Authentic Homemade Spaghetti Sauce (Fresh or Canned Tomatoes)

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spaghetti sauce
Wellness Mama » Blog » Recipes » Authentic Homemade Spaghetti Sauce (Fresh or Canned Tomatoes)

Authentic Italian food is a big tradition in our family. Over the years I’ve come up with plenty of healthy twists on our favorite Italian dishes that fit our lifestyle. One of the most delicious recipes is this homemade spaghetti sauce that goes great on rice noodles, zucchini noodles, and of course homemade meatballs.

Why Homemade Pasta Sauce?

Years ago I became privy to my Nonna’s best spaghetti 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. It’s great on homemade “spaghetti” and meatballs, especially with a little parmesan cheese.

I’m sharing my variations of both today:

How to Make Pasta Sauce from Fresh or Canned Tomatoes

If you’re working from fresh tomatoes, use the first recipe. If you’re using canned tomatoes, use the second. I cook this on the stovetop, but you could also simmer them down in a Crockpot or slow cooker if preferred.

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

This spaghetti sauce is great for an easy weeknight dinner, especially if you can it for later. Plus we think it tastes a lot better than jarred sauce from the store.


spaghetti sauce

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce With Fresh Tomatoes

Authentic tomato marinara sauce from fresh tomatoes, basil, and garlic.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Calories 144kcal
Author Katie Wells


8 servings




  • Grate half of the carrot.
  • Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • When hot, add the diced onions to the olive oil and saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add the minced garlic and grated carrot and saute for 2-3 minutes longer or until onions are translucent and tender.
  • Add the tomatoes, chopped basil leaves, oregano, thyme bay leaves, parsley, and sea salt.
  • Simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours or until cooked down and starting to darken.
  • Add carrot piece for the last 30 minutes to absorb acidity while the sauce thickens.
  • Remove the sprigs of fresh herbs, bay leaves, and piece of carrot.
  • Optional: Use an immersion blender to puree sauce until smooth (for a thicker sauce, skip this step).
  • Use fresh or store in the refrigerator up to 1 week, or can it according to your canner’s instructions for tomato products.


Nutrition Facts
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce With Fresh Tomatoes
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 144 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Sodium 313mg14%
Potassium 778mg22%
Carbohydrates 19g6%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 3722IU74%
Vitamin C 44mg53%
Calcium 53mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


To peel fresh tomatoes (or peaches) cut a small “x” on the top and drop into boiling water for 10 seconds and then drop into an ice bath. The skin will easily peel off.
spaghetti sauce

30 Minute Homemade Spaghetti Sauce With Canned Tomatoes

If a two-hour simmer time isn’t your thing, this recipe tastes almost as good and cooks in much less time. This is my go-to on a busy night when I have 30 minutes to turn a pound of ground beef into dinner.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Calories 158kcal
Author Katie Wells


8 servings




  • Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized or large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until soft, about 5 minutes
  • Add minced garlic and saute for another minute.
  • Then, add tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 10-15 minutes to let flavors meld. (Can simmer longer if desired for a thicker sauce with a deeper flavor).
  • Serve over spaghetti noodles or pasta of choice.


Nutrition Facts
30 Minute Homemade Spaghetti Sauce With Canned Tomatoes
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 158 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Sodium 577mg25%
Potassium 865mg25%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 761IU15%
Vitamin C 26mg32%
Calcium 102mg10%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • For a thinner sauce that works better for pizza, chicken parmesan, etc, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.
  • This recipe yields about 4 cups of sauce.

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

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.

It works great with Italian sausage, beef, and even ground turkey. I’ll often serve it with zucchini noodles and chopped up bell peppers for extra veggies.

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’s really no reason to can the recipe made from canned tomatoes since it’s quick to whip up and there’s no need for the extra step.

Canning Instructions for Homemade Tomato Sauce

I follow these instructions for canning my homemade tomato sauce. There’s some debate if it’s 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 sometimes not quite acidic enough. One solution is to add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice per pint for canning or check the pH to make sure it is 4.4 or below.

I prefer to just pressure can according to my pressure canner instructions. 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 the plastic in freezer bags. You can also freeze this sauce in any airtight container once it has cooled.

What are your favorite ways to use spaghetti sauce? Leave a comment and let me know!


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



Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


253 responses to “Authentic Homemade Spaghetti Sauce (Fresh or Canned Tomatoes)”

  1. Regina Avatar

    5 stars
    This sauce is simmering right now. Had to use canned san marzano tomatoes, but it is full of flavor from the spices and other fresh ingredients. Looking forward to dinner tonight!

  2. Sarah Young Avatar
    Sarah Young

    5 stars
    Hello – I made your canned tomato sauce recipe and really liked it. Now I want to duplicate but using fresh tomatoes and canning them in quart jars. The ingredients in your fresh tomato sauce recipe differ from the “Pick Your Own” recipe link – can I use your ingredients (plus the lemon juice) and then follow their instructions for how to prepare, cook and can the jars?

  3. Christine Avatar

    5 stars
    This is probably a silly question but I’m going to ask it anyway. Why do you take out the fresh herbs? I would rather use fresh out of my garden but wouldn’t chopping them up and leaving them in there make it taste better? Other than quantity does it really matter since you would leave the dried herbs except the bay leaves in there?

