food 4 tots

Basic Tomato Sauce

tomato sauce, fresh tomato, tomato paste, homemade tomato sauce, easy tomato sauce, toddler, kids, food for tots

Recipe for Basic Tomato Sauce

Source: Adapted and modified from The Kitchn

Make: 350 ml

10 ripe tomatoes, medium size (1.4kg)
1 clove garlic, finely minced (5g)
1/8 part of a medium sized yellow onion (10g)
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon of sugar
Pinch of salt


  1. Peel the tomatoes
    Wash and rinse the tomatoes. Core the green sterm out from the tomatoes and slice a shallow “X” at their base. Bring a pot of water to a boil and off the heat. Drop the tomatoes into it and leave for 1-2 minutes until the skin starts to wrinkle and split. Remove the tomatoes and plunge them into the ice water until they are cool enough to handle. Transfer the cooled tomatoes to a tray. Use your finger tip or a paring knife to pull away the skins from the tomatoes.
  2. Chop the tomatoes
    Cut the tomatoes into half or quarters. Slice off the hard cores (as they can’t break down during cooking). Scoop out the seeds with the gels and place them into another bowl. Use a spoon, press them through a sieve to filter the seeds and extract the juices. Seeds will cause the sauce to turn bitter after cooking (Source: She Knows). However, if you want to save yourself a bit of work, you can retain the seeds. Roughly chop the tomatoes or crush them by hand. Alternatively, use a wooden spoon or potato masher to do it in the pot when you cook them a bit. If you prefer chunky sauce, let them break down as they cook.
  3. Cook the sauce
    Put the chopped tomatoes, the extracted juice, onion, garlic and bay leaves into a large pot. Bring it to a simmer and lower the heat to medium low. Continue to simmer for about 30 – 90 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reaches the consistency you desire. The longer the cooking time, the thicker the sauce and the deeper the flavour.
  4. Season the sauce
    Discard the bay leaves and season the sauce with lemon juice, sugar and salt. Let the sauce cool complete and store it in a clean jar. It keeps well in the fridge for a week or two but you can freeze them in batches or even in ice cube tray for up to three months.


  1. Choose any variety and sizes of tomatoes you like. Make sure they are brightly colour, free of blemishes and brushes.
  2. You can substitute fresh tomatoes with canned tomatoes.
  3. You can saute the raw minced ingredients first before adding the tomatoes.
  4. If you want a neutral base, you can leave the bay leaves, garlic and onion out and just cook the tomatoes alone.
  5. Avoid using oil if you’re planning to can your sauce as this can potentially be a source for botulism (Source: The Kitchn)
  6. The addition of lemon juice is to ensure the safe level of acidity for canning.
  7. You can puree the sauce for a smoother texture with a hand blender, juice blender or food processor. In the past, when I blended the cooked sauce,  the colour of the sauce changed to bright orange. I think this could be caused by oxidation. However, you are free to do your own experiment.


step by step tutorial, tomato sauce, fresh tomato, tomato paste, homemade tomato sauce, easy tomato sauce, toddler, kids, food for tots

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  1. tigerfish says:

    Tomatoes is a must-have ingredient in my kitchen. I like to include them in many dishes that I cook. I usually don’t make tomato sauce in batches (maybe I should?) but just make them when I made tomato-based pasta on the same day. I don’t remove the tomato skin though, so the texture of my sauce is definitely not as fine and smooth as yours.

  2. sylvia says:

    Can i buy your tomato sauce?so hard to find free-pesticide tomato here in miri sarawak.i love to bake pizza for my girls but i just feel not easy thinking that they are eating something not organic.

  3. Sweet Day says:

    Lovely peeled tomatoes! Tomatoes appear in my groceries every week!

  4. So fresh and delicious! Homemade tomato sauce tastes so much fresher and tastier.

  5. Ling LIng says:

    So nice to have pesticide-free tomatoes! Organic ones here are ouch to the the pocket. Love those red and plump tomatoes you can lay your hands on!

  6. Sumikojoy says:

    hi, have u tried the recent tomato rice craze using rice cooker? if so can share your version of recipe? thanks and thanks for your effort in maintaning and sharing with us great recipes!

    • food-4tots says:

      Sumikojoy: Yes, I had tried the original version using my Tefal food steamer as I don’t use rice cooker. I find it healthy but the taste is a bit bland. Hopefully I can come out something I like and share with you soon. 🙂

  7. Sally says:

    I must say your method of slicing the tomato for easy peeling is just genius! It has been a headache for me. Gonna learn this! Thanks! 🙂

  8. Chloe says:

    Hi, can I know where to get the bay leaves?

  9. Sharon says:

    Can I not add lemon juice? I plan to make and freeze a small portion in my breast milk storage bags. Thanks!

    • food-4tots says:

      Sharon: The addition of lemon juice is to ensure the safe level of acidity for canning. It is better to use it. Instead of breast milk storage bags, you can use ice cube trays to freeze the sauce. 🙂

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