How to Make Fresh Tomato Sauce, the Easy Way

It seems that the harder one works to be self sufficient, the harder one works. Seriously. Man, I just processed four boxes full of tomatoes. It took me two days, my kitchen’s been through WW3, and I’ve washed more stock pots in the last two days than… nevermind…I wash a lot of stock pots. All the time, washing stock pots.

The tomatoes were a gift from someone with a generous heart. An older man in his 70s, who’s been plagued by his own health problems of late, wasn’t deterred from  running to a farmer friend of his and obtaining 4 large boxes of tomatoes, one large box of peppers and a basket-full of onions, and driving them up our dusty hill in the backseat of his old sedan. He’d heard our tomatoes had become diseased and very few were harvest-able. “Figure this ought to be enough for about 60 quarts of sauce.” was his humble proclamation. Bless him. 

I thanked him profusely, this kind man who went out of his way to provide for someone, and after he left, I rolled up my sleeves and announced to my children that, ahem, “Sauce- making will be taking the place of our regular school lessons for a couple days. And everyone will be helping.”

I had never processed this many tomatoes at one time and I was a little nervous, but it couldn’t wait- they sat there in those boxes practically over-ripening before my eyes. With excitement for Monday building, I stayed up in bed that night, way too late, with Kindle in hand, scouring the internet for “large recipe, fresh tomato sauce.” I found one that I only had to quadruple, and followed it to a “t” the next day. And this is what I learned:

Scouring and peeling that many tomatoes is for the birds.

That’s how we did it the first day, and we got through half of them, but what. a. mess.

Charlotte was man-ing the washing and scoring station. She would pluck a tomato from it’s box, wash it in a pot of cool water, and score the bottoms. She was a great little washer/scorer. She would then bring them to the counter next to the stove to be place in the boiling water for approximately one minute, or until their skins started to crack. They then were transferred to an ice bath in the scrubbed-clean kitchen sink. The boiling and transfer of steaming hot tomatoes was my job. Ava, standing next to the sink with a compost bucket on one side and a large stainless steel bowl on her other, would then remove the tomatoes, peel them, squeeze out some seeds and any excess water and place them into the bowl. The peels and seeds went into the bucket. The tomatoes were then transferred to a cutting board to be roughly chopped before being added to the stockpot already 1/3 full of sautéed peppers, onions, and garlic. All this, times 50 hundred sloppy tomatoes.

It wasn’t long before we realized what a mess this created. The tomatoes were inevitably waterlogged from the scourging and there was tomato juice and water and seeds everywhere.

We did finish up that day- including several good moppings of ourselves and the kitchen- and ended up with several quarts of tomato soup and spaghetti sauce (which was simmered for several hours on the stovetop and then transferred to a roasting pan to finish thickening in the oven).

I considered the day a success, but I kind of dreaded the task, and the mess, the next day.

However, I woke with an epiphany. Why did the skins and seeds necessarily need removed? The truth is, you lose a lot of flavor when you take away the skin and seeds. Of course, no one wants to chew on slices of tomato skin either…

Enter the food processor.

I’m sure I’m not the first to have thought of this, but I was thrilled to figure out that I cut my sauce making time and mess literally in half by chopping the washed, raw tomatoes into large chunks and placing them (minus the core) into the food processor to pulverize them- skin, seeds, and all. Everything pureed down beautifully and there was no trace of skin. The contents were then dumped right into the pot, and continued as usual.

There was literally no difference in consistency between the first batch and the second. And we saved hours!

I also used this method to make diced tomatoes, using the pulse button on the processor.

I guess they call that trial and error. But you can rest assured that in the future, this will be my go-to way to process tomatoes.

Phewy, on that boiling and ice water bath and messy peeling nonsense.

I still have peppers and onions left, the peppers fading fast. So tomorrow I suppose I’ll be dicing and freezing a fair share of peppers and onions. And why not use that good ‘ol food processor again. I think, in fact, I will.

So, if you’ve quickly scanned this post to the bottom and missed How to Make Fresh Tomato Sauce the Easy Way, here it is again: Don’t  boil and peel your tomatoes- put them in the food processor skins and seeds and all.

Happy saucing.

What’s your favorite kitchen hack?







  1. Wonderful photos and instruction!

  2. I love fresh tomato sauce! I’ll have to try your method. Thank you for sharing!

    1. You’re welcome! Good luck 🙂

  3. I’ve made tomato sauce before and totally used your easy method. Forget the peeling! Just a time waste! But I’d love tips on thickening the sauce. How long did you put it in the oven for? That is genius!

    1. The first batch, I used a can of tomato paste to help it thicken. For the second batch, I was out of tomato paste and so I just simmered it longer! Both methods seemed to work equally- on the stovetop, or low and slow in the oven, both turned out near identical thickness.

  4. What a sweet, sweet man! I’m so glad you had such success leaving the skin on… I don’t last long when peeling tomatoes! I’ll definitely use this method next time!

    1. Yes, I faded quickly! Lol. So glad there was a better way.

  5. Great idea! I made one batch with 4 tomatoes… I cannot imagine doing this large of a batch! The recipe I found had me baking them for over an hour on 250* and then pureeing them in the food processor… I can’t imagine doing that for so many tomatoes! Great tips, thanks for sharing! Maybe next year I’ll be more prepared to do a larger batch!

    1. It caught be by surprise, and was definitely a labor of love to process so many, on short notice. But we made it! Good luck next year 🙂

  6. I need to try this! (And get a food processor) lol!

    1. I just bought my food processor last year (used). Can’t believe I lasted so long without one!

  7. Woah! This IS super easy! I am always looking for a way to shorten the homemade sauce process – thanks so much for sharing!

  8. This looks so good! Better than store bought, thats for sure!

  9. Fresh tomato sauce made from garden tomatoes is the only way to go.

  10. I remember learning how to make tomato sauce in home economics class and school and totally remember it being cumbersome. This makes it seem so easy!

    1. Ah, the days of making tomato sauce in home ec…

  11. My mother in law would love this. Always has tons of tomatoes.

  12. We had so many tomatoes this summer and I did a lot of soup and salsa. I was nervous about doing my own sauce. Next season definitely will try. Thanks for the tips

    1. And next year, I think I’ll try salsa 🙂

  13. Going to have to try this! Been looking for different homemade recipes

  14. This is great, making sauce reminds me of my grandmother. I grew up in a house with 8 kids. Never a dull moment.

  15. Hallelujah! I agree, the stupid boiling and peeling is the most frustrating part! I have a pasta sauce recipe that I love to can and also have a zillion tomatoes right now.

    1. Well then, happy canning! Glad to meet someone like-minded 🙂

  16. I’ve never done it that way — always the boil and peel method. Bet this would work in my Vitamix…

    1. VITAMIX!! I’m a little jelly…

  17. What a project! And what a nice man to give you all of those tomatoes! I love your story telling, especially the part where you mention that your kitchen looked like WW3.

    1. Haha, thanks. And yes, such a nice man! The world needs more… 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *