Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

4.88 from 88 votes
236 Comments

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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

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 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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Comments

    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!

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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)

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

  12. 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!