Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

4.88 from 87 votes
232 Comments

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I bet you’re thinking it’s pretty obvious why I love homemade spaghetti sauce. It’s not your average tomato sauce. It’s rich and hearty, packed with tomatoes and spices, and 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 you can for you 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 8 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. 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 when 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. 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 87 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

Video

Ingredients

Instructions

  • 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 saute 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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Comments

  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”.

  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.

  13. 5 stars
    Love, love, love this sauce! My family is spoiled now because they do not want the jar kind anymore!

  14. I thrown tomatoes in a ziplock bag into the freezer. when frozen drop in hot water for about 10 seconds and the skin comes right off. Then thaw in bowl, core and boil seeds and all.

    1. Why does everyone peel and deseed tomatoes that is where the excellent taste of tomatoes is incased in….to me that is like skining and deboneing a chicken
      Not me I like all that stuff

  15. I have a ton of small romas. Have you ever tried not blanching and peeling them? Seems like a ton of work for the smaller tomatoes but I’d love to try this recipe.

    1. I pick my tomatoes, wash and cut each end off, then dry them off and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze a few hours or overnight. Take them out and thaw. They will be soft. Put tomatoes in a food mill and squish them thru it. They will have no skins nor seeds. Make what you want out of the fresh sauce. This takes planning ahead but at least you don’t have to blanch and peel them and as an added feature… no seeds.

  16. I haven’t made this yet but definitely will–such rave reviews! I’m wondering if this would freeze well. I have lots of tomatoes (hooray!) and would like to make several batches but don’t want to can it for a variety of reasons. Freezing would be my preference. Has anybody tried that?

  17. 5 stars
    This is an amazing sauce. I eliminated mushrooms and soy sauce, but that is just personal preference. We love it and will be making it again!

  18. 5 stars
    Oh yum!!! I’ve been simmering this recipe for an hour and a half now and just snuck a taste… this is delicious!!! Made it exactly like the recipe calls for! Will be making a bigger batch for canning!!!

    1. The serving size is for a full jar, so that’s why it is a little higher. It isn’t just one individual serving.

  19. 5 stars
    I will never buy spaghetti sauce again! This recipe is a winner! The sauce is so tasty and I love that it’s made with fresh tomatoes. Thank you!

  20. 5 stars
    This spaghettie sauce had so much flavor we loved it!! Everyone loved the sauce, it was the star of the dinner!!

  21. 5 stars
    Made a batch earlier in the week and making my second today. Absolutely delicious. I made it was roasted fresh tomatoes from the garden. Great because very little sugar is needed and my hubby is diabetic. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and 5-star rating! I’m so happy you like this recipe!

  22. 5 stars
    Made this yesterday with our garden tomatoes. It is wonderful. I can never leave a recipe allow so I did make a few changes. I roasted the tomatoes as some suggested but did it on the bbq since our temp today is 110 so don’t need the oven on. Also added extra mushrooms since I had them and love mushrooms, added one can tomato paste for my doubled recipe. Best sauce I’ve ever had. Meat not needed. We froze extra in ziplock bags rather than canned the sauce. Hope we have more tomatoes for this season so I can make more.

  23. 5 stars
    Made this with roasted Cherokee Purples and volunteer Kamuela (I live in Hawaii) tomatoes, and I have never tasted a better tomato pasta sauce in my life! Thank you for the recipe!

    1. Hi Liz I’m in Michigan and my husband grows an over abundance of tomatoes every year. This is the first year he grew Cherokee purples while they grew they grew terribly! Every single one was severely cracked and split even though the tops were still green. What we managed to salvage which wasn’t much but were very tasty. Any suggestions on what he can do to make them better for next season?

      1. I haven’t grown Cherokee purple tomatoes, but from what I know about them, the tops are supposed to be green. Most people pick theirs when the tomato is half green and let them ripen the rest of the way on the counter to prevent splitting. I hope this helps!

  24. 5 stars
    I made this homemade spaghetti sauce and it was absolutely delicious. Taste way better than the jar spaghetti sauce. The directions was easy to follow. I roasted my tomatoes first.

    1. I think sautéing them brings out the flavors more, but you could just put them in with the sauce too.

  25. 5 stars
    This recipe, and the tip on roasting the tomatoes first, led to the most delicious sauce that I have ever tasted! This was my first attempt at spaghetti sauce from scratch. Thx so much!

      1. 5 stars
        I made this sauce tonight. It tastes great. I let it simmer down for about 4 hours. Nice thick consistency. Can’t wait to have it over pasta tomorrow.

  26. 4 stars
    Lovely recipe as it is. Second time around, I halved the sugar, added finely chopped carrots and celery, and cooked and chopped some hot Italian sausage with a bit of dried fennel seed, but only added the meat to half of the sauce, to please different tastes. But, the basic sauce is genius. Freezing it in small batches for later use as well.

    1. I’d like to add some sausage also. Do you just use it as a spaghetti sauce that way over pasta? Or make lasagna? Trying to figure out what to do with it after I make it!

  27. This was my first time attempting to make fresh tomato sauce. I followed the recipe, except I omitted the mushrooms and had to take out the seeds because of a medical issue, and used less brown sugar. I also added tomato paste to thicken the sauce. It was delicious, my husband loved it. In fact I’m back to making another batch for my lasagna. After tweaking to my taste this sauce is the bomb!

  28. 4 stars
    I made this exactly as per the recipe. It was delicious but too sweet. I would start with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and add to taste next time.

  29. 5 stars
    This is a superb spaghetti sauce, I was surprised it was so satisfying without meat. The mushrooms are a perfect toothsome substitute for sausage or beef. You can add vegetables, herbs and spices according to what’s in your cabinet or garden to build on this terrific sauce!

    1. I always add red wine to my sauce whenever I make it. I usually do about 1/4 cup or so, the sauce will be more liquidity initially, I add a couple TBLS of tomato paste and simmer mine for 4-6 hours and it comes out just the way we like our sauce. Not too liquidity and not too thick.
      By the way, this is the best and most perfect sauce recipe I have found!!!
      So go ahead and add that wine😉

      1. Let me say first…I’m a meat-a-holic. I see a recipe or dish and wonder “why would you eat that? There’s no meat. ”
        So. I made this sauce as directed but cut in half to accommodate the fresh tomatoes I had.
        As I was frying the hamburger, I tasted the sauce. OMG. Should I add the burger? So I spooned up a bit of sauce and a bit of burger. Nope!
        Don’t do it! If you want Prego, get Prego; add meat. Save yourself a couple of hours.
        BUT…if you want something truly delicious…just follow this recipe as written!

    1. This particular recipe for canned spaghetti sauce hasn’t been “officially” tested for water-bath canning. However, after MUCH research, we’ve found that if you add lemon juice to the jars this recipe is acidic enough for canning. Tomatoes are in the “gray area” of having enough acidity, so they might be just fine on their own. But adding a bit of lemon juice ensures their acidity. If you’re still worried, you can pressure can them or add more lemon juice or red wine vinegar.

      1. I made this with fresh tomatoes from my mom’s garden and added a pound of spicy Italian sausage (fairly lean). I fried off the sausage (casings removed) with about 2 tbsp butter, and added the onions to that to cook down. With the fat from the sausage and the butter, I omitted the oil. After that, I followed the recipe as written. Delicious! Note that I’m in Canada, and meat is generally significantly lower fat than in the US, so mileage may vary.

  30. 5 stars
    This is a really deeply flavorful sauce without being oily. I got a little carried away adding some red pepper flakes so it was a little more on the arrabiata side. SO GOOD. (And my house smells so good, too.)

      1. Be really careful when adding or omitting ingredients to a canning recipe. You are usually fine adding spices but when it comes to adding more produce, meat or anything else it could throw off the acidity levels, thus making unsafe for canning.

