Who Needs Jars? Make Your Own Tomato Sauce

September 5, 2013   17 Comments

Last week, Snack Girl took on the subject of tomato sauce in jars and got flamed.

Simple Tomato Sauce Recipe

I did like a Ragu sauce (no sugar added). The taste was much better than I thought it would be. BUT, I want to be clear that none of the jarred options can touch making your own sauce. I use jarred tomato sauce when I am in a hurry (which is often).

If my life were different, there would be this beautiful person in my kitchen making everything from scratch - churning butter, kneading bread dough, and curing ham. Alas, that person is in my imagination.

My reality allows me to make tomato sauce when I have the time. My husband frequently makes the sauce in the family and I stay out of it. Today, I made it myself.

Above is a photo of chunky tomato sauce with three ingredients. It isn’t fancy, but it tastes divine. If you are a fan of smooth sauce, all you have to do is puree it in a blender. I like about half puree and half chunky. The nice thing about making your own sauce is that it is up to you.

Add spices like garlic (which I would saute with the onion), oregano, basil, chili, etc. Your house will smell sooooo good. Trust me. And, you can freeze it for the times that you don't have time to make it.

I serve this on everything - pasta, eggs, beans, rice, roasted veggies, toast, ice cream....(not really)

Please share your recipe ideas for making your own tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce Recipe

1.6 from 24 reviews

Makes 4 cups

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2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (or chopped canned tomatoes, drained)
salt and pepper to taste


Heat olive oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat. When olive oil is hot, add onion and saute for a couple of minutes until soft. Add tomatoes and some salt and pepper. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently for 15 minutes. The idea is to concentrate the tomatoes by boiling off the liquid. Add salt and pepper when finished cooking.

Puree sauce in a blender if you desire a smoother consistency.

Serve or store in a container for one week or freeze for future use. This sauce freezes well.

Nutrition Facts

For one cup = 98 calories, 7.2 g fat, 8.3 g carbohydrates, 5.0 g sugar, 1.6 g protein, 2.4 g fiber, 100 mg sodium, 3 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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Just wondering: Do you peel the tomatoes or leave the skins on? They tend to get a little tough when cooked but if you can get them to soften, I would prefer to leave them on. Thanks! Also, do you have a recipe for homemade tomato paste?

I make 1 quadruple batch of marinara sauce every month. I divide it into containers and freeze it. Then, I have it throughout the month when I need it.

I make homemade sauce and freeze it all the time. I like may in my sauce. I spend a Sunday afternoon simmering sauce all day long then break into batches to freeze. Ready dinner for a couple months.

Does the tomato sauce work as spaghetti sauce? or what can I add to make it thicker like that?

Snack Girl,

I just love your posts!

And your ever-so-slightly unhinged sense of humour! I can definitely identify with it and all you describe.

Please keep them coming for a long time.

I boil my tomatoes from raw to make our pasta sauce and don't take the skin off, but I either chop very finely or puree them, so any tough skin is unnoticeable.

My mom always made her own when I was growing up. I like you like to make my own and will buy a high quality brand when I am in a fix.

I make sauce for the entire winter in early September. Get plum tomatoes at their best from local farmer. I do in 2 20 lb batches. Prepare tomatoes by roasting them

( use parchment paper) in 425 oven 10-15 min Skin will loosen when cool and come right off

Then saute olive oil, garlic, onions, carrots, add salt pepper, any other spices. Cook down for few hours, add fresh basil last half hour. Freeze for winter, jar a few fresh in fridge for week. Yum !

Thank you Snack Girl for telling it like it is; I like you don't always have time to make my sauce from scratch and have to rely on good old jar sauce at times. Here is my sauce from scratch to add:

6 Vine ripe Tomatoes, chopped, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1 large chopped onion (yellow prefered), 1 Tablespoons each chopped fresh basil and oregano, salt and black pepper to taste.

Can use dried seasoning, 1 teaspoon each basil and oregano. Rub between palms to release flavors. Remember alittle goes along way. Start with alittle and add more if you think it needs it.

Heat olive oil in large sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic and chopped onion. Saute for 5 minutes and then add diced tomatoes, stir well.

Cover saucepan and simmer for at least 30 minutes over low heat. When tomatoes are soft I take a potato masher and mash them so they're like sauce, but with some chunks.

Add your fresh chopped basil and oregano, along with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and simmer another 10 minutes. This is when you taste to see if it needs more spices. Enjoy

Yes I do take the skins off. Get water boiling (rapid)/ Have a large bowl in sink with ice water and cubes. With slotted spoon place in boiling water boil for 1 minute, place in cold water and peels should come right off.

Hope I didn't type to much.

I like to roast my tomatoe sauce.It is so easy. Use fresh or canned tomatoes, lots of garlic cloves, onion, sometimes those little red, yellow, and orange peppers. Lay out on a sheet pan, drizzle olive oil and spices to your liking and roast in a hot oven till the sauce is carmelized and tender....sometimes I let it go longer and it becomes a tomatoe JAM..yum.. Toss with pasta and whalla.....dinner is served.

@Cynthia - If I am using fresh tomatoes, I leave the skins on and chop it small and they don't bother me. I am too lazy to skin the tomatoes.

@Kathy - I use this on pasta - it is thick and chunky. If you puree it in a blender - it will be thick. I hope this answers your question.

As I understand it from a dear Italian friend from years back, tomato sauce from scratch is simmered from morning until the evening meal is served. Tomatoes are peeled and put through a food mill traditionally. The spices and herbs, especially basil are added later in the simmering process. Only Basil is used in tomato sauce while oregano is used on pizza. Italians, as I was told, never put oregano in pasta sauce. Various preparations are also regional.

Herbs like, basil, that are leafy are added in the last 10 minutes of cooking in order to retain their flavor. If cooked too long the oils in leafy herbs is degraded and thus the flavor suffers. I sometimes add tarragon or crushed rosemary if I am feeling especially daring. Fresh tarragon gives food, sauces and chicken, the most delicious aroma. Rosemary and even pine needles, yes, pine needles (mashed with mortar and pestle) also add another dimension to tomato sauce. Olive oil should be stirred into the al dente pasta before adding the tomato sauce. The oil should not be cooked as it will lose its delicate flavor. If you like garlic, gently saute the garlic in a dry pan and add it too the uncooked olive oil. Stirring oil into your pasta before adding the sauce keeps the pasta from absorbing the sauce which makes the pasta mushy.

My mom used to add a little cinnamon to her tomato sauce on occasion, it was delicious. This is a Greek addition.

Because tomatoes are a fruit and many of us are used to sugar in our foods, some people typically add a little sugar to their sauce (to taste or about a teaspoon per quart). Sugar cuts the acidity if that is what you are going for and makes a smoother tasting sauce. Some people believe the sugar also enhances the flavor.

Snack girl, your sauce is great for a quick meal. Hubby does not like chunky but I do. : )

Do the tomatoes need to be seeded before chopping?

Got Flamed??? Well that wont happen here, thanks for any and all information. Helping me make better decisions when it comes to food purchases not only for myself but for my family. Thank You

(Italy) My Mom Pretty Much Did What I_Fortuna's (Greek) Mom Did. It Was A Sunday All Day Event Effectively The Same Procedure. She Would Give Away Two To 4 Quarts To Her Sisters. 6 Quarts 4-6 Hours.

8 Quarts Towards To 6-8 Hours, Basically 45 min.-1 Hour Uncovered An Low Simmer Per Quart In Order For The Flavors To Meld.

I Came Away Thinking She Wanted The Tomato Flavor In The Background Behind The Spices To 'Strike' You Later Along Which It Did.

Since It Is A Snack Post You Reminded Me To Try Tomato Sauce Upon The New Cheez It Snack Flavors (Four Cheese Provolone).

Sounds wonderful. I made the baked oatmeal it is so good. Thank you for this site and recipes. I am on Simply Filling.

To me there is no jared sauce better than fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic and any other spices you like, what could be simpler.

My favorite thing to do is used crushed tomatoes and then add seasoning (such as garlic, onion, Italian, etc.). Sometimes I even add cream cheese for a creamy sauce. It's easy and tastes sooooo good!

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