How to Make Roasted Tomato Sauce

Making your own homemade tomato sauce is actually really easy and is a great way to control the flavor and quality of the food you’re eating.  This homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce just tastes so much better than the store-bought stuff and freezes great!

An overhead image of a glass jar with Roasted Tomato Sauce made with roma tomatoes, garlic, yellow onion, carrot, olive oil, basil, salt and black pepper.

Let’s see how many of your favorite dishes call for tomato sauce…

Lasagna? Check. Pizza? Check. Spaghetti? Of course. Chicken Parmesan?  Yaas.  Any Italian dish ever? Yep, that too.

When fresh tomatoes are ripe and delicious and bountiful, it’s a great time to make your own homemade roasted tomato sauce and freeze it so you’ll have it when it’s actually cold outside and you want to bake lasagna in the oven.

Every summer, when the markets are full of ripe tomatoes bursting with flavor, I buy a lot of tomatoes and make a lot of tomato sauce. Like, really a lot.

An overhead image of a large glass bowl with fresh roma tomatoes for the Roasted Tomato Sauce.

Instead of forcing Dustin to eat one tomato dish after another the entire summer, I oven roast them and make my own Roasted Tomato Sauce.  If it sounds fancy, don’t be worried – it’s so incredibly easy and simple.   It’s the perfect way to preserve tomatoes and (bonus) it freezes exceptionally well. That way, you know you’ll never have to reach out for the store-bought tomato sauce again.

What Tomatoes Are Best For Roasted Tomato Sauce?

I like using Roma tomatoes for this tomato sauce recipe because they don’t have a lot of seeds and are very flavorful, though many other types of tomatoes work great for marinara sauce.  Here are some great options for what tomatoes to use in your sauce:

  • Roma tomatoes (my fave)
  • San Marzano
  • Margherita
  • Big Mama
  • Heirloom
  • Amish Paste
  • Opalka

In general, you can look for what’s called a “paste” tomato, which, like the Roma and San Marzano tomatoes, are meatier, have fewer seeds, are firmed, and have less water content, making them flavorful and rich for making sauce.

An overhead image of a baking sheet with roma tomatoes, garlic cloves and carrots in olive oil roasted in the oven and ready to be turned into Roasted Tomato Sauce.

Why Oven-Roast Tomatoes for Tomato Sauce?

If you want to get more flavor from your tomatoes, roasting them is the way to go! Yes, it’s a slow process, but luckily not a very painful one. Roasting tomatoes (and, well anything, for that matter) intensifies the tomato flavor and brings out a richness you just don’t get from cooking them on the stove.

That being said, if you didn’t want to roast your tomatoes (or need to speed up the process), you could always cook this sauce on the stove.

A close up image of a baking sheet with roma tomatoes, garlic cloves and carrots in olive oil roasted in the oven and ready to be turned into Roasted Tomato Sauce.

What To Use Tomato Sauce In:

Roasted tomato sauce is a great base for so many amazing recipes, like:

It’s so versatile!  When making Roasted Tomato Sauce, I tend to get a bit carried away and make a lot of it, all at once. Dustin claims no one in their right mind could use up all that tomato sauce. Little does he know how many recipes call for this Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce! Homemade tomato sauce just tastes so much better than the store-bought stuff and is also much healthier.

An overhead image of a blender with roasted roma tomatoes, garlic and carrots ready to be blended into Roasted tomato Sauce.An overhead image of a blender with Roasted Tomato Sauce made with roma tomatoes, garlic, yellow onion, carrot, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper.

How To Store Homemade Tomato Sauce

To store homemade tomato sauce, just add it to a tightly sealed mason jar (like these mason jars) or a re-usable storage bag (like these bags).  Properly stored in an air-tight container like a mason jar or sealable bag, homemade tomato sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 7 days.  If you don’t get to using it within that timeframe, the good news is that this sauce freezes very well.  

How To Freeze Homemade Tomato Sauce

Believe it or not, you can also freeze homemade tomato sauce for up to 6 months. 

