Basic Marinara Sauce + How To Peel & Seed Tomatoes

I don’t have any sentimental stories about watching my grandmother stir a simmering tomato sauce over a wood stove, or helping her tear herbs from the garden and plopping them into the pot. Instead, maybe I’ll be that little old grandmother one day, with a recipe like this one to pass down for generations. Maybe my grandkids could then start a food blog of their own and refer to their grandmother with the bomb-diggity tomato sauce.

Yes, you heard me. It will be bomb-diggity, because naturally, I’ll have made it a thousand times by then. Just you wait.

Before making this sauce, I had always poured pretty much everything from a can. Nothing wrong with that. That’s the way most grandmothers do it, I’m sure. But, the taste of a tomato sauce made with fresh tomatoes… Oh, my. You have GOT to experience it, at least once.

First things first, though. In order to get your tomatoes ready for mashing into a marvelous tomato sauce, you need to peel and seed them. Don’t worry, it’s very easy and quick to do.

The steps are described in addition to the recipe below, so give it a click and set aside some time to learn something new and fill your home with the sweet smell of homemade marinara sauce!

How To: Peel & Seed Fresh Tomatoes

1. Remove the small green stalk from each tomato, if there is one. Cut a cross in the top of each tomato. With a paring knife, remove the hard, green core of the tomatoes.

2. Boil a large pot of water and  fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. When water is boiling, put 2-3 tomatoes in the pan. Leave them in for 20 seconds. The skin will split, starting from the top incision.

3. Remove them with tongs and plunge immediately into cold water. Continue with all tomatoes.

4. Remove tomatoes from cold water and gently peel off the skin.

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PrintPrint Recipe

Basic Marinara Sauce


1 large yellow onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp dried herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, etc)*
1/4 cup red wine
6 cups fresh ripe tomatoes, peeled and seeded
Salt and pepper, to taste


In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and cook slowly on medium heat, until they start to caramelize. They should be evenly brown and soft. Cooking them this way brings out the natural sweetness in the onions.
Add the garlic and dried herbs and cook for 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the 1/4 cup of red wine and cook for 2 minutes more.
Add the tomatoes and their juice and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook on low, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste.
*Dried herbs hold their flavor much longer than fresh herbs when slow-cooking. If you want to use fresh herbs, add them at the end of the cooking process, just before serving.
Adapted from The Former Chef

25 Responses to “Basic Marinara Sauce + How To Peel & Seed Tomatoes”

  1. #
    Angie's Recipes — January 10, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    This has got to be the best marinana sauce I have seen in a long time!
    Excellent photos!

  2. #
    Jenn's Food Journey — January 10, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    Great tips on peeling tomatoes! I do love a good marinara sauce!

  3. #
    Pam — January 10, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    There is nothing better than fresh homemade marinara.

  4. #
    Betty @ Scrambledhenfruit — January 10, 2011 @ 9:11 pm

    Fresh tomatoes make the very best sauce- yours is gorgeous!

  5. #
    Large Pot — January 10, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    Thanks for information, I’ll always keep updated here!

  6. #
    Matt H. — January 10, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    Hey, I love the idea of growing my own tomatoes, and canning them. There is an extra special recipe that I like to follow, from Chef John over at foodwishes. It is my all time favorite tomato sauce. He uses a couple of special ingredients that I think you may appreciate.

  7. #
    Brad Fallon — January 10, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    Great tips on peeling and seeding tomatoes!

  8. #
    Debbie — January 10, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    Thanks for the how-to, I always use canned tomatoes but you make it look so easy.

    Bomb diggity makes me laugh, but I totally think the same thing…one day my grandkids will think i make the meanest __ ever! I haven’t decided what that __ is, but I think i’ve got some time :-)

  9. #
    Monet — January 10, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    So one day, when I finally have my garden, I will be in desperate need of this post, and so I’m bookmarking it for future reference (hopefully SOON future reference). I can only imagine how fresh this sauce must taste. It would be lovely over some homemade pasta!

  10. #
    Deborah — January 10, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    I canned my own marinara sauce one year, but it is a lot of work! But delicious! I want to try your recipe – I still have tons of tomatoes.

  11. #
    Annalise — January 10, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    I came home from vacation to a garden full of ripe tomatoes (yippee!) and I’m actually planning on making a big batch of marinara sauce like this soon. You’re right, fresh tomatoes and herbs really do make all the difference!

    Also, I thought I saw your profile on Project Food Blog, but don’t see a competition post for you. Did you decide not to do it? If so, bummer! I love your blog and I think you would have done really well. I was so looking forward to competing with you! :)

  12. #
    Avril — January 10, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    Love this tutorial!!!!

  13. #
    Georgia — January 10, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    Hi Annalise,

    Thanks for your support, but the weeks leading up to the first deadline were so busy for me, I just didn’t have the time to write anything spectacular for my first Project Food Blog entry. So, I guess I’ve missed the boat on that one. But, it’s good because I’ll concentrate more on voting for my favorites. Wishing you the best of luck!


  14. #
    Anonymous — March 23, 2011 @ 1:45 am

    Is there anything I could substitute for the red wine?

  15. #
    Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking — March 23, 2011 @ 2:02 am

    Is there some reason you don’t want to use the red wine? If you don’t like the taste, it will not be very strong in the sauce so I wouldn’t worry. If you don’t have it, I would suggest picking some up. I’ve never made a sauce without the wine and couldn’t confidently suggest an alternative to it.

  16. #
    SherryE — June 26, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    Hi Georgia! I would love to try this recipe today…but am I missing the “how to seed” part someplace? I got the peeling but not the seeding… =)

  17. #
    Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking — June 26, 2011 @ 7:42 pm

    Hi Sherry – Sorry about that, I must have left that part out! Just cut up the peeled tomatoes and scoop out the seeds with your fingers. Enjoy!

  18. #
    MT — April 26, 2012 @ 4:24 am

    Thanks for posting the recipe. We used it as a sauce for the burgers on our blog and it came out great!

  19. #
    Anonymous — August 27, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

    How many pounds is 6 cups of fresh tomatoes?

  20. #
    Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking — August 27, 2012 @ 7:47 pm

    About three pounds.

  21. #
    Anonymous — August 28, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

    thank you!

  22. #
    Anonymous — August 29, 2012 @ 12:26 am

    when you leave it to cook for 2 hours do you cover pot with the lid?
    also, do you use regular red wine or cooking wine?

  23. #
    Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking — August 29, 2012 @ 12:47 am

    I usually leave it uncovered. Any red wine will do; just make sure to use one you enjoy! :)

  24. #
    Jeanie R — November 19, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

    I’ve been wondering what to do with the last of my mondo tomato crop. This is it! Looks like what the sauce pan ordered!

  25. #
    Leanne — August 22, 2014 @ 1:09 pm

    I made this today as I have a abundance of tomatoes in my garden. It is sooo good! What a difference fresh tomatoes make, going to make another batch tonight and freeze it., thanks for the recipe, it’s a keeper.

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