Tomato-Basil Simmer Sauce


Canning tomato sauce is easier than ever with this step-by-step method! Customize this easy tomato sauce recipe with roasted garlic or crushed red pepper flakes, depending on your flavor preference. When you're ready to enjoy this simmer sauce, serve it over pasta or as a pizza sauce.

Tomato Basil Simmer Sauce,
Prep Time:
2 hrs 30 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 40 mins
about 11 cups sauce (6 pints)


  • 12 pound ripe tomatoes (about 25 tomatoes), peeled*

  • 3 tablespoon packed brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoon kosher salt or 4 teaspoons salt

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, chopped

  • 1 cup lightly packed assorted fresh herbs (such as oregano, thyme, parsley, or Italian (flat-leaf) parsley), chopped

  • 6 tablespoon lemon juice


  1. Cut peeled tomatoes into chunks and add some of the chunks to the food processor. Cover and process until chopped. Transfer chopped tomatoes to a 7- to 8-quart nonreactive heavy pot. Repeat chopping remaining tomatoes, in batches, in the food processor. Add all tomatoes to the pot.

  2. Add brown sugar, salt, vinegar, and black pepper to the tomato mixture. Bring to boiling. Boil steadily, uncovered, for 70 to 80 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture is reduced to about 11 cups and is desired sauce consistency. Remove from heat; stir in herbs.

  3. Spoon 1 tablespoon lemon juice into each of six hot, clean pint canning jars. Ladle sauce into jars with lemon juice, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rims; adjust lids. Process filled jars in a boiling-water canner for 35 minutes (start time when water returns to a full boil). Remove jars; cool on wire racks.

Spicy Simmer Sauce:

Stir in 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper with the herbs.

Roasted Garlic Simmer Sauce:

Stir in 3 tablespoons chopped roasted garlic with the herbs.

Double Tomato Simmer Sauce:

Stir in 1 cup snipped dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) with the herbs.

Roasted Garlic:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel away the dry outer layers of skin from garlic bulbs, leaving skins and cloves intact. Cut off about 1/2 inch from the pointed top portions, leaving bulbs intact but exposing the individual cloves. Place the garlic bulbs, cut sides up, in a 1- to 1 1/2-quart casserole. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Cover casserole. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until garlic is soft. Remove from oven. When garlic is cool enough to handle, remove garlic cloves from papers by squeezing the bottoms of the bulbs. Chop roasted garlic.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

57 Calories
1g Fat
13g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 22
Calories 57
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g 1%
Sodium 539mg 23%
Total Carbohydrate 13g 5%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 34.8mg 174%
Calcium 50.5mg 4%
Iron 0.9mg 5%
Potassium 619mg 13%
Folate, total 40.3mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.2mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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