  4. Terri M Avatar
    Terri M

    There seem to be a lot of the same questions asked, but I read them all and didn’t see the answer to mine so here goes. I am overrun with cherry and grape tomatoes from the garden this year and want to try to make sauce from them. I can’t imagine peeling and seeding 5 or 10 lbs of their small size! Would they work in this recipe if I don’t peel and seed them? Or is there a shortcut to peeling them you know of? Thank you for your time. Looking forward to trying your recipe.

    1. Kristin Avatar

      Terri, I’ll often throw them on a parchment lined pan with garlic, sliced onions, and some sea or kosher salt and roast on 350° for about 30 minutes. I’ll let them cool, throw them in food processor, and blend them. It makes a good base for another sauce or just good like that. I’ll do this with tomatoes that are on the brink of going bad and then stockpile it in the freezer (again, no plastic, the acid leaches the chemicals and the flavor of the plastic) and then throw it all in a pot down the road.

  5. Miss E. Avatar
    Miss E.

    5 stars
    I made this with fresh tomatoes and added a little chili. It’s so delicious you can eat it alone!

  6. Francesca Avatar

    Can I use the 2 hour recipe but with canned tomatoes? Or is that too long for canned tomatoes??

  7. Caroline Avatar

    5 stars
    I just made this with the canned tomatoes and it was amazing…the first time my pasta sauce was this good. I love my food right now. 🙂 Thank you so so much!

  8. Richard Asmus Avatar
    Richard Asmus

    What if I make sauce from fresh fomatoes but DON’T PEEL them, only dice them? I know bits of skin would appear in the sauce and would probably not be digestible. But would it change the flavor?

      1. Richard Asmus Avatar
        Richard Asmus

        5 stars
        Well, then, now I have to try it to let you know. Thanks for all you do.

  9. Kristina Avatar

    I’ve been looking for a homemade sauce for a while now. One that has no chunks in it at all. When the sauce is finished is it ok to put it in a blender until smooth? I’ve done that with Ragu and it separates weird. Pretty gross! Your recipe says that it will be thinner, what can I do to thicken it? I plan on making the recipe with the fresh tomatoes. Also what is the best way to defrost the sauce if I freeze it? Thank you so much for your help.

  10. James Avatar

    I’m currently making the sauce now, and I’m a little confused about letting the it simmer. There’s currently no liquid in the pot. I did cut everything down to a quarter of the recipe, but I ended up just adding more oil, as that was the only liquid used in the fresh tomato recipe. If anyone has made this or is just a more experienced cook then I am can you help me out. I’ll let you know how my current try turns out.

  11. DD Frosch Avatar

    5 stars
    I have tried numerous times and recipes to make a great or even good pasta sauce. I used Cento Italian canned tomatoes and blended them a bit with an immersion blender in the cooking pan. I added 2 medium carrots and blended them after they softened as the sauce was still to acid for my taste. All the herbs were dried and after 4 hours of simmer with 2 lbs of ground sirloin burger this sauce recipe recieved 5 out of 5 stars from my family. Best I have made and possibly best I have ever had. Thanks for posting it. Can hardly wait until local tomatoes are in season to make the fresh tomato recipe!

  12. Parbina Avatar

    This sounds delicious, thanks so much for sharing. If I wanted to add some heat to this sauce (the fresh tomato recipe one) what would you recommend? Fresh chopped chilies or dried chilli flakes? I also love to make tomato sauce with red pepper flakes. And that stage during the recipe would you say its best to add this?

  13. Johana Avatar

    5 stars
    Hey! Love the recipe I plan to make it for dinner but for the yield, I’m new at cooking so does it feed 6-8 people? Or what does it mean?

  14. Kate Avatar

    The recipes sound solid, but you do need to rename your 10-minute sauce to at least 30-minute, probably more like 45-minute sauce. The times stated in the recipe are 15 to 20 minutes (thus definitely not 10 minutes), but cooks also need to allow time for the sauce to come to a boil (at least 5 but probably more like 10 minutes), plus you don’t allow for prep/chopping time. Even your very cute infographic calls for much more than 10 minutes. I suggest renaming it to 45-minute sauce.

    The prep time for your fresh sauce is a minimum 30 minutes, not the 10 minutes stated, and that’s for an experienced cook. There is no way that fresh tomatoes can be blanched, peeled, and chopped in 10 minutes, never mind chopping and grating the other vegetables. I’d even give it longer as cooks unfamiliar with the recipe or using fresh tomatoes will be slower with the process. I suggest indicating 45 minutes prep.

    No need to publish this comment, just some notes from a long-time cooking teacher.

  15. Michelle Avatar

    when making the 10 minute sauce do you drain the cans of tomatoes or pour liquid and tomatoes in?

  16. Fleur Kemp Avatar
    Fleur Kemp

    Hi could you please tell me how many jars would it make with using the 5lbs of tomatoes and all the other ingredients or is it just 2 jars. I am in Australia so we work in grams and cups.

    Thanks heaps love the recipe 🙂

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