Garlic Sauce for Pizza

With only 3 ingredients and 5 minutes to make, this Garlic Butter Sauce can’t be beat. It’s the perfect garlic sauce for pizza and breadsticks!

pizza butter dipping sauce with text overlay


Pizza Dipping Sauce

What is your favorite part about ordering pizza? The obvious answers would be the ease of no cooking and little clean up, and being able to “indulge” in something cheesy and delicious.

But one of my favorite parts of ordering pizza are the breadsticks and pizza crust. More specifically, dipping said breadsticks into garlic sauce! 

Inside scoop: Most pizza garlic butter sauces don’t use fresh garlic. 

Okay, it’s the garlic dipping sauce I crave. I want ALL the garlic pizza sauce. You know my love affair with butter. The only problem is that most of the pizza joints don’t use real butter. It’s margarine. I know, mind blown! But mine, I used real butter.

angle of garlic butter sauce for dipping pizza

Uses for Garlic Sauce

Besides dipping, there are so many uses for this simple garlic sauce.

  • Baste on seafood or chicken
  • Drizzle on grilled veggies
  • Use to make garlic bread with a
    sprinkle of parmesan cheese
  • Baste onto pizza dough before baking
  • Use on hot dogs
  • As a garlic sauce for pasta
  • Dipping for wings or boneless wings
  • Stir 1 tablespoons with red sauce
    or tomato sauce
  • Use for omelettes or eggs

Quality of Butter

This sauce is one of those times when the quality of butter is important. This garlic sauce is such a simple recipe, that choosing quality ingredients is very important and not all butters are created equal.

While it is fine to just throw a stick of butter in the pan, consider using cultured or European butter for a tangy, robust flavor. You can also use clarified butter, butter with milk solids and water removed. 

Wondering why yours is slightly “off” from Papa John’s or Domino? Probably because they use margarine instead of real butter. This is, in part, why their sauces don’t solidify like a real butter sauce will. A real copycat recipe of Papa John’s garlic sauce would include that.

Some companies even supplement their butter sauces with vegetable oil or olive oil. To me, that is just greasy, so I stick with the basics. 

butter dripping on a slice of pizza

Butter Grades

Butter is required to have an 80% butterfat, but cheaper butters might also have more water.

American butter typically doesn’t have as much flavor either. Grades, ranging from the best grade AA to grade B, are based on flavor, body, color and salt and water content.

For just bread and butter, or something where the dish is butter-forward with uncooked butter, splurge for the AA grade. If you plan to mix it, clarify it or use it minimally, opt for a lower grade. I keep 3 types of butter in my house.

The good stuff for bread, toast and bagels. It is typically already salted. A middle grade for basic cooking, also usually salted. And unsalted middle grade for baking.

Garlic Powder

The second trick is using garlic POWDER, not granulated garlic. Powder will absorb into the butter without being grainy. And please don’t leave a hater comment about how stupid this recipe is- I’m literally just giving you what the pizza chains make. If you are looking for something else, here is a true garlic butter sauce.

Lastly, the sauce tastes best if it sits for a while to allow the flavors to marinate. Chances are the dipping sauce you got from the restaurant had a days… if not weeks to sit. It is one of the reasons they use margarine, it is much more stable and lasts longer.

pizza dipping into garlic sauce

So the next time you’re craving the garlic sauce from your favorite local pizza place, just take a few minutes to make your own. Your taste buds will thank you! Pizza also tastes great with homemade buffalo sauce or even ranch dressing.

You can also get super fancy and use my Truffle Butter or compound butter as the base!

How to Make

Making this sauce is easy! Heat and time are your friends to be get the best flavor and consistency.

  1. Grab your simple ingredients, including unsalted butter, fine sea salt and garlic powder.
  2. Combine them in a small saucepan and melt over medium heat, stirring continuously.
  3. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.

Add a little heat to your homemade pizza night by adding crushed red pepper flakes. Make it a creamy sauce with a touch of heavy cream. Add black pepper for a peppery bite. Blue cheese crumbles in this sauce are great for chicken wings. Swap onion powder for the garlic powder for a fun new flavor. Or use one or two of these swaps for a totally custom blend.

