The Only Tomato Sauce Recipe You’ll Ever Need

Finally, a sauce that’s simple and quick—but tastes like it was slow cooked for hours.

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The Only Tomato Sauce Recipe You’ll Ever Need 3.5 96 5 1
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  • Makes 
1½ quarts, serves 12
  • Hands-On Time
  • Total Time
  • Nutritional Information

    Nutritional Information

    Per Serving

    • Calories 100 calories
    • Fat 5 g
    • Sat Fat 1.5 g
    • Cholesterol 5 mg
    • Sodium 920 mg
    • Protein 2 g
    • Carbohydrate 10 g
    • Sugar 6 g
    • Fiber 2 g
    • Iron 1 mg
    • Calcium 42 mg

Sure, blanching and peeling fresh tomatoes—and then gently reducing them for eight hours—will make your sauce the envy of every Italian grandma. An easier alternative? Make our delicious recipe, which results in a smooth, intensely flavorful sauce in just 50 minutes. Grandma will never know the difference.


  1. Check 3 tablespoons olive oil
  2. Check 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (¾ cup)
  3. Check 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  4. Check 1 large celery stalk, finely chopped (¾ cup)
  5. Check 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  6. Check 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  7. Check 1 tablespoon tablespoon tomato paste
  8. Check 3 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes and their juice
  9. Check 1 teaspoon sugar
  10. Check 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Cook olive oil, onion, garlic, celery, and 2 teaspoons of salt in a large saucepan over low heat for 15 minutes, being careful not to brown. This step, called “sweating,” develops layers of flavor and should not be rushed.
  2. Add oregano and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, being careful not to burn. Tomato paste adds the concentrated flavor you’d get from slow roasting the tomatoes.
  3. Add tomatoes, their juice, and sugar to the saucepan. With an immersion blender, break down the sauce. (Alternatively, simply crush tomatoes with your hands before adding to the pot).
  4. With the pot partially covered, simmer the mixture over low heat for 30 minutes. Stir in the remaining salt. Add the butter, stir until melted. 

Plus three variations:

  1. Add a Parmesan rind to the sauce when you’re simmering the tomatoes. Much of it will dissolve, adding a layer of salty cheese flavor. Be sure to discard any rind remains after simmering.
  2. Stir in one tablespoon of washed capers during Step 1 (the sweating phase), which will add a dash of salty acidity that will brighten and intensify the sauce’s tomato flavor.
  3. Add a dollop of anchovy paste while stirring in the butter. Available in shelf-stable tubes near the canned fish section of your grocery store, it adds a delightful salty-meaty flavor to foods (not fishiness!).