How to Can Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce jar
John Block / Getty Images
  • Total: 2 hrs
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 90 mins
  • Servings: 32 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
21 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32
Amount per serving
Calories 21
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 78mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 1g
Calcium 12mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This super-basic canned (jarred) tomato sauce contains just tomatoes, salt, and lemon juice to assure a proper acidic environment for canning. It's perfect for canning or jarring because you can add any additional flavors later when you want to use it. Fleshier plum tomatoes, such as Roma, or globe-shaped Early Girl tomatoes are great here since they have less juice to cook down to make the sauce.


  • 8 pounds supremely ripe red tomatoes (a bit overripe doesn't hurt either)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons jarred or bottled lemon juice
  • 4 pint-size jars with sealable lids for canning

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Rinse the tomatoes clean and pat them dry. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Cut a small "x" in the bottom of each tomato and blanch them in the boiling water for about 30 seconds.

  3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the tomatoes to an ice bath to cool.

  4. Lift tomatoes out of ice bath, slip off their skins, cut the tomatoes in half, and squeeze out their seeds.

  5. Put the peeled and seeded tomatoes in a pot with the salt and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady but gentle simmer and cook, stirring now and again, until the mixture is reduced by about a third, about 45 minutes. If at any point the mixture starts sticking to the pot, lower the heat and stir more often.

  6. Meanwhile, bring a canning kettle full of water to a boil and sterilize the jars and lids. Boil them for at least 10 minutes.

  7. Then, using a jar lifter, transfer them to a cooling rack to let them dry.

  8. Put 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice in each of the four jars.

  9. Transfer the hot tomato sauce to the hot jars (if you have a wide-mouth canning funnel, this is the time to use it), leaving about 1/2-inch of space at the top.

  10. Screw on the lids, put the jars in a canning rack, and lower them into the boiling water in the canning kettle. Process (boil) for 40 minutes. There needs to be at least an inch of water covering the jars, so keep an eye on the water level, adding more boiling water if needed.

  11. Remove the jars and let them cool. Store them in a cool, dark place (a cupboard or pantry works great) until you're ready to use some tomato sauce.

Variations for Peeling and Seeding Tomatoes

  • Roughly chop the whole tomatoes and run them through a food mill.
  • Roughly chop the tomatoes and run them through a food mill.


  • You can't just jar the sauce from your favorite variety of tomato. Safe canning requires that the food has a guaranteed acidity. Here, that's assured by the addition of bottled lemon juice.

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