When it comes to pizza, I usually fall into the red sauce camp. However, that’s not the case when it comes to this homemade creamy garlic white sauce.
Similar in spirit to a fettuccine Alfredo this white sauce is perfect for pizzas and so easy to make. Warmed milk is slowly whisked into a flour and butter mixture, cooked until thick and then seasoned with shredded Parmesan and a whole head's worth of roasted garlic cloves.
A pinch of cayenne provides a bit of heat, while freshly grated lemon zest whisked in toward the end, cuts the richness of this cheesy sauce, while also adding a bit of brightness.
Tips for Making Pizza Sauce at Home
Warming the milk prior to adding it to the roux is just one of the tricks for keeping your sauce silky smooth. Another tip: As you’re whisking the milk into the roux, do it slowly, pouring in just a little bit at a time so the flour and butter mixture can better absorb the liquid.
To keep the sauce from scorching, cook it over medium to medium-low heat and stir frequently.
This recipe yields about 2 cups of sauce which is enough for six to eight pizzas. (If you like a saucier pie, feel free to add more sauce.) I usually go light, using only 1/4 to 1/3 cup per 10-inch pizza so you can achieve a crisp pizza dough when baked.
Roasting the garlic adds about 40 minutes to the overall cook time of this sauce. To save time, roast and smash the garlic a day ahead and store it in the refrigerator.
The finished sauce will keep for up to a week, but you can also freeze it for up to 1 month. Of course you can skip the garlic all together for a white sauce that comes together in about 10 minutes.
Swap It Out
If you feel like mixing things up, this sauce is great for getting creative with different flavors:
- Whisk in some Pecorino Romano to finish the sauce instead of Parmesan.
- Crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese would be spectacular if you’re looking for a bit more funk.
- Swap the grated lemon zest for black truffle if you’re feeling especially decadent.
Homemade Pizza Crust for the Win!
Sometimes you're in the mood to go all in! If that's the case then why stop at making the sauce from scratch? Making homemade pizza crust is easy, affordable, and flexible. Here are some favorite recipes for when I'm going full carb or low carb!
- How to Make the Best Cauliflower Pizza Crust
- Easy No Knead Pizza Dough
- No Knead Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
This sauce is rich enough that I like to keep my pizza pretty simple, sprinkling only a handful of shredded Parmesan and mozzarella over the top and maybe a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Other pizza topping combos that would complement this white sauce:
- Shaved asparagus and paper-thin slices of Meyer lemon
- Prosciutto and arugula
- Mortadella and finely chopped pistachios
- Roasted broccoli and red onions
- Wild mushrooms sauteed with a bit of thyme
- Shredded rotisserie chicken and fresh spinach; roasted red bell peppers and a smudge of fresh pesto
How to Store and Freeze Homemade White Sauce
Allow the sauce to cool slightly, then transfer to an airtight container. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for up to a week in the refrigerator.
You can also freeze the sauce which will keep for up to one month. Defrost in the freezer overnight. Gently reheat the sauce in a pan set over low heat until heated through.
More Perfect Sauce Recipes
- Basic Tomato Sauce
- Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
- Easy Make-Ahead Alfredo Sauce
- How to Make Creamy Vegan Cashew “Cheese” Sauce
- Spanish Romesco Sauce
Roasted Garlic White Pizza Sauce
- 1 head garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- A pinch cayenne, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
Preheat oven, prep and roast garlic:
Preheat the oven to 400° F. While the oven is preheating, use a sharp knife to trim the top off the garlic so the cloves are exposed.
Place the trimmed garlic head in the middle of a piece of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil. Seal the garlic in the foil so that it is fully covered. Roast garlic until caramelized and soft enough that a paring knife easily pierces the cloves, about 40 minutes.
Mash roasted garlic:
When cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves out onto a cutting board. Use the sides of a chef’s knife, sweeping in a back and forth motion, to mash the roasted garlic into a paste. You should end up with about 1 tablespoon garlic paste.
Infuse milk for mornay sauce:
Set a small saucepan over low heat. Add milk and add the garlic paste, whisking together to break up any clumps. Partially cover the saucepan with a lid and bring to a bare simmer over low heat.
Once the milk begins to simmer, cover the pan with the lid completely and turn off the heat. Keep warm. The garlic flavor will continue to infuse the milk as it sits.
Make the roux:
In medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter is melted and foamy, whisk in the flour, and cook until it smells nutty and is golden in color, about 2 minutes.
Make the mornay sauce:
Slowly pour the warm garlic-infused milk into the butter-flour mixture, whisking the entire time. Whisk until smooth, a few bits of garlic left in the mixture are okay.
Bring the sauce to a simmer, keeping an eye on the heat, and stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the cayenne and salt.
Remove from the heat, whisk in the Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired.