Homemade Tomato Sauce

Homemade tomato sauce tastes so much better than from a jar, and it’s super easy to make.

Homemade tomato sauce tastes so much better than from a jar, and it's super easy to make.

As you may know, we’re currently doing a series about Chicken Parmesan over here at The Cookful. If you’ve been following along, you also know that we haven’t actually given you a chicken parm recipe yet. Instead, we seem to be slowly building up to it.

We showed you how to make your own breaded chicken cutlets, both a traditional pan-fried version and a lighter baked version. Either of those is perfect as the base for Chicken Parmesan. Soon, we’re going to give you our opinions about cheese too. But first, we have another essential for chicken parm, tomato sauce.

You can absolutely buy pre-made tomato sauce. It will work really well. I tend to buy low-sodium or no-salt-added tomato sauce, like this. That way I control the amount of salt that goes into it. For a dish like the chicken parm, the breading has salt and the cheese has a lot of salt. So you don’t want or need a salty tomato sauce.

You can totally buy tomato sauce, as mentioned. But if you want to try something different, go the whole nine yards, then it’s time to make your own tomato sauce. The sauce I’ve got for you here is made using canned tomatoes. Why not use fresh tomatoes? You totally can. I just find that a fresh tomato is best when it’s the only star of the show. Also, to make sauce from fresh tomatoes you  need garden-fresh summer tomatoes. Those aren’t around right now. If you happen to be reading this and it’s summer where you are and you want to go for the gold, have a look at the Serious Eats fresh tomato sauce discussion and recipe for fresh tomato sauce. I love those guys!

If it’s not summer where you are, then you’ve gotta go with canned tomatoes. I use San Marzano tomatoes because they’re a bit sweeter and a bit less acidic than other canned tomatoes.

What else is in this tomato sauce? There’s some onion and garlic in there. Salt and pepper, of course. And then the surprise ingredients are…

Butter and sugar.

The butter adds a nice rich note to the sauce. The sugar, just a little bit, really brings out the sweetness in the tomatoes.

I think you’re really going to love making (and eating) your own homemade tomato sauce. Dive in!



Homemade Tomato Sauce

Homemade tomato sauce tastes so much better than from a jar, and it’s super easy to make.

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 cups



  • 2 (28 oz.) cans whole tomatoes with their juices (ideally San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • sugar (optional)




  1. In a medium sauce pan combine canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, butter, salt and pepper.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer partially covered for 1 hour.
  4. Use an immersion blender to puree it or transfer half to a blender, blend and then blend the other half.
  5. Taste. If the sauce isn’t sweet enough, add sugar 1 teaspoon at a time, tasting after each addition to see if it has the flavor you like. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.



This recipe originally appeared on COOKtheSTORY.com. We have permission to publish it here.

Christine Pittman

Christine is the Senior Editor and Owner of The Cookful, COOKtheSTORY and IsThisThatFood. Her sites reach over 1.5 million readers per month, which means that things can get a bit crazy. She's constantly writing, taking pictures, editing, managing contributors, and, oh yeah, cooking. To say that she wears many hats is an understatement - there are many hats, and also many shirts, shoes, pants, and even the odd cape!