    1. 5 stars
      This was my first even making my own sauce from scratch. I had more tomatoes than I could deal with from my garden (not complaining!) I didn’t weigh or measure the amount of tomatoes, and I didn’t have soy sauce. I added garlic salt to taste.
      I LOVE the taste and so did my spouse! It made enough for a large pot of spaghetti. I simmered for 2 hours like recommended.
      Thank you for helping make dinner a little extra special. I will definitely be using this recipe again. 🙂

    1. 5 stars
      Never comment on any recipes before. But this is so good!!

      I had tons of cherry tomatoes on hand, so was using that in combinations with some canned tomatoes I had to use. Add 2 lemon juice (the cherry tomatoes too sweet). Roast the tomatoes, then blend, and cooked for 2 hours+. Best thing I ever made.

        1. 5 stars
          This is simply superb. Have prepared this recipe twice. I added beans, carrots, capsicum, celery and pak choi stalks. Also put in some chilli flakes. Thanks so much for sharing. My husband loves it when I prepare pasta using this sauce. Also I can give this to my 1 yr old happily.

  31. I planted a vegetable garden. My beefsteak tomatoes are overpopulating lol. I had so many I had to think of something to make. I found this recipe, and I’ve never made homemade sauce. This was so good! Even my picky 8 yr old ate it. I will make again for sure.

  32. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing! This sauce is delicious. I’m so happy for this recipe. My neighbor gave me 9 tomatoes from his garden and I tried to figure out what to do with them. I followed every step of this recipe and it was so worth it. Thank you for the written and visual instructions!

  33. I just wanted to comment and say THANK YOU. I made this with 8 pounds of our homegrown tomatoes (a combination of Better Boy, Celebrity and a couple of kinds of cherry tomatoes), one of our homegrown green bell peppers and our own fresh basil and oregano and it was hands down the absolute best spaghetti sauce we’ve ever had. (As my dad’s family would say, ‘one of the best things we’ve ever stuck a tooth in’. 🙂 )

    I didn’t roast the tomatoes, just did the hot water bath and slipped them out of the skins, then pulsed them a few times in my blender. I was a little worried when I saw all the juice, but I cooked it down slowly for 2 1/2 hours and the texture was absolutely perfect.

    I served it over fresh angel hair and lightly seared chicken thighs, but even though the thighs were good, I really wish I’d just done the sauce — it would have been beautiful just on its own, no meat at all.

    Thank you, thank you, for a terrific recipe!

    1. I’m so happy your family loved this recipe as much as we do! It is truly the best spaghetti sauce EVER! Thank you for leaving a comment!

  34. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I’m not much of a fan of mushrooms so left those out. My favorite ingredient was the soy sauce; it really elevated the flavor of the tomato sauce. I also added about a quarter cup of Pinot noir and a dash of balsamic vinegar and it turned out great. Definitely making again.

  35. When do I add the ground beef to recipe? Didn’t know if it should simmer with sauce the 2+ hours. Thanks

    1. I would add the ground beef right after you saute the onions and brown it before the next step! Hope this helps!

    2. When did you put the garlic cloves in? You have them listened in the “ingredient” section but neglected to include them in the directions?

  36. 5 stars
    Made recipe exactly as printed except my wife and I love mushrooms so I used a 16oz. package of fresh mushrooms. Awesome taste and great flavors.

  37. Here is a tip my sister shared with me that will keep you making this delicious sauce with homegrown tomatoes all year long. I grow quite a few types of tomatoes so that I have extra to freeze. I just throw whole tomatoes in a gallon freezer baggy (only the stems removed), date them and toss them in the freezer. When it is time to use, throw the frozen tomatoes in a colander and run a little cold water over them. The skins slip off as they thaw. They work great for tomato bisque all winter long as well.

      1. What to add if I don’t have enough home grown tomatoes, I only had 5-6 lbs but used recipe for 8-10lbs

        1. You can either reduce the recipe, or add some store-bought tomatoes. You could also see if there are any farmer’s markets in your area that have tomatoes available!

