Basic Tomato Sauce

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Homemade Tomato Sauce combines store bought tomato sauce with minced vegetables, spices, and seasonings for a flavorful sauce that’s great over pasta. This recipe originally published January 2018.

A top view of a bowl of tomato sauce with parsley on top and a spoon in the sauce.

I don’t know about you but I really enjoy making my own sauces.  Whenever tomatoes are in season I’ll make my own tomato sauce, marinara sauce, and pizza sauce using fresh tomatoes.  Unfortunately, I can’t always get fresh tomatoes.

Last month a friend asked if I’d help cater his daughter’s second birthday party.  I’ve never really catered a party before but I’ve done plenty of dinner parties at my own house and have taken tons of food to other events so I figured I could handle it. 

We put the menu put together and it was fairly easy.  The main entree consisted of bow tie pasta, 2 kinds of meatballs, and sauce.  My friend wanted homemade sauce which was no big deal since I’ve made sauces plenty of times.


  • olive oil
  • onion
  • green pepper
  • garlic cloves
  • tomato sauce
  • Italian seasonings
  • fresh oregano
  • tomato paste
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • sugar

To Make the Sauce:  Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add in the onion, pepper, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes.  Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Adjust seasonings and remove from heat.

Pin Image: A top view of a bowl of tomato sauce with parsley on top, text, cutting board with two cans of tomato sauce, a salt grinder, a container of spices, a green pepper, and an onion on it.

I quickly realized I didn’t have an easy, kid friendly recipe so I decided to just wing it.  I figured I’ve made marinara sauce enough times that I could figure out a simple and delicious tomato sauce recipe. 

I went to the market and found a 6 pound can of tomato sauce so I used that for my base.  The rest was just a few vegetables and plenty of seasonings.

Can I use fresh tomatoes?

If you want to use fresh tomatoes in this recipe you certainly can.  You’ll need about 4-5 pounds of fresh tomatoes.  Cut them into wedges and pulse them a few times.   Measure them out and use them as you would the tomato sauce.  This will result in a chunkier tomato sauce.

Can I add in more vegetables?

You can certainly add in additional vegetables.  Additional peppers, more onions, carrots, or celery would all be great in this recipe.  Just make sure the vegetable to tomato ratio is 1 part vegetables or less to 2 parts tomatoes.

Can I freeze tomato sauce?

Tomato sauce is super easy to freeze.  I often make a double batch and freeze half of it.  To freeze it let it cool to room temperature.   Pour into zip top baggies.  I usually use quart size for my family but you can use gallon bags if you need that much sauce.  Get all the air out of the bags and lay them flat in the freezer until they are solid.  Store for up to 6 months.

Can I use fresh herbs in this recipe?

Yes!   You can use up to 1/3 cup of fresh herbs in this recipe.  Make sure they are finely minced before adding them into the sauce.   You can also use several tablespoons of dried herbs in this sauce.

A spoon of tomato sauce with a bowl of the sauce behind it.

The tomato sauce turned out so well I made a big batch the next weekend for myself and froze half of it!  It’s seriously super easy to make and it’s really yummy. 

The prep work is just a few minced onions, peppers, and garlic, tossed in with some herbs and I had a great sauce in the pot in about 20 minutes.   Then it simmers for 1 hour which is total hands off time.

We enjoyed a batch of it the night I made it for dinner and then I froze the rest in 2 cup portions.  It’s delicious over top of pasta but you can also use it as a pizza sauce.

More Pasta Sauce Recipes:

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A top view of a bowl of tomato sauce with parsley on top and a spoon in the sauce.

Basic Tomato Sauce

Yield: 8-10 cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Combinesstore bought tomato sauce with minced vegetables, spices, and seasonings for a flavorful sauce that's great over pasta.


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and minced
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 c. tomato sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasonings
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add in the onion and saute for 5 minutes. 
  3. Next, add in the green pepper and garlic and saute for 5 additional minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce, Italians seasonings, oregano, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and sugar.  Mix well and bring to a boil. 
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste the sauce at this point and adjust the salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings as needed. 
  7. Remove from heat and cool for 15 minutes.


A Hezzi-D Original recipe

A top view of a bowl of tomato sauce with parsley on top.


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  1. This is a great sauce and I used to do this too. It is easier in this way to make your own style sauce while it saves time using the canned sauce, no blanching and no peeling! Yummy sauce!

  2. Never hurts to have this recipe in your collection. So many ways to use this and I love freezing it in batches

  3. I love making my own sauce, and starting with plain canned sauce is actually tastier in my book!

  4. Homemade sauce is so much better! This sauce makes me want a big plate of pasta with plenty of sauce!

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