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Small Batch Tomato Sauce

Small Batch Classic 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 good 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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Homemade Tomato Sauce

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.

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


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

  • olive oil
  • chopped onions
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 celery stalk
  • garlic
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • canned diced tomatoes
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • bay leaf
  • butter
  • honey

Why Do You Add Honey To Tomato Sauce?

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

How To Make Tomato Sauce

My mother made her tomato sauce with carrots, celery, onions and garlic as the base. As these vegetables cooked and softened, my mother poured 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 fabulous.

Small Batch Tomato Sauce Recipe

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.

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

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:

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Single Serving Recipes Using Tomato Sauce

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.

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
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 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 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.


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

40 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. Thank you for your cooking for one or two recipes and the “jump to recipe is a great help. Much needed recipes for us small families. Now if we could just get the manufacturer’s to produce one smaller amounts. Not 5 pounds etc.

  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.

      1. I have, and it worked great! I used half pint jars so I could truly have “single servings”.

  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 – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B011PAJJOG/ref=twister_B011TWLIFS?
      Le Creuset 5-inch baking dish – https://www.amazon.com/Creuset-Heritage-Stoneware-Square-White/dp/B006Y3ZASY/ref=sr_1_8?

      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!!!

      2. 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 – https://www.thekitchn.com/5-tips-for-making-smallbatch-tomato-sauce-tomato-preserving-2-0-206852 – 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.

      2. Hi Rae,

        Thank you for your note. I’m so happy you found our site and hope you find many new recipes to try.


  5. Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips

    Love the small batch because three of the four of us only like a smidgen of sauce on our pasta, so I hate having a ton extra.

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