Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

4.89 from 92 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

4.89 from 92 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 three beautiful 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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  1. 5 stars
    Hey!! I left a comment a little earlier. Said the sauce was so thin. However, letting it cook longer to evaporate the juice from the tomatoes worked perfectly!! Love it! 55 years old and for the first time used some salad tomatoes that were getting soft for fresh sauce. Brilliant!!

    Thank you for this simple base recipe!! #EAHWP