How to Make Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

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Learn the secret to good easy homemade spaghetti sauce!  Use this easy recipe to make your own meatless spaghetti sauce as well as how to preserve it so your family can enjoy the taste of from-scratch spaghetti sauce all winter season.

Ingredients for making  homemade spaghetti sauce on a cutting board with text overlay that reads How to Make & Can Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Since 2015 my family has been working toward becoming more self-sufficient and the food pantry is one of the first places we started.  I took a look at all the jars, bottles, and containers I was buying and made a list of items I wanted to learn how to make from scratch.

Then set out on learning “how to” – one food item or condiment at a time.  I did this to help offset the budget and to be able to have more healthy foods available in the house.

Mustard, ketchup, pickle relish, pizza sauce, green beans, carrotspickles, and more.  The first year, 2015 I was purchasing fresh produce from the local farmer’s market and Amish farm for canning.

By year two, I learned how to garden and this allowed me to make even more healthy foods.

I started out with simple things like growing carrots and green beans so I could preserve them myself.  Not only is the budget better, our food just tastes so much better!

So here’s my latest –  Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce from scratch using fresh tomatoes.   Let’s get started…

What Are The Ingredients In Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes?

Jars of freshly canned homemade spaghetti sauce on the counter.
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When I make my easy homemade spaghetti sauce, I use as many fresh ingredients as I can.  Since starting the garden in 2016, I do now grow most of my herbs and spices needed for canning.

If you are new to gardening, you can start with growing simple herbs such as basil and oregano.  I did and have just continued to add each year.

Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Prep Time: 1 hour Total time:   2 hours            Yield:  8 pints or 4 quarts

Ingredients:

  • 18 lbs Fresh Tomatoes       (learn how to grow tomatoes)
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 4 cups Fresh Onions, chopped
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp Oregano, crushed
  • 6 Bay Leaves, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp Canning Salt – (non-iodized)
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Black Pepper, coarse ground
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Red Pepper, crushed
  • 4 Tbsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Celery Leaves
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Basil
  • 2 tbs Lemon Juice – Per Quart Jar

RELATED: Also learn how to Freeze Fresh Basil

Cooking Directions:

First – Weigh out 18 pounds of homegrown tomatoes, I use this simple OXO scale I purchased.  It does only 5 lbs at a time, but I’m ok with this.

Table of ripe red Roma Tomatoes ready to begin canning

You can purchase more expensive ones that will weigh more at a time, like this one that does up to 22 lbs.  But for now, mine works well.

I just weigh 5 lbs at a time until I reach the weight I need for whatever I am canning.

Next –  peel, core, and puree tomatoes.  Peeling tomatoes is not difficult.  A super-quick way to easily peel tomatoes can be seen here. To chop and puree tomatoes I use this Hamilton Beach Food Processor.  It works really well for what I do.

Then – Combine tomatoes and all ingredients into a large heavy stockpot.

Dry ingredients poured into pureed tomatoes for making homemade spaghetti sauce in large stockpot

Cook on low to medium heat for about 2 hours, stirring often until you have the desired consistency you like.  Don’t cover your pot, leave the top open so it will allow juices to steam out. This will help your homemade spaghetti sauce to thicken.

Once the sauce is to desired consistency, it’s time to put it into sterilized canning jars.

Homemade spaghetti sauce cooking in a large stock pot.

How to Can Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

RELATED: Use “The Complete Beginners Guide To Home Canning” and get comfortable with home canning.

In hot jars, measure and add 2 tbs of lemon juice to each jar.

Ladle hot spaghetti sauce into hot Mason jars leaving a 1/2 inch head-space.

Ladle of fresh homemade spaghetti sauce being poured into quart jar

Wipe rim clean and place on the flat lid and ring.

Place into water bath canner.  Once all jars are filled and inside the canner, fill with water at least 2 inches of water over the top of the jars.  Process in a boil for 30 minutes.

Once time has expired, gently remove jars from the canner using a jar lifter, and place them on a towel on the counter.  Allow them to cool for at least 12 hours undisturbed.

Water bath canner with 6 quart jars of freshly canned homemade spaghetti sauce sitting on the counter.

The next day, inspect lids for proper seal.  At this point, you can either remove bands or leave them on. 

I remove mine. I used to leave them on but found that many would rust and not be able to be used later. And, if a seal were to break, you will be able to know sooner rather than later.

Label and store on your canning shelves.

Pantry with storage shelves full of food canned in glass jars and herbs hanging to dry.

Some Final Thoughts:

Are you new to canning and not really sure about what you need or what to do? If so, I’ve written this Canning Guide for Beginners article just for you and it includes a FREE printable as well.

