Authentic Homemade Pasta Sauce (Fresh or Canned Tomatoes)


I married into an Italian family, and as such, several things are a given:

  1. Family gatherings will be loud
  2. There will always be a faint aroma of basil and garlic in the house
  3. Learning to make a delicious and authentic homemade pasta sauce is high on the to-do list for a new wife

Why Homemade Pasta Sauce?

Italian Pasta Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes recipeWhen I married into the family, I became privy to Nonna’s (my husband’s grandmother) pasta sauce recipe that uses pre-canned tomato sauce and diced tomatoes (that she probably canned herself). One year I attempted to mimic the recipe using fresh tomatoes since we had an abundance from our garden and came up with my own pasta sauce recipe.

I’m sharing my variations of both today:

How to Make Pasta Sauce from Fresh or Canned Tomatoes

I you are working from fresh tomatoes, use the first recipe. If you are using canned tomatoes, use the second.

While “Nonna’s Recipe” is still the gold standard of pasta sauce in our family, I’m not sure I’m allowed to share the secret recipe so I’m sharing my variations instead. I know that I can share one part of her secret, which is to throw a piece of a carrot into the sauce while it is cooking to absorb the acidity of the tomatoes and create a sweeter sauce. This also removes the need for a sweetener to cut down the acidity.

Homemade Pasta Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

Italian Pasta Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes recipe

53 votes


Homemade Pasta Sauce Recipe




Yield 6 -8

Authentic tomato marinara sauce from fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic.


  • 5 pounds of fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded (to peel, cut a small "x" on the top and drop in to boiling water for 10 seconds and drop in to an ice bath. Skin will easily peel off)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or tallow)
  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 8 cloves of fresh garlic (or more to taste), finely minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 sprig of fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
  • 2 bay leaves (remove when done)
  • 2 sprigs of parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 carrot (1/2 should be grated and added to sauce, the other half should be added at the end of cooking and then removed)
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon honey


  1. Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Add diced onions, garlic and grated carrots.
  3. Saute for 6-8 minutes or until onions are translucent and tender.
  4. Add tomatoes, chopped basil leaves, oregano, thyme bay leaves, parsley and sea salt.
  5. Simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours or until cooked down and starting to darken.
  6. Add carrot piece for the last 30 minutes to absorb acidity.
  7. Remove sprigs of herbs and piece of carrot.
  8. Optional: Use an immersion blender to puree sauce until smooth (for a thicker sauce, skip this step.
  9. Use fresh or store in the fridge up to 1 week, or can it according to your canner's instructions for tomato products.

Courses Sauce

Cuisine Italian

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10-Minute Pasta Sauce from Canned Tomatoes

If a two-hour simmer time isn’t your thing, this 10-minute recipe tastes almost as good and cooks in much less time. This is my go-to on a busy night when I have 20 minutes to turn a pound of ground beef into dinner. We serve with zucchini or other vegetable noodles for a great flavor.

Pasta Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 8 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans  or jars of whole, crushed or stewed tomatoes (or 4 15-ounce cans)
  • 1 (6-ounce) can or jar of tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil leaves (or 1/4 cup fresh, finely chopped)
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pasta Sauce Instructions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium size pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes
  2. Add garlic and saute another minute.
  3. Then, add tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, bay leaves, thyme and salt/pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer.
  5. Simmer for 10-15 minutes to let flavors meld. (Can simmer longer if desired for a thicker sauce with a deeper flavor).
  6. Serve over pasta of choice.
  7. Optional: for a thinner sauce that works better for pizza, chicken parmesan, etc, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.

How to Use Homemade Pasta Sauce

You probably already have a recipe in mind since you’re reading this post, but this is endlessly versatile and great in many recipes. The fresh tomato recipe variation is great for tomato season, and I often can any extras to use in the winter.

I use this sauce in:

How to Can Your Own Pasta Sauce

You can easily make a large batch of either of these sauces and can it for future use. I often do this when we have an abundance of tomatoes from the garden. There is really no reason to can the recipe made from canned tomatoes, since it is so quick to whip up and there is no need for the extra step.


Canning Instructions for Homemade Tomato Sauce

I follow these instructions for canning my homemade tomato sauce. There is some debate if it is ok to water bath can tomato products or not. The general consensus seems to be that tomatoes are iffy for water bath canning because the pH is not quite acidic enough. One solution is to add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice per quart for canning or check the pH to make sure it is 4.4 or below.

Personally, I prefer to just pressure can according to my pressure canner instructions as the pressure is enough to kill any botulism spores and is considered safe for tomatoes.

How to Freeze Homemade Tomato Sauce

If canning isn’t your thing, you can also freeze this homemade sauce. I like to freeze in quart size glass mason jars (here’s how) or metal containers, to avoid plastic. You can also freeze this sauce in any container once it has cooled.

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Do you make your own pasta sauce or use the store-bought canned variety? Share below!

An authentic homemade Italian pasta sauce recipe using fresh tomatoes and herbs.

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Reader Comments

  1. Nice recipe! I’m Italian, but I’m not very good at cooking, but I knew the carrot “trick”. I’m also Portuguese, so I enjoy preparing sopas a lot.

    • I made this recipe, minus onions, & basil. After i boiled the tomatoes i put them in the blender. Let it simmer put the carrot & honey in. I made it with penne pasta added italian seasoning and olive oil and chicken breast. And married everything together. It was delish. My family loved it. Thank you for a great recipe. I would never have to buy store bought pasta sauce

      • The onions give the sauce a more authentic taste and no it does not make your breath smell like people in California think. Basil is a toss up. If you can grow authentic italian garlic use it. The Asian garlic oxidizes quickly, tastes terrible is garbage and was not hybridized for cooking. Mainly for pickling.

