Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe

What good is a pasta night without tomato sauce? Buttered noodles are great and all, but some of the best pasta dishes and lasagnas are topped with tomato sauce. It may be hard to believe, but pasta sauce is surprisingly easy to make, and it tastes so much better than the store-bought variety. This homemade tomato sauce requires just a handful of ingredients, and as it cooks, you can enjoy the wonderful aroma of the sauce filling your kitchen.

Recipe developer Jaime Shelbert of Wholly Nourished came up with this awesome recipe that will make your pasta way more tasty. "I love how this sauce smells while it's simmering," Shelbert raves. "It is so worth the wait. There is also a satisfaction in knowing that you made this sauce rather than buying packaged. This way, I know that my ingredients are whole and there are no unwanted added flavors or preservatives." We love the sound of that! 

Gather the ingredients for homemade tomato sauce

Ready to start? The first thing you need to do is gather the ingredients. From your pantry (or the store), grab extra virgin olive oil, garlic, 3 cans of whole peeled tomatoes, sugar, salt, black pepper, oregano, and fresh basil leaves.

Once you have those items, you can make this wonderful homemade tomato sauce.

Heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic

You will need either a large Dutch oven or a stockpot for this recipe. To begin, place the dutch oven or stockpot on your stove and add the olive oil. Turn up the heat to medium and heat the oil. Next, toss in the minced garlic and sauté for about a minute.

Add the tomatoes with their juices

Now, it's time to add in the canned tomatoes. Toss in all 3 cans with the garlic. "You can use canned or fresh here. I opt for canned San Marzano when I can't source fresh, in-season tomatoes," Shelbert shares. "If using fresh for this recipe, you would need about 30 tomatoes." 

Then, add the sugar, salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir a few times to combine. By the way, sugar is the secret ingredient. "It cuts the acidity of the tomatoes and makes the sauce more balanced in flavor," Shelbert notes. "You may prefer to wait until the end of cooking when you take that final taste to determine if the sugar is needed. It all depends on the sweetness of the tomatoes. If using fresh, perfectly-ripe summer tomatoes in place of the canned, then the sauce may not need it." 

Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer

Now that you have all the ingredients loaded in the pot, crank up the heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Once you see bubbles reach the top of the surface, reduce the heat to low and keep it on a simmer. Cover partially with the pot's lid and simmer for 2-3 hours.

Break up the tomato chunks and blend

As the sauce cooks, periodically stir it with a wooden spoon and use the back of the spoon to break up the tomatoes. Conversely, you can use an immersion blender to blend the tomatoes. If you use a blender, you can blend until smooth or leave the sauce chunkier, as desired.

At the end of the cook time, add the chopped basil to the tomato sauce and stir. Once you taste the sauce, just adjust the seasonings to your preferences, adding salt, sugar, pepper, or oregano, as desired. 

Serve and enjoy

There's only one thing left to do — serve the sauce to your lucky guests. This goes well on a wide variety of different foods. "This sauce is perfect for topping your favorite pasta or you can use it in a lasagna or other baked pasta dishes. It can also be used for eggplant or chicken parmesan," Shelbert says. "It can even be used to top pizzas, or [it] can be stirred into soups." 

And if you have leftovers, you're in luck — this sauce will last for a while! "Keep this tomato sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze [it] in Ziplock bags for up to six months," Shelbert says. 

Homemade Tomato Sauce Recipe
5 from 26 ratings
Making homemade tomato sauce for your favorite dishes is much easier than you might think. And the taste of fresh sauce? It beats store-bought every time.
Prep Time
Cook Time
homemade tomato sauce in jar
Total time: 2 hours, 35 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 28-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes with their juices
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ⅓ cup fresh basil leaves, packed, chopped
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  2. Add the tomatoes with their juices.
  3. Add the sugar, salt, pepper, and oregano to the tomatoes. Stir.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low, maintaining a simmer. Cover partially with a lid and simmer on low for 2-3 hours.
  5. Stir and break up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon, or blend with an immersion blender. Blend until smooth or leave the sauce chunkier, as desired.
  6. Add the chopped basil to the tomato sauce and stir. Adjust the seasonings as needed.
Calories per Serving 36
Total Fat 1.2 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 6.4 g
Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
Total Sugars 4.6 g
Sodium 316.8 mg
Protein 1.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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