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.

Basic Marinara Sauce

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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Enjoy!


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.

Did you make this recipe?

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Join the Conversation

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

  2. Jenn's Food Journey says:

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

  3. There is nothing better than fresh homemade marinara.

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

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

  6. 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. Great tips on peeling and seeding tomatoes!

  8. 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. 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. 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. 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. Love this tutorial!!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Is there anything I could substitute for the red wine?

  14. 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.

  15. 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… =)

  16. 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!

  17. 5 stars
    Thanks for posting the recipe. We used it as a sauce for the burgers on our blog and it came out great!

  18. How many pounds is 6 cups of fresh tomatoes?

  19. thank you!

  20. 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?

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

  22. 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!

  23. 5 stars
    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.

  24. 5 stars
    Can you make this with Roma Tomatoes also?

  25. Yes, you sure can use Roma tomatoes!

  26. I’m not seeing where you seed the tomatoes? Am I missing it? I see how to take the skin off but that’s it

  27. Simply slice or scoop the seeds out of the tomatoes with a knife or spoon.

  28. I’m currently at the simmering stage…almost halfway thru. My sauce looks awfully dark… not a ripe red like yours. Did you actually mean a tblsp EACH of the listed herbs? I did use tblsp each of the herbs you listed. That’s what I’m contributing to my color difference. Smells delicious though. Looking forward to tasting! Curious.

  29. No, the 1 Tbsp. listed was for a combination of all the herbs combined. Adding 4 Tbsp. of herbs (way too much) is probably why your sauce is turning out dark.

  30. Hello! I’m planning to make a double batch of this recipe tomorrow to use in the future :) should i chop up the tomatoes before adding them, or puree them or anything? Or just add them however they are after seeding? Thank you

  31. You can chop them, if you’d like, but they will naturally break down as they cook slowly. So, no need to do anything after peeling and seeding!

  32. Thank you!

  33. I saw your response regarding the red wine. I was a bit put off by it in that there are some people that cannot have any liquor in their food no matter how much they say “it boils out”. I am one of those who cannot have any liquor in my food otherwise it will trigger a dangerous reaction. I would suggest you find a substitute for the wine as other blogs do. Thank you.

  34. 5 stars
    good day everyone, last night I tried to prepare a dish according to your recommendations. The whole family is delighted, friends are asking for the recipe. We enjoyed one dishes very much time. Thank you very much for the good advice! The recipe is great! I advise everyone!!!

  35. Joan L When roasting sausage pepper potatoes onions do u cover the baking pan with foil.

  36. I don’t see anywhere in this tutorial how to seed the Roma tomatoes….it jumps straight to the sauce after explaining how to peel the skin by cutting the tops and boiling before dropping in cold water and then peeling.
    No mention of how to seed them.

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