  38. Hi again! I’m trying to make this sauce but am having to substitute canned tomatoes and dried spices. How much dried basil should be used? It says 10-12 basil leaves but I have no idea what that breaks down to in regard to dried basil. Should I start off with 1/2 tsp and then check or should it be less than 1/2 tsp to start with? I’m really looking forward to trying your recipe! Are dried mushrooms okay? I have some mushroom powder as well as dried mushrooms. I think they are porcini but will have to double-check.

    1. Two teaspoons of dried basil will work in place of 10-12 fresh basil leaves. Also, dried mushrooms should work great in the sauce. Thank you for asking!

  39. 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 pain (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!

    1. Thank you so much for this suggestion, Diana. Since we won’t have garden tomatoes in the fall, I won’t be able to try this myself until then. I added your comment under the “suggestions” section of the post so all of our readers can see it. This sounds so delicious, I can’t wait to try it!

      1. I think you will be shocked at how concentrated the tomato flavors become by roasting them. I certainly was! I originally was looking for a way to use a huge number of Sungolds and stumbled across the recipe for roasting them. It turned out so well that I thought about applying that method to regular tomatoes that I was going to can. My aunt and my mom requested that I can for them this past summer (they’re in their mid-80’s) and I was happy to do it for them. My aunt has not stopped raving about how great the canned tomatoes turned out, especially when used for spaghetti sauce. It is time-consuming and more hands-on, but I believe worth every minute of it, especially in those months when you’re longing for a good tomato taste in the dead of winter…lol! I think you will be very happy with the results! You can always try making a trial run and then make a fresh tomato sauce with that method. Because you roast the tomatoes, you don’t have to spend a long time simmering it later. I’d love to know what you think after you try that method! It made a day and night difference for me.

    1. When I want a spicier spaghetti sauce I usually use dried red pepper flakes! That seems to match the spice profile the best.

    2. 5 stars
      Such a great recipe! I used fresh tomatoes from my garden and it was a hit. My only suggestion was to remove the brown sugar as they found the sauce a little too sweet. I added cooked ground chicken to the recipe but I have way too much sauce now. How long can I freeze it for?

  40. What type of tomatoes would you recommend to use with this recipe. I will be trying it but will need to purchase the tomatoes from the store. Any recommendation is appreciated. I was thinking due to the meatiness to use Roma but then to add another variety for a bit more depth. Not sure which would be best.

    1. We’ve found that the best substitute for fresh tomatoes is 2 cans of canned crushed tomatoes.

      1. Thank you! I actually made this recipe yesterday from Roma tomatoes. I found the prep time to be much much longer than what was shown when you include the peeling of the tomatoes, etc. The simmer time is not near long enough, even at 2 hrs. I cooked for 3 hrs yesterday, then placed in fridge overnight and started it up again today. I still thought it was a bit too bland for me and it could be just because the tomatoes may not have been the richest/sweetest ripened as they were purchased from the store. I ended up doctoring it later this afternoon to get it finished. I added some canned paste, used my blender to cream up about 4 ladles of my mixture, then added it back. I then added some canned tomato sauce as well as a splash of Red wine, more spice, 2 chicken bouillon and 1 beef bouillon cubes to flavor a bit deeper. I do appreciate the recipe base and I’m sure I it must have been the tomatoes — I just was not getting the richness I desired.

        1. Having made this recipe with homegrown tomatoes, I’m pretty sure that was the problem. With homegrown tomatoes, it’s beautiful. I can definitely see how canned tomatoes would not work as well, though — there’s not enough juice to be able to let them cook down as long.

          If you can get hold of homegrown, though, do try it — it’s worth it.

          1. Yes! Put 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.

  41. Haven’t made it yet, but I have noticed that you never comment on removing the seeds from the tomatoes. Do you remove the seeds before processing?

