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Small Batch Tomato Sauce

Small Batch Tomato Sauce Recipe! Fresh, flavorful, easy to make, and perfect to serve with pasta, chicken or fish. So incredibly delicious!

A small jar of homemade tomato sauce next to fresh carrots and parsley

A classic tomato sauce recipe is one to treasure. It's a sauce that goes well with so many wonderful dishes such as pasta, pizza, chicken, or even fish.

This classic tomato sauce is made using fresh ingredients and will yield about 2 cups of the best tasting tomato sauce you've ever tried.

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Why This Recipe Works

  • This is a scaled down version of the tomato sauce recipe my mother used when I was growing up. She told me she learned how to make tomato sauce by watching her grandmother cook Sunday dinners. Huge Sunday meals 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. My mother's grandmother, "Mamma" as she was called by all the family, prepared and cooked our traditional Sunday meal. She always had lots of helpful hands in the kitchen. As Mamma got older and was confined to a wheelchair, she mainly supervised, making sure all of the dishes were prepared properly.
  • I took my 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 makes about 2 cups.
  • It's easy to make and filled with so much flavor!

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A small jar of homemade tomato sauce next to fresh carrots, parsley, and garlic cloves

Ingredient Notes

See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  • Olive oil: I use extra virgin olive oil in this homemade tomato sauce recipe as well as in every other recipe on One Dish Kitchen that calls for olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed form of olive oil. It is an unrefined oil and the highest-quality olive oil you can buy. Because of the way extra virgin olive oil is made, it retains more true olive taste. It also contains more of the vitamins and minerals found in olives. It’s my favorite type of olive oil to use but you may use a lighter olive oil instead.
  • Vegetables: Use chopped onions, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, and garlic.
  • Seasonings: Salt, black pepper, dried basil, oregano, and a bay leaf.
  • Diced tomatoes: I use canned for convenience.
  • Butter: A little bit of butter adds a richness which cuts through the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Honey: It may seem unnecessary but adding a bit of sugar or honey to tomato sauce is a southern Italian trick to help balance the tartness of the tomatoes. Some tomatoes are wonderfully sweet already but many are still very acidic. Add just a touch at the very end of the cooking time, and feel free to add a bit more until you get the flavor you want.
A plate of pasta topped with homemade tomato sauce

Expert Tips

  • Cook the vegetables until they are tender. Lightly brown them for a more complex roasted flavor.
  • Use an immersion blender or a stand blender to puree the vegetables.
  • Feel free to add a little more or a little less honey depending on how sweet you like the sauce.

What To Do With Leftover Ingredients 

If you have any ingredients left over from this tomato sauce recipe, you might consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can This Recipe Be Doubled To Make More?

Yes, the recipe doubles very well!

Can I Use Fresh Herbs Instead Of Dried?

Absolutely! If using fresh herbs, add them towards the end of the cooking time so that they don't brown.

Other Than With Pasta, How Should I Use Tomato Sauce?

Use this homemade tomato sauce in any of these single serving recipes:
Eggplant Parmesan For One
Lasagna For One
Zucchini Lasagna For One
Giant Italian Meatball
Baked Ziti
French Bread Pizza

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A small pot of tomato sauce next to a jar half filled with tomato sauce with a spoon all on a metal tray

For more information on the cooking and baking dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes used at One Dish Kitchen, please visit our Store page.

If you’ve tried this small batch tomato sauce recipe or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

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tomato sauce in a jar

Small Batch Tomato Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: 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 coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey


  • In a a small saucepan, 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 stand 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.


Expert Tips
  • Cook the vegetables until they are tender. Lightly brown them for a more complex roasted flavor.
  • Use an immersion blender or a stand blender to puree the vegetables.
  • Feel free to add a little more or a little less honey depending on how sweet you like the sauce.


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

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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About The Author

45 thoughts on “Small Batch Tomato Sauce”

    1. This sauce will last for 3 to 4 days, covered in the refrigerator. It can also be stored in the freezer; freeze in a covered airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag. It will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.

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