Do you already can and preserve foods for your pantry?  Feel free to share what you can already.    Are you new to canning and not comfortable?  I’d be glad to help. 

Reach out to me in the comment below and I’ll help you get started.

More Canning Recipes:

Yield: 4 quarts

Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

Jars of sauce on a red towel How to make easy homemade spaghetti sauce from scratch

This is an easy spaghetti sauce to make and can.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours

Ingredients

  • 18 lbs- Fresh Tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp- Olive Oil
  • 4 cups- Fresh Onions, chopped
  • 6 cloves- Garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp- Oregano, crushed
  • 6- Bay Leaves, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp- Canning Salt
  • 1 Tbsp- Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp- Black Pepper, course ground
  • 1 Tsp- Red Peppers, crushed
  • 4 Tbsp- Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp- Dried Celery Leaves
  • 1 Tbsp- Dries Basil
  • 2 Tbs Lemon Juice for each jar

Instructions

  1. Weigh out 18 pounds of fresh tomatoes, wash, core, peel and puree
  2. In a large stock pot, combine pureed tomatoes and all ingredients - stir to mix well
  3. Cook on low to medium heat for at least 2 hours, stirring often. (cook until have desired consistency)
  4. CANNING INSTRUCTIONS:
  5. Measure 2 tbsp of lemon juice and pour into the bottom of each hot jar
  6. Ladle hot spaghetti sauce into hot Mason jar leaving a 1/2 inch headspace
  7. Wipe rim well to anything gotten on rim
  8. Place on canning lid and ring - tighten to only "finger tight"
  9. Repeat until all jars are filled
  10. Place into a water bath canner, filled with water, 2 inches ABOVE jars.
  11. Process at a boil for 30 minutes
  12. Remove from canner and place on towel on counter. Leave undisturbed for 12 hours. (Resist temptation to tighten lids)
  13. Next day, inspect lids for seal. Label and store.

Notes

  • Resist tightening lids after water bath if they are loose
  • You can either leave jar rings on or remove them after sealed properly.

hot homemade spaghetti sauce close up in a black ladel with text overlay that reads Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Canning Instructions
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74 thoughts on “How to Make Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes”

  1. I don’t have the full 18 pounds of fresh tomatoes! Could this recipe be halved with 9 pounds as well as halving rest of ingredients?
    Thanks for your help, Deb

    1. Hi Beth,

      You will not need to pressure can spaghetti sauce. It will be processed in a water bath canner. The sauce will need to water boil for 30 minutes plus the amount you need to add for your altitude.

  2. After you finish the canning process is it alright to use the sauce immediately after or should you wait about a month or so to let it age?

    1. Hi Adrian,

      It is ok to use it immediately. It will taste super good the next day even. But I have noticed jars that are a few months old are a bit more full of flavor. But both are good. Go for it. Enjoy it.

      Let me know what you think after you try it.

    1. Hi Kathy,

      As a general rule, if FREEZING this recipe, both meat and peppers can be added and then frozen. It will last in the freezer for 3 months. Brown the meat in an iron skillet and completely cook it, chop and add peppers, and add them to the meat. Cook both thoroughly and then add them to the sauce. Simmer until your desired thickness and then add into freezer safe containers. NOTE: Neither meat nor peppers can be added to this recipe if you are planning to home can it.

    1. Hi Marylou,

      If it’s watery, keep simmering for a bit longer before canning it. Simmer it to the consistency your family enjoys. Or, if is it already canned, when you are using it for a meal, put it into a pot and simmer some of the liquid out before you add it to the noodles. Hope this will helps.

      Since it is a homemade sauce, you will be able to test and see what thickness your family prefers.

        1. Hi Paul,

          Yes, you will make cook the recipe step by step and then put it into freezer safe containers and freeze. Be sure to leave enough head-space for expansion once frozen.

    1. Hi Jes,

      Yes, you can use citric acid. I just like the “natural” lemon juice and it doesn’t change the flavor. But for using citric acid – add 1/4 tsp to a pint and 1/2 tsp to a quart this will replace the lemon juice correctly.

  3. I just made this recipe and my jars are in a hot water bath right now. I just went back to the recipe and realized I accidentally put 2 tbsp of lemon juice in the jars instead of teaspoons! Did I just ruin it?

    1. Hi Deborah,

      I don’t saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil. I mix all ingredients together in my large stock pot and simmer for a couple hours until it is at the consistency we like it. The onions and garlic will cook up in the simmer and then the processing. No need to sautee. Does this help?

  4. I am making this spaghetti sauce for the 1st time and I was wondering about the lemon juice. Do you use the same amount for pints and quarts or do I use less in pint jars?

    1. Hi Debbie,

      Yes, for quarts use 2 TBS into each jar and 1 TBS into each pint jar. I will admit, I’ve never canned it in pints, there is just not enough to serve my family. But for a single serve, I’d think pints would work great.

  5. I’ve been looking for a good spaghetti sauce recipe. I’ve already been canning salsa, but we have so much tomatoes(30 plants). I was wondering if I could add peppers to this recipe? I’m still some what new to canning and always aks to be sure.

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Sorry, peppers should not be added to this recipe. To can peppers properly, they should be pressure canned. This spaghetti sauce recipe is water bathed. I sometimes saute’ them and throw them into the pot when I cooking with the sauce. Maybe try this.

          1. Hi Ang,

            Thank you for reading the post. For you and your family’s safety, I wanted to reach out and ask you to please be careful. Peppers are a low-acid food and MUST always be pressure canned if they are not pickled. I much rather err on the side of caution rather than the alternative of taking the chance to make family sick. I saute them and add them to the meat as I am browning it and then add my sauce. It makes for a delicious meal.

        1. Hi Sue,

          I’m sorry, it is not. An instant pot measures only pressure, whereas a pressure canner measures both temperature and pressure. Therefore, an instant pot is not recommended for canning.

          Here is one I’d highly recommend. It is affordable and will last for years. It’s the one I have used for many years and just purchased a 2nd one.

  6. Thanks for the recipe. I’ve searched for years for a simple yet delicious pasta sauce recipe. Many did not taste as good as this one!

      1. Hi Amanda,

        I would not advise using a slow cooker. It is not like a stove as far as heat. To get to a safe simmer would take 7-8 hours and then additional wait time to reduce. And then processing would not be safe. So, stick with the stock pot so the ingredients get hot enough to safely can.

        Dianne

  7. I’m simmering this sauce as I type. My question is it seems very thin. Is it supposed to be? If not, how do I thicken it up? It has been simmering for about an hour and a half.

    Thanks,
    Toni

    1. Hi Toni,

      Yes, it will be thin until you cook the juice out. Depending on the type of tomato, will depend on the time you will need to simmer and cook off the juice.

    1. Hi Trisha,

      Great question and I’m so glad you trying it! We eat a lot of homemade pizza’s and I can on average of 40-60 pints a year and share with our daughter. The sauce, if properly sealed and kept cool will last one year but needs to be used before 2 years. Mine never lasts this long,we eat it too fast, but home canned foods in general are good for 1 year safely.

      Happy Canning,

  8. I also live in Tennessee, love it! It is just me now since my husband passed away, but I do like to entertain. I was going to plant one tomato plant this year, but now, I’ll plant more so I can make my spaghetti sauce. I have herbal allergies so this is perfect! Thank for the inspiration ❤️

    1. Hi Sherry!! Yes, Tennessee it is a wonderful place. And I’m so glad you are inspired to make your own spaghetti sauce. It’s not difficult and it’s delicious. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

      Happy Canning,

    1. Hi Caitlyn,

      Since I am feeding 6 I use personally quart size jars. The recipe will make 8 pints or 4 quarts. It really depends on how long you simmer the sauce to remove the extra juices.
      Great question, thanks for asking

      1. I’m definitely canning spaghetti sauce this year! But I have a question. The ingredient list says to add 2 TABLESPOONS of lemon juice per jar. The instructions say 2 TEASPOONS per jar. Which is correct?

        1. Hi Sandi,

          Good catch! The proper amount is 2 Tablespoons. I fixed the instructions.

          Thanks for catching this. Let me know how it turns or if you have any questions.

  9. Victoria Persons

    I notice you add olive oil. I was always under the impression that water-bath canned products should not add oils. The olive oil can be added when the sauce is used, or a sauce with oil can be processed in a pressure canner. Have you had any problems with this?

    1. Hi Victoria,

      This is a great question. I have never had a problem with this. Many recipes mix ingredients, get the mixture hot and put it into jars. My recipe cooks on medium heat a minimum of 2 hours or more so it gets to the consistency we like. I stir it pretty often to prevent sticking and I can only think this has much to do with it. I find that adding the oil to the mixture increases the flavor and tastes so much better than mixing it in when heating up to use.

      I hate to, but I need to add a disclaimer here: The NCFFP does not recommend adding olive oil to canning recipes. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, then please don’t do it. I’ve shared my recipe and the way that I make my sauce. Thanks for the great question and I’d love to know how it turns out.

