Homemade Tomato Sauce Article - Allrecipes.com
Add a Comment

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce you make from scratch is homey and delicious--and so surprisingly easy!

All it takes is a few fresh ingredients.

The Raw and the Cooked

There are three basic styles of sauces:

Long simmering sauces achieve a rich, complex flavor.

Barely-cooked sauces have a lighter flavor more recognizable of fresh tomatoes, but a little bit of cooking softens the tomatoes and brings out their sweetness.

Uncooked sauces are bright and refreshing, and are best made with thoroughly ripe summer tomatoes.

See how to make long-simmering Homemade Tomato Sauce.

Long and Luscious

Long-simmered tomato sauce is delicious any time of year. Extended cooking thickens the sauce as the water cooks off; and long simmering melds flavors together. Any other vegetables you add to the sauce will become richer and sweeter the longer they cook.

  • When fresh tomatoes are out of season, it's perfectly fine to use canned tomatoes.
  • During the summer, turn a bumper crop of ripe tomatoes into a long-simmered tomato sauce.
  • Cooking time can range from two hours to all day, depending on how thick and caramelized you like your sauce.
  • Make a big batch, eat some for dinner, and pour the rest into freezer-safe containers for the coming months. Then, simply thaw it as needed; you can add any fresh herbs, spices, veggies, or meats desired.

Short and Sweet

Barely-cooked tomato sauce is best when tomatoes are at their ripest. Briefly cooking the sauce helps retain the tomatoes' fresh, tart-sweet taste, but also heats them long enough to add depth of flavor. Caramelize some onions, sauté garlic, and simmer herbs long enough to infuse the sauce with their flavors.

Raw and Refreshing

Raw tomato sauce makes for a wonderfully refreshing summertime meal. To make it, use fresh tomatoes at their peak of ripeness, when they are sweet and juicy and bursting with flavor. The process is easy:

  • Seed your tomatoes (peeling is optional, in this case) and chop them.
  • Alternately, you can cut the tomatoes into quarters, seed them, and then grate them with a cheese grater for a smoother, juicier sauce.
  • Raw tomato sauce only needs to be seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs (basil or parsley are best), and some salt and pepper.
  • Toasted pine nuts add texture and richness.

Raw sauce can be eaten right away--tossed with pasta, spooned over grilled meats and vegetables, mounded on lightly toasted or grilled bread, spread on pizza crust, or whatever else sounds good to you. And if you've got a little time, let your raw sauce sit for a few hours to give the flavors a chance to blend and deepen.