Storage & Freezing

You can this sauce in an airtight container or covered tightly with a piece of plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, but remember it will solidify so you’ll need to remelt it. Butter easily takes on other flavors of things around it, so make sure it is contained.

Can I freeze Garlic Sauce? You can freeze butter, but you want to make sure it is a high quality butter with little to no additional water. You’ll see they are graded on the packaging. Clarified butter freezes better than straight butter with milk solids. 

Some folks like to pour slightly cooked butter into ice cube trays, pop them out and then freeze them in airtight plastic bag. I like the silicone ones, they are easier to pop the cubes out. 

Butter Stains… Yes I Just Went There

How do I remove butter sauce from clothes? We’ve all been there. A butter stain. Why it is so hard to get out???? For me, it is a job hazard. I get a lot of butter on my clothes and some stains are more difficult to get out than others. So there is what I do. 

Rinse the stain immediately. Try to get out as much as you can before the stain really starts to set.

Pretreat! Spray the stain with a a stain remover. Let is sit and marinate for a little while. Wash in the highest heat possible.

Sometimes it takes more than one wash. To be totally transparent, some won’t come out at all. But give it your best try! 

Homemade Pizza Ideas

This Easy Calzones Recipe is made with just a handful of ingredients! This homemade calzones recipe is perfect for a “make your own calzone bar” for any party! #calzonerecipe #howtomakeacalzone #homemadecalzonerecipe

Easy Calzone Recipe

Easy Homemade Calzone Recipe- With just a handful of ingredients, you’ll be devouring these calzones in no time! Create a “make your own calzone bar” for a crowd or kids party.
See The Recipe!
Two french bread pizzas on a baking sheet

French Bread Alfredo Pizza

If you're looking for a homemade pizza recipe, look no further than this French Bread Alfredo Pizza. It's basically like chicken alfredo in pizza form!
See The Recipe!
pizza dipping into garlic sauce
If you'Garlic Butter Sauce in a white bowl with a pizza slice dipping in itve ever wondered how to make garlic butter sauce, wonder no more. This recipe is just like the Papa John's dipping sauce for pizza or breadsticks! #garlicbuttersauce #howtomakegarlicbuttersauce #papajohnsdippingsauce

Garlic Sauce for Pizza

4.17 from 171 votes
If you've ever wondered how to make garlic butter sauce for pizza, wonder no more. This recipe is just like the Papa John's dipping sauce for pizza or breadsticks!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 4


  • Combine the butter, garlic powder and fine sea salt in a small saucepan.
  • Stir and heat until melted. Serve.
  • If you've tried this recipe, please come back and let us know in the comments or star ratings!



*If you have the time, try using clarified butter instead of just a stick. It will give you the bright golden tone. Un-clarified butter might look a little more cloudy, but will taste the same. 
Also see my notes about how restaurants use margarine instead of butter, which is why your garlic butter dipping sauce might taste “off”. 


Calories: 205 kcal, Fat: 23 g, Saturated Fat: 14 g, Cholesterol: 61 mg, Sodium: 203 mg, Potassium: 8 mg, Vitamin A: 710 IU, Calcium: 7 mg
Author: Chef Jessica Anne
Calories: 205
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dipping sauce for pizza, garlic butter sauce
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
garlic sauce for pizza recipe for pinterest
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Chef Jessica Anne Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal, Mashed and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.17 from 171 votes (164 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating

Questions and Reviews

  1. 4 stars
    Thanks for the recipe. Super easy and great for dipping pizza crust. Note – I halved the garlic powder and it was still a little strong for my liking. I suggest folks add 1/4 tsp at a time to taste.

  2. 5 stars
    Actually used this to baste on some grilled shrimp and it was amazing! Will definitely try it with pizza too. It’s finger-lickin’ good.

  3. 5 stars
    Every Friday we have a pizza night so this will be a quick, easy, and sooo tasty addition to our fun family night!

  4. 5 stars
    This tasted just like my favorite garlic sauce from Papa Johns…but WAY easier to make from home! So excited to have this recipe.