Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

4.88 from 88 votes

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It’s pretty obvious why I love homemade spaghetti sauce. It is not your average tomato sauce. It’s rich and hearty, packed with tomatoes and spices. One bite and you’ll be hooked!

A bowl of spaghetti with marinara sauce with the pasta twirled around a fork.

Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

I’ve been making my own spaghetti sauce for years now—and I love it. It’s so easy to make, and the flavor is so much better than the store-bought kind. I love making this sauce with fresh garden tomatoes from my garden. You can’t beat the flavor of homegrown produce in a dish like this one!

This recipe works well with any kind of pasta. The best part about making spaghetti sauce is that you can customize it to your tastes; so feel free to add more or less garlic and basil leaves. I usually like a lot of both, but you might prefer less.

Tomato plants in a beautiful garden

Suggestions for Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

  • Fresh tomatoes are obviously best, but what if you don’t have fresh tomatoes on hand? What if tomatoes are out of season? Don’t worry! You can use a couple of 28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes.
  • If you want to add some extra flavor from your garden, you can add diced red bell pepper, diced green bell pepper, and/or fresh chopped carrots. If you like a “chunky” homemade garden spaghetti sauce, just chop up any veggies you like and add them while sautéing the onions.
  • This sauce is thick, hearty, and rich on its own, but for your meat lovers, you can add ground beef or chopped smoked sausage to the sauce.
  • To thicken your sauce, slow and steady is your ticket. Last time I made this, I had it simmering for eight hours (uncovered, stirring occasionally). Trust me, the longer you can let it simmer, the better! If you are finding that the water isn’t evaporating as quickly as you would like or it isn’t thickening up how you want it to, there is an easy fix. Just add some tomato paste, about a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the consistency you are looking for.
  • Make a double batch of this glorious sauce and freeze it in a freezer safe Tupperware-type container, a large freezer-safe Ziploc bag, or a glass jar. If you do go the glass jar route, make sure to leave an inch or two of space at the top of the jar so the sauce doesn’t expand and break the jar. When freezing, make sure to cool the sauce completely in the fridge before freezing. The sauce will stay nice and fresh in the freezer for up to six months.
Fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and mushrooms next to a cutting board with an onion and a knife
  • Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes will stay good in the refrigerator for about three to four days. Any longer than that, you may just want to freeze it for later.
  • You may notice that soy sauce is a key ingredient in this recipe. Trust me on this. Adding soy sauce to chopped mushrooms is an old trick that a chef in Utah taught me. When you add soy sauce to mushrooms while they are cooking, it gives them a rich, meaty flavor that is unparalleled. I ALWAYS add a splash of soy sauce when I sauté mushrooms. And I promise, it doesn’t make it taste weird or soy sauce-y at all. It just brings out the flavor SO much more. You have GOT to try this trick. It takes the flavor to the next level!
A close up of homemade spaghetti sauce in a skillet with a serving spoon
  • Another suggestion for Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes from one of our readers, Diana: “I have a suggestion for those who don’t mind the extra time it might take. I started roasting my fresh tomatoes last year for canning and wow! what a difference that made! The natural sugars come out and it also concentrates the tomato flavor. I cut them in half, remove as much of the seeds/gel as possible into a strainer with a bowl to catch the juices and then place the halves cut side down on a large cookie pan (I place parchment paper down first). Even though you remove a lot of the seeds/tomato get before roasting, you will get a lot of liquid from roasting. Save it all and strain it. Roast the tomatoes until the skins start turning color. I can’t remember what temperature I used but I believe between 350 and 400. When the skins are browned, I remove the tray from the oven and drain the liquid into the strainer with the seeds/gel. Let the tomatoes cool somewhat and remove the skin. I find it is easier to remove the skins while they are still pretty warm. You can then add the tomatoes and the strained liquid/gel to the pot and process them the way you would for sauce or canning. You have eliminated the majority of the seeds that way as well as the skin. The roasting concentrates the tomato flavor remarkably. I won’t process my tomatoes for canning any other way after tasting the difference in the final product. If using fresh tomatoes processed this way for this recipe, you may not need to add any sugar…it makes that much of a difference! Roasted Sun Golds are like candy after halving and roasting. I just half those, add chopped onion and garlic, red bell pepper, and some olive oil. Those I roast at about 325 since they are small and the skins are thin. No need to remove seeds or skins…just whiz in the food processor or using a stick blender. You can add whatever spices you want to finish the sauce off…Mexican, Italian, etc. I’m serious about that Sungold sauce…you can eat it by the spoonful after roasting! No meat or spices needed!”
A close up of a bowl of spaghetti showing the texture of the sauce

How to Can Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

If you have loads of tomatoes and you are wanting to can some spaghetti sauce to use later, we have the perfect recipe for you! It is one of the top recipes on our site and one of my favorite canning recipes of all time! Click HERE for our Canned Spaghetti Sauce recipe. Use it in everything from our delicious Spaghetti Squash Lasagna to our Quick and Easy Calzones.

A bowl of spaghetti topped with spaghetti sauce made from scratch

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

4.88 from 88 votes
Homemade spaghetti sauce is my favorite thing to make with fresh garden tomatoes. This rich, hearty sauce is an instant favorite with anyone who tries it!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 servings




  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Place tomatoes a few at a time in the water and remove after 10-15 seconds. 
  • Immediately place tomatoes in an ice-water bath and remove skins and stems. Cut tomatoes into fourths and place in a food processor or blender. 
  • Process tomatoes a few times, you want them to be the consistency of crushed tomatoes (don’t over process). Set aside. 
  • Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and sauté until they become soft and transparent. 
  • Add mushrooms and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add soy sauce and garlic and continue to cook until mushrooms become soft. 
  • Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, brown sugar, salt and pepper. 
  • Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally for at least one hour. The longer the better! Ideally 2+ hours. 
  • Serve over cooked pasta.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 128kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 4gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1292mgPotassium: 762mgFiber: 4gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 2100IUVitamin C: 37.3mgCalcium: 52mgIron: 1.4mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her beautiful three girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

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How many stars would you give this recipe?


    1. Yes! Ground beef or sliced Italian sausage are some of our favorites. We cook it in a separate pan and add it right before serving.

  1. 5 stars
    I made this using fresh tomatoes during the summer but now we are into winter I must use canned tomatoes. My conversion chart indicates 1 pd of tomatoes = 14.5 oz diced canned tomatoes. Since I want to make the max of 10 lbs of fresh tomatoes, this would be 5 – 28oz cans of diced tomatoes. Is this correct? I question this because the recipe indicates it is for 6 servings which does not seem right.

  2. 5 stars
    We love this recipe! If you want a tasty sauce this is it. I believe the soy sauce is the secret ingredient. I do add an 1/8 tsp ground fennel. My husband suffers from acute pancreatitis and this doesn’t cause a flair up. I do cook the sauce longer then the recipe calls for. I simmer about an hour covered so tomatoes break down, then about 2 hours uncovered.

  3. 5 stars
    This is the best spaghetti sauce recipe I have made and I was really happy to find a “big batch” recipe.

    The only things I did a bit differently were to add 2 additional 12 oz cans of tomato paste (total of 24 oz), simmered for about 6 hours to get to my desired thickness, and I asded 2 packets of dry IGA brand spaghetti sauce seasoning just because I had gotten it for free and needed to use it so I threw it in.

    Other than that I made it as is and it turned our perfect! Thank you!!

  4. 5 stars
    This sauce was amazing! Very flavorful. I grow my own tomatoes and had a bumper crop this year. I have never made my own pasta sauce though. This was very easy to make. I just used a mix of different tomatoes (Rio Grande paste, Early Girl, Brandywine, Mountain Fresh and even a Yellow Boy). I followed the recipe to a “T” except for the garlic. I used garlic powder. Let it cook down for about 4 hours. My husband was blown away. I am going to make the puree and freeze it so I can do fresh sauce all winter. No idea how I will ever eat grocery store jarred sauce again. Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  5. I made the sauce. Not much taste if u ask me. So no soy sauce added. Just 1 tsp of reg sugar. If you truly want Italian sauce add your spices at the very end. Also throw in a carrot peeled pull it out at the end. Absorbs the acids. Also add some parm cheese rind pull that out too when it’s done. Adds a Amazing flavor. Just something to try or think about. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. This recipe has not been tested for canning but you can freeze it! Make a double batch of this glorious sauce and freeze it in a freezer safe Tupperware-type container, a large freezer-safe Ziploc bag or a glass jar. If you do go the glass jar route, make sure to leave an inch or two of space at the top of the jar so the sauce doesn’t expand and break. When freezing, make sure to cool the sauce completely in the fridge before freezing.The sauce will stay nice and fresh in the freezer for up to six months.

