A photo of tomato sauce is a dutch oven.
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5 from 6 votes

All-Purpose Tomato Sauce

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!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Condiments, Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: All-Purpose Tomato Sauce
Servings: 8
Calories: 98kcal
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: 145IU | Vitamin C: 8.2mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 0.6mg