Homemade Tomato Sauce

Homemade tomato sauce from scratch is easy! Simmer tomatoes, herbs, veggies, and olive oil to make something magical. Start with canned or fresh tomatoes in this tomato sauce recipe. Use it on pasta, pizza, and more.

Homemade Tomato Sauce in a jar

Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker


Watch This Beginner-Friendly Tomato Sauce Recipe

A good tomato sauce is the foundation for so many wonderful dishes — pizza, pasta, chicken, and fish.

Here is a recipe for a basic tomato sauce that starts with a soffritto of onions, carrots, and celery cooked in a little olive oil, to which garlic, tomatoes, and seasonings are added.

Simple and delicious!

The sauce can be dressed up with mushrooms, sausage, olives, wine, and all manner of vegetables. What's your favorite tomato sauce recipe?

Homemade Tomato Sauce in a skillet with a spoon

Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

Tomato Sauce vs. Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce is a simpler sauce than tomato sauce. A traditional marinara has tomatoes, garlic, and basil. Tomato sauce has more ingredients including onions, carrots, celery, and additional seasonings. Any recipe that calls for marinara can also use tomato sauce, although it will alter the flavor slightly.

Canned or Fresh Tomatoes in Tomato Sauce

When tomatoes are in season, fresh tomatoes are great in this sauce. But, when tomatoes aren't in season and your only option is grocery store tomatoes that can be flavorless, canned tomatoes are a better choice for homemade tomato sauce. Note that if you do use fresh tomatoes, the simmering time may take longer.

How Long Does Homemade Tomato Sauce Keep?

Refrigerate in a tightly covered container for up to 1 week. Tomato sauce can stain plastic containers so use glass or plastic containers that you don't mind getting stained.

How to Freeze Homemade Tomato Sauce

Freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe zipper bag or container, making sure to leave room for expansion as it freezes. Tomato sauce can stain plastic containers so if you choose to freeze in a plastic container, make sure it's one you don't mind getting stained.

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or thaw on the stovetop on medium low heat, stirring occasionally.

Tomato Sauce for Canning

There is not enough acid in this tomato sauce recipe to water bath can, but you can preserve it in a pressure canner. Check out this Basil-Garlic Tomato Sauce recipe if you want to water bath can.

What to Serve With Tomato Sauce

Where do we start? Use tomato sauce as a dipping sauce for cheesy bread, garlic bread, or mozzarella sticks. Top pasta or vegetables with it. Use it to simmer eggs in tomato sauce until they're cooked to your liking, or to simmer cooked white beans. Tomato sauce can also be the red sauce for steaming mussels.

Recipes to Showcase Tomato Sauce from Scratch

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 5 to 6 servings


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

  • 1 small carrot or 1/2 large carrot, finely chopped

  • 1 small rib celery, including the green tops, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, including the juice, or 1 3/4 pound fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Gently cook the onion, carrot, celery, and parsley:

    Heat olive oil in a large wide skillet on medium heat. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and parsley. Stir to coat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened and cooked through.

    How to make marinara by cooking a Sofrito in a skillet

    Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

  2. Add the garlic:

    Remove cover and add the minced garlic. Increase the heat to medium high. Cook for garlic for 30 seconds.

  3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, salt, pepper and then simmer:

    Add the tomatoes, including the juice and shredding them with your fingers if you are using canned whole tomatoes.

    Crushing tomatoes by hand for homemade marinara sauce

    Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

    Add the tomato paste and the basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    Bring to a low simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered until thickened, about 15 minutes.

    Homemade marinara Sauce simmering in a pan

    Simply Recipes / Michelle Becker

    Optional, purée for smooth sauce: If you want you can push the sauce through a food mill, or purée it in a blender or with an immersion blender, to give it a smooth consistency.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
73 Calories
5g Fat
7g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 73
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 217mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 20mg 99%
Calcium 58mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 340mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.