Tomato Pie Recipe Upstate New York

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
All I can remember growing up on Sunday mornings and for events was eating tomato pie at every christening, communion, anniversary, birthday party, and weddings.

We traditionally had a box of tomato pie on Sunday mornings along with fried meatballs and mom's Traditional Pot of Sunday Tomato Sauce was simmering on the stovetop for pasta.

My family and all other Italian families in Upstate Utica New York, always had a box of tomato pie from a local bakery.

Napoli, Devito, Salvatore, the list goes on and on who made Tomato Pie famous in our local home town, and so many delicious bakeries I never even had.

When I moved it became the number 1 priority to remake since it was the single most food I missed besides their awesome haddock fish fry.

What is tomato pie you ask?

There are a few cities in America known for the Best Tomato Pie, many have claims to be the best, and that's totally a matter of opinion because there are so many to choose from in Central N.Y bakeries.

First, you may need to know that tomato pie is not pizza and it's not that southern style quiche-like dish people make in a pie crust, nope nothing like it.

Nowhere is tomato pie celebrated more than in Utica, New York.

This is my mom's recipe version we make from that area and a Utica Style Tomato Pie.

Utica tomato pie is served at room temperature no mozzarella cheese just Pecorino Romano cheese and loads of it.

Our version requires homemade dough, homemade tomato sauce and a few tricks to the trade to get a great pie.

Living here in Florida now, we tried to perfect it until we can get home for a visit and this tomato pie is spot on delicious.

Scroll to the bottom for the printable recipe card.

Are You Familiar with Italian Tomato Pie?

There are recipes all over the net for tomato pie made with mayonnaise, this is not that kind of tomato pie.

This is a pizza dough risen with a tomato sauce on top and grated cheese baked and eaten cold.

One of my all-time favorite pizza is this Utica New York-style tomato pie.

Tomato Pie Recipe from Upstate Utica New York is a pizza dough that is risen high, cooked with tomato sauce and grated cheese without mozzarella. It is well known in Utica, Rome and in the upstate new york area. It is like a bread with sauce and romano cheese on it

My Hometown Tips Specialty

  • 2 lbs of dough make 2 tomato pies in approximately 15 x 10 baking sheets
  • Whole canned tomatoes can be drained a roasted also if fresh isn't available
  • There are several variations and kinds of tomato pie in Utica some have added more fresh garlic in oil and basted the crust
  • Do not rebake the crust just let the tomato sit on the baked crust for best results
  • Only use the best grated Pecorino Romano cheese not the one on the supermarket shelf
  • Use a very good aged balsamic vinegar

Tomato Pie Recipe from Upstate Utica New York is a pizza dough that is risen high, cooked with tomato sauce and grated cheese without mozzarella. It is well known in Utica, Rome and in the upstate new york area. It is like a bread with sauce and romano cheese on it

Central N.Y.

Anyone who grew up in Central N.Y. knows what real Tomato Pie is.

Tomato pie, came in a box, it has loads of grated cheese on top, is eaten cold, and it just wasn't a party or event without it.

Made with a unique delicious homemade sauce and the perfect appetizer any time of the day!

It is one of my favorites for sure and addicting and if you're a real Utican like myself, this was even breakfast the next day!

Growing Up In East Utica, New York

Having a tomato pie was a must at any event or holiday.

Whether it be a new birth, birthday or even funeral, you will find a box of tomato pie in most Italian households in Utica.

If you never had a Tomato pie this baked pizza dough with freshly made tomato sauce and grated cheese is over the top a must-try.

this is homemade pizza dough for the tomato pie in a kitchenaide mixer bowl

Ingredients You will Need for Tomato Pie

  • fresh pizza dough
  • tomato puree
  • plum tomatoes roasted
  • tomato paste
  • garlic, minced
  • garlic powder
  • basil
  • oregano
  • balsamic vinegar
  • sugar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil first cold-pressed
  • Lots of Pecorino Romano Grated Cheese

Tomato Pie Recipe from Upstate Utica New York is a pizza dough that is risen high, cooked with tomato sauce and grated cheese without mozzarella. It is well known in Utica, Rome and in the upstate new york area. It is like a bread with sauce and romano cheese on it

For More Kinds or Pizza Recipes Try Some Other Favorite Recipes

Homemade Italian Breadsticks

5 Stuffed French Breads

Italian Panzerotti

Tomato Pie Recipe Upstate New York Pin for later

this is a photo of how to make tomato pie which is a local Utica New York style cold pizza that has just sauce and grated cheese on top of pizza dough thats cooked

All My Fellow Uticans:

Although nothing taste as good as when we were growing up on the streets of Utica New York and the finest bakeries. this will certainly be a close second to sending you that instant wonderful memory.

