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How to Make Homemade Tomato Sauce

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close up shot of Homemade Tomato Sauce in a jars
Enjoy homemade tomato sauce any time of year with this simple recipe that simmers tasty tomatoes with seasonings and cheese to create a flavorful sauce.
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Table of Contents
  1. Homemade Tomato Sauce Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe
  3. How to Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

This simple, fresh homemade tomato sauce is the perfect partner for all your Italian recipes. Whether you use canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes, the recipe to make the tomato sauce is surprisingly simple, but the flavor turns out phenomenal.

close  up shot of Homemade Tomato Sauce in a jar

Homemade Tomato Sauce Ingredients

How to Make Homemade Tomato Sauce raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
  • 3 to 4 (28-ounce) cans of crushed tomatoes OR 12 to 15 fresh tomatoes
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons fresh basil leaves OR 1 to 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese or Romano cheese

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

TOMATOES: You’ll want to use paste tomatoes for this easy recipe because they have less water and fewer seeds than other varieties. You could use Roma tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, Amish tomatoes, or Jersey tomatoes.

SPICE: Add a few red pepper flakes to this easy homemade tomato sauce recipe for a little bit of spice.

How to Make This Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

If you’re using fresh tomatoes, you will need to remove the skins. A simple method is to score the skins with a sharp knife, boil the whole tomatoes for about one minute, and then plunge them into cold water. 

You will want to do this in batches. Once the tomatoes have cooled, the skins should peel off easily. Chop and blend in a food processor or with an immersion blender.

STEP ONE: Heat the olive oil in a 5-quart or larger pot over medium heat.

olive oil and garlic combined in a pot

STEP TWO: Add the chopped or minced garlic and heat for one to two minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic.

PRO TIP:

Be careful not to burn the garlic, as burnt garlic will add a sour flavor to your recipe.

STEP THREE: Add the tomatoes, black pepper, basil, and sugar. Stirring often, bring the ingredients to a low boil.

tomatoes, black pepper, basil, and sugar added to the garlic mixture in a pot

STEP FOUR: Reduce the heat to low heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring often.

STEP FIVE: For the first half of the simmer time, leave the pot uncovered and cover for the last half.

STEP SIX: Stir in the cheese and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or so.

PRO TIP:

Canning: Fill quart or pint mason jars with the spaghetti sauce. Wipe down the top of the jar before putting on the lid and ring. Slowly lower the jars into a hot water canning bath and allow them to boil for 40 minutes. Using jar lifters, carefully raise the jars out of the bath and allow them to cool on the counter overnight. As the lids seal, you will hear a slight popping sound. Store for up to one year.

cheese added to the mixture in a pot

How to Serve

Enjoy fresh tomato sauce year-round on top of your favorite pasta shape with this simple recipe. Add a delicious Caesar salad and cheesy pull-apart bread on the side for the perfect Italian meal.

You’re going to wonder why you haven’t been making your own sauce for years. Enjoy it in our baked ziti or our baked spaghetti recipe.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Store leftover pasta sauce in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

IN THE FREEZER: You can store this homemade sauce in the freezer. Just use freezer bags or an airtight container. Be sure to let the sauce cool at room temperature before you fill up your containers.

close up shot of Homemade Tomato Sauce in a jars

Make our best tomato sauce with only a few simple steps, and you’ll never go back to canned or jarred sauce again. This basic recipe has so many ways you can customize it and is the best way to use up the abundance of tomatoes from your garden.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What are the best tomatoes to use for sauce?

There are a few different types of tomatoes you can use to make this flavorful sauce. Roma tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, and Jersey tomatoes are three great choices.

Can I freeze this pasta sauce?

This homemade pasta sauce freezes incredibly well and can be kept in the freezer for up to six months.

Can I add other ingredients to this pasta sauce?

This homemade spaghetti sauce is the perfect base for so many additions, including veggies or ground beef.

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close up shot of Homemade Tomato Sauce in a jars

How to Make Homemade Tomato Sauce

5 from 10 votes
Enjoy homemade tomato sauce any time of year with this simple recipe that simmers tasty tomatoes with seasonings and cheese to create a flavorful sauce.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
  • 3 to 4 cans crushed tomatoes (28-ounces), OR 12 to 15 fresh tomatoes
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons fresh basil , OR 1 to 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
  • cup grated parmesan, or Romano cheese

Instructions
 

  • Heat the olive oil in a 5-quart or larger pot over medium heat.
  • Add the chopped or minced garlic and heat for one to two minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the tomatoes, black pepper, basil, and sugar. Stirring often, bring the ingredients to a low boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low heat and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, stirring often.
  • For the first half of simmer time, leave the pot uncovered and cover for the last half.
  • Stir in the cheese and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or so.

Video

Notes

  •  If you’re using fresh tomatoes, you will need to remove the skins. A simple method is to score the skins with a sharp knife, boil the whole tomatoes for about one minute, and then plunge them into cold water. You will want to do this in batches. Once the tomatoes have cooled, the skins should peel off easily. Chop and blend in a food processor or with an immersion blender.
  • Be careful not to burn the garlic, as burnt garlic will add a sour flavor to your recipe.
  • Canning: Fill quart or pint mason jars with the spaghetti sauce. Wipe down the top of the jar before putting on the lid and ring. Slowly lower the jars into a hot water canning bath and allow them to boil for 40 minutes. Using jar lifters, carefully raise the jars out of the bath and allow them to cool on the counter overnight. As the lids seal, you will hear a slight popping sound. Store for up to one year.

Nutrition

Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 554mg | Potassium: 947mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 845IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 191mg | Iron: 4mg
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    • Layne Kangas says

      Hi, Erin – you’ll want to use paste tomatoes because they have less water and have fewer seeds than other varieties. You could use Roma, San Marzano, Amish, or Jersey tomatoes. Enjoy!

      • Amy says

        5 stars
        Hi – i used the tomatoes from my last fall garden that i had frozen whole – they were beefsteak variety – it did seem a bit watery so I added a small tin of tomato paste and perfect – this recipe is easy and a keeper!

  1. Stacey says

    This is a wonderful recipe that is extremely easy to follow…. I use tomatoes, peppers, and basil from my garden and it is delicious! Thank you for sharing!!

  2. K.C. says

    5 stars
    Easy to make and fantastic flavor. Made the house smell great & tasted even better. I’ve made this twice in the last 3 weeks. Shared with a friend that also canned it. Thanks for sharing, cheers to a successful tomato season this year.

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