    1. Nope, we don’t remove the seeds. We don’t even really notice them. You can remove them if they bother you though!

  42. 5 stars
    Thank you for giving me the confidence to try spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes. I have always used Prego or made sauce from “scratch” with canned tomatoes and sauce. The tomatoes were so liquidy after processing I thought it would take all day to boil down to a sauce, but less than one hour at high heat worked great. I had 1/2 beef 1/2 Italian sausage in with it. It’s simmering now for dinner tonight!

    1. So glad you took the leap and made it with fresh tomatoes. It makes all the difference, right? Thank you so much for the kind comment and for the 5-stars! What a compliment!

  43. 5 stars
    Absolutely Hearty & Delicious!! The tip on adding the soy sauce was brilliant as it brought out the best in the chopped mushrooms. Would highly recommend!!

    1. Thanks Lena! So glad you liked this sauce. I’m so glad you didn’t leave out the soy sauce, it makes such a huge difference!

    1. You will want to keep the lid off so it can reduce. With the lid on, it will gather condensation and drip back down into your sauce and it won’t reduce. Hope this helps!

  44. How much sauce do you get from 8-10 lbs of tomatoes? Is that the same amount as 5 jars of store bought spaghetti sauce? (I know this one will taste 100 times better, I’m just trying to compare apples and apples.)

    1. It really depends on how much the sauce is reduced and if you are weighing the tomatoes before or after you are peeling them… you should get close to 3-4 store-bought sized jars with 8-10 lbs. Hope this helps!

  45. Hello! Is the high sodium from the soy sauce? I’m trying to make from scratch as much as possible due to 1 kidney. Thank you.

    1. You can use low-sodium soy sauce if you are concerned. It does raise the sodium levels a bit. Hope this helps!

  46. 5 stars
    I made this today from our garden tomatoes. I have tried several recipes before. I was skeptical about a few of the ingredients, but I was so wrong. This was the MOST AWESOME sauce I have ever tasted. I cut the brown sugar in half but didn’t change anything else. Thank you! I will definitely make this again.

    1. Hi Karen- I am so happy to hear you liked this recipe! Thank you for trusting me 😉 Thanks for taking the time to come back and comment, and thank you so much for the 5-stars! 😀

    1. Even if using canned tomatoes, I would still simmer as long as you can, just so those delicious flavors have a chance to cook together and combine. Hope this helps!

  47. 5 stars
    Super awesome/simple recipe! I’ve made many marinara recipes, and this is by far my family’s fave…Thank you!!

    1. So glad you and your family enjoyed it! We are honored that of all the recipes you have tried, our was your favorite! Thank you! You made my day 🙂

    1. You can go either way. They purpose of the soy sauce it to enhance the flavor of the mushrooms but it also brings out the flavor in the tomatoes. Totally up to you!

      1. Meat is a great addition to this sauce! We don’t recommend canning the sauce with meat in it, but you can make it and eat it fresh or freeze it with the meat. Hope this helps!

  48. If fresh herbs were are not available, would dried be okay? I searched the grocery stores and no fresh was available anywhere….making this today since I have garden tomatoes that need to be used up before they go bad.

    1. Yes, you can definitely use dried! I only use the fresh herbs because they are readily available. You are fine just using whatever you have on hand. Dried will be great. 😀 Hope this helps!

  49. I have a clarifying question before I make this. What is the amount of tomatoes in pounds? This measure is much easier because of variation in size of tomatoes. I know you have 10-12 pounds of tomatoes written, but that can’t be right. I am making tomato sauce right now from 4 lbs of tomatoes and I used about the same amount that you listed.

    1. It really depends on the size of your tomatoes. In the recipe card we have 8-10 lbs of tomatoes. The measurements provided are also the weight pre-peeled. This recipe is extremely forgiving– you can use a variation of tomato amounts and still be totally fine. Hope this helps!