Tomato Pie in Upstate New York was a staple in our home growing up, and I crave it since I moved away in 1994.

Although life changes, the memories of childhood and the best years of eating this delicious treat will linger on forever.

You can get anything near what I remember living here in Florida, so this became a family favorite and is a great substitute.

If you are looking for some kind of pizza that is smothered in melted cheese, this isn't it.

this is utica new york tomato pie homemade with pizza dough and sauce on top sprinkled with grated cheese in a sheet pan

Not Your Typical Pizza Pie

If you're looking for a specialty pizza with tons of melted cheese this is nothing like Italian style, coal-fired cheese pizza or common fast-food pizza like Domino or pizza hut, that's totally Americanized, nope, this a thick layer of sauce cheese and has a uniquely delicious taste.

The folks back home know what it is and how yummy this tomato pie pizza is.

I hope you love this recipe, and I bring a little smile to your face with eating this delicious tomato pie copycat version.

homemade plum tomato sauce in a saucepan with wooden spoon

The Next Best Thing

This Tomato Pie Recipe Upstate New York is unique to that area in flavor, so many different styles and bakeries to choose from.

When you're not able to get home to Utica, New York, making it is the only other option unless someone ships it to you or you go home to visit and freeze it.

This recipe will surely tide you over until you get back to your childhood favorite style tomato pie at home.

tomato pie New York Style, Utica New York Tomato Pie Recipe, homemade tomato pie, pizza, pizza dough recipe, cold pizza with grated cheese recipe
pizza, Italian food, Utica New York food, hometown food, copycat
Italian American
Yield: 12
Author: Claudia Lamascolo

Tomato Pie Recipe Utica New York Style

prep time: 25 Mcook time: 45 Mtotal time: 70 M
This is a cold pizza with grated cheese on top. The pizza is famous in Utica New York at most local bakeries and a childhood favorite


  • 1 pizza dough recipe refer to the link below or 2 pounds of store-bought (makes 2 sheet pans)
  • Make the sauce first below.
  • 3 cups tomato puree
  • 6 fresh plum tomatoes roasted
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (good grade)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil first cold-pressed
  • Lots of Pecorino Romano Grated Cheese


How to cook Tomato Pie Recipe Utica New York Style

  1. You will need to roast tomatoes on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes. Slice the tomatoes in half, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with extra virgin first cold-pressed olive oil...While they cook, combine other ingredients and let it simmer until thickened. Add in roasted tomatoes when cooked, mash tomato chunks until no large pieces of tomato is left. This makes a thick sauce.
  2. Rise until doubled in volume around two hours. Stretch out on pizza pan rectangle in size, rise again for 30 minutes.
  3.  Bake in a preheated hot oven at 430 degrees. Around 15 minutes,.....will still be white,( cook longer if you like crispy and browned, however, tomato pie is not supposed to be crispy if you have never had this). 
  4. Take out, dredge the bottom and tops with extra virgin olive oil. 
  5. Spread sauce and a thick amount of grated cheese on top ( Pecorino Romano cheese). 
  6. Put back in the oven until pie is set, not browned around 5 to 7 minutes.
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Created using The Recipes Generator

Tomato Pie Recipe Upstate New York Pin for later

Tomato Pie Recipe from Upstate Utica New York is a pizza dough that is risen high, cooked with tomato sauce and grated cheese without mozzarella. It is well known in Utica, Rome and in the upstate new york area. It is like a bread with sauce and romano cheese on it

Don't Forget to Try My Favorite Recipe for Pizza Dough

this is homemade pizza dough for the tomato pie in a kitchenaide mixer bowl

Try Some Other Favorite Recipes Of Ours

Homemade Cavatelli
Homemade Lasagna
Homemade Orecchiette Pasta

how to make tomato pie from Utica New York style


  1. Your tomato pie sounds delicious! thanks for sharing :)

  2. Well, I'm not from upstate NY, but this looks like a delicious tradition.

  3. That looks so good! I need to find myself some local Italian friends. =)

  4. That sauce is very interesting!

  5. Mmmm...looks very delicious. I have to learn that. Thanks for sharing.

  6. this is nothing like the south's tomato pie, tomatoes in a pie shell...thanks for giving us folks down here a taste...