      Happy canning,
      Dianne

  10. This looks so good!!
    I don’t yet own any canning supplies but would still like to try this with all our tomatoes… if I make and cook it like your recipe says, it should be okay to freeze instead of canning, right?
    Also, do you combine different kinds of tomatoes? Or does it work better with one kind? 🙂

    1. Hi Serene,
      It is delicious, you’ll love it. Yes, you can freeze it. Just be sure to use freezer save containers. It may stain them a bit if they are not glass. Mason jars are perfect for freezing it in though. Sure, combining different kinds of tomatoes will be fine. If it is a juicing tomato, it will be runnier and you’ll need to cook it longer so that it is thick.

      It may make just a “tad” difference in the taste, but still way more better than the stuff from the store shelves. I use only Roma’s but this is all that I grow. I make a lot of sauces and things and just prefer their meatier, less juice texture. I’m excited that you will be trying it. Please let me know how it turns out.

      Happy Canning,

      Dianne

    1. Norma, oh my goodness! Thank you for asking this question. I wrote this, proofed it, and simply overlooked lemon juice. YES, since you are water bathing, you DO NEED to use lemon juice. I put 2 tsp to a quart jar. I put in the bottom of the jar and then pour ladle in the hot sauce.

      If you prefer NOT to use lemon juice, you can opt to “pressure can” your sauce. Pressure canning is safe for low acidic foods. A lot of tomatoes no longer have a high enough pH level to be safely canned with just water bathing without adding an acidic amendment.

      I will edit my recipe. Thank you again for noticing this.
      Happy Canning,
      Dianne

  11. Homemade tomato sauce is one of my favorite things to can – both for our family to use and to give as gifts. I always manage to grow a ton of tomatoes so having a delicious and easy way to preserve them is always necessary.

    1. Tomatoes are probably one of my favorites to grow as well. And I’m with ya – I keep records in my journal and last season, I planted 52 plants and grew 14 bushels. I canned and used all of them. Tomatoes are a staple at our house. Thanks for reading.
      Dianne

  12. Your recipe looks similar to mine. Last summer, I only was able to can like 15 jars. Our tomato crop was so poor. I’m praying for a good year this time! I need at least 40-50 jars!

    1. Bethany, You sound a lot like us on your needs. Each year, I take time to figure up how much we need of each thing I can and then plant accordingly. I hate to hear your crop was poor last year. Hopefully this year it will do well. LOL, I think I over-did last year and planted 52 tomato plants. I ended up with 12 bushels of tomoatoes – I stocked up on canning for sure. Thanks for reading

  13. Homemade tomato sauce is one of the most important things we can here at my house! Spaghetti is our go-to we-don’t-know-what-else-to-make dinner, plus we use it on pizzas, soups, and cook it down even further for tomato paste. This is one of the best things to learn to do! Great post!

    1. Thank you Lacey. We love tomato sauce too. I have never tried making paste, but have a couple recipes that call for it and hate when I purchase it at the grocery. This is another one of the things on my list to learn how to make. Maybe you could share some pointers for getting it thick enough. I’d love the info

      Thanks for reading…
      Dianne

      1. Hi Hollye,

        I peel my tomatoes strictly by freezing them. I find it so much easier to peel them. Put them in the freezer for a couple days, when ready to use them, pour them into warm water, (work in small quantities – cause they absorb water – I work with about 5 pounds at a time in the water) snip off the stem area and squeeze them, they will “pop” right out of their skin. I much more enjoy this way rather than standing over a hot stove. I use 1 gallon Ziploc bags and half-gallon plastic ice cream buckets.

        But if you prefer to boil, yes, boil and then pop it into ice water to cool it down so you can handle it. Remove the core and the peel.

        Let me know how it goes,
        Dianne

  14. You made that sound so easy. I thought spaghetti sauce involved boiling for hours on the stove before canning. One of my goals is to NOT eat all the fresh tomatoes so I can make sauce etc.

  15. Ooh this looks great! I have done lots of ingredient canning, but not a lot of meal canning. I do hope to get to those this year, because I love the idea of quick meals. I regularly can beans, carrots, chicken, ground beef, broth, tomatoes, and more.

    1. Kristi, You will do great with this recipe since you are already canning all the other good stuff. You are ahead of me for canning meat. I haven’t yet ventured into it. We do a whole beef every year, but it is in my freezer. I do intend on learning how to can broth. That’s one thing I still purchase at the grocery.

    1. Reading the reviews I’ve seen that table spoon and teaspoon are both said for the lemon juice. So question is which is it? Table or tea?

      1. Hi Danelle,

        Good eye! The answer is 2 TBS-(tablespoons) it does not change the flavor at all. It adds acidic acid to it to increase the pH level so that it is shelf-stable.

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