Nov. 20, 2009 1:30 pm
I use both actually. I like the texture and taste better than just tomatoes. The article is wonderful!
Mar. 13, 2010 5:05 am
I freeze my tomatoes to make salsa in the winter. This year I would like to make tomato sauce. I have 7 gallons of frozen tomatoes, does anyone have a recipe for this volume?
Mar. 26, 2010 7:17 am
Yes,you can make alots of it and if you can freeze them in a containers that way whenever I need the homedmade sauces and even makeit for my mom, a homemade sauce for a gifts(in a nice tighty jars with ribbon and add a recipe with it and also add a package of spaghetti box) to good friends whom loved to eat,but no time to cook,they all loved homemade sauces from me. If you are having a party you can make a huge bake ziti or lasgana. The can sauces at the supermakets are too strong for me and expensive for how many jars or cans. It is good when you have the time to made homemade sauce and freeze them and save alot of money and they are always fresh for whatever you want to made with like salsa, pizza sauces, marinara sauce,etc.and it worth it with love. Thanks for the recipe for tomatoes article.
Apr. 4, 2010 3:05 pm
Mmm tomato sauce
May 19, 2010 11:06 am
Since I don't have enough freezer space, I can them for 30 min in home canner and keep in the cupboard. Better, I don't have to wait for it to thaw, just heat and serve.
Jun. 10, 2010 5:27 pm
I use canned whole tomatoes to make salsa. Fresh tomatoes are hard to come by, so can I use canned tomatoes to can my salsa?
Jun. 25, 2010 6:18 am
can you also use this recipe for pizza sauce? what's the difference? i'm a novice. thanks!
Jul. 26, 2010 11:53 am
I make homemade pizza sauce at home all the time now, it's so easy! I use a handful of romas, a red bell pepper, fresh garlic, fresh basil, some dried red chilies, a nice cabernet (some in the sauce, some in the cook), a pinch of kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper...chop everything separately in the lil' chopper, cook it all down in olive oil....mmmmmmmmmm.....and it goes on fresh-from-the-bread-machine whole wheat pizza dough, nowadays we toss it on the grill.....omg pizza heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jul. 28, 2010 10:28 am
all i want is a recipe of tomato sauce
Shafiq Zavery 
Jul. 31, 2010 3:44 am
Need a recipe for tomato sauce and good pizza's.
Jul. 31, 2010 12:14 pm
Pizza sauce, or spaghetti sauce, all that matters is that it tastes the way you want it. this is your opportunity to experiment. try new things. Remember, if you are cooking, the people who eat it can like it or go hungry lol. i learned from an "authentic" Italian friend that a little sugar in the sauce is the real trick, no matter what it's for. as for pizza sauce, that I prefer VERY think, which requires adding either paste, or I've been thinking of trying some sun-dried tomatoes in place of the paste.
Aug. 7, 2010 1:59 pm
I have found when saving space with freezing my home grown tomatos that if I put them in large freezer bags and lay them flat on a cookie sheet, after they are frozen they are easy to stack and very easy to defrost in the microwave oven.
Aug. 8, 2010 4:11 pm
to sandy wanting fresh pizza sauce... use roma tomatoes hand squize remove any chunks.then mix in a can of sauce. fresh garlic.and seasoningsto taste o and a pinch of sugar>>>>
Aug. 14, 2010 7:30 am
I am wondering....i froze my tomatoes whole last summer and now i want to make tomato sauce. Can i freeze te sauce since the tomatoes were already frozen once before?
Aug. 21, 2010 10:02 am
All the recipes I find use paste and canned tomatoes. What's the point? I want to know how to use up my FRESH tomatoes the old-fashioned way, not use canned stuff. That defeats the purpose.
Dan Porter 
Sep. 12, 2010 6:24 pm
Yesterday I got a whole flat of tomatoes for $5 bucks, what a deal. Learned a few things. To peal them I dropped them one by one in boiling water for no more than 30 seconds, rinse cold. Cut the top and peal the skin, cooked to long the flesh comes off with the peal. Quarter, then throw in another to blanch while seeding the first. I saved the seeds and strained off the juice for more flavor. Cook it down on low a long time. Trick my Dad learned from Tom Stobart (the same, herb and spice bible, I played with his daughters), throw in a star anise to sweeten half hour, then remove, not sugar. Enjoy
Oct. 9, 2010 11:07 am
Any recipe that calls for canned tomatoes can be substituted with equal parts of fresh tomatoes. Just make sure you blanche and seed your tomatoes. (Hint: Score the bottom of the tomato before dropping in hot water to make skin removal that much easier!)
Dec. 13, 2010 2:03 pm
im making pasta and im a little short on sauce...is there any way i can stretch it? anything i can add to it that might make it go a bit further?
Apr. 19, 2011 6:07 am
hey that is great sause
Jul. 25, 2011 4:59 am
This is the first year I had a garden. I used home spaghetti sauce 11. It made the best sauce ever. My granddaughter is 15 months and when I used it in eggplant parmigiana she had 3 helpings.
Jul. 26, 2011 5:33 am
Our spaghetti sauce with cauliflower is featured as a new recipie. It works best with a blend of tomatoes rather than the 3 cans of crushed tomatoes published by the editor. If you over cook this sauce the cauliflower will dissolve. This sauce is thicker and has a better texture than marinara. I works great on vegitarian dishes. Dont be afraid to add fresh garden tomatoes, mushrooms, or your favorite garden vegitables. My grandmother would be proud. She always used her own garden canned tomatoes for this recipie.
Jul. 27, 2011 10:25 am
Sandy I agree with you. I want to use real tomatoes, not something that came out of a can!
Aug. 4, 2011 4:31 pm
I wonder if the jewish cooking site took this from allrecipes.com maybe? Thank you for the sauce tutorial! I plan on making a bunch as my boyfriend is growing tons of fresh herbs and tomato for me!
Aug. 9, 2011 4:13 pm
I bought a food mill and now I have a big container of tomato juice. How do I turn it into sauce.
Aug. 28, 2011 8:54 am
After washing, just run the dull side of the knife blade over the outside of the tomato skin. This separates it and makes it easy to peal with no heat and no water. You do not loose tomato flesh this way. I am going to try the x on the bottom.
Sep. 3, 2011 10:21 am
I am freezing 10#s of tomatoes, can I add fresh herbs to the bags of tomatoes before freezing?
Ann Dolan 
Sep. 4, 2011 2:45 pm