        • So where do you obtain “authentic Italian garlic” or the plants to grow your own. I never knew that Asian garlic was Not good, oxidizes quickly and should be used/grown for pickling.

          Thanks for this info.


        • So on here, she doesn’t say what she does with the tomatoes. Does she blend them? What exactly does she do with them, I mean, yes she puts the onions, garlic etc on the olive oil until onions are soft, after all that is done and she puts the tomatoes in, is where I’m confused. Someone please help!

          • i made this yesterday; i did nothing but cooking them down. they break down naturally. per the instructions, if you want is smooth, you can blend. i left mine nice and chunky. i’ve made tomato sauce once or twice but never pasta sauce from scratch. i’m so pleased with myself for finding this recipe. i used all the ingredients listed, but all herbs were dried. i grow my own garlib; not sure if it is Italian or not.

            seriously the best sauce i’ve ever had.

          • i made this yesterday; i did nothing to the tomatoes but cooked them; they break down naturally. per the instructions, if you want the sauce smooth, you can blend it. i left mine nice and chunky. i’ve made tomato sauce once or twice but never pasta sauce from scratch. i’m so pleased with myself for finding this recipe. i used all the ingredients listed, but all herbs were dried. i grow my own garlic; not sure if it is Italian or not.

            seriously the best sauce i’ve ever had.

          • Read Step 8. Blend with a stick blender until pureed, skip this step for a thicker sauce.
            As the tomatoes simmer they will break down and incorporate into a sauce that is thicker and “chunkier”. If you puree the tomatoes the sauce will be smoother and as it reduces it will thicken and the seasonings and flavors will concentrate as the liquid simmers out.
            The key is low heat and time.

          • She said that you may use an immersion blender if you want,I think she prefers to skip it. As the tomatoes boil they break up pretty much, I prefer not to puree the tomato sauce.

          • she will put it all through a blender hun.. to get that smooth sauce.

          • Quarter them after peeling and then just add them in.

        • Keith, I’ve never heard that before about “people in Caliifornia” thinking garlic makes your breath smell. Hmmm, stereotype much? It’s a darned good thing we have you to set us all straight on that point. 😉

          Regional bigotry aside, this recipe was wonderful!! Thank you, Wellness Mama. Another winner.

        • You are so right about asian garlic. I grow my own garlic and there is no comparing the 2, and knowing what I learned about asian garlic I shall never buy it even if I was desperate….


    • Yay, Portuguese! I’m 100% and always get excited to hear someone is the same.. Are you in NY by anychance?

      • I’m 100% Portuguese too! From MA but living in AZ right now.

    • your italian book needs pictures!

    • I made the recipe, minus the shredded carrot. I did add the half carrot towards the end. It is amazing, I love it!!! Thank you, Wellness Mama!

  2. Would this recipe freeze well? I’d like to make a big batch but I’m not quite adept at canning yet 🙂

    • I don’t see why not. I make a pizza sauce and freeze it in smaller portions for our family pizza nights. Tastes just fine thawed out. Just won’t last as long as canning.

      • Thank you for asking this question and thanks for those that answered. That’s exactly what I was wondering. I’m making this today!

    • I’ve found the best way to freeze this sort of item to to place into zip lock plastic bags (of cause u must cool it first) then you can lay flat in the freezer tray taking up less room. It becomes easy to thaw also this way.

      • We freeze all our homemade ready meals in ziplock bags, as we always have a stuffed freezer!! I’m going to have a go at this recipe right now, as we have a glut of tomatoes!

    • Yes, it freezes well. I always freeze my tomato sauce, that way I have a very easy meal during the winter when time is short and I need something comforting.

  3. Thanks for the recipe!! I have been working on a good pasta sauce for a while now. Each time it seems I throw something different in and haven’t found the “right” mix yet. Can’t wait to try this. I have 15 tomato plants in my backyard and hope to be doing a lot of canning this summer!

    • Can this be canned using a water bath? Or does it need to be pressured canned?

      • Yes you can definitely can this past sauce, or any other for that matter,
        in a hot water bath…needs boils for 35 minutes…but you can find out other specifics by just googling canning pasta sauce 🙂

        • DO NOT WATER BATH TOMATO RECIPES!!!! Because of the acid in the tomatoes they have to canned with a pressure cooker or canner.

          • It’s because of the acid in the sauce that you can Water Bath Can the sauce. It is appropriate to add some lemon juice to the sauce for added acidity and boil for a full 40 minutes with at least 2 inches of water covering the jars. I have been doing this my whole life and learned it from my mother who grew up farming and preserving food for the winter.

            Very nice sauce! I added wine and my family loved it.

          • Somebody better tell the Italians that they can’t water bath their tomatoes as they have been doing for a very long time…

          • i have a ball canning book and it says you can water bath tomatoe recipes so i’m not sure where your getting your information from.

          • Acid foods can be canned in a water bath. It’s the foods with no acid that need to be pressurized.

          • This information is incorrect. You can most definitely water bath can tomato based items because of the acidity.

          • You are so right about asian garlic. I grow my own garlic and there is no comparing the 2, and knowing what I learned about asian garlic I shall never buy it even if I was desperate….


          • I have canned tomato sauces using just a water bath in canner and found it was just fine. Just make sure the lids seal. I have also premade BBQ sauce this way.

        • If it is plain tomatoes and you add some lemon juice to bring up the acidity…you can waterbath can. If you have any other vegetables in there you should always pressure cook, the chances of bacteria growing is just to great to risk it.

      • I would not can this recipe. Even plain canned tomatoes need added acid to can them. This recipe has way to many low acid ingredients to can without extra added acid. For guidance on canning – check this out.

