Simple Tomato Sauce

Simple Tomato Sauce

I find that people are often surprised that I make my own tomato sauce.  I think they imagine me spending hours and hours over the stove with tons of ingredients.

Truth is: it’s pretty darn easy and only requires a few simple ingredients.

Simple Tomato Sauce

Italian food is one of my many, many, many favorite types of food.  Therefore, I make a lot of it.

Simple Tomato Sauce

To make great Italian food, I think it’s pretty important to make your own tomato sauce.

Now, I haven’t always thought this way.  In fact, I used to buy pre-made tomato sauces.  [Gasp!]   It wasn’t until I tried a recipe for Simple Tomato Sauce by Giada De Laurentiis that everything changed…forever.  [Insert dramatic pause]

Simple Tomato Sauce

How To Make Tomato Sauce Video

Oh my goodness, this sauce is good.  It is delicious in spaghetti, on pizza, baked with chicken parmesan, on meatball subs and smothered on garlic bread.

Simple Tomato Sauce

As its name suggests, this is a simple sauce.

So, once you get comfortable making this recipe, you can customize it however you want, like adding roasted tomatoes and garlic, four cheeses, pesto, etc.

The possibilities are endless…and tasty.

Watch me make this awesome sauce the video below!

Simple Tomato Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is a great basic, easy-to-make tomato sauce that we use all the time.
Recipe type: Easy
Serves: 6-8
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • ½ tsp. 
freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 4 to 6 basil leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-4 tbsp. unsalted butter, optional
  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and cook for 5-8 minutes, until sweating.
  2. Add celery and carrots and season with the salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, basil, and bay leaves and simmer, covered, on low heat for 1 hour.
  5. Before blending, remove bay leaves. If using a food processor, add half the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.
  6. If using an immersion blender (possibly the best device ever!), just blend the sauce right there in the pot.
  7. Once sauce is completely pureed, return to the pot. Add additional salt or pepper as desired. Add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, to round out the flavors. (I usually wind up adding about 2 tablespoons). The butter will cut some of the acidity of the tomatoes.
  8. If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.




Stay up to date with ASPC and get a free copy of my ebook Favorite Recipes From A Sweet Pea Chef
About the author: My name is Lacey and I’m so glad you’re here. I am a foodie, a photographer, a chef, and a project manager at a local tech start-up in Austin. But, most importantly, I am the mother of three adorable little kiddos (Jordan, Savannah and Hunter) and am madly in love with and married to my high school sweetheart, Dustin.

21 comments… add one

  1. charlene June 15, 2010, 10:58 am

    I love your blog and recipes. I am also a personal chef and blogger. I like to consider myself your eastcoast fellow chef/blogger. Keep on doing what you are doing. Cheers!

    1. Sweet Pea Chef June 15, 2010, 3:22 pm

      Thanks, Charlene! Yay, it’s always nice to meet a friend in ‘the business.’ Thanks for finding me. Keep up the hard work!

  2. Dustin Stevens-Baier June 15, 2010, 10:32 pm

    This tomato sauce is awesome it really takes everything to another level as far as flavor is concerned.

    1. Sweet Pea Chef June 15, 2010, 10:35 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Dustin. I couldn’t agree with you more!

  3. Laura Hayes September 24, 2010, 5:20 pm

    About how many cups does the recipe make? Thanks!

    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef September 25, 2010, 7:31 am

      Hi Laura! Good question. It yields about 6 cups. I like to double the recipe — since I’m buying a bunch of carrots and celery anyway. It freezes very well so you don’t have to worry about not using it.

  4. rivki locker May 14, 2011, 11:19 pm

    This looks lovely. I like smooth tomato sauces, without chunks. This looks like just the thing!

  5. Sarah August 16, 2011, 8:48 am

    I’m a poor college student, lacking a food processor. Is there any way to do that process (ha) without one? Thank you so much for the recipe, by the way. I’m taking on your lasagna recipe in September. :)

    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef August 16, 2011, 1:47 pm

      Hi Sarah! Been there! :)

      Do you have a blender? If you do, you could blend it all together in batches (about 2 cups/batch).

      Good luck with the lasagna! I hope you enjoy it :)

  6. Megan December 5, 2011, 2:18 pm

    This was AMAZING. It complimented the Chicken Parmesan just perfectly. I am so glad I took the time to make it from scratch. Thank you again for your recipes – each one I make is so delicious! I always get compliments from my 6 year old, to my 8 year old, to my 31 year old husband!

  7. Tarah December 12, 2011, 5:12 pm

    I absolutely love this recipe! The only thing I change is I add about a cup of red wine and reduce it down before adding the tomatoes. This adds that extra flavor I love in spaghetti sauce. Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe!

    1. lacey - a sweet pea chef December 20, 2011, 3:07 pm

      You’re very welcome. I think I’ll try your red wine addition next time for a nice depth of flavor :)

  8. chef basket review January 29, 2012, 10:18 pm

    Hi my friend! I want to say that this post is amazing, great written and come with approximately all vital infos. I’d like to look more posts like this .

  9. Krissy July 12, 2012, 11:35 pm

    hey, i was wondering in the ingredients section if it is two 28-ounce cans of tomatoes or two cans of tomatoes that add up to please, i would really like to try this recipe!! =)

  10. Karen M September 19, 2014, 1:20 pm

    Lacey, I have a question on the wonderful recipe. I see that it freezes well, what about canning it?
    Karen M

    1. Lacey Baier September 20, 2014, 10:27 pm

      Karen, I’ve actually been meaning to try canning this recipe for years now. I wouldn’t add the butter at the end, but otherwise I think it would be a good candidate for canning. If you try it, please share the results :)


Leave a Reply

Rate this recipe: