Homemade Italian tomato sauce

Author: Veruska Anconitano, Award-Winning Food Travel Journalist, Sommelier & Outdoor LoverAuthor information
About the author
Veruska Anconitano
Veruska is a a food travel journalist with awards to her credit, such as World Best Food Travel Journalist. She holds a certification as a sommelier and she is also an ardent lover of the outdoors. Aside from this, Veruska is a Multilingual SEO and Localization Consultant and co-owns multiple websites that cater to a global audience.
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Homemade Italian tomato sauce: if you happen to be in Italy in summer, you will certainly notice an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruit. Tomatoes, especially in the South of Italy, are a big thing and they’re usually eaten by themselves, used into salads and also cooked to make a beautiful tomato sauce. That’s the very Italian recipe for a homemade tomato sauce you can use for your pasta or your pizza.

You need to be ready to get dirty and have a lot of fun in making this tomato sauce but in exchange, you will be proud of yourself and have a beautiful Italian tomato sauce and you won’t came back to the shop bought one.

Before making your tomato sauce, make sure you sterilize the jars you’re going to use and to do so, these are 4 of the most used methods (more on the Italian version of this blog, HERE):


Place a clean cotton wiper on the bottom of a pot and place over the jars with the upward opening wrapped in towels individually. Cover with cold water and bring to boil on a high flame, letting it simmer for about 30 minutes. Allow jars to cool in the pot with all the water and then pull them out and let them dry with the opening down. Before using them turn them over so that the vapor and residual water evaporate.


Place the jars and the lids in the dishwasher with the opening down and select a high-temperature wash, without soap. Allow the jars to cool and dry directly into the dishwasher so before using turn them over so that vapor and residual water evaporate.


Place the jars with the opening upwards on a plate and place them in the oven. Turn on the oven to bring it to 150°C (302°F) so that the glass, once in contact with the heat, does not break. Leave the jars in the oven for at least 15 minutes then turn off the oven, add the lids using another plate and allow to cool down with a closed oven.


Fill the jars with water reaching half the height and place them in the microwave without caps. Heat until boiling, then remove the jars from the microwave, throw the water and let them dry on a cotton wiper, overrun. The lids can not be sterilized into the microwave.

You can also sterilize your jars when already filled with the tomato sauce by following one of the above methods and leaving the jars boiling for at least 1 hour and for a maximum of 2 hours if the jars are big.

Ingredients for 1.5Kg of tomato sauce

  • 2 kg of ripe tomatoes (in Italy we use the San Marzano)
  • fresh basil
  • 6 glass jars with lids


  1. Wash and dry the jars then put them to boil or, to accelerate the sterilization process, in the dishwasher in the steaming mode. Take the jars out and let them cool.
  2. Take the tomatoes, small and wash very well then wipe them with a cotton cloth, cut them in half and remove the seeds.
  3. Put the tomatoes in a big pot and leave them to cook very well with the lid on. Once cooked for good, process the tomatoes through a food mill and put the puree into a big steel bowl.
  4. Strain the tomato puree using a clean white cotton cloth and let it fall into a steel bowl or a saucepan.
  5. Take the sterilized jars, lay the bottom of each with one or two leaves of basil and pour the tomato sauce using a funnel.
  6. Place all the jars in a large pot after having being wrapped each of them singularly in a cotton cloth to prevent they will break when cooking. Cover the jars with hot water and leave on
  7. low heat for 30 minutes after the first boil.
  8. Allow the jars to cool in the water then, when cold, dry them and store in a cool and dry place.

Preparation time: 2 hours

passata di pomodoro fatta in casa

Tip & Tricks for your homemade tomato sauce

1. You can adjust the creaminess of your tomato sauce during the blending process of your tomatoes. You can choose to make a smooth sauce or a more chunky one depending on the use you’ll make of the tomatoes and your personal taste as well.

2. You can add seasonings like garlic, onions, or herbs but if you leave the sauce neutral it will be used for multiple purposes.

3. Never use oil for your tomato sauce because once it will be canned it can cause botulism.

4. Lemon or a little bit of sugar can help in balancing the acidity of the tomato.

5. You can eventually freeze your sauce in batches but I prefer to can it because the flavor will last for months and months. If you freeze it, when thawed it could become too watery and definitely not enjoyable.

6. Your tomato sauce will perfectly last for 1 year if you will use vacuum jars. Once opened, you will have to use the sauce within 2-3 days.

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