I'm in Oregon with six tomato plants loaded with six varieties. I'm planning to throw fresh, cleaned tomatoes, some onion, garlic, salt/pepper and herbs into the food processor. Then pour sauce into freezer bags. No cooking or peeling! Will that work?
Sep. 14, 2011 7:53 pm
my family loves to eat pastas and chili and anything made from tomato sauce. thiss year i decided to make my own. I have finished two large pots. can I refridgerate it tonight and can it tomorrow or does it have to be done right away?
Sep. 18, 2011 12:52 pm
What is the difference between pizza and speghetti sauce? Consistency? Spices? There doesn't seem to be a moderator for these articles' comments. Mostly, it's people trying to learn--the people who know aren't reading the articles!
Apr. 26, 2012 3:03 pm
I am in W.Aust and grow to many tomatoes in the veggie garden. My grandson love tomatoe sauce, so I thought with surplus toms would try making a good sauce. All seem to go well, but it never thickened up enough and was quite runny.Any ideas
May 6, 2012 7:28 am
Alan, if your sauce is too runny then trying simmering with lid off for a while. This should reduce the liquid. Also if you start off with a good thick base - like adding paste to onions after they are cooked - this will help. Splash some wine in there and take a sip for yourself - no worries.
Jul. 6, 2012 5:48 pm
for anyone who doesn't like using canned tomato paste here is a link to a recipe greek recipe. :)
Jul. 12, 2012 5:46 pm
Sandy, Try this one. I make a semi homemade in about 5 minutes. I take a blender fill it 65% with cut ripe tomatoes, small can of tomato paste. one medium onion, 2 tbsp of minced garlic, 1 tbsp sugar, 2 oz Moores meat marinade, 1 oz of worcestershire sauce, 2 heaping tbsp of Italian mix, 1 oz olive oil. Blend and pour. If I make a large batch. I Put them in jars and place them in water, bring to a boil and let them boil for about 20 minutes. Allow to cool and freeze. Last for months, and taste great. Don't cook in a pan, it will burn.
Jul. 21, 2012 1:53 pm
When we had large quantities of tomatoes from our garden we used to make home made tomato soup and freeze for the winter. No comparison to canned, and you can control the sodium.
Jul. 25, 2012 2:05 am
The secret to great tomato sauce is the cook time!Simmer fresh tomatoes and veggies(pureed first in blender) 4 hours to 5 hours.I always have great results.Freeze in freezer bags(make sure you date and i.d. contents)
Jul. 25, 2012 2:12 am
Make sure you use a good thick bottom pot and adjust heat as needed.
Jul. 25, 2012 10:49 am
Sun dried Roma tomatoes & some centers turned black anyone know why?
Jul. 25, 2012 11:33 am
For thick sauce use a steam juicer. I put peeled, cut, and seeded tomatoes in the top basket. Let the juice separate into the middle container and then can in jars or freeze into cubes. The tomato pulp that is left in the top goes into a pot where the rest of the ingredients are added and then into jars or freezer containers. Cuts WAY down on the heating time.
Aug. 1, 2012 12:22 pm
I am still waiting for an answer to the question posed by Deb Martin in 2010. Does anyone have recipes for using frozen tomatoes in sauces, salsas, or anything else, for that matter. Can they be used in the same way as fresh tomatoes? What adaptations are necessary?
Aug. 2, 2012 10:56 pm
Sandy. I agree! I've been looking all night for a recipe without canned tomatoes! They are processed and contain preservatives which I'm trying to avoid. But I want a recipe that tastes like it would from the store and not super overly tomato. Not sure what I'm missing. Perhaps sugar?
Aug. 7, 2012 4:16 pm
Dolan--I would also like to not have to peel or de-seed, but if you don't then the sauce will be bitter. There's a reason it's done that way in EVERY recipie. Nrocc--The canning method for preserving sauce calls for 'hot packing.' This means that the processing times assume the contents are hot. If you really don't want to can that night, I would say don't put the sauce in the jars until you reheat the sauce the next day. Ideally, it would be done at the same time, though. Kate--The juice is removed for a reason, I like to use it as the starting water for veggie soup or any brothy soup I feel like making (chicken noodle, beef soups, etc--just use soup base according to taste to make it 'broth').
Cathy Wagner 
Jan. 23, 2013 3:41 pm
I use my frozen tomatoes for salsa, soups, sauces and stewed tomatoes.For salsa you will need to freeze the tomatoes in large pieces that can be chopped or chop before you freeze. Sometimes frozen tomatoes will become a little watery, Just drain off as much liquid as necessary.
May 21, 2013 3:37 pm
What is the easiest way to seed a tomato?
Jun. 3, 2013 10:27 am
I actually prefer using canned tomatoes for my sauce; good fresh ones I just eat raw with a little salt.
Jul. 16, 2013 4:55 pm
I'm a fresh tomato addict;). If you refrigerate fresh tomatoes, you ruin the flavor and texture. To make my own stewed tomatoes, I do not seed or peel them--good source of fiber. I chop my freshly washed, very ripe and juicy tomatoes--I buy from a local TomatoLady. Some of my family prefers sauce without chunks. I put onions, garlic, home grown sweet peppers, fresh basil, parsley, oregano, and Rosemary in a food processor. We buy fennel seed and use a cooking grinder. Add each addition to your fresh tomatoes, simmer on low heat until desired texture and flavor. Add sea salt and we use MsDash, to taste. You can process the finish product or use as is. My recipe is from a dear friend, who is NY, NY Italian. They add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Don't know why. Her Grma's recipe is Heaven. I use her Grma's meatball recipe as well. To avoid preservatives in the store bought Italian sausage I make my own a day or two before I make the meatballs--for flavors to develop
Jul. 28, 2013 6:39 pm
I peel (plunge into boiling water) as said above, then cut and simmer for close to an hour. Sieve, removing seeds, etc. then cook in batches. For spaghetti sauce I use mixed Italian spices and a touch of corn syrup, salt, garlic powder, pepper and Parmesan cheese. For Pizza I do the same but add sweet basil and thyme; more basil than thyme.
Dianne Panenka 
Jul. 24, 2014 7:16 am
I added to much salt, how do I correct this?
Sep. 14, 2014 7:30 am
Dianne, adding sugar will correct your problem.
Nov. 30, 2014 7:41 pm
Why does my tomato sauce come out orange instead of the deep red sauce I see in the restaurant and on the recipe photos? I use mostly beefsteak tomatoes. I have tried several different varieties. Am I using the wrong tomatoes? Am I cooking it wrong?
Subscribe Today!