  50. 5 stars
    I’ve tried making sauce from fresh tomatoes before and wasn’t impressed. I tried this recipe because I have so many tomatoes. It was delicious. My family loved it also. Definitely keeping this recipe. Thank-you

  51. 5 stars
    My local farmer had “pick your own vegetables” day so I stocked up on tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. Trying this recipe was my first attempt at making homemade spaghetti sauce and it turned out perfect! I made a double batch and let It simmer for 8 hours. It was so thick and flavorful. I will never use jarred sauce again! I had it with breaded eggplant and vegan meatballs. Thanks for sharing this recipie!!

    1. So so glad to hear you liked this spaghetti sauce! The best way to use up garden tomatoes IMHO 😉 love your idea of sides, too! That sounds delicious!

    1. If you are worried about getting a weird texture, you could always just chop the mushrooms really small. That way you get the flavor without the texture. Hope this helps!

  52. 5 stars
    Making this now and it smells amazing! I added beef and roasted red peppers. I also used the entire tomato and blended it raw in the vitamin first. Cut back on tons of time. Yay! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Great idea to use the entire tomato! So glad you liked this recipe, thanks for coming back to let us know!

  53. 5 stars
    Delicious! It tastes so fresh. I also had a much longer prep time than 15minutes, but maybe I’m just slow. Nevertheless, I’m definitely making this again!

    1. So glad you liked this recipe Kimberly! Sorry the prep took so long! What part did you find was the most time consuming? Trying to figure out how I can adjust the time to make the prep time more accurate. Thanks for the 5-stars!

  54. Hi hopeing to make this sauce tomorrow,l have plenty of ripe small plumb tomatoes 🍅 do I
    Still need to skin them?

    1. Skinning them is totally a personal choice. Skins will soften if you decide to keep them on, I just like them skinless. I have used cherry tomatoes (well, Sun Golds) in this recipe with skins on and it is AMAZING– the skins are so thin you don’t even notice them. If you are fine with cooking the skins, I would say go for it!

      1. I used this recipe and followed it to a T, ended up with tomatoe soup. It was very time consuming and VERY frustrating to end up with something that went in the garbage. Wasted home grown tomatoes 😡!

        1. Hi Lydia- my guess is that the sauce didn’t reduce enough. You can simmer it as long as you need until it reduces. I am so sad to hear it went in the trash! It probably just needed more time or a little extra tomato paste.

    1. Yes and yes. Fresh or dried herbs will work just fine! You can just add the herbs to taste and you will be totally fine. Hope this helps!

  55. 5 stars
    Excellent sauce! I followed the recipe with a couple of exceptions – I added fried mushrooms and ground beef after the sauce had simmered for a couple hours. I also simmered for about 3 1/2 hours, as it was too thin after even 2 hours. This sauce has great flavor.

    1. So glad you liked it. Definitely the longer you simmer it the thicker (and better) it will be. Glad you kept simmering! Thanks for the 5-stars, Sam!

  56. 5 stars
    I just made this and it turned out great. It’s a very nice thick sauce. I didn’t use the soy sauce or mushrooms and I removed the seeds from the tomatoes. It will be perfect for my homemade meatballs! It’s a keeper, thank you!

    1. so glad you liked this recipe, even with the omissions! Adding meatballs will definitely give it that “meaty” taste that makes this sauce so good. Thanks for the 5-stars!

  57. I love this sauce. I tried 2 others that we’re just ok, but this one was perfect for me. I have had a double batch simmering for about 4 hours and will do it tomorrow too. My husband is obsessed with putting wine in sauce and wants to add some. Have you tried that? I’m wary of ruining the perfect mix of flavors.

    1. Hi Emily- so glad you liked this recipe! A little bit of cooking wine won’t hurt at all, you can throw it in with the mushrooms and it will probably be delicious. I wouldn’t overdo it but a few Tbsp. of cooking wine won’t hurt at all. Hope this helps!

  58. I’m trying this recipe today and was hoping you could tell me app. How many cups of fresh tomatoes I’m looking for?, my tomatoes. Are very sizes. Thank yu

    1. An average sized tomato can range anywhere between 3/4 c. and 1 c. IF it were me, I would just round up for sake of ease. So I would say 12-14 cups of tomatoes. Hope this helps!

