Large pan of tomato sauce

Basic tomato sauce

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(48 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 50 mins


Makes 8 portions (enough for two meals)

A good tomato sauce has countless uses. Make a big batch, then use in other dishes throughout the week

Nutrition and extra info

  • Freezable
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal103
  • fat6g
  • saturates1g
  • carbs10g
  • sugars8g
  • fibre3g
  • protein3g
  • salt0.29g
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  • 4 tbsp olive oil
    olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 2 onions, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 2 carrots, finely chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp sugar



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • 4 x 400g/14oz cans chopped tomatoes


  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the vegetables and bay leaf. Stir in the sugar with some salt. Gently cook for 10-15 mins until the veg is tender. Stir in the tomatoes and 150ml water. Simmer very gently for 30 mins until the sauce has reduced by two-thirds and is very thick. (If you have doubled or tripled the quantities, this may take up to 1 hr.)

  2. Stir occasionally, particularly towards the end of the cooking time, so that the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom. If you like your sauce a little thinner, add a splash of water. Serve half with pasta and chill or freeze other half in 1-2 batches for later use (see 'Goes well with' for ideas of how to use up your sauce).

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Comments, questions and tips

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19th Jun, 2020
I really like this as it’s so convienient to have in the freezer for a base for all sorts of dishes, meatballs, spag Bol etc. A favourite use of mine is adding some chorizo to a defrosted batch, adding some white fish fillets to cook, and a tin of butter beans towards the end, a quick, easy, healthy dinner that’s a fav in our house! I do add more balsamic vinegar and more sugar then stated in the recipe though as I found the sauce too tart otherwise.
9th Aug, 2019
I just skin, chop and boil tomatoes until reduced without any additives. They can be added later, depending on the recipe.
7th Jun, 2017
We regularly make batches of this and use it in the spicy chicken cacciatore and bean and sausage hotpot that it "goes well with" (see links on the right).
7th May, 2015
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Lovely! I only used 2 cans of tomatoes to feed 4 and when cooked I added half a tub of mascarpone and some choritzo, very tasty, will definately be making this one again.
7th Feb, 2015
A really tasty sauce. I halved the recipe (apart from the teaspoon of sugar) and still found it a bit tart, so might use more next time. I do have a sweet tooth mind you. What did others think?
7th Aug, 2014
Make this sauce regularly and freeze half. Easy to rustle up as ingredients are staples. I found it a little too sweet so left out the sugar and since then has been better.
26th Jul, 2014
when really well reduced, this sauce is very good when building your own pizzas, makes a perfect base.
4th Feb, 2014
Wonderful basic sauce that can be used for anything. I cut the ingredients by half because I didn't want to make too much (no room in the freezer) and it still worked perfectly, and tasted delicious! Will definitely be using this recipe often!
19th Apr, 2013
Great recipe. My lot is so fussy about any sauces, but they loved this one. Definately going to be a staple in my kitchen from now on.
19th Mar, 2013
Made this today in a frying pan to hasten the cooking process and grated the carrots like someone suggested As I had passata in the fridge I used that and made up the rest with about half a can of chopped tomatoes. I made half the quantity. And then used half that for the bean and sausage hotpot. It worked out well and the veg was nicely cooked doing it that way. I've learned from similar recipes to keep the veg small and cook it in a wide pan or you end up with carrots that won't soften and crunchy onions.


17th Jul, 2017
It says 8 portions, that's enough for 2 meals. The hotpot receipt cites using a 1/4 portion! I live and eat alone, would want to use this as a base for other things. How "big" is one portion, what side of container should I get to freeze them. And any guidance on how to properly re-heat? Thank you in advance.
goodfoodteam's picture
31st Jul, 2017
Thanks for your questions. You could use this sauce as a pizza topping and as pasta sauce. If you're cooking for one, we'd suggest dividing it into portions and freezing in freezer bags. Defrost overnight in the fridge or outside the fridge for two hours. You can reheat it in the microwave or on the hob.
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