Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce in a Saucepan with Spoon

I have called many recipes “the best ______” but that simply wouldn’t be the right title for this tomato sauce. This tomato sauce right here is life-changing.


I wish I knew about it earlier.

And now I want as many people to know about it as possible, so they’re not like me, going through many years in life buying expensive tomato sauce because you can’t seem to find any good, cheap ones.

A couple weeks ago I included a link to a tomato sauce recipe that I really wanted to try, and many of you commented and emailed me that it was truly a spectacular sauce. I was skeptical because of how simple it is, but that’s why it’s so life-changing. It’s simple and it’s amazing. End of story.

And now I will stop buying pre-made tomato sauce and make big vats of my own.

Homemade Tomato Sauce in a Saucepan with Spoon

This recipe is by Marcella Hazan, a cookbook author who I was actually unfamiliar with until I stumbled across this recipe. From what I’ve read about her, she seems to be the Julia Child equivalent for Italian cooking. Incredibly influential and someone who changed the way Americans cook Italian food. This tomato sauce recipe is truly a revelation, and shows what a big impact time and reduction can have on food. The simmering time reduces the acidic juices down into a more pronounced, deep tomato flavor.

To make the sauce, combine a can of tomatoes, butter, yellow onion, and salt in a saucepan:

Adding Onions and Butter to Canned Tomatoes

Simmer the sauce, uncovered, over medium heat for about 45 minutes, until it looks like this:

A close up of cooked tomato sauce from scratch

Remove all of the onion from the sauce:

Removing the Onions with Tongs

And now the sauce is ready! No really, it’s done.

Chunky Tomato Sauce in Saucepan

At this point you can add more salt if needed, and you could also puree it to have a thinner consistency, but I found it to be great at this stage. Toss it with pasta, spread it on pizza (in that case, pureeing it is a good idea), make bruschetta with it, make chicken parmesan or eggplant parmesan…the applications for it are endless!

A note on the tomatoes:

A lot of people use San Marzano tomatoes for this, but I actually find it very difficult to get my hands on true San Marzano tomatoes. I made this sauce with Muir Glen Organics Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes and the flavor was spectacular. Maybe it’s better with the San Marzanos, but I am more than pleased with Muir Glen, which you can find at any grocery store. Go ahead and use whatever your favorite is.


homemade Tomato Sauce in a Saucepan

Life-changing Tomato Sauce

This Marcella Hazan tomato sauce recipe is incredibly easy to make, it’s life-changing. Best simple tomato sauce I’ve ever tasted!

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  • 28 oz can fire roasted diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 a softball-sized yellow onion peeled and cut in two pieces
  • salt


  • Combine the tomatoes, butter, and yellow onion in a saucepan, and add a few pinches of salt.
  • Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Let this cook, uncovered, for 45 minutes, turning down the heat as needed. I have a gas stove that runs pretty hot, so about 15 minutes in I turn it down to medium low, otherwise the sauce sputters too much.
  • Remove the onion from the sauce, then make any necessary seasoning adjustments. The sauce is now ready to be used!


Calories: 194kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 37mg, Sodium: 264mg, Potassium: 601mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 865IU, Vitamin C: 19.3mg, Calcium: 75mg, Iron: 2.6mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.