  4. My grandmother was straight off the boat, but her tomato sauce was surprisingly bland for my taste. She used a ton of garlic, basil, salt & pepper and not a whole lot else.
    We really like to add a bit of rosemary, some red pepper flakes and a splash of red wine to our sauce to up the flavor (in addition to most of the ingredients you mention). I’d never heard of the carrot trick, but I don’t really like my sauce sweet.

  5. If I plan to blend it at the end, is it OK to include whole tomatoes…skins, seeds and all? 🙂

    • You can blend the wbole thing, seeds, peels and all (which is what I do because I have very little time for preparing healthy home made dishes), but keep in mind it will make your sauce considerably thinner. My first batch was delicious, but was closer in texture to salsa than sauce. Whisking a few tsp of corn starch (or more depending on the size of your batch) into some cold sauce will combat this nicely. And be sure to blend well so as not to end up with large pieces of skin.

  6. Thanks Katie for posting your homemade tomato sauce recipe. I can’t wait to try it and use it in all my recipes calling for tomato/pasta sauce. No more store bought pasta sauce for me!! Thanks again!!!

  7. Thanks for the recipe. Smells great. Trying to figure out when to put tablespoon of honey?

      • I added it at the beginning and cooked it in… It worked just fine..

        • Cooking destroys all the benefits of honey: the enzymes and such. Why waste your money? If you are going to cook it, just add sugar and save the honey for non cooked things!

      • ok i see it!

      • I am thinking the honey is what cuts down the acidity. I have been making sauce since 1970 and I always put in sugar to cut down the acidity. Not sure what the carrot adds to the equation.

        • In Italy we do not add the carrot, not in my region, just a bit of sugar as you say

  8. I used yellow, roma and house tomatoes that were given to me (just a tad over 10 lbs and so I doubled the recipe. I had all of the herbs in my garden. I used lemon thyme and it worked out just great. Since I had more yellow then reds the sauce is more orange, but its still awesome. I actually grated the two carrots and pureed them at the end.. You had honey on the list, but didn’t say when to add it. So, I added it after I put all of the other ingredients in. I was also given these really tiny green peppers and I tossed them in when I did the onions. I used vidalia onions which are my favorite. I also freeze my homemade sauces. There is a special way you have to can pasta sauce. It lasts in the freezer for about 6 months.

    Here’s a couple pics — The beginning of the sauce and what it looked like when it was done. I cooked it for just over 3 hrs because of the amt of tomatoes I had.

    • Hi Ellen,
      Would you be kind enough to share the special way to can and then freeze the sauce? I really want to do this with the batch I made. It was fantastic! I also used vidalias.

      • Hi Tara,

        I just made 7 more quarts (4 cups = 32 oz or 1 quart). I used 50 lbs of tomatoes and I did the recipe using 25 lbs each. After the sauce had cooled down I measured 4 cups of sauce in a plastic freezer container. I kept doing this until I filled 9 quarts of sauce (the 2nd box of 25 lbs I only got 8 quarts of sauce out of that batch. I used my hand blender to get the sauce all blended before putting them in the storage containers. Besides the ingredients above I did add some dry Italian seasoning to make up for not having enough basil for the recipe. I also use a small amt of rosemary and I used lemon thyme. I kept tasting it during the cooking process till I got the “wow” taste factor.

        By using the hand blender it does thin down the sauce (marinara is usually thiner). After I got the sauces in the containers (you need containers that will give you at least a 1/2 in clearance from the top — overfilling will cause it to expand during the freezing process. I just took out a container today and it was rather thin. So, I took a small can of tomato paste and added it to the sauce plus added some more seasonings from the garden. Then I let it simmer for an hour … It’s a huge success with my family — I noticed that mine came out looking orange (I think it was the carrots), but it doesn’t take away the flavor of the sauce.

      • Hi Tara,

        I just made 17 more quarts (4 cups = 32 oz or 1 quart). I used 50 lbs of tomatoes and I did the recipe using 25 lbs each. After the sauce had cooled down I measured 4 cups of sauce in a plastic freezer container. I kept doing this until I filled 9 quarts of sauce (the 2nd box of 25 lbs I only got 8 quarts of sauce out of that batch. I used my hand blender to get the sauce all blended before putting them in the storage containers. Besides the ingredients above I did add some dry Italian seasoning to make up for not having enough basil for the recipe. I also use a small amt of rosemary and I used lemon thyme. I kept tasting it during the cooking process till I got the “wow” taste factor.

        By using the hand blender it does thin down the sauce (marinara is usually thiner). After I got the sauces in the containers (you need containers that will give you at least a 1/2 in clearance from the top — overfilling will cause it to expand during the freezing process. I just took out a container today and it was rather thin. So, I took a small can of tomato paste and added it to the sauce plus added some more seasonings from the garden. Then I let it simmer for an hour … It’s a huge success with my family — I noticed that mine came out looking orange (I think it was the carrots), but it doesn’t take away the flavor of the sauce.

      • To do water-bath canning of tomato sauce, you need to get the pH too low for botulism to grow. That’s below 4.5 (so aim for 4.4 or lower). Use pH test strips to check the acidity, and if the pH is too high, add citric acid (sold with the canning supplies at your local hardware store). A lot of people assume tomatoes are acidic enough that you don’t have to worry about it, but it varies heavily between different varieties of tomato and probably also growing conditions. Beyond that, leave the usual 1/2″ of headspace and process as usual (the Ball Blue Book says 35 minutes for pint jars and 40 minutes for quarts).

  9. I made this sauce last night. It is really delicious! Thank you for sharing it!

  10. Most tomato sauces like this require sugar to help w/ the acidity of the tomatoes. Well, adding the carrots is the sweetener which makes this recipe diabetic friendly. Usually the stuff you buy in the store spikes my sugar levels. The honey is done in small amounts.. When I ate my dinner (I also use whole grain pasta) my levels didn’t spike. So, this is a keeper for me… Plus the grandkids get some veggies to when they eat..

    • You can always use orange tomatoes, like I grew this year. They have extremely low acidity, so no need for sugar, and a much greater amount of digestible lycopene than the red. Yes, the sauce would be orange – I haven’t actually tried making sauce with them yet, but plan to.

      I still prefer red tomatoes because I like the acidity.

      • Due to acid reflux issues, I’ve made it w orange low acid tomatoes and it was amazing! There isn’t any difference. It is simmering as I type and I am so excited for the finished result to pour over baked turkey meatballs! I used one shallot and a few cloves of garlic as they aren’t great for heartburn sufferers. Make sure you make the full amount bc cutting it in 1/2 won’t have enough tomatoes to make a sauce. You can just freeze it anyway. I always make double! Delicious, my fave and the best! Thank you!

    • I use a bit of balsamic vinegar. It cuts the acidity in taste yet adds a sweetness that doesn’t come from sugar or other sweetener.

      • How much balsamic?

    • Deborah ,
      You might want to Try, Einkorn Pasta. It comes from Italy, 1000’s of years old & is making a come back. Its the Real Pasta, and No Gmo. My large market carries it, but I’m sure that Whole foods does also.
      Low in Gluten , does Not spike blood sugar..and its Very Healthy.

      I have nothing to do with Einkorn, just love this. I do not have a blood sugar problem, but I sometimes have a guest that does. (Brother in-law etc)
      They love this pasta, and love that there blood sugar does not spike up after eating Einkorn pasta.

  11. Ok, this sounds like just what i have been looking for. I can lots. How many quarts does this make?

  12. When to add the honey?

  13. I am curious how many quarts this makes for canning too! Freezer is full from the rest of the harvest but this sounds fantastic!

  14. This was my first time making homemade tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes, so I followed your recipe to a T,(although I halved the recipe) and after 1 hour and a half of simmering, I noticed that it became more of a paste than a sauce!!! My husband tells me it’s because I covered the pot, and should have left it uncovered, but I feel it’s something else! Please help!!! I don’t want to give up!

    • The complete opposite happened to me. This is the second time I used fresh tomatoes for pasta sauce. Although this was my most successful attempt (from this recipe), it as unfortunately still too watery for perfection (approx 20%). I had to drain the sauce a bit in a colander in the end to reveal the semi-homogeneous tomato sauce (almost salsa like). I would love if my tomato sauce concoction was almost “puree like” because it’d be easy to remedy. How can I get this sauce to be thicker?? I forgot to put the grated carrots until the end- was this the cause of the watery excess?

      • I found that using an immersible blender helps make sauce a smooth texture. I waited until the sauce cooled off a bit and then blended it right in the pot.

      • If your pasta sauce is watery, leave the lid off and boil at med-low until it reduces to your desired consistency.

        I didn’t add the honey, the carrot was enough. I deglazed my onions with wine and cook my meatballs in the sauce, the balls stay together better and the flavour can’t be beat. Yum! Thanks for the recipe.

  15. Going to try this for tonight! Im also going to add some cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Yum Yum. Thank you!!

  16. I attempted making this but it was nowhere near as red as the picture above. Good flavor, clean eating taste…but rather pink and watery vs red and thick? Any ideas? First timer here

    • how long did you boil the sauce for? I just made this recipe like 20 min ago and I boiled it for 1 hr and it ended up being deep red that was rich and thick 🙂

      YOU GOT TO GET YOUR HANDS ON A metal mesh splatter screen, this is you to boil the sauce without a lid. NO lid means water vapor can leave, so the only thing your left with is a rich non-watered-down-sauce.


  17. Thanks for the recipe, I made a big batch yesterday after scoring a box of tomatoes from the farmers market. I made a pasta for dinner tonight and it is amazing, I’m going to make another batch and store it in jars, no more store bought pasta sauce for me.

  18. I JUST MADE THIS FOR ALL MY FRIENDS AND THEY LOVED IT! I didnt use tomatoes or boil for 2 hours (boiled for 1 hr cause I got to hungry :), i would have loved to use fresh tomatoes prepared like you mentioned but I am in medical school and didnt have the time. I used 2 jars of sauce: Ragu (usually gross on its on)and some other brand)… Even though i used those cheap sauces, i followed the recipe and the trick with the Carretand honey works!! I WILL BE FOLLOWING YOUR RECIPE FOR NOW ON! THANKS!

  19. Does it need to simmer uncovered?

  20. I was given a crate of tomatoes so decided to try your pasta sauce! I have it all done and it smells great, but the color is more like a dark carrot soup. I’m sure it will still taste great – just have to get past the color. 🙂 Probably silly, but did I do something wrong?

    My daughter just tasted it…”Very Good!”

    • It can just be how certain tomatoes darken when cooked. The flavor should still be good though 🙂

      • It was good…had it for supper! The color was a bit to get over…at least for me. 🙂 Do you have any suggestions of something I could add to it to get the more normal color of pasta sauce? Thanks for your help.

  21. Thanks for this recipe. I was wondering how long this sauce would last if put in to jars as I have a glut of tomatoes at the end of the season and I’d like to make quite a few jars to last through the winter?

    • It might… Always follow canning instructions for your canning system… Different systems have different recommendations on how to preserve certain foods, and varying lengths of time they will stay preserved. You could also freeze the sauce.

  22. Hello,
    I was wondering if I divided the recipe in half, if it would all still work properly, or would it mess up the recipe?


  23. I made this sauce today and it was marvelous! The only extra Ingredient I added was 1/2 cup of Burgundy red wine. Thank you so much for the recipe!

  24. How much sauce does this recipe make? I’m trying to estimate how many tomatoes to buy so I can make a year’s supply. Thanks!

  25. Do you cook the sauce uncovered?

      • What does “uncovered” “with a somewhat open lid” mean? My sauce is simmering now and smells delicious. I anticipate a wonderful dish. I am wondering how many home cooks could do the prep on this recipe in 10 minutes?! It took me that long to do the tomatoes!

  26. Amazing… I too didn’t know when to add the honey so I added with tomatoes. Turned out wonderfully. Will definitely make this again. Thank you!!

  27. Is this sauce more of a sweet sauce?…. I usually like the acidy salty taste… I just wasn’t sure with the honey and carrots if it would be too sweet?… Or should I just cut those measuremens in half?… Or if I leave out all together will it ruin the recipe?

    • I don’t think it is too sweet, but everyone’s taste is a little different. The safest thing might be to try a small batch as-is, and then adjust as you think will be best, if necessary.

  28. This is fabulous. I had garden fresh tomatoes and needed a sauce that specifically asked for fresh toms, not canned. I am not the best scratch cook, but this made the family very happy! They might let me cook again!

  29. I used your recipe as a “jumping off” point because it looked so good, but with the exception of the tomatoes, [4 cloves instead of 8 ]garlic, [1 large instead of 3 medium]onion and bay leaf I ended up doing things very different.

    We happen to have incredibly sweet tomatoes and we don’t like sweet sauce, so no carrot, no honey – I remember my Mom always putting carrots and sugar in our sauce growing up. And it was good, but now I like it less sweet.

    I used dried Italian herbs because that is what I had on hand. I let mine simmer for over 4 hours and added 1 small amount of tomato paste after hour 3. To stretch the sauce to two quarts I also added 2 cups of plain tomato sauce at that time.

    I did simmer it with the lid on. Stirring occasionally. It cooked down beautifully and although I didn’t need to [and it would have left the sauce ever so slightly chunky] I used my immersion blender to smooth it out.

    I didn’t peel or seed my tomatoes either.

    The reason I wanted to leave a comment is you recipe is spot on, and I am sure if I had followed all your steps it would’ve come out just fine. The other commentators seem to think so too – so bravo to you! I didn’t rate because I didn’t make your sauce, but did want to say thanks for sharing what I am sure is a great final product.

    PS I made lasagna roll ups with the sauce and tomorrow night we will have stuffed peppers, so thanks again for the inspiration.

    • Just have your pint or quart jars washed, Put new lids in boiling water to sterilize, Cook your sauce, when done put the sauce into the hot jars, seal with lids and rings, pressure can at 5 lb. pressure for 5 min. I’ve canned for 60 yrs. and I never have any spoiled jars of canned goods…I can veggies to meats to soup and love them all…Great all year and will keep for years…Just do it and enjoy!!

  30. Don’t really like sweet sauce, can I omit the carrotand honey, or use just one? Can you use dried herbe enstead of fresh? Have lots of tomatoes, but not fresh herbs. Would love to try recipe and be able to can it right after cooking, how would I go about doing that?

  31. Can it be added to a slow cooker to simmer.

  32. Is it 5lbs after seeded and peeled or before?

  33. This was awesome! I left out carrots and used dried spices (all that I had on hand). Cooked with lid half on for 2.5 hours. It wasn’t too acidic either. My tomatoes were very ripe. Thank you for sharing!

  34. I made this recipe last week and I can say it is keeper. Husband gives it a big thumbs up. I am sensitive to onion and garlic so I added a very small amount of powdered in place of the fresh and did not have any issues, also added a pinch of red pepper flakes for seasoning. Got more tomatoes coming on the vines and plan to make a batch and freeze it. Sure glad I found this recipe. Thank you!

  35. I made this sauce tonight while it did taste good, it came out more orange than red. Why would that happen? Is it because I used fresh tomatoes?

      • This recipe is delicious!!! The aromas in the house and the taste were simply wonderful. I used red Roma (plum) tomatoes and the color turned orange as well, but still, it is (was) delicious. There was enough for 8 servings. I will be serving this again. Question: Could the color change to orange due to using a blender instead of an immersion blender to puree sauce? If so, an immersion blender is on my shopping list.

        • I believe blending will make it orange; I made tomato soup using onions celery etc, and had to blend it in my blender before canning, it turned light orange/red color.

  36. Hi, I was wondering what type of tomatoes would be best for this sauce? I’ve made this sauce a couple times and it always turns out orange for me. I would love to make a deeply red rich sauce like pictured. 🙂

  37. This pasta sauce was incredible! I have made a few other sauce recipes so far, and this one is by far the best. The carrot worked perfect to counter the acidity, and the seasonings were just right. Thank you for giving me an authentic italian pasta sauce to add to my recipe book! I am just about to make my second batch of sauce today with my abundance of roma tomatoes. The only thing I did different was to add a little heavy whipping cream at the end, because I like my sauce to be a little creamier and more orange in color. Thank you so much!

  38. Maybe consider adding the direction on the honey in the original recipe at the beginning, I had to do a bit of searching to find out when to add. Mine is simmering right now.

  39. How many medium tomatoes make up 5lbs?

  40. Made this recipe tonight for my family..absolutely wonderful!! Followed the recipe exactly except I doubled the garlic 🙂 I emulsified after cooking down to hide the onions from my son..everyone loved it..and the recipe made enough for 2 dinners!!

  41. Honey Wellness Mama, I need to know when to add the honey. I also noticed the prep time is 10 minutes. What is the trick to preparing 16 tomatoes by boiling, peeling, cooling, and removing the seeds? Is that realistic enough time?

  42. OK, I come from an Italian household. This tomato “sauce” was terrible. Not even remotely authentic. Don’t waste your time.

  43. If you come from an authentic Italian family… why’d you need this recipe in the first place? Boom.

  44. The only ingredient I have for this recipe so far are the tomatoes. Living on Long Island, my hubby and I took a ride out to the northern fork where farmland and farm stands are abundant. So I went a little crazy with the tomatoes, which are mouthwatering! I don’t want them to go bad, so I decided to stew them and make sauce. Please, can I stew them for 2-3 hours and then FREEZE the sauce until I get the other ingredients?
    Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  45. Yes, you can prepare the tomatoes and freeze them. When you defrost them for use you can then at the spices. You’ll want to simmer the sauce for about an hour when preparing with the spices.

  46. I’m excited to try this recipe!
    Do I simmer uncovered for the whole 2-3 hours? And when adding fresh basil and bay leaves, should they be added the last 45 minutes or the beginning with all other dry ingredients?

    Thank you for sharing your recipe with us 🙂

    • yes, uncovered, though you can stop before the full time if it is done. I add fresh herbs toward the end…

  47. This recipe looks awesome, just curious how long this sauce be frozen for?

  48. Fantastic recipe.. my whole house smells amazing right now….and tastes fantastic.. I had to omit the bay leaf because i dident have any on hand but it is still great.. A keeper for sure 😀

  49. I still have this on the stove – however, prep time 10 minutes??? I was in the kitchen for 3 hours – peeling and seeding tomatoes, dicing onions, peeling and mincing garlic, etc. What am I missing??

    Also, honey is listen in the ingredients, but I dont see where/ when to add it?

  50. Fabulous, I can’t wait to try your other recipes ! I did use an immersion blender at the end to blend everything nicely.

  51. When do you add the honey??

  52. Mucho thanks for the recipe! I’m already half way there…simmering the tomatoes et al. When do you add the honey…? I should’ve asked this before I started preparing isn’t it:-)


  54. I spent several hours making this sauce today and I was so excited to try it. I agree with a few other reviews…it was not good at all and a waste of time. Thanks for sharing your recipe though. others seem to like it so that’s good. It’s just not for us for sure.

  55. Tomatoes were cheap at the store so I can bought a few kilos. Got excited in finding your recipe and it did not disappoint.
    I followed it to a ‘tee’ and ended up with a delightfully tasty deep orange tomato sauce that superbly enhanced our pasta supper.
    Thank you – I think the negative chefs should re-assess their culinary skills.
    Now to try some of your other recipes…….
    Best regards.

  56. I tried making this last night and my pasta sauce was relatively thick even after I used my immersion blender, that I can live with, but my pasta sauce was brown instead of a redish color, straight up brown… can you maybe help me out as to what might have happened?

  57. Looks like a delicious recipe. Can this sauce be frozen and used when needed?

  58. You say the color change depends on the tomato. What kind of tomato did you use?
    I got my sauce to look like the picture, but, it’s orange. It doesn’t look visually appetizing. And we eat with our eyes.

  59. I have bee researching pasta sauce recipes for the last two days and I must say this one sounds interesting. I will not rate this yet as I have not tried it but rest assured I will return once I do. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but shouldn’t simmering uncovered help with thickening of the sauce? I noticed several comments said it was a bit thin. I’m a thick chunky sauce loving kinda feller and will be testing this sauce VERY soon. I’m interested in the honey just to see what it adds to the flavor. My aunt made some AWESOME sauce I remember as I was growing up (she was always cooking something tomato based), she always had some kind of Italian sausage cooking right along with her sauces. I do wonder what the difference in the herb thyme and lemon thyme is? Should one be used above the other? Ms Katie thank you for sharing this, I’m always interested in new recipes, I belong to several recipe sharing pages on facebook always learning new tastes and flavors is an exciting hobby!!! Blessings =o)

  60. Hi I made this recipe before and it was so good there was nothing left so I need to double it this time. Besides doubling amounts is there anything else I should change about the recipe? Cooking time?

  61. Both my parents were Italian and i so miss my dads cooking and he used to make his own Salsa as he called it. I am so going to make this and then make his famous delicious Spaghetti Bolognaise 🙂

  62. YUMMMMMMMM. thank you so much for this recipe! made it yesterday with some organic heirloom tomatoes that are currently on sale at sprouts for 98 cents/lb! mine was more of a golden yellow sauce, as that’s what most of my tomatoes were. didn’t need the honey because the tomatoes were nce and sweet!

    appreciate your blog and knowledge/research so much.

  63. forgot to rate it – we all loved it!

  64. I made this yesterday. Omitted the parsley (didn’t have any) and didn’t use enough tomatoes, so it turned out more like an onion-sauce and not very red at all, but MAN was it good!!! This was fab. Took a while to make (particularly the onion-cutting part and the garlic-mincing part) but well worth it. It made enough for dinner for me and a large jar’s worth to keep in the fridge. Next time I will double or triple the batch and keep the extras in the fridge.

  65. Seriously amazing sauce! This is my first successful homemade sauce (a few tries and epic fails), and I will never by jar again. Yum! Thanks for sharing!

  66. Made this today and it was a hit! I just didn’t have a carrot our thyme on hand. The color came out orange but tasted great. Even my mother ate it and she doesn’t trust anything I cook (shes not into vegetables and non fattening food). Thank you!

  67. I am making this now but fresh basil is hard to get where I am until I am able to grow my own, I have dried basil, how much would I use?

  68. I made this sauce with my mom and hope to can it and give it to some friends. Thank you so much for sharing! Bet they’re gonna love it!

  69. I had high hopes for this recipe, even used all fresh ingredients, however it bombed terribly. We cooked it for about three hours on low heat, but the end result was nothing like a sauce. It didn’t really cook down, there was way too much onion, and aside from the chunkiness of all the raw ingredients it was also very runny. I was hoping for a thick and robust sauce, but we ended up throwing it out.

