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Homemade San Marzano tomato sauce in a saucepan with a white marble background.

Easy Homemade San Marzano Tomato Sauce

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  • Author: Elaine Gordon
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Enjoy authentic restaurant-style tomato sauce at home using canned San Marzano tomatoes! Store-bought sauces don't even come close to this homemade version. You'll get bold flavors from the garlic and onion (and of course the best tomatoes). Plus, you'll find that making it is much quicker and easier than you think!


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and minced (10 large cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 1, 28 ounce can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • Garnishes: fresh basil, red pepper chili flakes, vegan parmesan cheese and/or vegan heavy cream


  1. Sauté the onions and garlic. Add olive oil, diced onion, minced garlic, salt and seasonings to a saucepan and sauté for 10 minutes over low to medium heat. Make sure to keep the heat low enough so that the onion and garlic do not burn. It is important to cook the garlic long enough so that it mellows out.
  2. Add the San Marzano tomatoes. Empty the entire can (juices included) into the pan and add the tomato paste and maple syrup. Cook over low to medium heat for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to come together.
  3. Blend. Transfer everything from the saucepan to a blender and blend. You can choose to pulse a few times to keep it chunky or purée into a smooth sauce. An immersion blender can be used instead if desired.
  4. Simmer to thicken the sauce (optional). After blending, you can thicken the sauce and intensify the flavor even further by putting it back on the stove in a nonstick saucepan and simmering on low heat for an hour (or longer). As it cooks down, the sauce will concentrate in flavor and as the water from the tomatoes evaporates. This is by no means necessary but packs more flavor if you have extra time.
  5. Serve. Pour the flavorful sauce overtop your pasta of choice and garnish with fresh basil, vegan parmesan cheese, red pepper chili flakes and/or a drizzle of vegan heavy cream, if desired.


Caramelize the onions if you have more time. Allow the onions to caramelize by keeping the heat on a low simmer before adding the tomatoes for an additional 30-45 minutes. This will make the sauce more flavorful and naturally sweeter.

The longer it cooks, the thicker the sauce. This recipe yields about 3 cups of sauce. However, it will vary slightly depending on how long you let it simmer.

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian