Jill’s Favorite Canned Tomato Sauce Recipe

My tried-and-true canning tomato sauce recipe, perfect for pasta dishes, homemade pizza, and more.



Wash the tomatoes and remove the ends and any damaged spots. Quarter them and deseed them by running your fingers down the middle and scraping out the bulk of the seeds and juice. Puree the tomatoes in a food processor or blender.

(OR, you can run the tomatoes through a food mill and save yourself a lot of time! When I’m using my food mill, I wash them, remove any bad spots, and that’s it– the machine does the rest.)

Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil in a large pot. Add the tomatoes, pepper, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer and allow to reduce by about one-half. If you are using very juicy tomatoes, this can take 3-5 hours.

The most important part of homemade tomato sauce is the tasting! Tomatoes greatly differ from variety to variety, so you must taste as you go.

In order to keep the ratios of high acid to low acid foods at a safe level in this recipe, you cannot increase the amount of onions or garlic you use, but you CAN increase the herbs, sugar, or salt.

Once the sauce has reduced by half and the flavor is where you want it to be, add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to each pint jar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to each quart jar.

Ladle the sauce into the jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace.

Process pints for 35 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes in a hot water bath canner. (Keep in mind that you may have to adjust your processing time according to your altitude.)

REMEMBER: Don’t start timing until the water has returned to a boil with the filled jars inside.

Store your sealed jars in a cool, dark place. I use this all-purpose sauce in all sorts of recipes- add basil and oregano to give it an Italian twist, or add chili powder and cumin for Mexican food.