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4.28 from 33 votes

My Italian Grandmother's Basic Homemade Tomato Sauce

My grandmother's easy Italian tomato sauce made with San Marzano Tomatoes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 15 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 10 cups
Author: Angela Roberts


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion coarsely shopped
  • 1 carrot coarsely chopped
  • 4 large cans 28 ounce San Marzano Tomatoes (I use these)
  • fresh basil or parsley
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon seasalt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • Saute onion and carrots for 5 minutes on low.
  • Add in garlic for a few minutes, being careful not to brown.
  • Strain tomatoes either using a food mill or colander.
  • This recipe is for a smooth marinara sauce. You can, however, chop the tomatoes and use entire can. If you use good tomatoes as I recommend, you will not have any waste, when using food mill.
  • Add in softened butter.
  • Season with salt pepper and herbs.
  • Cook on low with no lid for 2 to 4 hours, stirring frequently, or put in a crock pot on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Strain out the vegetables and herbs before serving.
  • If you don't have a food mill, just feel free to put all the tomatoes crushed in your hands into the pot. You will have a thicker sauce with some chunks of tomato but it's equally delicious.