Home » Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe

Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe

Jar of homemade tomato sauce on a wooden table, garnished with basil and fresh tomatoes

There is nothing quite like homemade tomato sauce. It is the perfect kitchen staple. Having great tomato sauce on hand is almost like a cheat code. You can elevate a simple spaghetti with tomato sauce if you are not feeling like making an effort to the most delicious meal bursting with fresh summer flavor. The sauce keeps fresh for a long time if canned, and It is the ultimate luxury to have a jar around anytime. In this tomato sauce recipe, I will try to cover everything you need to make your sauce a delicious success. I will cover everything from selecting the right ingredients to the final canning. Also, this homemade tomato sauce recipe works without any fancy equipment you might see in other tutorials.

While it is quite a bit of work to make tomato sauce at home, it is just as rewarding. It is also a perfect present to gift to friends or family who can appreciate a delicious addition to their pantry! 

Ingredients for making fantastic homemade tomato sauce: 

All Ingredients the tomato sauce recipe outside in the sun
  • Fresh, ripe plum tomatoes
  • Garlic 
  • Red onion 
  • Dried oregano 
  • Basil leaves 
  • Pepper & salt 
  • Olive oil 
  • Lemon juice

As you can see, the ingredient list for this tomato sauce recipe is pretty short. It is all about selecting great quality ingredients and getting the preparation right for a fantastic final taste. 

Selecting the right Tomatoes for Your Tomato Sauce

While you can use many different tomato varieties for making a tomato sauce, some work better than others. If you are unsure if your tomatoes will make a good sauce, I’d recommend a general rule of thumb. Fleshy tomatoes with lots of taste and low water content tend to work best. Some varieties that will make a fantastic tomato sauce are: 

  • San Marzano 
  • Saucy Lady
  • Amish Paste
  • Super Italian Paste
  • Roma Tomatoes

These are just some examples of tomato strains that will yield you a delicious flavor! Other sorts might work fantastically as well! 

You can also try making this sauce with canned and peeled San Marzano tomatoes. They are picked and canned at peak ripeness. Still, for me, nothing beats using fresh tomatoes right from the garden or farmers market. I found some sweet and juicy plum tomatoes at an Italian farmers market, which I will use for my homemade tomato sauce recipe today.  

Other Ingredients for the Tomato Sauce: 

In this sauce, the flavor of tomato takes the spotlight. Still, I like adding a few other ingredients to complement and enhance their flavor. 

Garlic and red onion will give the sauce additional texture, richness, and depth of flavor. 

Dried oregano, fresh basil, and some salt and pepper as seasoning give the ultimate summer taste. You can adjust the ratios and herbs based on your preference. These are just my go-to. 

Olive oil gives this tomato sauce an additional depth of taste and creaminess. I like to use tasty, flavourful virgin olive oil. You can use an olive oil you enjoy to eat otherwise as well. 

Lastly, if you want to can your tomato sauce and not instantly use it, you will want to add some lemon juice for enough acidity. 

Tomato Sauce Recipe: 

This tomato sauce recipe is pretty simple overall, but it takes a bit of time. Most of the time is passive cooking as the sauce needs to simmer. Aside from that, the preparation is the most effort. Let’s get right into it! 

Blanching the Tomatoes

Firstly, we want to remove any skin, as this will add undesirable texture to our sauce. When you blanch the tomatoes right, this is pretty easy to do. 

Tomatoes in a stainless steel bowl with X insertion cut into them for blanching

Boil water and make a small X mark at the top of each tomato. Immerse them in the hot water for 60 seconds, then directly transfer them to an ice water bath. The skin should have ruptured and almost come off by itself. 

The blanched tomatoes in an ice water bath

Peeling the Tomatoes

Now, you can effortlessly peel the blanched tomatoes to prepare them for your homemade tomato sauce.

Peeled tomatoes in a stainless steel bowl

Breaking the Tomatoes down

Tomatoes without seeds  and cut in half

While fancy sauce-making machines automate these steps, we need to put in a bit more manual labor. To achieve the nicest texture, cut the peeled tomatoes in half and gently remove the seeds and excess liquid. I’d recommend scooping them out with a teaspoon. Also, get rid of the white stem bits. Having just the juicy tomato flesh will give our sauce the best taste! 

Blanched tomatoes without seeds cut into small bits

Next, break down the tomato further by dicing the flesh into smaller bits. 

Sautéing Onions in Olive Oil

Finely diced red onion in a ceramic bowl

In a large saucepan, sweat the finely diced red onion in half of your olive oil until turning translucent. I like to mince the onion very finely. The onion should almost melt away in the oil. Keep the heat low. 

The finely diced onion melting away in oilve oil in a copper pot, building the base of the tomato sauce

Adding Tomatoes and Garlic

Tomato and garlic added to the copper pot with olive oil and onion

Next, add finely minced garlic and a minute later, the tomato. Combine well. The moisture of the tomato will prevent the garlic and onion from burning. Allow the tomatoes to break down slowly at low-medium heat. 

Give the sauce a first seasoning with dried oregano, torn basil leaves, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Seasoning now will add flavor to the sauce, and the salt will help break the tomato down. 

