Basic Red Tomato Sauce

This is a great mild red sauce that the kids can help make. This year I made a double batch using fresh tomatoes from the garden (with skins removed), rather than the canned tomatoes, and processed it in pint jars using the hot water bath canning method. Great on spaghetti.



  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (or more)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans whole peeled tomatoes (or equivalent fresh with skins removed)
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. sugar


Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, salt, basil, oregano, and pepper, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Onions being cooked before tomatoes. Tomatoes being added to pot.


Place the tomatoes in a large mixing bowl and squeeze with spoon or hands to break them into small pieces (I like to put the kids in charge of this part). Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, and sugar to the pot with the onion and stir well.

A pot of tomato sauce being cooked.

Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.


You can store this sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, freeze up to 3 months, or I have canned it. One batch makes 10 cups (2 1/2 quarts).

Jars of canned tomato sauce.

Note: Add red pepper flakes if you like a little more kick. I often fuss with the spices to taste and have added finely chopped zucchini for a vegetable boost. A child chef after making tomato sauce

Source: Emeril's "There's a Chef in My Soup!" So far this is the best kid's cookbook I have found. The directions are great and all the meals I have tried were nutritious and enjoyable for the whole family.

By cs_jag from Hillsboro, OR

October 27, 20100 found this helpful

Looks like you have a good chef helper there. Nice pics too!

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
May 14, 20120 found this helpful

Sounds wonderful, but I have one concern: Being there's onions in the recipe, and you often add zucchini, it really should go through a pressure canner to be safe.

ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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