Make a few batches of this easy homemade tomato sauce; perfect for using on your favorite pasta, pizza, or adding into stews, sauces and other flavorful dishes! It only takes a few minutes of hands on work (and an hour of simmering) to make a few jars.
High quality tomato sauce can be pretty expensive. My favorite brand is almost $10 a jar at Whole Foods – it’s delicious, but doesn’t stretch very far!
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to make really delicious tomato sauce from scratch. It’s also significantly more cost effective, and you can make a big batch at once.
Add in red pepper flakes for extra heat, basil and other herbs for more flavor, or even roasted red pepper for extra depth. The possibilities are endless!
Homemade Tomato Sauce Ingredients
- Olive oil: feel free to sub with butter or another neutral oil.
- Onion: Finely dice a whole yellow onion. You can also sub with white onion or shallots, but I wouldn’t sub with red onion.
- Garlic: the more garlic, the better (in my opinion!). Fresh, always. If you have the time, try roasting the garlic first for a sweeter, caramelized flavor.
- Red wine: red wine adds SO much flavor to homemade tomato sauce. Don’t skip it, and don’t opt for something you wouldn’t drink. Something like a Chianti or Pinot Noir would work best.
- Whole peeled tomatoes: when it comes to choosing canned tomatoes, the higher quality, the better taste. San Marzano tomatoes are always an excellent choice for flavor.
- Tomato paste: Same with the canned tomatoes, the higher quality, the better! We love using tomato paste – it adds so much concentrated, delicious flavor.
- Sugar: you don’t need much – just a pinch or two to balance the acidity.
- Dried herbs: we use dried parsley, thyme, oregano, basil and bay leaves. You can also use a general Italian seasoning blend, just be careful with adding a lot more salt as many of those blends often contain a decent amount of salt.
- Salt and pepper: as always, taste and adjust!
How to make tomato sauce
Tomato sauce couldn’t be much easier to make.
Simply start by sautéing your onions in olive oil. We use a cast iron dutch oven from Le Creuset – it’s our favorite cookware! Read more about them here.
Give them about 10 minutes to soften and caramelize slightly before adding in the minced garlic. After a minute or two, deglaze with the red wine.
Let it simmer for a minute, then add all remaining ingredients and stir well. Using your (clean) hands or a masher to gently break apart the whole peeled tomatoes.
Cover and let the sauce simmer for at least an hour, stirring occasionally. You can let it simmer for up to a few hours to further develop the flavors, but it’s not totally necessary.
Be sure to remove the bay leaves before puréeing. We use an immersion blender to reduce the mess, but you can also transfer it to a blender or food processor instead. You don’t have to blend it too much, just until it’s smooth enough for your preference.
How to store tomato sauce
Let your homemade tomato sauce cool on the stovetop before transferring to an airtight container. I like using glass ball jars – they’re cheap, high quality and look nice! They also have an airtight seal, which helps keep the sauce fresh.
Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Alternatively, freeze the sauce for up to 6 months. Let it defrost overnight in the refrigerator and then use within 3-4 days.
Uses for homemade tomato sauce
- Pasta, of course! Try it with these vegan lentil meatballs or in this vegan pasta bake or stuffed shells.
- As a dipping sauce; perfect for these polenta fries or super crispy oven-baked fries.
- On pizza! Try this vegan and gluten free crispy cauliflower crust to go with it.
- Add into soup for a quick flavor boost. Try this creamy tomato soup (add some of your sauce in place of half of the fresh tomatoes) or add into this vegan minestrone in place of canned tomatoes.
- Shakshuka: tomato sauce makes for a much quicker, easier version of this vegan tofu shakshuka. Such a great breakfast, lunch or dinner!
- Make a fancy grilled cheese: brush two slices of bread with olive oil, spread a generous layer of tomato sauce, lots of cheese and grill in a panini press until warm, melty and crispy.
- Use in a homemade Bloody Mary.
- Add a dollop to stews, sauces and purees for more flavor.
- Make a super quick tomato vinaigrette. Whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar (or balsamic), a spoonful of tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Add fresh basil for extra flavor.
- Add cooked lentils for a super quick version of this vegan bolognese.
If you make this homemade tomato sauce recipe, we’d love for you to leave a comment and rating below! We also love to see your creations on Instagram – tag us at @crowded_kitchen so we can see what you’ve been cooking.Print
Make a few batches of this easy homemade tomato sauce; perfect for using on your favorite pasta, pizza, or adding into stews, sauces and other flavorful dishes.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cups finely diced yellow onion (1 large onion)
- 1 1/2 tbsp finely minced garlic (3 large cloves)
- 1/4 cup red wine (Chianti, Pinot Noir, etc)
- 2 28 oz. cans whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar (or regular sugar)
- 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 large bay leaves
- Heat a large pot over medium.
- Add oil and onion and sauté for 8-10 minutes, until softened and slightly browned. Add garlic and continue cooking for a minute or two.
- Add red wine and let simmer for a minute, then add remaining ingredients. Use your hands (or a masher) to gently break up the whole tomatoes.
- Let simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally.
- Remove bay leaves. Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce – you can leave a little texture if you’d like. I prefer mine mostly smooth!
- Store in a jar in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
The higher quality the canned tomatoes, the better. San Marzano tomatoes are our favorite! They’re a little pricier, but super flavorful.
Keywords: homemade tomato sauce