The Worlds Best (And Easiest) Tomato Sauce

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen ealier this year and immediately fell in love. The kind of love I normally reserve for desserts. This sauce is incredibly easy to make, I’d call it a lazy mans sauce, yet somehow tastes like it took hours of sweat and tears to make. There are very few ingredients and very few steps in the recipe. I’ve made it a few times and I’ve made only one small change, the addition of a garlic clove.

I think the key to this recipe is its simplicity. And the butter, butter makes everything better. Because of the very short list of ingredients be sure to use good quality ones. If you can get your hands on San Marzano canned tomatoes I highly recommend them. I find them to be more flavourful and less acidic than some of the less expensive ones.

Worlds Best Tomato Sauce

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 can peeled whole tomatoes
  • 1 small onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Put the tomatoes in a sauce pot. Crush the tomatoes (I used my hands, this is a lazy mans sauce after all).
  2. Turn the heat on to medium. Add the butter, onion and garlic to the pot. Simmer stirring occasionally.
  3. After 15- 20 minutes, taste the sauce to see if it needs seasoning (many brands on canned tomatoes are already salted). Season if necessary. If the sauce tastes acidic add 1/2 tsp sugar.
  4. Continue to simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes.



13 thoughts on “The Worlds Best (And Easiest) Tomato Sauce

    1. You’re right, I forgot to put it in the instructions. I just updated the post. You add the butter at the same time as the onion and garlic. Thanks for pointing this out!

  1. That is Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce, yes? Perfect in its simplicity… I have never been able to find San Marzano tomatoes around my home, but I guess I shouldn’t complain, since I just got a big bag of organic heirloom tomatoes at the farmer’s market yesterday!

    1. I found the recipe at, I believe she credits Marcella Hazan. My local Costco carries the San Marzanos. And I’m very jealous of your heirloom tomatoes!

  2. I’ve not made this recipe, but I’ve made a few other easy versions and am always shocked at how much better homemade red sauce is compared to what you can get in a jar. There’s just no reason not to make your own! Can’t wait to try this one, too!

  3. What size can of tomatoes do you use? I want to substitute can for fresh tomatoes but don’t know how many I should put in?

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