    • My sauce had the same texture when finished. I took the immersion blender to it and it is fantastic! Nice and thick and yummy. My sauce was a little tart, probably because of the tomatoes, so I tossed in some sugar. Yum, Yum! If you tasted your sauce and liked the taste try it again but blend it when it is done cooking. Much better texture.

      I do agree with the other posters that the prep time is in no way 10 minutes!

  70. I apologize if this question has been answered but much sauce does this make? When I make spaghetti I always use two 24oz jars of sauce for one dinner. I wanted to make a lot at once and freeze them so I’m trying to figure out how much ingredients I need to get. Thank!

  71. Thank you for sharing your recipe! This sauce is delicious and my family loved it! It was my first time making sauce from scratch, so the prep took a bit longer (Haha – a LOT longer). The actual cooking of the sauce went a lot more smoothly and just as described. I did not have access to fresh basil so I used 5 tsp of dried basil. This was based on the 1 tsp dried = 3 tsp fresh note on the spice bottle and my ridiculously detailed calculations. 😉 I also used a potato masher to break up the tomatoes a bit before adding the bay leaves and again after removing them. The sauce turned out saucy with just the right amount of chunkiness. So yummy! Thank you again!

  72. I made this recipe today, filing your directions, but tweaked it a bit to meet or families needs. I tripled the recipe, I had about 15lbs of tomatoes. I had to cook it down on medium low, temperature 4 on my stove, for nearly 6 hours until it became sauce. My large stock pot started out full, but after reducing reduced to half. Does that seem right?

  73. WellnessMama, I love your website and this recipe sounds amazing. One question though- I thought you recommend against cooking with olive oil? Thank you for clarification.

    • I recommend against cooking with poor quality, oxidized olive oil.

  74. Is there some reason you’re unable to edit your blog post? Many people have noted that the prep time is unrealistic, and you yourself have said several things in the comments that aren’t in the recipe, such as add the honey at the end, simmer covered with the lid tilted, and add the fresh herbs at the end. I added my herbs when you said to do it in the recipe (before simmering), so hopefully that works out.

  75. This is my first time using fresh tomatoes. I started with 5 lbs of mostly cherry tomatoes. After removing the skin and seeds I seem to have a much smaller amount than starting with. Is this normal, or should I measure the 5 lbs after seeding and peeling?

  76. Wellness mama,
    Thank you bunches and bushels for sharing this recipe. I grew extra tomatoes just so I could make your recipe! It’s by far my favorite sauce. Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into sharing much thanks,
    Ang York.

  77. We live in Michigan and grow our own hardneck garlic- super easy to grow and it’s delicious. Can’t wait to try this with the tomatoes I just picked.

  78. I have had a bumper crop of wonderful tomatoes this summer. It doesn’t always work out this way
    in the garden so I was picky when it came to finding just the right recipe to turn those precious
    tomatoes into a beautiful pasta sauce. This recipe did not disappoint. I thought it was wonderful,
    wholesome and actually quite beautiful. I’m about ready to make a 2nd batch and freeze it for
    a hearty meal in the winter. So glad I found this recipe.

  79. My wife and I tried this and we kept waiting for it to turn red. What did we miss? Followed recipe precisely

  80. Thank you so much for this recipe. I made a batch from our tomatoes and it is lovely. We have put it in the freezer, in ziplock bags, and I can’t wait to try it with pasta. So much nicer than the strongly flavoured tinned tomatoes or bought sauces. Love it! ?

  81. This is absolutely the best sauce I’ve ever made. I am not Italian but grew up with them. I love Italian foods. I was young and stupid and wish I paid attention to how things were made. Thanks Mama!!

  82. I am enjoying some of this pasta sauce right this minute.

    Prep time was much more like an hour, though I had it split up across 3 days to peel, seed, cook, and blend. I made the mistake of having the pot covered while cooking for the 3 hours. I figured it out after reading a few comments and turned the stove back on without the pot cover for another hour. For my batch, blending was required for a sauce-like consistency. I blended about 2/3 of the batch so I could still enjoy some of the chunks. I did not add the honey; I didn’t think it needed it. My sauce was orange-red, no surprise. For a deeper coloring, I would have needed to simmer longer, or added some tomato paste, which I did not due to time and I wanted a completely homemade sauce.

    In future, I will use more than 5 lbs. of tomatoes in relation to other ingredients, perhaps 5 lbs. after the peeling and seeding rather than 5 lbs. before prep-work is started. I will cook uncovered for 3 hours before blending. And, I will use the honey.

    Your recipe makes a great, fresh sauce, and it is very similar to a tomato bisque I like to make in the winter. Freezing it and adding some cream after reheating it would be pretty similar to the tomato bisque and a great round-two.

  83. What is the nutrition for this sauce?

  84. I have been using an adaptation of this recipe this fall to make several cans of pasta sauce. I am also writing a food column twice a month and wanted to include a pasta sauce recipe. Would you consent to me using my recipe, which is adapted from your own? I will give credit where it is due. Thank you!

    • If you’ve adapted the recipe and changed it, I’m fine with you sharing with attribution 🙂

  85. Homemade tomato sauce is the bomb. I use German Johnson tomatoes because they’re not real acidic so they don’t bother my stomach and I can eat more of them. I just cut out the stem and slice them up into the pot, skin and all. I use tomatoes I grew or organic so I know they aren’t covered with pesticides. The skin adds nutrients and thickens the sauce slightly. You don’t need to add water, just fill a pot with them and boil them down to near the consistency you want, then add your spices. It takes a while for the sauce to thicken so don’t start the tomatoes at the last minute. You can brown ground beef and add it while the tomatoes are cooking down to tenderize it more. Just make sure to drain all the grease out of the beef before you add it to the sauce. I leave my sauce a little runny and add onions and bell peppers shortly before I serve the sauce, al denote I think they call it. My husband had serious doubts but after three platefuls said it was the best spaghetti he’d ever eaten. And he’s a soul food man! Had to get him off those blood pressure pills! Try it, you’ll like it………..