Here are some tips for how to freeze tomato sauce:

  • allow the tomato sauce to fully cool to room temperature before placing in the freezer
  • try freezing it in 3-4 cup batches so you can grab it and let it thaw in the fridge overnight when you wanna use it for a specific recipe
  • use air-tight re-usable storage bags, like these ones
  • Once you have your bags filled with the tomato sauce, lay them flat in the freezer so they freeze as flat as possible to save space.  Once they’ve frozen, you can stand them up and consolidate them
  • To thaw frozen tomato sauce, remove from the freezer and either let set in the fridge overnight or place, sealed, in a bowl of cold water to speed up thawing

An overhead image of a kitchen counter with two glass jars with Roasted Tomato Sauce made with roma tomatoes, garlic, yellow onion, carrot, olive oil, basil, salt and black pepper.

Why is My Homemade Tomato Sauce Orange (Not Red)?

It is totally normal when you make homemade tomato sauce for it to be a little more orange than red because, when you blend it, you introduce air into the sauce, which turns it from red to orange.  Rest assure, it doesn’t alter the flavor, just the color.   If it really bugs you, you could use try one of the following:

  • use canned (no salt added) whole peeled tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes
  • blend the tomatoes, carrot, garlic and onion ahead of time and cook in a sauce pan 
  • hand mash everything once it’s roasted using a potato masher to avoid introducing extra air into the sauce
  • add a little tomato paste to deepen the red color

Personally, I think that’s kinda the beauty of homemade sauce is that the color varies. It tastes the same – even though the color is a little orange.

An overhead image of a spoon dipped into a glass jar of Roasted Tomato Sauce made with roma tomatoes, garlic, yellow onion, carrot, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper.

Roasted Tomato Sauce Recipe Video

5 from 4 votes
A close up image of Roasted Tomato Sauce in a glass jar, made with roma tomatoes, garlic, yellow onion, carrot, olive oil, basil, salt and black pepper.
Roasted Tomato Sauce
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 25 mins
Total Time
1 hr 40 mins
 

Making your own homemade tomato sauce is actually really easy and is a great way to control the flavor and quality of the food you’re eating.  This homemade Roasted Tomato Sauce just tastes so much better than the store-bought stuff and freezes great!

Categories: Clean Eating. Gluten-Free, Paleo, Sauce, Vegan, Vegetarian
Difficulty: Easy
Keyword: oven roasted tomato sauce, roasted tomato sauce, roasted tomatoes pasta sauce
Servings: 4
Calories: 160 kcal
Author: Lacey Baier
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs Roma tomatoes, cut in half
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium yellow onion, cut into large chunks
  • 1 carrot, cut into large chunks
  • 1 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper plus more to taste
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 3-4 basil leaves
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or you can use a large casserole dish.

  3. Lay out the tomato halves (skin-side up), onion, garlic and carrot and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Try to make this only one layer to allow for maximum roasting. Drizzle olive oil all over.

  4. Bake for 60 - 75 minutes, or until the edges of the tomatoes and onions begin to pull away from the tomato flesh.

  5. Allow to cool and then remove the peels using your hands.

  6. Carefully transfer the roasted contents to a food processor or blender (or a large mixing bowl, if using a stick blender), add the basil leaves and tomato paste, and pulse until smooth.

  7. Add additional salt and/or pepper, to taste.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Can be frozen up to 6 months.

Nutrition Facts
Roasted Tomato Sauce
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 160 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Sodium 636mg27%
Potassium 682mg19%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 4515IU90%
Vitamin C 36.1mg44%
Calcium 41mg4%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

80 thoughts on “How to Make Roasted Tomato Sauce

  1. Pingback: My homemade Sausage and Pepperoni pizza – Best Food Tips
  2. 5 stars
    Several years ago, I found your original recipe for Roasted Tomato Sauce, and I loved it! It’s the only sauce I make, and I’ve shared it with many friends. I’m enjoying your updates, and I like that you no longer call for butter or sugar. I still leave the skins on, as in your original recipe. The sauce is a bit chunky with the skins, but do you think it matters, otherwise?

    1. Thanks for hanging with me through the healthier transitions 🙂 I personally don’t think it matters, but you could always blend further or remove the skins, if you’d prefer.

  3. This was excellent! I had an abundance of tomatoes from the garden but they were not Romas so I was worried it would be seedy or not thick enough. I shouldn’t have worried. It was delicious; I pureed it with an immersion blender and even the seeds were so soft after roasting they blended right up. I could eat it with a spoon it was that good! Thanks for the recipe and for helping me use up all my tomatoes!

  4. 5 stars
    Looks delicious, but I have very limited freezer space. Is it possible to can this recipe using a hot water bath as opposed to a pressure canner?

    1. You have to use a pressure canner for tomato sauces. You can hot water bath whole tomatoes alone but you need a lot of lemon juice added to bring the acid level up, and in my opinion, that ruins the tomato flavors.

  5. I added chopped grilled back bacon to the skillet after the roasting and blending. (added also celery n beet root to the roasting) … It turned out really well with pplp saying its the best pasta sauce they have ever tasted! Awesome! Used a mixed of sweet white and purple onions.

  6. This was pretty amazing. I used fresh ripe tomatoes from the garden, a combination of varietals, a bit more crushed garlic and didn’t remove the skins before blending. Oh, a small pour of marsala and lots of fresh thyme during the roasting stage. DELICIOUS!! Then I browned some italian sausage and ground beef and added the sauce. Super good. Loved this recipe. I served it with spinach linguini. Thanks for a great recipe!

  7. i noticed the thyme was to be added before and after the roasting. As I have not made this yet, was curious if I was to add the same amount of thyme twice, or was this an oversight? Looks great and I have a whole bunch of tomatoes to use up. Thank you…

  8. About a month ago I had SEVERAL packages of Roma Tomatoes that were about to go bad-as I desperately searched the Internet for a sauce recipe I came across this page. So simple and soooo delicious! Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. I had a very late tomato crop this year from a few of my plants. I decided to use your recipe to ensure that they did not go to waste. My sauce came out great! I added a little balsamic vinegar during the roasting process but otherwise followed the instructions. Thanks for the delicious and easy recipe.

  10. With an abundance of tomatoes and too little time for the kitchen tonight, I set my teenager onto making this, and was it ever good! He and we loved it more than you can imagine after a cold evening working outside on an urgent project.

  11. i just made this tonight…i seeded but did not peel the tomatoes and also added a bit of carrot…then fresh basil in the food processor…butter added when reheating the portion i am had tonight (froze the rest)…served on top of homemade linguini with parmesan and a hunk o bread…simple pleasures

  12. This is almost MY recipe! I don’t use the carrot, but will try. I drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar,no sugar. I freeze batches of this. I have used brandywine tomatoes with good results too.

  13. FYI… I tried roasting two kinds of tomatoes…the roma’s we’re sweet and yummy even without any sugar. The early girls a little bitter so I added maple sugar crystals and that helped a lot.Great fun…thanks for all your help.

  14. Hi Lacey, I’m wanting to make a vegetarian casserole for a potluck and I don’t eat pasta. I’m wondering what you think about using this sauce over spaggetti squash, with a layer of eggplant and parmessan cheese? The sauce and squash may be to sweet to pair together, what do you think?

  15. I just finished pureeing the sauce out of the oven and it’s fantastic. Looking forward to using it in other ways including my vodka sauce, awesome!

  16. I’m almost ready to pull by roasting pan out of the oven. I had a mix of tomatoes from the garden including yellow ones and was worried about the final colour of the sauce – so I included 1 red beet to the roasting pan. The beet will add a nice deep red to the sauce and I bet a nice flavour too. I’ll keep you posted on the results!

    1. Hey Kathy! You know, I’ve never tried canning any of my sauces but I’d bet it would be fine. If you try it, would you let me know how it goes? That’s a great idea! I usually just freeze them, but canning is great for long term storage and tasty gifts 🙂

  17. Hi, i just baked mine and will finish iit in the morning. I used tin foil and wondered if it will adversely affect the flavor. I noticed hard bits of thyme that bugged me a little, maybe they will soften up later. As those before mentioned it smells delicious. I also wondered why carrots?

  18. I did this today with Romas from my garden. Absolutely fantastic! I put the garlic cloves in a foil packet with a drop of olive olive to keep them from getting dry or hard. I put the packet on the pan with the rest of the vegetables. I did everything else just as you suggested. Amazing!

  19. Hello!

    This recipe looks delicious and I cannot wait to try it! If you put the garlic cloves inside the tomatoes while roasting, they will not dry out as quickly, plus it infuses the tomatoes with garlic, yum!

  20. I am trying this tonight! I have been looking for homemade sauce and yours is the best yet. All the reviews were super helpful and I am excited to go home and get started. One question….how long should I let it cook, after I blend together in the food processor? I was thinking about putting it in the crock pot and letting it cook for a few hours. Is this a good idea?

  21. HI Lacy! I just discovered your blog! I love it! I was looking for some tips on how to make a tomato sauce without taking the skins off and I found it! I just went to the Farmer’s Market for some tomatoes and will be making a sauce. I will post pics! Thanks~~
    Julie

  22. Heard about this recipe via a friend who made it and loved it. We just made it tonight with my bumper crop of tomatoes. I roasted it 65 minutes but may have been too long as some of my garlic was hard which I threw away but I had doubled it based on recmmdtn from friend so we were still good, and after food proc, the sauce was quite thick, but DELISH! No worries, thinned it out with about a cup of veg broth, and put it all over homemade pasta. We had made marinara a few weeks ago with canned tomatoes and thought it was good, but this recipe far outweighed it. This was wonderful. A must do, and SO EAsY!!! Thank you! PS – I forgot to add the sugar and butter in the end, and didn’t think it was missing anything so I think we’ll save the calories and fat, and go as is.

  23. I just made pasta with your roasted tomato sauce and it was a huge success. It’s hard to find Roma tomatoes in Korea, so I just used whatever tomato I had at home and skipped dried thyme and fresh basil because I don’t have them (used dried basil). Also skipped sugar because I forgot, but I didn’t notice until now. I added two hot peppers and I think it had a nice kick to it.
    Thanks so much for this recipe, and I’ll be making this over and over again.

    Thanks!!

  24. Lacey, Lacey, Lacey – I LOVE THIS!! It’s the first time I’ve made it. Rob has a bumper crop of NJ hearty beefsteak tomatos and we had to figure out something to do with some of them today. I am SO glad we used two pounds of them for this yummy, full-bodied sauce. You ROCK!!

  25. Making this as I type and man does that wonderful smell make me hungry! I do believe there is going to be some chicken parm in this family’s dinner plans tonight:)

  26. Soooooooo awesome. This is absolutely one of the best and most simple, yet richly delicious sauces I’ve ever made. So glad I found your site. I love the Giada recipes as well – also big fan of Jamie Oliver too. I made my own turkey meatballs to go with it over spaghetti, so delish.

  27. Loved this recipe. I come from a ver strong italian background and I am currently in the process of developping my own signiture sauce and it will now include roasted tomatoes and onions thanks to you.

  28. I have it in the oven right now, made with an early batch of heirloom tomatoes — it smells absolutely amazing! I’m just a little concerned about that the color of the final product will be, though, since I included a few green (but very ripe) and orange varieties in the mix… If it tastes as good as it smells, the color won’t matter! : )

    Thanks for posting!

  29. Just made this sauce tonight for my wife and I. It’s VERY good, and I even added a roasted red pepper to the mix with the carrots and onion. It added a sweet component to the sauce that was amazing. Great recipe!

  30. This sounds amazing…I definitely have this planned for dinner this week with a salad and your homemade garlic bread recipe. Just curious about something- why do you use butter in the recipe? I’ve never seen or heard of a tomato sauce recipe that used butter.

  31. Thanks for sharing!

    I just made this sauce so that we can simmer some Maryland Blue Crabs in it tomorrow! We then put it over spaghetti. “Sghetti Crabs”.

    However, my sauce is orange. Is it supposed to be this color?

    1. Wow — can I come over for dinner? That sounds amazing! The color of the sauce will depend/vary on the color of the tomatoes you roast but it shouldn’t affect the taste of the sauce drastically one way or the other.

  32. Just tried this over spinach/mushroom/feta cannelloni = SO delicious!! Roasting definitely makes all of the difference. Thank you!

    1. You most certainly can, Lindsay. I break it into serving portions of about 4 cups each and stick it in a freezer bag when I freeze it. It’s so useful to have tasty, homemade tomato sauce in the freezer any time you want.

  33. So, I have to say–I’m only in the roasting part of this recipe right now and my kitchen smells fantastic! I wish I could bottle up the aroma. I’m sure it’s going to be delicious when it’s finished!

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