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a plate of angel hair pasta with sauce and parmesan cheese on a wooden table

How to make and can homemade pasta sauce

Homemade pasta sauce shines with versatility. Make a big batch and can it up!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 14 servings
Calories 66kcal
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 5 pounds fresh tomatoes about 20 medium fresh ones or 3, 35-ounce cans canned whole tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil good quality
  • 1 large onion, diced white or yellow, shallots work too OR 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced OR 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt start with 1 teaspoon and add more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional) if your tomatoes are too acidic


  • Bring several quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Slice a shallow "X" in the end opposite the stem of the tomatoes. Drop in to boiling water until the skins just start to peel--about 30 to 45 seconds and transfer to a sink of cold water to cool slightly.
  • Peel away the skins, cut the core out and use your fingers to remove the seeds and pulp from the tomatoes. Place in a large bowl. If you are using canned tomatoes, open the can and use your hands to break up the tomatoes in to smaller pieces and set aside.
  • Transfer the tomatoes to a food processor and process until smooth or with very few chunks (process less if you want chunks). Set aside.
  • Chop the onions and garlic and set aside. In a large, heavy pot (not cast iron) heat the olive oil over medium heat 1 minute and add the onions and garlic. Sautee 1-2 minutes then add the tomatoes. They will be very watery and pale pink at this point. See Note 1 for when to use dried spices.
  • Add the basil and any other herbs if you are using them. Add 1 teaspoon of salt or start with a little less and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle simmer then reduce the heat to low. Stir constantly, 1-2 hours or until thickened to your preference. Taste after 1 hour and adjust seasonings as needed.


Note 1: If using onion and garlic powder: Heat olive oil, add tomatoes and then add powders with herbs and salt. 
Note 2: If using canned tomatoes, check for added salt. You will need to use less salt in your sauce if so. 


Calories: 66kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 342mg | Potassium: 429mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1590IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg