There is nothing better than a homemade tomato sauce to add that special touch to pasta and everyday dishes… and it’s even better if you make it yourself!
You’re busy, aren’t you? No problem! I’ll show you how to make simple and quick homemade tomato sauces that even someone who is a hot mess in the kitchen, like me, can whip up.
7 Best Tomatoes for Homemade Sauce
According to Nature Fresh Farms, these are the main characteristics of each tomato type:
1. Red Beefsteak Tomatoes
This is the king of tomatoes and may also be referred to as the salsa tomato. Red Beefsteak tomatoes are large and meaty with lots of juice, making them ideal to use as a base for fresh sauces and dips.
They also make a great addition to your classic hamburger or BLT, and can even hold their own as a patty substitute, depending on your diet!
Red Beefsteak’s mild flavor makes them the perfect complement to any dish without being too overpowering.
2. Green Beefsteak Tomatoes
A green tomato doesn’t always mean “unripe.” Green Beefsteaks have a unique tart and tangy flavor that pairs well with other flavors to create something unique.
These tomatoes can be an exciting twist on juicing, artisan sandwiches, salsas, dips, and cold or hot sauces. They can even be used in baked items like desserts and pies… and make a great substitute in any recipe if you’re using Granny Smith apples.
3. Cherry Tomatoes
This one is a favorite of tomato lovers everywhere. Cherry tomatoes are one of the most versatile. With red, orange, yellow, and purple varieties, these juicy tomatoes are a cooking staple – adding a burst of color and flavor to any meal.
Sweet and tangy, cherry tomatoes can be cooked, grilled, sauced, and dried—and if you can’t get enough—even eaten as a raw snack.
4. Cocktail Tomatoes
Cocktail tomatoes’ traditional tomato flavor has a sweet and fruity aftertaste, making them a versatile tomato that goes great with any meal or occasion.
With soft walls and a meaty texture, cocktail tomatoes do well with heat, making them one of the best for creating delicate sauces, throwing on the BBQ, or stuffing with your favorite meats and veggies.
5. Roma Tomatoes
The quintessential Italian plum tomato, Roma tomatoes are full of flavor with a tangy, garden-fresh tomato taste. This tomato is ideal for making a delicious stew, sauce, or tomato paste.
For an even more intense flavor, try roasting your Roma in the oven and using it to create a tomato pesto or bruschetta topping that has a bit of a kick. With so many ways to use it and a delicious flavor, it’s the perfect tomato to get adventurous with!
6. Heirloom Tomatoes
Return to your culinary roots with heirloom tomatoes that have been passed down for generations. With a wide range of sizes and vibrant colors, heirlooms are rich in flavor, making them one of the best tomatoes to liven up your dish.
These tomatoes are a perfect addition to sandwiches and salads, make a delicious grilled or roasted side dish, and taste great raw with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt. Whether you like your tomatoes sweet or tangy, heirlooms have something for everyone.
7. Tomatoes On The Vine
As their name suggests, these tomatoes are left on the vine to soak in the plant’s nutrients until they are fully ripened. The sweet and juicy freshness of a ripe red vine tomato makes them a mainstay in any tomato lover’s kitchen.
These tomatoes can do just about anything from making the finest tomato soup to adding a refreshing flavor to sauces, jams, and salads. Slice them, dice them, roast them, eat them raw—the possibilities with a tomato on the vine are endless!
How to Choose the Best Tomatoes
Which tomato is better? Some essential tips will help you buy the best fruit (yes, it’s a fruit) without hesitation. Here is a checklist for choosing the perfect tomato:
- Ripe: I prefer the reddest tomatoes because they have more nutrients.
- Avoid green: Tomatoes that are too green run the risk of not ripening.
- Avoid bruises: Ignore tomatoes with dark spots on the skin.
- Probe: Avoid tomatoes that are soft because they are overdone or overripe.
If you choose the Roma Tomato, it is ideal to be ripe. This is because Roma Tomato is more sensitive and can bruise more easily. Also, eat or cook them quickly because ripe fruit tends to spoil earlier.
How To Store Tomatoes
Leave tomatoes that are not ripe out of the refrigerator so they can ripen better. Also, put them in a dry, ventilated place, protected from sunlight.
Because it ripens quickly, the Roma Tomato is recommended to store in the fridge. As for the ripe tomatoes, it’s ideal to keep them refrigerated at the bottom of the refrigerator in an airtight container. This prevents them from spoiling prematurely.
After you’ve made your sauce, a good tomato sauce in the freezer is a great wild card – it goes on pasta, serves as a base for stuffing, and even goes well with a slice of toasted bread. To do this, you need to buy ripe tomatoes, five or six pounds, and make enough sauce at once to use some of it and freeze the rest in portions.
What the hell does this mean? We’re getting advanced here before we jump into the recipes.
First, it’s very important to sanitize the fresh tomatoes to remove any residue or microorganisms on the peel. The first step is to wash them under running water, carefully rubbing the peel. Sometimes, people will soak them in a special sanitizer (following label instructions) and rinse them.
Wash the tomatoes before immediate consumption – otherwise, the fruit may darken and spoil faster.
Now that we have our tomatoes, we’re ready to learn how to make homemade tomato sauce step by step. I have included six great recipes for all different palates that you can throw together on busy weeknights.
6 Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipes with Tomato
1. Homemade Marinara Sauce
Every family has its favorite homemade marinara sauce recipe. Now imagine a full-bodied sauce, deep red, with the sweet and pronounced flavor of tomatoes and the fresh aroma of the fruit or seasonings used with excellence, like basil. This is that standard, go-to recipe.
Many chefs prefer Roma tomatoes. Others prefer Red Beefsteak Tomatoes (or canned tomatoes) for this recipe.
The important thing is that it must be ripe, healthy, very red, and firm. To be sure, cut it in half and see what’s inside. The ideal for making sauce is to have pulp and little water. When you taste it, it can’t be too acidic.
With good tomatoes, you will be halfway to the perfect homemade pasta sauce.
Marinara Sauce Ingredients
- 2.2 pounds Red Beefsteak Tomatoes
- 1 package of ground beef (use more for a thicker sauce)
- 1/2 cup basil
- 12 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 heads of garlic
- 1 Tbsp. salt
Marinara Sauce Directions
- Brown the ground beef over the stove.
- Pick ripe, red, firm tomatoes. Wash them one by one under running water. Then remove the ‘cap.’
- The tomatoes need to be cut in four, like rose petals. Remove any dark or damaged parts. If it is green inside, don’t use it.
- Place the tomatoes in a saucepan and heat them for about 15 minutes to soften them. Cover the pan and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Set aside.
- In another pan, add the extra virgin olive oil. The olive oil helps to preserve the meat sauce longer.
- Peel the garlic cloves and make vertical cuts without breaking them in half. Place them in the pan and let them brown. The garlic will take the acidity out of the sauce.
- Wash the fresh basil leaves well and dry them with paper towels. Place them in the same pan with the olive oil and garlic. Stir them all together and turn off the heat.
- With the help of a tomato press or a sieve, remove all the pulp from the tomatoes. The seed and skin will not be used. Do not use a blender for this part.
- Patience is the keyword for making a good, simple sauce. Put all the pulp in the pot, adjust the salt, and cook for two hours without covering the pot.
2. Roasted Tomato and Anchovy Sauce
Among so many recipes, this one is rustic and suits the summer. The tomatoes are roasted with garlic, onion, fresh herbs, and some anchovy fillets. (I’m not an anchovy person, personally.)
The for this recipe, the tomatoes have to be very ripe. And second, they have to be baked at very low heat in the oven for more than an hour until they are well roasted, reducing the acidity of the tomatoes.
- 5 pounds of ripe Roma Tomatoes
- 3 or 4 anchovy fillets pickled in olive oil
- 4 large unpeeled garlic cloves
- 4 or 5 small onions (or 2 large onions), peeled and cut in half
- Thyme sprigs
- Sprigs of fresh oregano
- Olive oil to water the tomatoes
- Salt to taste
- Wash and dry the tomatoes well. Cut them vertically and place the halves on a baking sheet with the cut side facing up.
- Season with salt and drizzle with olive oil.
- Distribute the unpeeled garlic cloves and onions to the baking dish.
- Place the anchovy fillets on top of the tomatoes.
- Arrange the fresh herb sprigs.
- Place the baking dish in a preheated oven at 350 °F and roast the tomatoes for about one hour, or until they are well roasted (shriveled) and the onions and garlic are soft.