Now, the tomato sauce needs time. I’d recommend simmering it at low temperature for at least two, preferably four hours. You can go even longer than that. Stop when the tomato sauce has reduced to something like this:

Reduced tomato sauce in beautiful copper pot

Blending it to the perfect texture: 

Now, you can use an immersion blender to transform your homemade tomato sauce into a smooth and silky texture. Add the remaining olive oil and blend until smooth. 

Homemade tomato sauce blended to the perfect texture in a copper pot

Checking for Seasoning

Taste your sauce and adjust the seasoning to match your preference, adding more salt, pepper, or herbs as needed.

Now, the tomato sauce is ready to be enjoyed. I find it very, very hard to resist taking a few ladlefuls and making a quick and delicious spaghetti al pomodoro with it. Heaven on earth! 

Two plates of pasta al pomodoro with homemade tomato sauce, beautifully garnished with fresh basil

If you manage to reserve some tomato sauce and not using it all right away, there is one last step to complete: Canning the tomato sauce properly.

Canning the tomato sauce

As most tomatoes don’t have enough natural acidity for safe canning, lemon juice will help to lower the pH level. You can use one tablespoon of lemon juice per pint jar. You can use two tablespoons of lemon juice per quart jar. Your sauce will still taste amazing with a bit of added acidity. It can even help bring out the bright flavor of the tomatoes. 

To can the tomato sauce, sterilize your jars well with hot water. Let the jars dry, then add the lemon juice to them. Next, add the hot tomato sauce. Leave enough space for canning them, about ½ to 1 inch per jar. Seal the jars while hot and lower them into a pot of boiling water. Boil the jars for half an hour, and make sure they are well submerged in the water. Lastly, remove the jars and let them cool to room temperature. Now, there should have formed a vacuum. Make sure the jars have a pop to them when you open them. Otherwise, they might not have preserved right!

How to store the tomato sauce: 

The tomato sauce is stored best in a dark and cool spot in your pantry. If you open a jar and not use it all, it should keep well in your refrigerator for at least a week.

Creative Uses for Your Tomato Sauce

A jar of homemade tomato sauce in front of a beautiful lake view, decorated with basil and fresh tomatoes

You can use this delicious homemade tomato sauce for so many things. You can elevate your dishes and replace marinara sauces with it. I like to use it most for recipes where the tomato sauce shines through. So, while you could theoretically use this sauce to make the most delicious lasagna, I think that would almost be a shame. 

Instead, I’d recommend using it for dishes such as pasta al pomodoro. You can also use it to take other pasta dishes like spaghetti alla puttanesca or penne all’arrabbiata to the next level. Personally, I like to save it up for more plain recipes like spaghetti al pomodoro, where the quality of the sauce can shine. Also, you can use homemade tomato sauce as a base for pizza. A pizza marinara with this sauce is a dream. 

Alternatively, you can use it well for other light, vegetable-centered recipes such as a vegan shakshuka or a ratatouille. You can even use it as a dipping sauce. It is deliciously flavourful and fruity. With some high-quality bread and olive oil, it’s a simple yet satisfying snack. 

But these are just some ideas. Please try anything you like and experiment with this delicious tomato sauce! Let me know in the comments what you used this sauce for!

I hope you enjoyed this homemade tomato sauce recipe as much as I do and that this pantry staple will bring you joy whenever you want to make a quick and delicious pasta dinner. Cheers! 

Some more recipe recommendations you might enjoy: 

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A jar of homemade tomato sauce in front of a beautiful lake view, decorated with basil and fresh tomatoes

Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe

Homemade tomato sauce is the ultimate luxury to have at home. You can elevate a simple spaghetti with tomato sauce to the most delicious meal bursting with fresh summer flavor.

  • Total Time: 5 hours
  • Yield: 2 Jars 1x

Ingredients

Scale

2kg plum tomatos

2 cloves garlic

1 red onion

80ml olive oil

1 tsp dried oregano

A few basil leaves

Salt & pepper to season

Optional: 2 tbsp lemon juice for canning

Instructions

First, blanch the tomatoes. Boil water and make a small X mark at the top of each tomato. Immerse them in the hot water for 60 seconds, then directly transfer them to an ice water bath. The skin should have ruptured and almost come off by itself. Peel the tomatoes.

Cut the peeled tomatoes in half and gently remove the seeds and excess liquid. I’d recommend scooping them out with a teaspoon. Next, break down the tomato further by dicing the flesh into smaller bits. 

In a large saucepan, sweat finely diced red onion in half of your olive oil until turning translucent. Keep the heat low.

Next, add finely minced garlic and a minute later, the tomato. Combine well. Allow the tomatoes to break down slowly at low-medium heat. Give the sauce a first seasoning with dried oregano, torn basil leaves, and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Simmer the tomato sauce for at least two, preferably four hours. You can go even longer than that. Stop when the tomato sauce has reduced to a thick consistency.

Use an immersion blender to transform your homemade tomato sauce into a smooth and silky texture. Add the remaining olive oil and blend until smooth.

Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to match your preference, adding more salt, pepper, or herbs as needed.

You can use the sauce right away, or can it. If you want to can the sauce, give the instructions in the blog post above a look to make sure everything goes well. 

Notes

Using the right ingredients determines a lot of the final taste. I’d recommend using plum tomatoes. If you are unsure about the tomato variety, check out the ingredient recommendations in the blog post.  

  • Author: Ivo
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: Sauce, Pantry
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Homemade tomato sauce, homemade tomato sauce recipe, tomato sauce recipe

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