San Marzano Tomato Sauce {Family Recipe}

A famous family recipe – San Marzano Tomato Sauce. Savory, Italian flavors, simmered for several hours developing a rich and hearty tomato sauce. Easily the best tomato sauce I’ve ever had! 

a pot of san marzano tomato sauce with fresh herbs

This San Marzano Tomato Sauce is quite special. It was the very first recipe my mom ever taught me, and I can say without a doubt, I’ve never had tomato sauce better than this recipe. This sauce is thick, developed in flavor, and is the perfect sauce to top your favorite pasta with or layer in a lasagna.

Although tomato sauce is quite simple, using quality ingredients matters, and letting your sauce sit low and slow for hours will give you the most thick and savory sauce you’ve ever had.

How to Make San Marzano Tomato Sauce

step 1 saute garlic step 2 add tomatoes and cook step 3 add herbs at the end

  1.  Saute garlic in olive oil: Saute your minced garlic for 30 to 60 seconds on medium heat – constantly stirring. Using tons of garlic in this recipe will give your tomato sauce the foundation of it’s flavor.
  2. Add Tomatoes – cook low and slow: The key to a good tomato sauce is cooking it for up to 4-6 hours. This allows the sauce to thicken, flavors to richen and develop, and acidity to balance.
  3. Add herbs at very end: Cooking herbs in the sauce for hours can actually result in bitter flavor. For a fresh, vibrant herb flavor add at the very end when sauce is finished for best results.

Special Tips for Making San Marzano Tomato Sauce

step 1 get san marzano tomatoes step 2 sun-dried tomato paste

  1. Use San Marzano Peeled Tomatoes: to make a perfect tomato sauce you need San Marzano’s. These tomatoes give your sauce a thicker consistency, and are sweeter, richer, and less acidic in flavor.
  2. Use Amore Sun-Dried Tomato Paste: Rather than using normal tomato paste, my family loves to use this sun-dried tomato paste for it’s thickening factor and extra added depth of flavor.
  3. Add a Parmesan cheese rind to your sauce while it simmers. This will instantly add flavor. The rind won’t melt (though it will get soft); it will just sit in your sauce or soup and infuse it with extra umami and savor.

What to Serve with San Marzano Tomato Sauce:

  • Any type of pasta – spaghetti, rigatoni, orecchiette, or penne.
  • Stuffed shells, eggplant parmesan, or lasagna.
  • Zucchini pasta or spaghetti squash.
  • I also use this recipe in some of my favorite recipes – Authentic Italian Chicken Parmigiana and Italian Sausage Lasagna.

I hope you love this San Marzano Tomato Sauce – it is dear to my heart and to this day haven’t tasted an Italian tomato sauce like it.

Got Pinterest? Pin this recipe to your Pinterest boards!

a pot of san marzano tomato sauce with fresh herbs

If you try this recipe or any other recipe, I would love to hear how you enjoyed it! Review and comment below and let me know your thoughts. Also share your pictures on instagram #asimplepalate - I love seeing your recipe creations! You can also follow me on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, and FACEBOOK.

a pot of san marzano tomato sauce with fresh herbs

San Marzano Tomato Sauce

4.88 from 8 votes
Servings 8 servings
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 5 mins

A famous family recipe - savory Italian flavors, vibrant herbs, simmered for several hours to develop the perfect hearty tomato sauce. Easily the best tomato sauce I've ever had!

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: homemade tomato sauce, italian sauce, marinara sauce, san marzano tomato sauce
Calories: 56 kcal
Author: A Simple Palate

Ingredients

  • 8 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 28oz cans San Marzano Peeled Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp amore sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp (each) salt & black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp fresh basil (for dried basil - 1 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano (for dried oregano - 2 tsp)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme (for dried thyme - 1 tsp)

Instructions

  1. In a large pot on medium heat saute garlic in olive oil for 30-60 seconds - constantly stir. Garlic can burn very easily in this process. 

  2. Add San Marzano tomatoes to garlic. Add tomato paste, salt & pepper. Mix, and cover on low heat for 4-6 hours. Stir occasionally to avoid burning.

    The whole tomatoes will break down as they cook and result in a thicker, chunkier sauce. If you prefer a smooth sauce you can use a hand-puree tool or transfer to a high-powdered blender.

  3. When sauce is finished mix in fresh herbs. Serve with your favorite pasta, lasagna, or chicken parmesan. 

Recipe Notes

Use San Marzano Peeled Tomatoes: to make a perfect tomato sauce you need San Marzano's. These tomatoes give your sauce a thicker consistency, and are sweeter, richer, and less acidic in flavor.

Use Amore Sun-Dried Tomato Paste: Rather than using normal tomato paste, my family loves to use this sun-dried tomato paste for it's thickening factor and extra added depth of flavor.

Add a Parmesan rind to your sauce while it simmers. This will instantly add flavor. The rind won't melt (though it will get soft); it will just sit in your sauce or soup and infuse it with extra umami and savor. 

