Easy Fresh Tomato Sauce

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Fresh garden tomatoes really do make the best tomato sauce (and it’s easy to make)! 

This simple stove top sauce is perfect for pasta or pizza and great served with your favorite meatball recipe. Use tomatoes picked from the garden or bought at the farmer’s market.

top view of plated Fresh Tomato Sauce

Flavorful Homemade Tomato Sauce

There’s nothing like fresh tomatoes and basil simmered for an old-world flavor that everyone adores!

  • This sauce has a great flavor and is made with fresh ingredients (If you don’t have fresh, use this recipe with canned tomatoes).
  • It’s the perfect recipe for preparing garden tomatoes to freeze all winter long.
  • Since this recipe freezes well, feel free to double or triple up the recipe.
  • It’s delicious served simply over a plate of steaming hot pasta, served with gnocchi or even added to lasagna.

ingredients to make Fresh Tomato Sauce

Fresh & Simple Ingredients

FRESH TOMATOES Use summer market tomatoes or tomatoes picked fresh from the garden. The riper, the better! Tomatoes that are tart with a bit of sweet acidity and flavor that “pops” in your mouth makes the best sauce.

HERBS Fresh parsley and fresh basil are chopped and added. There’s really nothing to compare with the flavor of fresh herbs, but dried can be substituted if necessary. Follow this guide for How To Substitute Fresh vs Dried Herbs.

RED WINE  Go for a bold dry wine like Italian Chianti or a Pinot Noir. These pair well with the flavors of tomato and are in general very good wines to cook with. These wines can also pair well for drinking, so keep those leftovers to serve with dinner!

Tomato Tips for the Best Flavor

As this sauce is made from fresh tomatoes, the quality of the tomatoes is important for great flavor.

If your tomatoes are very tart, you can add a little bit of shredded carrot for sweetness (we do this with marinara sauce too) or a pinch of sugar if you’d like.

Tomatoes can range in flavor from very sweet, to very tart or even bland if they’re not in season. Taste a slice of tomato before cooking and I’ve included some tips in the notes in the recipe below based on the flavor of your tomatoes.

slicing tomatoes to make Fresh Tomato Sauce

To Prepare Tomatoes

Peeling tomatoes is optional but I personally prefer to peel them as it gives a smoother texture to the sauce.

This is a  really easy way to peel tomatoes:

  1. Cut an X on the bottom of each tomato.
  2. Place in a pot of boiling water for 20 seconds.
  3. Remove from the boiling water and quickly add to a bowl of ice water (to stop it from cooking). The peels should slip off easily.

How to Make Tomato Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

  1. Chop tomatoes in half and remove the seeds (catch any juices from the seeds in a bowl).

draining tomato seeds in a bowl to make Fresh Tomato Sauce

  1. Sauté onions in olive oil, add garlic & seasonings.
  2. Simmer remaining ingredients with prepared tomatoes (per recipe below).

adding tomatoes and seasonings to onions in pan to make Fresh Tomato Sauce

  1. Blend or mash to desired consistency. Stir in fresh herbs & serve.

adding ingredients to pan to make Fresh Tomato Sauce

Tips for Perfection

  • Ensure tomatoes are ripe and juicy, with a vibrant, tart flavor.
  • Strain the seeds but be sure to collect the juices, it adds lots of flavor to the sauce.
  • For a chunky sauce, skip the blender and instead break up the cooked tomatoes with a spoon or a masher.
  • Thicken the sauce further by cooking it longer.
  • If the sauce is too acidic, add a pinch of sugar, just a little at a time until the flavor seems “just right.”
  • Fresh herbs are delicate and should be added just before serving.

Fresh Tomato Sauce in a bowl with garnish

Too Many Garden Tomatoes?

Did your family love this Fresh Tomato Sauce? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

Fresh Tomato Sauce in a bowl with garnish
5 from 4 votes
Review Recipe

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Fresh tomato sauce is so fragrant & flavorful, it will feel like you've traveled right to Italy!

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds ripe tomatoes *see note (7-8 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ onion finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dry red wine
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley

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Instructions

  • Peel the tomatoes by bringing a large pot of water to a boil and preparing a bowl of ice water. Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato (just enough to cut through the skin). Place in the boiling water for 20 seconds and then into ice water. The skins will easily peel.
  • Place a fine strainer over a small bowl. Cut tomatoes in half and remove the seeds into the strainer being sure to reserve any juices in the bowl. Discard the seeds and chop the tomatoes into chunks.
  • Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion and cook over medium low heat until tender, do not brown.
  • Once onion is tender, add garlic and seasonings. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, red wine, reserved tomato juices, and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and let cook uncovered for 45-55 minutes or until thickened.
  • Blend sauce with a hand blender (or pulse a few times in a food processor) to reach desired consistency. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  • Stir in fresh herbs and serve.

Recipe Notes

This recipe can be doubled or tripled if desired and it freezes well.
Tomato Flavor
The riper the tomatoes, the better the flavor of the sauce. Garden fresh tomatoes are best in this recipe. Taste a slice of tomato before making the sauce, it should have a vibrant tart flavor. If the tomatoes are bland, the sauce will have less flavor.
Strain the seeds but be sure to collect the juices, it adds lots of flavor to the sauce.
  • If your tomatoes are very tart add either 1 shredded carrot before simmering or a pinch of sugar for sweetness.
  • Some tomatoes are very sweet, if your sauce is too sweet, add 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar.
  • If your tomatoes are not flavorful, add 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste before simmering.
Sauce Texture
  • For a chunky texture, skip the blender and break up the tomatoes with a spoon as they cook.
  • For a smooth sauce, blend all of the tomatoes.
Serving Suggestions
  • Do not rinse pasta before adding the sauce as it needs the starches to cling to the pasta.
  • Thicken the sauce further by cooking it longer.
  • Fresh herbs are delicate and should be added just before serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 161, Carbohydrates: 20g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Sodium: 25mg, Potassium: 1128mg, Fiber: 6g, Sugar: 13g, Vitamin A: 4006IU, Vitamin C: 67mg, Calcium: 67mg, Iron: 2mg

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

Keyword best fresh tomato sauce, fresh tomato sauce, fresh tomato sauce recipe, how to make fresh tomato sauce
Course Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian
close up of Fresh Tomato Sauce in a bowl with writing
top view of Fresh Tomato Sauce in a bowl with writing
Fresh Tomato Sauce in a bowl with a title
ingredients to make Fresh Tomato Sauce with finished dish and a title
About the author

Holly

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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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Comments

  1. I am so excited this came up on my FB page today. I actually posted on my garden site asking for a basically simple recipe for sauce. My garden tomatoes are about done for the year, as far as Im concerned, & I have about 1/2 bushel that I wanted to make into sauce. Didnt want to have to do alot of cooking or pressure canning & this sounds like it will be just right for putting in some containers & then in the freezer.
    I do have a couple of questions. Can I use cooking wine or should it be regular red wine? I hate to buy a whole bottle for just a few tablespoons. Also in your serving suggestions you mention adding the herbs when serving. I grow all my own herbs so can I make the sauce with the recipe & freeze it & then if it needs a more flavor just add more when heating sauce. TY5 stars

    1. Hi Sharon, glad this recipe found its way to you! You can use cooking wine, it doesn’t have as full of a flavor though but should still work well. And definitely, you can add the herbs when making the sauce and then spice it up when serving if necessary!