Small Batch Tomato Sauce

This homemade tomato sauce is made with fresh vegetables and cooks in minutes. It’s the perfect sauce to serve with pastas, chicken, or fish. This easy sauce recipe yields a small batch, the perfect amount to serve one or two.

jar of tomato sauce on a tray with vegetables

I cook with tomato sauce at least once a week and it’s wonderful to have a classic small batch tomato sauce recipe to use that cooks up quickly.

This sauce is made with fresh ingredients and the recipe will yield about 2 cups of the best tasting tomato sauce you’ve ever tried.

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Homemade Tomato Sauce

I grew up in an Irish-Italian household. My dad is Irish and my mom is Italian. Growing up, our Irish heritage was mostly celebrated on St. Patrick’s Day with my family watching the traditional St. Patrick’s Day parade roll down the streets of the Irish Channel in New Orleans. Our Italian side came out every single Sunday at my great-grandmother’s house.

Huge Sunday dinners are pretty common in large Italian-American families. Nella mia casa di bisnonna, or in my great-grandmother’s house, cooking began very early in the morning and went on until we all sat down to eat. The incredible aroma of tomato sauce and other family favorite recipes cooking on the stove could be detected from the driveway.

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My mother’s grandmother, Mamma as she was called by all the family, prepared and cooked our traditional Sunday meal. Sure, she had lots of helpful hands in the kitchen and as she got older and was confined to a wheelchair, Mamma supervised the many family cooks in the kitchen, making sure all of the dishes were prepared properly.

jar of homemade tomato sauce

One dish I vividly remember from our Sunday dinners was the pasta. Bowls of spaghetti mixed with velvety, rich tomato sauce were always on both ends of the table. Even though we enjoyed other wonderful Italian dishes, the spaghetti and tomato sauce was always the highlight.

My mother also made tomato sauce when I was growing up. I’m pretty sure it was Mamma’s “recipe” because I seem to remember it tasting just as hearty and comforting. My mother never measured ingredients, a pinch here – a palm full there.  She knew by feel as many good home cooks do.

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plate of pasta with tomato sauce

How To Make Tomato Sauce

She made her tomato sauce with carrots, celery, onions and garlic as the base. As these vegetables cooked and softened, my mother would pour in canned diced tomatoes and spices.  She let the sauce simmer to allow the flavors to really come together.  Then she finished it with butter and a spoonful or two of honey.

You might be surprised that a good Italian home cook would use canned tomatoes, right? Truth was, my mom worked during the day and using canned was just easier. It didn’t matter a bit, the sauce was always, always fabulous.

I took this tried and true family recipe and scaled it down to a small batch recipe. If you’re cooking for only one or two people, you really may not need (or want) to make a normal sized batch of tomato sauce. This small batch tomato sauce recipe is for you. It makes about 2 cups, enough for one or two meals.

pot of tomato sauce

The flavors in this tomato sauce are just as I remember them to be.  

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Tomato Sauce Recipe

tomato sauce in a jar

How To Make A Small Batch Of Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: sauce, tomato
Servings: 2 servings
Calories: 97kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot , (appx. 1 carrot)
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery , (appx. 1 celery stalk)
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey


  • In a small pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, stir and cook for a minute more.
  • Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano and bay leaf and bring to a gentle boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.
  • Remove pot from heat and remove bay leaf.
  • Use an immersion blender or a blender and pulse a few times to slightly puree the vegetables. You want the sauce to still have some texture to it, so be careful not to puree completely.
  • Add the butter and honey and stir until butter is melted. Taste and season with a pinch of salt, if necessary.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 97kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 349mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 215IU | Vitamin C: 2.2mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 0.2mg
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The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Easy recipe for a small batch of tomato sauce. Quick, easy and full of flavor. For other single serving recipes visit
Easy recipe for a small batch of tomato sauce. Quick, easy and full of flavor. For other single serving recipes visit

38 thoughts on “Small Batch Tomato Sauce”

  1. I really appreciate your kindness in putting up a “skip to recipe” button at the top of your page/blog.
    When I’m and many others are looking for recipes nothing is more frustrating than have to scroll down looking for the recipe or hidden link to it.
    Like others I’m sure if I like what the recipe looks like I’ll go back later and read blog about the recipe.
    Wish the rest of the bloggers would take a hint and do the same.
    Thank You

    1. Thank you for taking the time to let me know you like the “Jump To Recipe” feature. We strive to keep our site very user-friendly and want our readers to always have a good experience when visiting. I’m glad you like that feature, I know I do when I visit other websites.


  2. Can the sauce be canned using water bath? I am thinking tjis would be a great gift for some of my “older” friends.
    Absolutely love this site.

    1. Hi Carol,
      I’m so glad you are enjoying the recipes. Jars of this tomato sauce would make lovely gifts and I love that idea! I’ve actually never canned this sauce so I can’t tell you if and how it would work. I haven’t experimented with it yet, sorry.

  3. Peggy Huntington

    I just found your website and I’m more than happy…. the recipes look delicious. Today I’m going to make the tomato sauce. I was wondering about your little blue pot….. where oh where did you find it…. please tell me I can buy one. I love small pots, pan and dishes. Thank you, Peggy

    1. Hi Peggy, I’m so happy you found us!
      The little blue slow cooker is the Hamilton Beach Party Crock. It’s a great size and I’ve used it many times. I’ve linked to it below. I also like using the small Le Creuset baking dishes and use them all the time in various recipes from our site.

      Hamilton Beach Party Crock –
      Le Creuset 5-inch baking dish –

      Hope you love the tomato sauce!
      Have a great week – Joanie

      1. Peggy Huntington

        Thank you for the info…. just ordered the blue pot and 5 inch baking dish from Amazon today. Thank you. By the way, the tomato sauce was yummo delish!!!

        1. Hi Peggy, I think you will love the blue pot. It works well as a slow cooker and I love that you can use the pot on the stove too. The small baking dish is the one I use to make most of the single-serving recipes here, I think you’ll love the size. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and I’m so happy you enjoyed the tomato sauce!

  4. I am planning to make this, as I am trying to get away from jarred soups and sauces (too much salt and sugar!). I was wondering, can this be made with fresh tomatoes instead of canned? If so, how much would I use and are the cooking instructions altered at all by using fresh? Thanks for the wonderful recipes!

    1. Hi Polly,

      I’ve only used canned tomatoes in this recipe so I can’t tell you exactly how many fresh tomatoes you would need to use. I did find an article about using fresh tomatoes in a tomato sauce recipe that may be of some help to you – – I’m so happy you are enjoying the recipes, thank you for letting me know and please let me know how your sauce turns out using fresh tomatoes.

      1. I just found this site and am delighted. I was the oldest of 10 children, so I learned to cook big. I am now a widow. I am learning how to shop and cook for one. Not an easy task.I much prefer fresh to processed food.I think learning to shop for one is a challenge. I am lucky enough to have a grocery store that provides many options for the single person. Thank you for providing this site. I am sure I will be experimenting with new recipes soon. I am 76 and want to prove you CAN reach an old dog new tricks. Again thank you.

  5. I come from a big Italian family, too, and there's nothing better than Sunday meals with the family! This sauce looks so great — and made from love, for sure! I've never made tomato sauce with carrots, and I bet they add great flavor! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Homemade tomato sauce is the best, Chrissa. I don't know if this sauce freezes well, since it only makes 2 cups I've never had a need to freeze it. It's the perfect size for one or two meals.

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