  6. 3 stars
    Having been raised by an Italian Mom and my Nana we always made pasta sauce from scratch. The best tomato to use (I’m growing then now) are San Marzana Tomatoes, 2nd best are Roma tomatoes. My wife and I make spaghetti alla Puttanesca (a dish to die for) the recipe calls for anchovies, capers, kalamata olives, garlic and tomatoes. You can look up the meaning, recipe and history of this authentic sauce. It takes as long as it takes to cook the pasta. I also make my own pastas, breads and so on. Never used soy sauce in my sauce or had to use sugar.

    1. This is all great information! Thank you for sharing with us. I am sure your bread and sauce is amazing!!

  7. 5 stars
    First time making Spaghetti Sauce using my homegrown tomatoes. My husband said it was the best sauce he ever ate and that we will no longer purchase store bought Spaghetti Sauce, and he meant it. Guess I better get to making more and freezing it. Thank you for a great recipe.

    1. Wow! That is impressive! Way to go!! This homemade spaghetti sauce is so easy to make. Glad that you all loved it!

  8. 4 stars
    I made this with the suggested ‘roasting’ in the oven for the tomatoes. The recipe was way too sweet for husband and I so I’ll make it again w/o the sugar. I cooked it for 5 hours

  9. Am trying this now with the roasted tomato option. Am wondering if I should cover the pot or not while it simmers. I’m using a cast iron pot.

  10. 5 stars
    I love this recipe. I wanted to share a way to do mushrooms that also truly takes them to another level.
    Dry cook them first. I truly mean throw them in a pan sliced your desired way completely dry. My friend learned this in Italy and it has taken every mushroom recipe I make now to an out of this world level. The texture and flavor I can’t put into words. When I make them people can’t keep their hands outa my pan so I tend to make extra. Add your soy sauce once cooked to draw out even more flavor or a little garlic salt. Add your sautéed onions separately to the sauce.
    If you have never cooked mushrooms this way give it a shot. I promise you will not be disappointed.

  11. Real italians would never use sugar or soy sauce. Even mushrooms and onion are a matter of taste. When I make sauce (or gravy) I make it the italian way and people love it.

    1. Soy sauce is just a different way of adding salt. Onions and basil provide sweetness, but there is nothing wrong with adding an extra pinch of sugar if needed. Mushrooms are internal of course, but add a lot of flavor.

      My sister in law makes sauce “the Italian way” like her Italian grandmother. It is very simple, with almost nothing in it. She cooks it all day. It comes out perfectly smooth, with no texture or taste. There are no onions or visible herbs. I assume she adds garlic. But it is so bland.

      Yet everyone raves about it! Why? Because it tastes amazing? No. They rave because they are expected to love what supposedly is “Grandma’s real Italian gravy”.

    2. 5 stars
      Who said this was supposed to be “Real Italian” It is one person’s recipe and you can like it or not. She calls it “Homemade Spaghetti Sauce.” Publish your own recipies. This was a great sauce as is.

  12. 5 stars
    OMG this is FANTASTIC ! My husband loved loved loved this recipe. He said and I agree best spaghetti sauce EVER ! This is my “wanna impress our friends who come for dinner recipe” and by the way that would be tomorrow, lol.

    1. 5 stars
      Saw some nice Roma maters on sale and mine are slowly coming in so what the ****- let’s make some sauce. I used forty or so leaves of fresh Basil from the back deck and double the recommendation of Oregano, also fresh picked. No mushrooms for us, diced three huge white onions finely and the flavor is amazing. I used an immersion blender. The sauce is thin but has boatloads of flavor. I’ll use this recipe after my garden harvest of Romas is done.

    1. 5 stars
      Just made this recipe tonight. I do not like mushrooms so I used green peppers. The taste is great. The next time I make this recipe I will reduce the amount of salt a little, this of course, is my preference.

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