We don't recommend freezing this sauce, since the dairy and fat will often separate upon defrosting, making it less than creamy.

How to Use White Pizza Sauce

Here are a few ideas for recipes you can try to make the best use of this delicious sauce:

  • Pizza: Use your favorite crust and cover it with white sauce before baking. Try one of the following combinations of ingredients to top it, or a combo of your favorite toppings to make your own white pizza: sautéed kale with garlic and shaves of parmesan; sautéed spinach, roasted pine nuts, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes; slices of brie and apples topped with fresh arugula; sliced fresh figs, caramelized onions, and Gruyere.
  • Pasta: Mix cooked pasta with white sauce and try one of the following combinations of ingredients to make a filling dish: cherry tomatoes, basil, and cubed mozzarella; steamed peas, chopped walnuts, and Pecorino Romano; chopped green and red peppers, green olives, and broccoli florets.
  • Vegetables: Pour the sauce on lightly steamed broccoli, cauliflower, or green beans, top it with generous amounts of parmesan, and broil for 6 minutes.
  • Lasagna and Pasta Bakes: Layer into lasagna with shredded mozzarella or ricotta, tomato sauce, and cooked veggies or meat, or use as a sauce for stuffed shells and other pasta bakes.
  • Dip: Use the sauce as a dip for pieces of warm naan, crusty bread, or crudités.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of garlic powder, add 1 teaspoon of mashed roasted garlic or sautéed minced garlic to the sauce.
  • For a richer sauce, add an extra tablespoon of butter to the roux and use half-and-half or light cream instead of milk.
  • For a bit of spice, add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes.
  • Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a little freshness.

How Do You Make Roux Taste Less Like Raw Flour?

When adding the flour to the melted butter to make a roux, continue stirring and cooking over low heat for at least 2 minutes to cook off the raw taste of flour.