Quick Tomato Sauce

Think a homemade tomato sauce in less than 20 minutes in winter is impossible? Well it’s not. Yay! When I first saw this recipe in The New Best Recipe (a cookbook by the folks over at Cooks Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen), I had my doubts. The recipe seemed too good to be true.But trusting Chris Kimball (even though he’s kind of a jerk), I braved what seemed like overly simplified ingredients and steps. And I was not disappointed. The resulting sauce was so much better than any canned version pulled off a store shelf. I think the key to good results with this recipe is to use the highest quality canned or packaged tomatoes possible, which will make the recipe taste so much fresher. Look for tomatoes that are packaged in their own juices with no additives, including salt or sugar. Opt for organic if possible.

Recipe Rundown
Taste: Surprisingly fresh and flavorful.
Texture: Thick and chunky.
Ease: Ridiculously easy.
Appearance: I love seeing the flecks of fresh basil and garlic in the brilliant red sauce.
Pros: Super fast, better than jarred sauce in both flavor and nutrition.
Cons: None!
Would I make this again? This will probably become my go-to sauce when I’m in a hurry.


Quick Tomato Sauce

Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 (26 or 28 oz) package high quality diced tomatoes, such as Pomi
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • salt


Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and the garlic in a 10-inch saute pan over medium heat until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes; simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Stir in the basil, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

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8 Responses to “Quick Tomato Sauce”

  1. #
    Fitzi — February 24, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Love it! The tomatoes are key here- it's not hard to make a great (quick) sauce when you start with the best ingredients you can find! Sometimes I'll throw in a splash of red wine, if I have an open bottle, for a little extra zing. I just found Pomi at Whole Foods, my go-to has been San Marzano, I'll have to give them a try. Either way, the sauce looks delicious!

  2. #
    marzipan — February 25, 2011 at 2:35 am

    I make this recipe all the time- kids and adults alike love it! I haven't purchased jarred tomato sauce in many years. I'm not sure how they can make it taste so terrible!

  3. #
    Tracey — February 25, 2011 at 4:29 am

    I'm a huge CI fan, but I haven't tried this particular sauce. I love the simplicity of the recipe – definitely making it soon!

  4. #
    Aveen — February 25, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Sounds very like the tomato sauce I've been making for years, except I use normal olive oil, not extra virgin – I've no idea where the recipe came from. Try it on home made pizza, it's gorgeous :)

  5. #
    Hannah — February 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I'm 100% for tomato when it comes to pasta. I kinda hate the carbonara kind… Definitely will make this soon enough. Sounds like something I can whip up in a sec! ..or a minute. šŸ˜‰


  6. #
    USA Kiwi — February 26, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Simple sauces are the best! What can beat quality ingredients made well?

    This looks great!

    I make sauce on a large scale in my crockpot, and can it. Cause I'm nerdy like that.

  7. #
    Sarah — February 28, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Well I just made home made pizza and was looking for a pizza sauce from scratch. I also just made home made ravioli (butternut squash) for the first time. It was yum. Thanks for the quick how to. So glad to find another foodie blog!

  8. #
    claire — March 2, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    I have been searching for a simple go to sauce!

    Thanks for sharing!

    I am hosting a link up centered around fish right now so if you have any recipes to share, feel free to stop by!

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