Every kitchen needs a recipe for an easy basic tomato sauce!

This recipe is fresh, tangy, and has so many uses! One can of whole tomatoes, some onion, garlic, herbs, seasonings and it’s ready in no time! This is the perfect addition to all of your tomato-based recipes needing tomato sauce.

Tomato sauce in a clear jar garnished with basil and parsley

Why This Quick Tomato Sauce is a Favorite

A basic tomato sauce is so quick and easy to make at home with just a little simmering

This all-purpose sauce is so versatile! It can be the base for an Italian-style pasta sauce by adding extra basil, added to sloppy joe sauce, and even the base for a quick tomato soup simply by adding milk or cream!

This sauce freezes well so double or triple the batch!

Ingredients for tomato sauce on a wooden board

Ingredients & Variations

TOMATOES A can of whole tomatoes, an onion, and some herbs and spices make this sauce fragrant and flavorful!

No canned tomatoes? No problem! Substitute a can of diced or crushed tomatoes (this will change the consistency somewhat).

The acidity of tomatoes can vary based on brand. If your tomato sauce is acidic, add 1/2 teasoon of sugar or 1/4 cup grated carrots

HERBS Switch up the flavors by adding other seasonings like ground oregano, a sprig of rosemary, or a bay leaf.

Ingredients for tomato sauce on a wooden board with onions in a pot

How to Make Tomato Sauce

This flavorful sauce will be ready in 1, 2, 3!

  1. Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil until both are fragrant.
  2. Mash the tomatoes with your hands or a potato masher and add to the skillet along with the juices and add the basil.
  3. Simmer everything together for 20 minutes on medium heat. Blend to desired consistency.

First image shows seasonings being sprinkled into tomato mixture and second image shows tomato sauce being pulsed with an immersion blender

Smooth or Chunky

This sauce has both flavor and substance. Take the time to let the sauce simmer so the ingredients blend.

Once simmered, blend with a hand blender. You can leave this sauce a bit chunky or blend until completely smooth if you prefer.

How to Thicken Tomato Sauce

Just like a chili recipe, the best way to thicken tomato sauce is to allow it to simmer. To thicken, be sure to keep the lid off as it simmers so the liquid can evaporate (I place a splatter screen on top to catch any mess). Not only does it thicken but simmering also makes the sauce more flavorful!

Short on time? In a pinch you can thicken tomato sauce with a slurry by whisking a tablespoon of corn starch into 2 tablespoons of cold water (or tomato juice). Slowly pour into the simmering sauce until you reach desired thickness.

Tomato sauce in a pot with parsley as garnish

How Do I Freeze Tomato Sauce?

Homemade tomato sauce maintains its flavor in the freezer for up to three months. Be sure it is cool enough to freeze and simply ladle it into zippered quart or gallon-sized bags. Don’t forget to write the date on the outside of the bag!

Easy Pasta Sauces

Did you make this Basic Tomato Sauce? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Tomato sauce in a clear jar garnished with basil and parsley
5 from 27 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Basic Tomato Sauce

This recipe tastes fresh, tangy, and has so many uses!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounces can whole tomatoes with juices
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Combine olive oil and onion over medium heat. Cook until onions start to soften. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  • Gently mash the tomatoes with your hands and add to the pan with juices. Stir in basil.
  • Simmer 20 minutes adding water if needed to reach desired consistency. Optional: Once thickened, use a hand blender to blend the sauce to desired consistency.
  • Stir in parsley. Taste sauce and season with add salt & pepper.


Simmer to thicken to desired consistency.
The acidity of tomatoes can vary based on brand. If your tomato sauce is acidic, add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar or 1/4 cup grated carrots.
Sauce can be left slightly chunky or blended smooth with a hand blender or a blender.
If using a blender, be sure not to place the lid on tightly or the steam could cause it to burst open.
This sauce freezes well.
5 from 27 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 110 | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 286mg | Potassium: 413mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 316IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Pasta, Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian
Homemade tomato sauce in a jar with parsley and a title
Homemade tomato sauce in a pot garnished with parsley with writing
Tomato sauce in a pot with a wooden spoon and a title
Top image shows tomato sauce in a pot and bottom image shows ingredients for tomato sauce with a title


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. This makes an excellent pizza sauce as well. One tip if you find it too acidic… instead of adding sugar, we all have more than enough of that in our diets, just add a pinch of baking soda to your sauce. You will see it begin to fizz as soon as it goes in and that should reduce the acidity of your sauce without adding any extra sugar.5 stars

  2. I rarely cook, and started a recipe when I realized I had no tomato sauce. This recipe is very simple. (Who knew you could make your own tomatoes sauce from canned tomatoes?) The sauce is lovely; it is certainly much better than canned sauce.5 stars

  3. This was exactly the recipe we needed tonight! Our taco meat recipe calls for tomato sauce, but we were out, until I made this! Thank you so much- so easy, so quick, so simple and delicious.5 stars

  4. Great recipe! I substituted fresh tomatoes instead of canned. And for a little sweetness, I added peeled grape tomatoes into the sauce instead of any sugar. It cooked down wonderfully, and It’s delicious!