      1. Thank you for specifying that it’s 12-14 CUPS of tomatoes. I was looking at the recipe thinking there was no way my 12-14 tomatoes were going to equal 8-10 lbs LOL. This was exactly the comment I was looking for to clarify 🙂

          1. 5 stars
            Amazing! I used a mix of Roma’s and celebrities and fresh herbs. Delish! Question: if I do not want it as thick… May I add water? Also has anyone tried canning this yet?

          2. Hi Brittany- I wouldn’t add water, I would just simmer it for less time. It will be pretty watery if you don’t let it simmer as long. Hope this helps!

    1. I just got mine put together and it is simmering on the stove. My husband came home for lunch and when he walked in he immediately said how great the house smelled. I plan on letting it simmer for several hours and will probably not have it until tomorrow night (I think sauces always are better the next day)

  59. This is wonderful sauce! I let my tomatoes drain a bit, similar to what I do for salsa, and used red bell pepper in place of mushrooms. My family is asking for more! I plan to can some to enjoy this winter.

    1. So glad you like this recipe! Great idea adding some red bell pepper. You can definitely add more vegetables to the sauce to bulk it up. We have added carrot before, too, and it is wonderful!

  60. 5 stars
    This spaghetti sauce was so good! We had a good crop of tomatoes this year and were looking for other ways to use them. I came across this recipe and gave it a try. Very easy, and we had all the ingredients at home already. I did let it simmer for the 2 hours recommended, and it turned out great!!

    1. So glad you liked it! Simmering it down is key. It makes all the flavors combine beautifully. Thanks so much for the 5-stars!

  61. 5 stars
    The whole family loved the recipe! I also added chopped carrots and bell peppers! Amazing, Amazing, amazing! I allowed the sauce to simmer for 1hr 45ish mins and turned out just fine! Thank you so much for sharing! This is the only way I’ll eat spaghetti now…from now on.

    1. Yay!!! I am so glad that you liked this recipe! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for the 5-stars!

  62. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe. Hard to believe there’s no beef in the ingredients. My only complaint is that the
    15 min. prep time is way off. It took me at least 30 min. to blanch, peel, core and quarter the tomatoes, and I still had to chop the onion, mushrooms and basil. I think a 45 min. prep time is more realistic.

    1. Hi Belle– thank you so much for letting me know how long it took you to do this recipe. I will re-evaluate the time and make some changes. Thanks for the 5-stars! So glad you enjoyed this recipe!

      1. 4 stars
        You can always add browned ground beef or sausage after the sauce has been made. Keep some separate for vegetarians, though!

  63. 5 stars
    I love this recipe!!! It is a keeper! I used fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs from my garden and doubled the recipe. I was so impressed I did it again the next day so I would have plenty to freeze. I let it simmer uncovered for several hours to reduce the liquid. Perfect. My hunt for the perfect sauce is over with.

    1. Thank you so much for this wonderful comment! We are so excited that your hunt for the perfect sauce ended with us! Thank you! 😀

    2. I was thinking of putting it in the crockpot for about 4 hours. On low with lid on. Do you think that would be to long , would it thinkin up that way also.

      1. I’m doing mine in a crockpot. Question – do you saute the garlic listed in ingredients? Not mentioned in recipe to even add it.

        1. Loved this great way to use my end of the season tomatoes only problem I had was too much soy sauce ..next time I will add more mushrooms

    1. So glad you liked this spaghetti sauce! Thanks so much for the 5-stars and the nice comment 😀

        1. 5 stars
          I’ve been making this for about a year and half now. This has become me and my husband’s favorite meal to make. It’s delicious and better than anything you can get at a restaurant around where we live. Love, love, love l!

      1. 5 stars
        I really enjoyed this recipe and will be making it again, I didn’t use brown sugar and I found that half a carrot grated into the sauteed onions adds more than enough sweetness

        1. Great idea! Awesome way to cut out sugar without having to cut out the sweetness. Thank you for sharing!