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
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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

Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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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44 Comments
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Vivian
Vivian
August 3, 2013 12:52 pm

Hi, Love the recipe! However, how do you make the tomato paste with the tomato peal? Thank you

Jackie
Jackie
August 9, 2013 5:28 pm
Reply to  Vivian

I’m also courious to know how to make tomato paste from the peel.

DENA
DENA
July 22, 2013 2:07 pm

LOVE THIS RECIPE SO EASY AND AWESOME TASTE! LOVE THAT I CAN USE MY OWN LOW ACID TOMATOES!!

DENA
DENA
July 22, 2013 2:18 pm
Reply to  DENA

I USED ROMA TOMATOES AND CANOLA OIL AND I ADDED BASIL AND GARLIC AND USED REGULAR TABLE SALT WHEN I MADE THIS. I DO NOT KNOW THAT I HAD EXACTLY 4 OR 5 LBS OF TOMATOES. I HAD ALL THESE ROMA’S FROM THE GARDEN THAT WERE SMALL AND WE WERE OVER LOADED WITH THEM. I HAD TO DO SOMETHING WITH THEM AND WOW IT CAME OUT GREAT. SO I DON’T THINK THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THE RECIPE. SOME TOMATOES HAVE MORE ACID THAN OTHERS AND I CAN IMAGINE THAT THE TOMATO CHOICE HAS ALOT TO DO WITH THE TASTE OF YOUR SAUCE.

Joanna
Joanna
July 22, 2013 8:37 am

Thanks for this recipe. I’m on a super restrictive diet where I can’t have any salt sugar or oil and it’s so hard to find salt free tomato sauce. Plus I hate getting canned tomatos with the BPA / pthalates that come off the lining of the can.

Pete
Pete
June 24, 2013 8:52 am

Remember that this recipe is for a “base” sauce. I will use this as a base for making salsa, spaghetti sauce, and soups. Perfect for dealing with the bumper crop of tomatoes that I have from the garden this year.

Debbie
Debbie
May 26, 2013 3:05 pm

There must be a step missing from this because it absolutely did not work at all for me.

Brittany Taylor
Brittany Taylor
May 3, 2013 5:38 am

It did not taste good at all, one of the worst tomato sauces I have ever saw.

Richard Pugh
Richard Pugh
May 1, 2013 7:26 am

How much sauce does this result in? And can it be effectively frozen or “canned?” I’m picturing growing a very large batch of tomatoes and then making an equally large batch of home made sauce, which will then be used as needed.

MaseOne
MaseOne
March 30, 2013 9:07 pm

Nice!! I have a lot of tomatos now I know what to do.. thanks…

Joshua
Joshua
March 24, 2013 3:58 pm

5 stars
Wow this was a truly amazing sauce. I used it for a home made tomato Bisque. See I am a aspiring chef I start school next fall for it and after school I hope to start my cafe and this base will defiantly be apart of my base for the tomato bisque one of two-three soups I will have.

Sarah
Sarah
March 20, 2013 2:40 pm

4 stars
Hi Tina!! I am soo excited to try this!
My family buys a lot of canned and it just tastes so… Bland.
Anyways, if you wanted to add other ingredients, like another type of oil or salt, where would you add that??