All-Purpose Tomato Sauce

This all-purpose tomato sauce recipe is perfect for pasta, on pizza, or as a base for other sauces and stews. Why spend money on store brands when you can throw this together using pantry staple ingredients? 

This All-Purpose Tomato Sauce is wonderful over pasta, and it also works well as a base for pizza sauce. Get the recipe from Savory Simple.

Free time is in short supply these days. It always seems like there’s so much to do and little to no spare time for any of us. “I don’t have enough time for that,” is what most people says when they see my recipes.

I get it. Not everyone enjoys spending time in the kitchen like I do, and even if they want to, life gets in the way. Why make a tomato sauce from scratch when you can buy a perfectly good one from the store? Trust me, I understand.

This All-Purpose Tomato Sauce is wonderful over pasta, and it also works well as a base for pizza sauce. Get the recipe from Savory Simple.

I wish everyone had more time to stop, take a breath, and do little things like create from scratch. Not necessarily cook, just whatever brings joys.

So many people I talk to these days sound tired, drained, and uninspired. I often fall into this category as well. When did everything get so hectic? Is this why every year seems to go by faster?

Is this why 40 seems to be closing in on me at a freakishly quick rate?

Making tomato sauce from scratch isn’t going to keep me from aging, but any moment that forces me to slow down for a moment and simply… be… I’m going to take it.

This All-Purpose Tomato Sauce is wonderful over pasta, and it also works well as a base for pizza sauce. Get the recipe from Savory Simple.

This is what I call a kitchen staple recipe. It’s a good all-purpose sauce to use with pasta, on pizza, or as a base for other more elaborate sauces. There’s nothing fancy about it.

You can use dates instead of the sugar if you prefer to avoid processed sweeteners; they cook down nothing.

Looking for more sauce recipes?

Be sure to check out my teriyaki sauce, chocolate sauce, and sweet & tangy barbecue sauce. You might also enjoy this homemade cocktail sauce recipe from Leite’s Culinaria!

A photo of tomato sauce is a dutch oven.
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All-Purpose Tomato Sauce

5 from 6 votes
This All-Purpose Tomato Sauce is wonderful over pasta, and it also works well as a base for pizza sauce. A definite must-have for your fridge!
Course Condiments, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword All-Purpose Tomato Sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8
Calories 98
Author Jennifer Farley


  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups yellow onion, finely chopped (approximately 2 small)
  • 4-5 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar (see notes)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (1 tablespoon dried oregano may be substituted)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • Optional: 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper


  • In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat (use just enough to coat the bottom of the pan). Add the onions, garlic and sugar, along with a pinch of salt. Cook for 3-5 minutes until translucent, stirring periodically, then add the tomato paste. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the strained tomatoes and oregano.
  • Stir, then cover and simmer on low/medium-low for at least 45 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours. The longer the sauce cooks, the better the flavor of the sauce will be.
  • Remove from the heat, and add the oregano, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper if using. Taste and add additional seasoning if needed. If you want a smoother consistency, you can puree the sauce in a blender.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also freeze the sauce for 3-4 months.


You can swap out the granulated sugar for finely chopped dates, if you prefer to avoid processed sugars. They will dissolve into nothing as the sauce cooks down. Chop 2 medium dates finely, and add along with the onions and garlic.
Oregano is a great all-purpose sauce ingredient that will translate will into a pizza sauce. If you know this sauce will be used for pasta, try adding in some chopped fresh basil as well! I recommend adding 1/4 cup, tasting, and then adding more if you think the sauce needs it. You can also use either oregano or basil as a garnish when you serve. These herbs loose some of their flavor when they cook.


Calories: 98kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1376mg | Potassium: 310mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 2.9% | Vitamin C: 9.9% | Calcium: 3.4% | Iron: 3.3%

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About Jennifer Farley

Jennifer graduated from the Culinary Arts program at L’Academie de Cuisine, and has worked professionally as a line cook, pastry chef, and cooking instructor. Her cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen, was published in 2016 by Simon & Schuster.

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