In Season

Tart, Flavorful Rhubarb
Tart, Flavorful Rhubarb

Rhubarb adds its tangy flavor to everything from salsa to lemonade. Don't forget the pie.

Perfect Summer Smoothies
Perfect Summer Smoothies

Warm weather calls for a cold, fruity smoothie. Choose from over 400 refreshing recipes.

Subscribe Today! Only $7.99
Subscribe Today! Only $7.99

Delicious recipes, party ideas, and cooking tips! Get a year of Allrecipes magazine for $7.99!

Related Videos

Homemade Tomato Sauce I

Fresh homemade tomato sauce is easy and deeply flavorful.

Cherry Tomato Sauce with Penne

An incredibly quick-and-easy pasta sauce with toasted garlic & cherry tomatoes.

Chef John’s Tomato Sauce

See how Chef John makes his delicious, all-purpose tomato sauce.

Most Popular Blogs

Read our allrecipes.com blog

Recently Viewed Recipes

You haven't looked at any recipes lately. Get clicking!
Quick Links: Recipe Box | Shopping List | More »
Argentina  |  Australia & New Zealand  |  Brazil  |  Canada  |  China  |  France  |  Germany  |  India  |  Italy  |  Japan  |  Korea  |  Mexico

Netherlands  |  Poland  |  Quebec  |  Russia  |  SE Asia  |  United Kingdom & Ireland  |  United States