How To Make Tomato Sauce From Scratch

Tina Ferris is a freelance writer, teacher, and creator of the recipe journal, More Please Recipes.  Her photographs and recipe selections are inspiring and reflect a deep love and respect for whole ingredients and slow cooking methods. Currently, Tina is developing content for a new blog centered on unprocessed foods and products due to go live at the beginning of the new year. You can reach her through her Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest pages.

Homemade Tomato Sauce from Scratch

From-scratch tomato sauce is an absolute necessity in my home.  It’s great to have tomato sauce on hand when making pasta dishes, soups, or chilis.  And the best thing about this recipe is that you know exactly where every ingredient came from.  Often times, grocery store tomato sauce offerings (even the organic ones) are filled with sodium and (for the non-organic ones) even sugar.  Other bizarre ingredients that can be found in tomato sauce include high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, and natural flavors.  One of the most important reasons to eat unprocessed is that it’s a simple demonstration that you are a well-informed consumer.  Simply put: why would anyone eat weird ingredients they’ve never heard of when they could eat unprocessed?

With an ingredient list like water, tomatoes, a pinch of salt, and optional olive oil, you can be certain this recipe is entirely in your hands.  To make sure it is even more unprocessed during your October challenge, select organic, pesticide-free tomatoes from your local farmers market.  They will taste better and be super fresh.  They may even be cheaper if you select “old uglies” as my favorite farmer describes them.  These are the types of tomatoes that maybe fell off the stem a bit earlier, are bruised, or are so ripe they are about to burst.  These are the tomatoes you want.  If your “old uglies” are abundant, opt specifically for roma tomatoes for your sauce.  Roma tomatoes contain a small amount of seeds and are very meaty.

As for equipment, you’ll need a stockpot of boiling water, tongs, large bowl for ice bath, and a large skillet.  The taste of this sauce is pure, a bit like sunshine, and something you can feel good about eating gobs of.

This recipe is really a tomato sauce base.  The amount shown here only yields a small batch of about four cups.  But, the more you make, you can jar it for the future and freeze it.  When you’re ready, reheat it on the stovetop with your favorite spices or just use it plain.

Homemade Tomato Sauce from Scratch
4.29 from 7 votes

Tomato Sauce

This recipe is really a tomato sauce base.  The amount shown here only yields a small batch of about four cups.  But, the more you make, you can jar it for the future and freeze it.

Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Yield 4 cups
Calories 143 kcal
Author Tina Ferris


  • 4-5 pounds very ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt


  1. Bring a large stockpot of water to a boil.
  2. One by one, use tongs to place each tomato into the boiling water. Leave each tomato for about 30-45 seconds. Then, use tongs to remove each tomato and place immediately into an ice water bath in a large bowl.
  3. This is my favorite part. The skins of the tomatoes will crack and start to peel; all you have to do is simply peel the skins off completely. (You can save these skins to make your own hearty tomato paste!)
  4. Using a knife, quarter each of the tomatoes and cut away ant of the hard pieces.
  5. Now, it's time to squeeze out the seeds and excess water. Place an empty bowl on your work surface and squeeze out the seeds and liquid. Place the drained tomatoes in a strainer and allow them to strain longer. Don’t worry if you don’t get every seed out. The point is not perfection; the point is rustic, homemade goodness.
  6. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Place the tomatoes in the skillet and bring to a boil.
  7. Bring the heat down to a simmer. There is no need to break apart the tomatoes. Over time, they will simmer down and break apart. Simmer for at least 45 minutes. You may simmer longer depending on your desired thickness. Less time results in a chunkier sauce whereas more time will result in a thinner one. At the end, finish it off with a pinch of organic sea salt and stir it in. Enjoy!
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October 18, 2012 7:53 pm

Thank you SO MUCH Lynn! This looks great and just what I was looking for!

Tina @ MorePleaseRecipes
October 21, 2012 11:35 am
Reply to  Colleen

Thanks for helping each other out Colleen and Lynn. Sorry I didn’t get back sooner!

October 18, 2012 7:15 pm
October 17, 2012 1:15 pm

4 stars
Tina, I, too, would love to have the tomato paste recipe. Where can I find the bacon and eggs blog?

October 9, 2012 11:02 am

Just wanted to say thanks. I’m making a slew of homemade Mexican dishes this week and was feeling ambitious so I decided to make this tomato sauce rather than using canned. And then it was so easy that “ambitious” had nothing to do with it–so I’ll be doing this all the time now. Thanks! 🙂

Does anyone have links to a great site for instructions on canning? Never done it, want to try…

October 8, 2012 9:16 am

Great replies, Tina. Thank you so much!

October 7, 2012 7:37 pm

Great idea and recipe. Thank you! Please explain this more:
“squeeze out the seeds and excess water. Place an empty bowl on your work surface and squeeze out the seeds and liquid.”

Do the seeds come out just by picking up a tomato and squeezing? I’d think the whole tomato would fall apart. No?

Tina @ MorePleaseRecipes
October 7, 2012 11:19 pm
Reply to  marge201

The seeds really do just ooze right out. I use my hand to squeeze them and use a spoon (or my thumb) to hook into the tomato and scoop out the inner seeds and liquid. All that’s left is the tomato flesh in your hands. I’ve really never had a problem with them falling apart. Happy cooking!

October 7, 2012 5:58 pm

With some excess tomatoes, I made a great Tomato Carrot soup just frying up a clove of garlic in coconut oil, adding 5 cut up tomatoes, cooking til soft & then puréeing it all in my bullet. Put back in pan & added finely chopped carrots & cooked til just soft. A little crunch & great fresh real flavor. I’m definitely trying this sauce when my brother brings my next batch of tomatoes.
Question: if adding garlic, would you add it at the olive oil stage?? My brother grows garlic too so I incorporate that into many meals.

Tina @ MorePleaseRecipes
October 7, 2012 11:16 pm
Reply to  Linda

Yes, that’s when I would add it. I usually make a bunch of sauce and then reheat it when I’m ready. So, if I want to add garlic, I start by heating the olive oil, then adding the garlic, and lastly, adding the sauce to reheat. Hope this is helpful; your soup sounds lovely!

Jessica Marie
October 7, 2012 5:03 pm

This sounds so yummy! My parents canned a lot when I was a child due to our lack of money, but now I see it as a very good option.

October 7, 2012 3:38 pm

Thanks, Tina! Can’t wait to try it!

October 7, 2012 7:28 am

Thank you, Tina! I’m excited to try this recipe. I’m intrigued by your comment about making tomato paste with the skins. Do you have that recipe to share?

Tina @ MorePleaseRecipes
October 7, 2012 8:30 am
Reply to  Cheryl

@Cheryl I was definitely intrigued too when I found this tomato paste recipe. I follow the recipe you can find at the excellent blog “bacon and eggs.” It starts out as a tomato powder recipe (also delicious) that with the addition of water becomes tomato paste. This is also an excellent blog for unprocessed resources. Thanks for commenting!

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