  86. As luscious as this sounds to me, my hubby gets the “trots” unless I cook the tomatoes for much longer. My favorite pasta sauce is Rao’s… It used to be Hunt’s, but I’m getting much better! Any suggestions on how to get closer to those, rather than just more like simmered tomatoes??

  87. I make tons of my own during tomato season and freeze for the rest of the year. Some is just roasted tomatoes pureed in my Vitamix. That way if I want the tomatoes for chili or some other non-Italian sauce I’m set. The other sauce is similar to yours. Tomatoes, onions, carrot, garlic, but I add sweet peppers and celery. I roast it all, add fresh herbs and puree.

    • HELP! Followed recipe to the “T”. It tastes good but it is a cream color, not RED. I used Canada grown Beef Steak Tomatoes. I pureed it a little but very juicy even after removing Seeds from Tomatoes–boy is that a job. What did I do wrong?

  88. Bernie,
    I used a combination of Mortgage Lifter, Jet Setter and German Johnson tomatoes last summer to make
    this spectacular pasta sauce. It was an orange color when it was done. We just had the last of it at a BD celebration last week (frozen from last August). My daughter in law commented how it tasted “so delicious, like a fresh garden pasta.” You didn’t do anything wrong. Just go ahead and enjoy!

  89. I’m making this sauce as I type. I’ve never made my own sauce so I’m excited to try it after reading all the amazing comments.

    However I have one question, the last thing in the ingredients is honey. I don’t see where you add the honey, it isn’t in the directions. I read them over and over…. anyone know????

  90. Can anyone give me the nutritional value of this sauce per serving and how much a serving would be? I made this a couple of days ago and canned it. I absolutely love it! It has a light fresh taste and compliments many dishes requiring a basic tomato sauce. I blended mine to make it more saucy rather than chunky. I plan on making zucchini boats tonight and using this sauce. 🙂

    • There are apps you can download and I out your ingredients that will give you the nutritional values.

  91. I made this last night and followed the recipe exactly!! it turned out perfectly. I left the tomatoes chunky, which in my opinion is a great idea because it was the perfect texture for the sauce. The last hour I left the cover off to boil off some of the water. The sauce is really flavorful and fresh! I prefer a more tangy sauce and this one is really sweet but definitely a nice change!

  92. At what point do you add in the honey?

  93. Wow, delicious!! Probably the brightest and sweetest sauce I’ve ever had. I loved it, and I also loved getting to eat the boiled carrot at the end!

  94. I’m planning on making meatballs, and the recipe I have says to flash fry them and then simmer them in the sauce. After this sauce has been simmering for a while, can I add the meatballs and kill to birds with one stone? Or should I wait until the sauce is finished? I plan on leaving it chunky.

  95. I made this twice and it was just excellent! Thanks a lot for sharing this.

  96. I have made this recipe 3 times in the last 2 weeks and each time it gets better. I LOVE IT!! My husband has to watch his sodium intake and he can’t have any preservatives so everything is made from scratch and with fresh ingredients. (nothing out of the can) I use 9 whole tomatoes, remove the seeds and then puree them before adding it to the pot. Texture comes out perfect every single time. It’s easy for him to digest and he is able to enjoy eating again.

    Thank you so much for this recipe!

  97. I can’t find Thyme Bay leaves anywhere. Suggestions?

  98. I am going to give this a go. I have been making my own sauce for years but with canned puree and the such. But i have been adding zucchini, mushroom, onion, green pepper to mine which i puree the veggies to hide them in the sauce as i dont like chunks. My sauce has always been a hit but i want to try fresh. So we shall see how it goes. OKay, canning. i can make this much simpler for you guys. We have been doing it this way for years with only a couple of fails. We can sauce, chili, pinto beans, (yes with meat in them), jams, blueberry sauce, etc. Cook whatever you are cooking and get it plenty hot. And yes i cook in my crock pot as well as in pots. Just make sure the food is very hot. Put your jars in the oven at 200 degrees for maybe 20 minutes or so. Put lids and rings in water that you will bring to a boil and let them boil for maybe 10 to 15 minutes. Oh make sure you start with clean jars. We used new LIDS every time as i dont beleive in reusing them. But i will reuse the rings. Time to can. Take one jar at a time out of oven with tongs, put a canning funnel in the jar, fill with food almost to the top of jar but do not over fill at the top. Quickly take out the lid and ring that have been boiling and place on the jar. Tighten with a pot holder to seal the jar, and set it aside on hot pads. Then on to the next jar till you are done. You will hear a loud pop to tell you the jar has sealed. If it doesnt pop then you know it was a fail and you have to put it in the fridge. Check the ring as if it sealed then the center will not have a slight hump as it was be flat. You have to move very very fast and possibly get burned to do this process. That is why my husband does the hot stuff and i fill the jars. haha. Let them cool. Label your jars with date and what is in the jar and put in your pantry. As of yet, we have had two occossions that we have gotten a nasty odor from the pantry that a jar has come unsealed, in over 20 years of doing it this way. We have not had any poisoning to occur. Oh and i have canned cooked pears and apples this way too.

  99. I made the version with fresh tomatoes and it came out… orange?? Anyone know what I did wrong?

    I wasn’t sure if the tomatoes were meant to go in in halves after I scooped the seeds, or chunks. I cut it into chunks because I figured that’s how it would come out of a can.

    It also was very liquidy. Help!

  100. I am bit concerned because she didn’t explain the stages of the tomato in cooking.
    Is nothing like dicing the fresh tomatoes and adding them to canned one in the sauce?


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