  7. This something I would love to make... though getting both the hubby and the little one to eat it would be a chore... guess I'll just have the eat the whole thing myself!

  8. Love, love, love. My mouth is watering for this.

  9. Yum! I would love this super delicious tomato pie for my second dinner!

  10. Thank you friends...this recipe has been in our family for many years, hope you all try this some time..we love it :)

    1. I am from WNY and I have never heard of tomato pie until I met my fiance. My fiance would always talk about this delicious tomato pie him and his sisters would get while at their grandparents in Utica. As I was reading the article, his face lit up as he was remembering his childhood in Utica with his grandparents. This is the only recipe I have found that even comes close to what he describes. Thank you so much!

  11. Looks almost like briar hill pizza? thanks for the great recipe, reminds me of what mom would make.

  12. I love the flavors in the sauce. I'm sure it has a tempting smell when it's cooking in oven.

  13. Thanks for sharing! I'm a gardener and tomato addict before I'm a cook, and can't wait to try this one!

  14. Oh how grand. Love the tomato pie - NYC did not have that but I do remember hearing about it. I love the premise of your blog - as I started my blog to leave my traditions to myvery Minnesotan children who have little idea what it was like to grow up in NYC as an Italian-American. (hint: It was fun!)

  15. Yum, so delicious--a good looking picture and wonderful flavors! Thanks so much for sharing!

  16. Great recipe. I love tomato pie. In fact, in the Taste of Utica book, there are quite a few recipes for Tomato pie and everyone posts a different version. It will be another long post listing so many options to make tomato pie. I can't wait!

  17. This is simply yummilicious! Hassle free, of coz!

  18. I keep hearing about tomato pie, but somehow in my youth I never encountered it... we always had the oily Philly pizza instead. Thanks for the post, Claudia!

  19. I'm from Schenectady NY Claudia... so close to Ithaca but never heard of it. Seems it's a real Ithaca thing. My daughter makes it and loves it... me think's it's going to be time to try it myself soon too. Your photo is making me drool.

  20. I'm from Schenectady Claudia... so close to Ithaca but never heard of it. Seems it's a real Ithaca thing. My daughter makes it and love it... me think's it's going to be time to try ti myself soon too.

  21. Not just upstate NY, we grew up on it here in Western NY (Buffalo, NY) too,...... Luigi`s Italian Bakery, Balistreri`s, Bluebird, Gino`s....ect. We had a bevy of Italian bakery style Italian Tomato Pie`s to choose from, The best !

  22. Sounds like a winner to me!adman

  23. I've never heard of Tomato Pie before, but living where I've lived, I guess that doesn't surprise me. Looks and sounds really good!

  24. Claudia, This sauce is great. The dough part was confusing You said to take the dough out after 15minutes and dredge it with olive oil on both sides and then add sauce and cheese. Put back in oven to set.

    1. thats correct after the dough is cooked but not browned to the point its crispy, take it out brush with olive oil both side, add the sauce, generously sprinkle with cheese. Put back into oven so the cheese and sauce gets heated through. With that said at that point if you like a crispy crust cook it longer. Now I am wishing for it! thanks for the question.

  25. Omg I have recently been craving this, I so miss it one of a few things I miss from home. Will be on grocery list this week.Now to only find a pusties recipe and I will be in heaven.

  26. Tomato pie..I can taste it! Actually I can’t since I live in Florida but I need to give this a try ...after growing up in Utica I hope this will be at least close to my memory from Napoli’s. I always thought the dough was always more bread like so I’m anxious to try this. Thanks for sharing.

  27. OK now this is a recipe I have to try!! Love how indulgent it looks - and it seems pretty easy to make as well. DEfinitely trying it this weekend! :D

  28. This one is absolutely delicious and attractive. Even my kids would love this tomato pie. They will call it cheese pizza though but totally worth the try.

