Tomato Sauce to Freeze

September 23, 2020

Six plastic containers filled with tomato sauce

This post was originally published in September 2013 and was updated in September 2020.

Several years ago, I read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a memoir about her family's yearlong effort to eat only locally produced food.  Although my suburban town house existence precludes me from raising chickens or growing a massive vegetable garden, I was inspired to buy a chest freezer for our garage—as Kingsolver points out, if you want to eat locally in January, you need to plan ahead during the summer and fall.

Cardboard box filled with tomatoes

Each year, I buy a 25 pound box of canning tomatoes from our CSA provider, Untiedt's Vegetable Farm.  Then I spend a couple of days making tomato sauce and freezing it in two-cup portions (equivalent to four servings).  This is my tomato sauce recipe, honed over the past several years.  I leave the skins on the tomatoes, which results in a chunky, rustic tomato sauce.  Most of the peel will break down during cooking, but there will be an occasional stray piece—puree the cooled sauce before freezing if you prefer a smoother texture.  Feel free to tinker with the amount or type of herbs, and adjust the garlic, salt, and pepper to suit your taste.

Close up of tomato sauce in a stock pot

Adapted from Simple Bites

Yield: about 12 cups (96 ounces) of sauce


  • approximately 12 pounds canning tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • cooking spray (optional)

Seed tomatoes and chop into 1-inch pieces.

Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is softened and the garlic is golden, about five minutes.  Add the tomatoes and rosemary to the stockpot and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for about six hours, stirring thoroughly every 30 minutes, until the tomatoes have reduced in volume by approximately two-thirds to form a thick sauce.

Remove sauce from heat.  Stir in salt, pepper, and basil, adding more seasoning to taste if desired.

Allow sauce to cool completely.  If desired, spray plastic containers with cooking spray to prevent staining.  Ladle sauce into prepared containers and freeze.

If you enjoyed this post, pin it!

Plastic containers filled with tomato sauce with text reading "Tomato Sauce to Freeze"