Fresh Herbs vs Dried Herb Measurements: Because dried herbs are generally more potent and concentrated than fresh herbs, you'll need less -- typically three times the amount of fresh herbs as dry. For example, since this recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of dried Oregano, you'd need 2 Tablespoons of fresh oregano (since 3 teaspoons equal 1 tablespoon).

Pin This Recipe

Instagram

Did You Make This Recipe?

I wanna see! Share your photos and tag @asimplepalate #asimplepalate.

Categories:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

28 Comments

  • Avatar for Tracy Tracy says:

    I cannot wait to try this!

  • Avatar for Sandy Sandy says:

    This was absolutely delicious!! Served with pasta. Will make again for sure!

  • Avatar for Lisa Lisa says:

    This is such a gorgeous sauce! Definitely pinning and will try.

  • Avatar for JoeAnn JoeAnn says:

    I love San Marzano tomatoes and this recipe is perfect for them….an awesome, robust flavor is revealed via longer cooking time. Thanks for sharing recipe!

    • Avatar for Bethany Kramer Bethany Kramer says:

      Thanks so much! That longer cooking time is key for sure 😊 glad you enjoyed it.

  • Avatar for DeniseWilliams DeniseWilliams says:

    Recipe says 5 cans San Marzanos. Does this mean five 28 oz cans?

    • Avatar for Bethany Kramer Bethany Kramer says:

      Yes! Sorry I didn’t add that detail. 28 oz cans! You can also do just 3 cans if you want to do a smaller batch. 🙂 hope you enjoy it!

  • Avatar for Rose Rose says:

    I enjoyed reading your recipe. Would to learn more. My question is I don’t feel 2 tablespoon s of olive oil is enough for all those tomatoes is enough. Help me to understand I’m always willing to mzke a better saue.

    • Avatar for Bethany Kramer Bethany Kramer says:

      Hi Rose,
      the 2 tbsp of olive oil is just to saute the garlic. So you don’t need a ton of olive oil for that 🙂

  • Avatar for Linda Linda says:

    This sauce looks amazing. Will have to try.

  • Avatar for Laura Knapp Laura Knapp says:

    I made your family’s sauce and it was wonderful! Everyone loved it. We used it on homemade pizzas, tortellini, Italian sausage. I’m going to make another batch and jar them. I’m even thinking what a nice Xmas present it would make with some spaghetti and a bottle of wine. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Avatar for Bethany Kramer Bethany Kramer says:

      So glad to hear, Laura! Means so much to her you all enjoyed it. 🙂 And you’re right – It’s a great recipe to jar and give as a gift!!

  • Avatar for Cathy Bridges Cathy Bridges says:

    Could you use a slow cooker instead of stovetop?

    • Avatar for Bethany Kramer Bethany Kramer says:

      Hi Cathy, I’ve never used a slow cooker for this recipe. But I don’t see why it couldn’t work. You would need to saute the garlic then add that to the slow cooker, but I believe you could use it in a slow cooker. Let me know if you try it!

  • Avatar for Gabby Gabby says:

    Delicious!! Cooked for 4 hours and the flavor was amazing!

  • Avatar for Alison Alison says:

    Would love to make this recipe but would like to use the San marzanos from my garden. Is there a recipe for this using fresh tomatoes? Or do I just peel and cook down and then use this recipe?

    • Avatar for Bethany Kramer Bethany Kramer says:

      I haven’t used fresh tomatoes. But I’d recommend cooking them with maybe 1-2 additional tbsp of tomato paste to really help them thicken. Make sure to let it cook for the 3-5 hours. Let me know if that works!

  • Avatar for Barbara Maher Barbara Maher says:

    love this sauce – 🙂

  • Avatar for Bryan Bryan says:

    If I wanted to transfer to a blender to make a thinner sauce, do I transfer it before it starts cooking or after while the garlic is mixed in.

    • Avatar for Bethany Kramer Bethany Kramer says:

      So you aren’t dealing with blending hot tomato sauce, it would be better to blend the tomatoes before you cook them in the pot. So after you saute your garlic you can add the blended tomatoes!

  • Avatar for Matthew Matthew says:

    Delicious! I made this for my grandma’s birthday and she loved it. San marzano are known for not causing heart burn as well. Do you think this would be a good base for Bolognese?

    • Avatar for Bethany Kramer Bethany Kramer says:

      Thanks Matthew! So glad you liked it. 🙂 I didn’t know that about San Marzano’s so that’s great! And absolutely! I’ve used it many times for a Bolognese.

  • Avatar for Chris Chris says:

    Hi,
    If I use dried thyme and oregano about how many teaspoons should I put?

    • Avatar for Bethany Kramer Bethany Kramer says:

      Hi Chris, For fresh herbs I measure in tablespoons rather than tsp. So for dried herbs – 1 tsp of thyme, 2 tsp of oregano. Thanks for asking!