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Simple pomodoro sauce is rich, vibrant, and so easy to make, you’ll never opt for jarred tomato sauce again. With a single bite, you’ll feel like you’re dining in an authentic Italian trattoria, without ever leaving your kitchen. Hands down my go-to tomato pasta sauce recipe, and one my kids and husband ask for again and again!

Overhead view of a white bowl of spaghetti swirled with red pomodoro sauce and topped with fresh basil leaves.

🍅 What Makes This Recipe So Good

  • This is my family’s favorite tomato sauce, hands down. It’s full of rich, classic flavors that instantly take me right back to our trips to Italy. Pasta pomodoro is high on the list of comfort foods in my house.
  • Pomodoro sauce is so easy to make that I’m confident you’ll never want store-bought jarred pasta sauce again. Aside from the basil and to some degree the garlic, you can honestly keep all the ingredients you’ll need on hand so you can throw together a fresh, homemade pomodoro sauce on a moment’s notice. That’s how easy it is!
  • Because of its mild, bright flavor, this sauce is ridiculously versatile. It’s good on literally any type of pasta, from your favorite short or long noodles to gnocchi or ravioli. You can also use it for an easy chicken parm or serve it with your favorite homemade meatballs.

👩🏼‍🍳 Chef’s Tips

  • One of the key characteristics of pomodoro sauce is its smooth consistency – but how do you go from whole San Marzano tomatoes to a smooth tomato sauce? Well, that’s easy! Just use an immersion blender! With an immersion blender, you don’t have to transfer the hot tomato mixture to another container. Just move the saucepan off the heat and let the mixture cool slightly, the plop the immersion blender into the saucepan and off you go!
  • If you don’t have an immersion blender, a standard blender will work fine, but might take a little more time and effort. Blending hot mixtures in a blender can be very dangerous, so heed the notes in the recipe card below. Let the mixture cool a good bit before you start blending, and work in as many batches are you need to.
  • The flavors of the pomodoro sauce will deepen over time, so feel free to keep your heat low and draw out the cook times if you’re not in a hurry! You can also prepare the sauce up to 24 hours before you plan to serve it. Just let it cool completely, then refrigerate it in an airtight container. Before serving, reheat the sauce on the stovetop over low heat just until it’s warmed through.

💬 Frequently Asked Questions

What is pomodoro sauce made of?

You might find some variation in the details between recipes, but pomodoro sauce always starts with mild tomatoes, olive oil (or extra virgin olive oil), garlic, fresh basil, and salt.

Pomodoro sauce vs. marinara – what’s the difference?

While both are made from tomatoes, pomodoro is typically a thicker, smoother sauce than the chunkier marinara. Pomodoro is also a simpler sauce, lacking the various herbs and spices that are usually part of a marinara.

What does pomodoro sauce taste like?

Made from lower-acidity tomatoes than other sauces, pomodoro is rich and robust yet beautifully balanced with the slightest hint of natural sweetness. Earthy garlic and basil give the sauce more depth while complimenting the Italian flavors in the recipe.

Close-up, overhead view of a white bowl of spaghetti swirled with red pomodoro sauce and topped with fresh basil leaves.

🍝 Other Delicious Italian-Inspired Recipes You’ll Love

Recipe By: Cheryl Malik
5 from 4 votes

Pomodoro Sauce

Prep 15 minutes
Cook 45 minutes
Total 1 hour
One bite of this delicious tomato sauce will make you feel like you're dining in an authentic Italian trattoria, without ever leaving your kitchen!
6 servings


  • Large saucepan 6-quart or 8-quart
  • Large wooden spoon or silicone spatula
  • immersion blender or standard blender, see Notes


For the Pomodoro Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped, approximately 1 cup
  • 3 large cloves garlic minced, approximately 2 tablespoons
  • 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes 56 ounces (1588 grams) total, do not drain
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt more or less to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper more or less to taste

Serving Suggestions (All Optional)

  • cooked pasta of choice
  • grated parmesan


  • Place large saucepan on stovetop over medium-high heat. When saucepan is warm, add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Swirl and tilt pan as needed to distribute oil across surface of saucepan, and continue heating saucepan until oil is hot and shimmery.
  • When oil is ready, add 1 medium onion (chopped) to saucepan and stir to incorporate onion into oil. Sauté onions, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes or until onions are very soft.
  • Once onions have softened, reduce heat under saucepan to medium. Add 3 large cloves garlic (minced) and stir to incorporate. Sauté garlic 60 seconds or until just fragrant, stirring constantly.
  • When garlic is fragrant, add 2 28-ounce cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes and stir to incorporate. Increase heat under saucepan to high and bring mixture to boil, stirring occasionally.
  • When tomato mixture begins to boil, immediately reduce heat under saucepan to low. Simmer mixture 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes with wooden spoon or spatula.
  • After 20 minutes, add ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves to saucepan and stir to incorporate. Simmer mixture 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
  • After 5 minutes, remove saucepan from heat. Add 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, then stir to incorporate. Let mixture cool slightly.
  • When mixture has cooled slightly, insert immersion blender into saucepan. Purée mixture until sauce is thick and mostly smooth. See Notes below if using standard blender.
  • When satisfied with consistency, taste sauce and adjust salt and/or pepper if needed. When satisfied with flavor of sauce, add cooked pasta of choice to saucepan and stir to cover pasta in pomodoro sauce.
  • Portion pasta and pomodoro sauce evenly between serving bowls or plates, top with grated parmesan if desired, and serve immediately.
  • Unlike other pasta sauces, pomodoro sauce is intended to be served in smaller amounts, just enough to cover the pasta but not so much that your pasta is heavily coated in sauce.
Tips for Blending Hot Mixtures
  • Fill the blender no more than halfway. You may have to blend your ingredients in a few batches.
  • After pouring the mixture into the blender, let it sit a few minutes to cool slightly before blending.
  • Before blending, remove the center cap from the blender lid and cover the hole with a dish towel instead. This will keep pressure from building up inside the blender. Keep your hand on the lid to hold it down while blending.

Approximate Information for One Serving

Serving Size: 1servingCalories: 117calProtein: 3gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 715mgPotassium: 825mgTotal Carbs: 16gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gNet Carbs: 13gVitamin A: 54IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 134mgIron: 4mg
Nutrition Disclaimers
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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  1. I made this last night and it was HEAVENLY! My four-year-old sat next to me with a bistro spoon and frequently scooping out samplings to slurp. I did too! I made a batch of Ina Garten’s classic meatballs and used some of the pomodoro sauce to cover the meatballs in and simmer them until they were cooked through. My husband and I made homemade egg pasta and made it into spaghetti noodles. I tossed the spaghetti noodles in the pomodoro sauce until it was just coated and put the meatballs on top. My husband said this is his favorite rendition of spaghetti that he has ever had. I am looking forward to the leftovers of this at lunchtime. I did add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the sauce as I saw an Italian Mama explain in a youtube video that this helps cut some of the acidity in tomato sauces.5 stars

    1. Your dinner sounds delicious, Naomi, and I’m so happy everyone enjoyed the sauce so much!

  2. This has become my new weekly favorite dinner. I like my sauce chunky so I let the tomatoes heat through before breaking them up slightly in the sauce. I pour it over angel hair pasta and top it with a mixture of freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheeses. It is definitely my favorite pasta dish.5 stars

  3. This was seriously the best pasta sauce I’ve ever had. My husband who says the best sauce he’s ever had was in Rome said this one tastes just like it! I can’t believe no one has commented here yet. I got the recipe off Pinterest and plenty of comments there on how delicious this recipe is. I followed the recipe for the most part- but may have added extra basil. I didn’t measure. I also puréed my San Marzano tomatoes in a food processor before adding them to the onions and garlic and the texture was perfect and kept the onions intact. Just a preference. I am so thrilled to find this recipe- way better than some in my authentic Italian cookbooks! Thanks!5 stars

    1. Thank you so much, Khadija, for such a kind review! I’m so happy you both enjoyed this pomodoro sauce so much!

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