The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

Learn how to make fresh tomato sauce with any type of tomatoes you have on hand. This recipe is rich in flavor and the most delicious compliment to any Italian meal. Say adios to canned tomatoes!

Red pan with tomato sauce and a spoon in it on a white counter with grey napkin arranged next to pan.

When it comes to pasta I am ALL about that red sauce. And that is especially true when it’s made with garden fresh tomatoes! My family has high standards when it comes to pasta sauce – we love Italian food and make my mom’s San Marzano Tomato Sauce year round.

But this was my first year trying sauce with my mom’s garden tomatoes… And let me tell you – my life is forever changed.

We tried this sauce first with pizza and almost DIED – it was better than I expected. And I will say, we do not ever put our other homemade sauces on pizza because they are too rich. But this was perfection!

We then served it with pasta the next night and it was outstanding. I cannot say enough good things about this sauce! You’ll only need to take a few steps to accomplish it, once you get that sauce simmering – it’s easy sailing ahead.

Ingredients Needed

Tomatoes: I used tons of different type of tomatoes. The best for sauce are plum tomatoes, but I used a mix of cherry, plum, and a few larger tomatoes as well.

Onion: small yellow onion or half of a large onion should work.

Garlic cloves: I recommend using lots of fresh garlic – not powder. The more garlic the better as I always say! 😉

Ingredients for fresh tomato sauce arranged on a white counter with a blue napkin in corner.

Oil: I recommend using a high quality olive oil.

Basil: I use lots of fresh basil in this sauce and always add it at the very end for the freshest flavor.

Tomato paste: This is to help thicken the sauce to perfection. I recommend using a quality tomato paste – I love using the brand Amore.

How to Make Fresh Tomato Sauce – Step by Step

First, saute onions and garlic in oil until soft. Remove from burner and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and carefully place tomatoes in water and boil for 3 minutes until they start to peel and wrinkle. Remove tomatoes with a slotted spoon and let cool.

Carefully peel tomato skins off, remove any hard cores with a knife, and then roughly chop.

Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan with sauteed onions and garlic, simmer for 2+ hours. Then stir in fresh basil.

Extra Tips to Remember

  • Chunky or smooth – I really love tomatoes so I prefer a thicker/chunkier sauce. If you like a smoother sauce use a hand-immersion blender or food processor and pulse until desired consistency.
  • The more cook time the richer the sauce. I set the cook time to 2+ hours, but you can simmer it for up to 5 hours for an even richer flavor.
  • Always add herbs at the end – this is super important when it comes to the taste. Adding herbs while the sauce cooks can result in a bitter flavor – so I always recommend stirring fresh herbs in at the very end for the freshest tasting results.

How to Store Leftovers & Freeze

Refrigerator: completely cool sauce to room temperature, store in sealed mason jars or glass airtight containers and keep in fridge for 5-7 days.

Freezer: cool sauce to room temperature, then store in a airtight glass container and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to reheat, remove and let thaw for 2-3 hours. Then add to pot and reheat.

A spoon stirring a pot of tomato sauce.

We are absolutely in love with this homemade red sauce. Layer it in your favorite lasagna, serve it on your favorite pizza, and of course with pasta! Either way you serve it up, we know you will love it!

Cheers, friends!

Our Favorite Ways to Serve it Up

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Red pan with tomato sauce and a spoon in it on a white counter with grey napkin arranged next to pan.

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

Learn how to make fresh tomato sauce with any type of tomatoes you have on hand. This recipe is rich in flavor and the most delicious compliment to any Italian meal. Say adios to canned tomatoes!

Servings 8
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 2 hrs

Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Tags: best tomato sauce, fresh tomato sauce, how to make tomato sauce
Freezer Friendly: Yes
Calories: 87 kcal
Author: Bethany Kramer

Ingredients

  • 5 lbs fresh assorted tomatoes (or all plum tomatoes)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh basil (or 1-2 teaspoon dried basil)
  • salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat your sauce pot with oil, then saute diced onions and minced garlic until soft (about 3-5 minutes). Remove from burner and set aside.

  2. Then bring a large pot to boil for blanching. In shifts, drop tomatoes into water while boiling until they begin to wrinkle and peel (about 2-3 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove tomatoes out. Let them cool completely.

  3. Use hands to peel skin off of tomatoes, use a knife to remove any hard tomato cores, then roughly chop and add to pot with onions and garlic.

  4. Add tomato paste and pinch of salt to pot, let simmer on LOW for up to 2 hours – stir often.

  5. When sauce is finish season with salt to taste, add a dash of black pepper, and stir in chopped fresh basil. Enjoy!

Notes

Chunky or smooth sauce – I really love tomatoes so I prefer a thicker/chunkier sauce. If you like a smoother sauce use a hand-immersion blender or food processor and pulse until desired consistency.

Nutrition Facts
The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 87 Calories from Fat 37
% Daily Value*
Fat 4.1g6%
Sodium 17.3mg1%
Carbohydrates 13.2g4%
Sugar 8.3g9%
Protein 2.9g6%
Vitamin A 14IU0%
Vitamin C 46mg56%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Bethany Kramer

Bethany Kramer is a home cook, recipe developer, and dog mom. She found a deep love for food and nutrition after learning to cook from her mom at eight years old. Since then she’s been developing and sharing recipes from her own kitchen that are bold in flavor and nourishing to the body!

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