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 on white background with fresh tomato sauce in it.

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 smooth sailing ahead.

Ingredients Needed

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

Tomatoes: I’ve used a variety of different types 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! 😉

Oil: I recommend using a high-quality olive oil.

Basil: 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 the 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.
  • Is the sauce too acid? Add more tomato paste 1 Tablespoon at a time. Paste is sweet and concentrated, it thickens and adds sweetness that helps with unwanted acidity.

How to Store Leftovers & Freeze

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

Freezer: cool sauce to room temperature, then store in an 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.

spoon stirring tomato sauce in pan.

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

From spreading this sauce on cast iron skillet pizza, baked pasta with roasted vegetables, to serving it with tasty vegetarian Italian dishes like our baked eggplant rollatini. There are so many ways to serve this amazingly fresh sauce!

If you tried this The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce recipe or any other recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you! You can also follow me on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM, and FACEBOOK for more crave-worthy content.

red pan with fresh tomato sauce in it with a silver spoon.

The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce

5 from 2 votes

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


  • 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


  1. Sauté onions & garlic: 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. Boil tomatoes: Then bring a large pot of water to a 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 and place on sheet pan to cool.

  3. Peel cooled tomatoes: Use hands to peel the skin from tomatoes. Use a pairing knife to carefully remove the hard tomato core. Roughly chop up tomatoes and add to pot with the onions and garlic.

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

  5. Season with herbs: When sauce is finished, season with salt to taste, add a dash of black pepper, and stir in chopped fresh basil. Enjoy! See notes for storing tips.


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.

Nutrition Facts
The Best Fresh Tomato Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 87 Calories from Fat 37
% Daily Value*
Fat 4.1g6%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
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.

Did you make this recipe? Share your photos and tag @asimplepalate #asimplepalate.


Bethany Kramer

Bethany Kramer is the cook and photographer behind A Simple Palate. 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!

Leave a Reply

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

Recipe Rating


  • Avatar for Mark Beresford Mark Beresford says:

    15 mins prep time is a little ambitious!

  • Avatar for Robin Robin says:

    Hello. Hello! I can’t wait to try this with plum and San Marian tomatoes I froze from my summer garden. I love to can and wondering if this recipe could be canned and would you still add herbs before canning or after opening a jar to use?

  • Avatar for Roland Roland says:

    Finally a simple and delicious recipe. Grazie.

    • Avatar for Breda Breda says:

      I’ve made a batch and my family have given it the 👍👍so I’m going to make a 2nd batch. I grow my own tomatoes and we have enough. I’m very happy with your simple but flavourful recipe. Thank you.

    • Avatar for Bethany Bethany says:

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you enjoyed the sauce, Breda! 🙂

  • Avatar for Pamela Pamela says:

    I’d like to add 1 lb of ground meat to this sauce to make a heartier meal. Typcially, I use ground turkey (93Lean/7Fat) when cooking. What’s the best way to incorporate it into this recipe?

  • Avatar for Keith Keith says:

    Do you keep the pot covered or uncovered? Or does it not matter?

  • Avatar for Laura campos Laura campos says:

    Are you supposed to empty out the water from the pot before putting on the tomatoes ?? Or do you put the peeled tomatoes back in the boiling water.
    I hope the latter lol

  • Avatar for Lucy Baker Lucy Baker says:

    I’m making this to freeze. I used all San Marzano tomatoes – didn’t use your San Marzano recipe because that called for canned – and added a pinch of cayenne pepper.
    My question: Is there a reason why you freeze it in glass? Hard to get an airtight glass container. Would a ziplock or sealed plastic work, or does it impart an odd flavor?

  • Avatar for Deborah Norvell Deborah Norvell says:

    I really want to try this recipe, but I have a reaction to onions. Unfortunately, I cannot eat them. Most Italian dishes contain onions.
    Do you think the sauce will taste okay without them?
    Thank you.

  • Avatar for Lisa Lisa says:

    5 stars
    This by far is the best and easiest recipe I have found. My sauce always failed because I was putting the seasonings in first and it was bitter. Thank you for a great recipe.

  • Avatar for Mike McKinley Mike McKinley says:

    Instead of boiling the tomatoes, after coring, I roast them in a 400F oven for 20 mins. When theyre cool enough to handle peel and use per recipe. You get a fire roasted flavor that really shines through.

  • Avatar for Diane Newhouse Diane Newhouse says:

    Sounds great! Going to try it today!

  • Avatar for Albertina Albertina says:

    It is really the best and fresh tomato sauce. It is very simple and easy to make and it was very delicious and worth making.

  • Avatar for Kathy Kathy says:

    Please tell me if I can make the fresh tomato sauce and the normal 4 to 5hour tomato sauce in a hot pot or slow cooker fo how many hours if I can.
    Thanks your kindness.kathy

    • You can make both in a slow cooker! I would sauté garlic/onions in a separate pan then add everything to a slow cooker for 5 hours on LOW. Stir every so often. Then add herbs in at the end 🙂

  • Avatar for barb barb says:

    5 stars
    I think that Italian cuisine is my favourite and, thus, pastas are one of the most common dishes I prepare. I have to agree with you that the use of home grown tomatoes is much more better as the taste is more natural and intensive. I prepare similar sauce with different types tomatoes but for me the tastiest are ‘scatolone’ and ‘marmande’ I buy on . Thanks for sharing this recipe, it looks so tasty!