sauces, marinades, condiments

Homemade Tomato Sauce

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Never buy jarred tomato sauce again! This easy recipe comes together quickly thanks to a base of canned tomatoes. It’s perfect tossed with pasta and sprinkled with a little parmesan cheese, spread onto pizza, or as a dipping sauce to arancini or mozzarella sticks. 

Recipe & Photo by Maren Ellingboe


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes (or 3 lbs fresh tomatoes)
  • ½ c chopped packed fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp ground pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over low heat. Add onion and cook until translucent and beginning to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Then, add garlic and cook 2 minutes more. 
  2. Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat until flavors have blended about 30 minutes. Stir in butter. 
  3. If you prefer a smooth tomato sauce, puree using an immersion blender, or in batches with a blender. For a chunkier tomato sauce, serve as-is.  

Tomato Sauce Notes and Variations

  • If you’ve got fresh tomatoes from your garden, the farmers market, or Imperfect, you can absolutely use those instead of canned tomatoes. This recipe calls for about 3 pounds of tomatoes, as a reference.
  • This tomato sauce freezes beautifully, so make a big batch and freeze for future weeknight meals like this Impossible Spaghetti and Meatballs.


  • Mikki
    September 8, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    It would have been so nice to be able to print this without the large picture that forced the actual recipe to two separate pages!

    • Imperfect Foods
      September 29, 2021 at 2:24 am

      We’ll pass this suggestion along to our team!

  • Julie Westbrook
    September 9, 2021 at 1:54 am

    Seriously, who is weighing the tomatoes they pick in their garden?!!! I make a sauce similar to this in the crockpot (6 qt.) and I use 6 quarts of cut up Marzano tomatoes. Much easier, and I don’t have to peel them since the skins help to thicken the sauce, and the crockpot means I don’t have to watch it and I don’t heat up the entire house.

    • Imperfect Foods
      September 29, 2021 at 2:25 am

      This is a great tip!

  • Terry Bledsoe
    September 9, 2021 at 6:18 am

    How long will this keep in the freezer? Also, any tips on storage containers. Thanks

    • Imperfect
      September 29, 2021 at 7:51 pm

      Most homemade sauces will last about 4-6 months at it’s best!


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