  29. Not only this sounds delicious but I love that this brings memories to you and means so much! Being away from home, I do recreate recipes to "travel" at the table! Thank you for this detailed post :)

  30. Claudia, I'm coming for dinner and I want you to prepare this tomato pie! :) I used to date an Italian and I miss the food so much. I have to try this recipe. I'll let you know how it goes!

  31. This tomato pie is a keeper. Not only because it comes with the story behind it, but everything in this dish is so good. And I need a big bite of this slice.

  32. I really love the idea of this tomato pie _ NEW YORK STYLE. I grew up in New York (the Bronx) however, i never heard of tomato pie. I can't wait to try it when I head back to NY.

  33. Oh wow, this sounds amazing and what I like the most about it it’s the crispiness bit. Definitely making this ASAP. My kids will absolutely love this, I’m taking a risk here. They might ask me to make it every day 😀

  34. This recipe sounds really delicious and easy to make. I bet my family will be delighted when I make them this. I also guess this may become family favorite soon.

  35. Born and raised in Utica. lived on Second St, right next to Wonder Bread bakery then moved to Howard Av. Loved tomato pie and just about every food there. After 30 military years I now live in Savannah Ga and when I cook all of my neighbors love it. Also miss the bakeries. Used to love the New York bakery.

    1. wow thank you for your service! Appreciate your comments. Living in Florida myself its been quite a change of pace with foods, so I make it all myself too. Got miss where we came from best Italian food around other than Italy right? I loved the ny bakery too! Cheers and thanks again

  36. This looks like pizza from my childhood in Cleveland, Oh. Seeing this makes me miss it and want it so bad! I need to make it, thanks for sharing!

  37. My Grandparents lived in a child my family would go there often ...and of course...we had this famous amazing dish every time we visited....It is sooo tasty! I am so glad that I can make this recipe for my family. Thank you for sharing your version of this old time favorite :)

  38. Schenectady is also famous for this. Civitello’s , Perreca’s and Capiello’s have the best in the city 💚🤍❤️

    1. My Aunt Mary lived on Clarendon St and Aunt lived on Huelett St. We used to get it at the local bakeries on Avon market area .. not sure what it was called but it was fabulous.

    2. VanVranken ave is where AVON meat market is. I have not been back many years now but the St.Anthonys feast always had it.

  39. Thanks for this my husband and his family call it hot pie not sure why. LOL He is going to be so surprised when I make this for him🥰

  40. Growing up my Family on both sides all from Italy and such traditions handed down. Schenectady NY best Tomato pie EVER , unless your Grandma and Mom make it. I make it for many years now. I no longer live in the area , its hours away but the memories, and my recipes are always with me. This is a Friday night tradition . Mangia!!

    1. Karen my Aunt lived on Huelett St and my Grandma's daughter lived on Clarendon Ave. I am very familiar with Van Vraken and use to go to the Avon market with her. Aunt sisterinlaw made the wands with powdered sugar close by, and Kay the baker was her best friend. Her husband was a painter and painted signs for the Avon market. I loved Schenectady, sadly I never had their tomato pie, we are from Utica

    2. Andrew used to cut meat at Abon and when I would visit my cousin, she would drive over to the meat market. My Grandma used to run the kitchen at The Ritz Restaurant. Guanti (pronounced ewanda)
      I was so young but I grew up in Rotterdam which is a town in Schenectady County. My Mom was from Amsterdam and my Dad Schenectady. I have been to the Utica / Rome area many times. What a small world. Sadly the actual city of Schenectady has been dealt many sad blows and filled with crime.
      I have not visited that area in 6 years but Pereccas bread, Civatello bakery ..and CAPRI Italian deli...those are some fond memories.

  41. You’re going to laugh, but i thought I invented this. I’m from Massachusetts and I’ve never had pizza like this outside. It was born out of what I had in my fridge one night (pre made pizza dough divided into 4 small pizza rounds, olive oil, salt, tomato sauce and pecorino Romano cheese. It was quick, easy and delicious. My family loves it. I can’t wait to try your authentic recipe. It will be next level!!

  42. Ooh this looks so soft and delicious! What a wonderful recipe to try. I love that it's just fresh sauce and easy and so comforting too!

  43. This stuff is so good. Had some from Napoli's in Utica but I think the best is from the vitis in frankfort


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