How to Make Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

Tomato sauce

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  • 01 of 06

    Ingredients You'll Need

    Child holding bowl of tomatoes

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    • Tomatoes (about 5-6 lbs for every quart of sauce that you want to make)
    • Chopped onions (one medium onion per quart of sauce)
    • Minced garlic (one to one-and-a-half cloves per quart)
    • Olive oil
    • Basil (1/2 tsp per quart)
    • Oregano (1/2 tsp per quart)
    • Salt
    • Pepper

    You May Also Want to Add:

    • Carrots
    • Peppers
    • A small amount of sugar
    • Additional spices

    You can use any type of tomato to make tomato sauce, but your sauce will come together faster and easier if you use paste tomatoes. They have less water content and fewer seeds. Use our list of suggested tomatoes to use in your sauce.

  • 02 of 06

    Boil the Tomatoes

    Using saucepan of hot water to blanch ripe tomatoes
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    Start by plunging your tomatoes into boiling water for one to two minutes. This will loosen their skins, so they're much easier to remove in the next step. Then, rinse the tomatoes in cool water to stop the cooking process, and set them aside to cool and drain.

  • 03 of 06

    Remove the Skins, Stems and Seeds

    Peeling a tomato

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    Once the tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove their skins, and cut out the spot where the stems used to attach to the tomatoes (this is referred to as coring the tomatoes). Then, slice the tomatoes in half, and scoop out the seeds. Don't worry if you miss some. A few left behind won't hurt a thing.

  • 04 of 06

    Saute the Onion and Garlic

    Sauteeing the onions and garlic

    Erin Huffstetler

    Add a small amount of olive oil to the bottom of a large pot (around 1/4 cup). Then, saute the onions and garlic until they're soft (a few minutes should do it).

    If you'd like to add carrots or peppers to your sauce, saute them along with the onions and garlic.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Combine All the Ingredients and Cook

    Combine all the sauce ingredients

    Erin Huffstetler

    Add the tomatoes and all of the remaining ingredients to your onion-garlic mixture, and bring the pot to a boil. Then, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered until the sauce reaches your desired thickness. Stir frequently to keep the sauce from burning. This will take at least two to three hours but could take longer if there's a lot of water in your tomatoes (non-paste tomatoes tend to have more water content, but so do tomatoes grown during rainy years).

  • 06 of 06

    Jar Your Sauce

    Jars of homemade tomato sauce; Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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    Pour your finished sauce into jars. Use freezer jars if you want to freeze your sauce or canning jars if you'd like to can your sauce for shelf-stable storage.

    Note: To safely water-bath can tomato sauce, you must add lemon juice to boost the acidity. Tomatoes aren't as acidic as they used to be. Refer to the National Center for Home Food Preservation's guidelines for complete tomato canning instructions and times.

    Want homemade tomato sauce without all the work? 

    Try our crockpot tomato sauce. It requires no peeling, seeding or coring. Just stir it every so often, and you'll have a batch of sauce by the end of the day.