Versatile Sofrito Sauce

Spanish tomato sauce

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 32 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
29 Calories
2g Fat
2g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 32
Amount per serving
Calories 29
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 46mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 4mg 21%
Calcium 10mg 1%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 83mg 2%
*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.)

Sofrito is a basic tomato sauce common in Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Hispanic cuisines. Given the sauce's myriad variations, each cook from these regions will have a different version, a favorite way of using it, and a secret ingredient that makes their sofrito the best in the world.

In short, sofrito is a thick savory paste generally made out of tomato, garlic, onions, sometimes peppers, and sometimes fresh herbs. It's the base of an infinite number of dishes, from Spanish paella to Colombian arroz con pollo, to soups, empanadas, egg dishes, and stews. Busy households have a jar of sofrito at hand at all times because its wonderful flavor is a great base to start any dish. Think of it as a condiment—you can cook with it, marinate meats in it, dip your chips in it, make rice with it, use it on arepas, and even roast vegetables and potatoes with it.

Our recipe for Spanish sofrito gently cooks the ingredients to mellow the acidity of the tomatoes and create a perfect blend of flavor. Double the amounts, cool, refrigerate for up to 5 days, and freeze the rest in an ice cube tray so you can use it as your veggie "bouillon" to flavor any savory dish.


  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 2 large cloves garlic

  • 1 large Anaheim or green bell pepper

  • 3 to 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, or 5 to 6 large diced ripe tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Spanish tomato sauce
    The Spruce 
  2. Finely chop the onion and garlic.

    Chop garlic and onion
    The Spruce
  3. Cut the pepper into 1/4-inch, or smaller, pieces.

    Slicing peppers
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  4. Heat a large frying pan with a heavy bottom over medium heat. Pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

    Heat pan
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  5. Add the onions into the pan and sauté them until transparent, reducing the heat if necessary to avoid over-browning.

    Saute garlic
    The Spruce
  6. Add the green pepper and continue to cook for 5 minutes, adding more olive oil if necessary. Be sure to stir often, so the vegetables do not burn.

    Add pepper to mixture
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  7. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.

    Add in garlic
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  8. Add the crushed tomatoes and paprika to the pan and mix well.

    Stirring sauce
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  9. Continue to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the liquid released from the tomatoes is evaporated and the consistency of the sofrito is a somewhat thick sauce. Used as desired.

    Spanish tomato sauce
    The Spruce 
  10. Enjoy!

How to Use Sofrito

Sofrito can be used in a number of dishes. Here are a few easy ideas on how to use this flavorful condiment:

  • Use it on grilled or roasted chicken, steak, fish, or pork. For a classic Spanish dish, try bacalao, rabbit, or crayfish in sofrito sauce.
  • Spoon it on sunny side up or hard boiled eggs, or mix it with your eggs before beating them to make scrambled eggs. Fill omelets with sofrito and the cheese of your choice.
  • Mix it with canned black or pinto beans to make a delicious 5-minute bean dish. Gently microwave the beans with some of the liquid, add hot sofrito on top, mix, taste for seasoning, and serve over hot rice with slices of avocado and soft corn tortillas.
  • Brown cubed beef or chicken in sofrito and add chicken or beef broth to the pot, alongside any vegetables of your choice. Simmer on low for 30 minutes and serve with rice or potatoes.
  • Use warm sofrito instead of salsa.

Green Sofrito

There are as many variations on sofrito as there are Spanish, Caribbean, and Hispanic cooks. But green sofrito is always a treat. Here's what you need:

  • Place in a blender 2 big plum tomatoes, 1 seeded cubanelle pepper, 1 1/2 cups of cilantro (stems removed), 1 big green bell pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 5 cloves of garlic, and 1 large yellow onion. Process until you have a thick paste. If too thick, add more olive oil.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a non-stick pan, heat up slightly, and add the processed mixture.
  • Cook on medium heat, covered, for 5 to 7 minutes. Uncover and cook for 5 to 7 more minutes until the mixture is thick and fragrant.