- Take them out of the oven, let them cool down, and put them in a hand blender with a little more olive oil, pulsing to make the sauce.
- Tip: This sauce goes great with spaghetti. If you have fresh oregano, put it on the pasta when serving.
3. Marinara Sauce with Roasted Tomatoes, Olive Oil, and Salt
This is a great recipe for a quick spaghetti sauce. This sauce is easy, made only with roasted tomatoes, olive oil, and salt, and will make all the difference in your pasta.
- 2.20 pounds Roma Tomatoes, cut in half
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Drizzle a baking dish with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of salt to taste. Lay the tomato halves side by side with the flesh facing down on top.
- Roast the tomatoes for 15 to 20 minutes (at 400° F) or until the skin is nicely crisped.
- Remove the roasting pan from the oven, let it cool, and pull the skins off the tomatoes by hand. They will come off quickly. Discard the peel.
- Blend the pulp (with the seeds) and the liquid left on the baking pan.
- Tip: Drain the water if you want to use raw (not roasted) tomatoes. Season with salt and let it rest overnight. Then, discard the water that comes out of the pulp and blend.
- Enjoy as a pasta sauce… or even pizza sauce.
4. Roasted Tomato and Coconut Milk Sauce
Using roasted tomatoes, this sauce is easy and quick to make. This sauce has just the right spiciness and goes excellent with your pasta noodles!
If you prefer to avoid feeling the skin of the tomatoes, run them through a food processor before starting the recipe. You can also use a hand mixer to whip up the whole ready-made sauce.
- 1/4 cup of the oil from the roasted tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 Tbsp. crushed garlic
- 1 Tbsp. grated ginger
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- Zest one lemon, plus 1/4 cup of juice
- 4 cups chopped roasted tomatoes
- 1 cup of coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger.
- Sauté until the onion is transparent. This should take about 3 minutes.
- Add the chili flakes, lemon zest, tomatoes, and coconut milk.
- Lower the heat and cook until it begins to boil.
- Remove from the stove immediately and season with lemon juice and salt.
5. Tomato, Onion, and Butter Sauce
If you add the word “butter” to the ingredient list, I’m sold.
- 31 oz. of fresh ripe tomatoes, skinned and seeded (or 2 cups of peeled tomatoes)
- 2.4 oz of unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Put the tomatoes in a saucepan
- Add the butter, onion, and salt.
- Cook over low heat, uncovered, for 50 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Stir to prevent sticking to the bottom.
- Discard the onion.
- Serve with the pasta of your choice… and don’t be stingy with sprinkling parmesan cheese on top!
6. Sicilian Tomato Pesto Sauce
I bet you were wondering when we’d get to the pesto. More than a recipe, pesto is a technique – “pestar” means to pound with a pestle.
The formula is always the same: an element of freshness (dried herbs, vegetables, fruit), something for texture (various types of nuts), a source of fat (olive oil, butter), and thickeners (creamy cheeses, cured, smoked).
- Olive oil
- Fresh Oregano
- Burn whole tomatoes on the stove flame.
- After cooling, peel them, remove the pulp, and mash what remains with your hands.
- In a frying pan, heat olive oil and quickly add basil, fresh oregano, thyme, rosemary, and parsley to release the aromas and flavor to the oil.
- Then, blend the oil with the herbs and the tomatoes, crushed with garlic, and peperoncino (or other mild pepper).
Not included in any of these recipes is something my mom does. She adds sugar to her spaghetti sauce. It takes the acid taste out of the mix and makes it taste so much sweeter.
Some other things you can pick up at the grocery store to add to your new favorite recipe include
- green peppers,
- Worcestershire sauce,
- San Marzano tomatoes,
- balsamic vinegar,
- canned tomato paste,
- ground sausage,
- and a glass of wine – either in the sauce or for drinking.
Some of the savory sauces mentioned here could also be made in a slow cooker.
You can also pull a Harry Hamlin (shout out to my RHOBH fans) and fill a glass jar with your homemade paste sauce and give it to a friend as a gift.
Do you have a favorite homemade spaghetti sauce recipe with tomato sauce? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram at @ChristinaAllDay.
Is there any tips for me to make my spaghetti not become soggy Christina?
Hi, Martha. My mom puts salt in the pot so the noodles don’t stick together.