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Garlic Basil Tomato Sauce

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This garlic basil tomato sauce is the perfect topping for a delicious meal. Not only is it incredibly flavorful, but it’s also easy to make. Top your favorite pasta dish or pizza with this sauce for an extra punch of flavor that the whole family will love.

A ladle scooping basil tomato sauce out of a Dutch oven.

Is it spaghetti sauce, pasta sauce, marinara sauce, ragu or just tomato sauce?   I am not against buying a commercial sauce occasionally as it really is convenient.  But, I always check out the ingredients label before I buy one. 

I choose the ones that have just the good stuff, with regular, whole foods, no added sugar or preservatives.   It isn’t that difficult or time intensive to make some from scratch though. Also, there is great satisfaction with making it yourself and it will taste better…..I did a side-by-side taste with this recipe and my favorite jar from the grocery store.

?  The Ingredients

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for this garlic basil tomato sauce. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details. 

  • Aromatics: onions and garlic.
  • Tomato: Use cans of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.
  • Red wine: If you don’t want to cook with wine, substitute it with tomato sauce and a splash of red vinegar.
  • Herbs: Fresh thyme leaves, fresh oregano, fresh basil leaves, and bay leaves.
  • Salt and pepper.

?‍? How to Make It

Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with this garlic basil tomato sauce. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

  1. Heat the olive oil and cook the onions over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, wine, and herbs. Bring the sauce to a boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for one hour.
  3. Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool.

? Tips for Success

  • Add a rind of Parmesan cheese to the sauce while it simmers. The Parmesan will add extra depth to the sauce.
  • Add a pat of butter for richness.
  • Mash some anchovies and stir into the sauce. The anchovies will add an umami flavor but it will not make the sauce taste fishy.


?️ Serving Suggestions

You can use this garlic basil sauce in so many ways. Use it like a marinara sauce for pasta, bake it on top of our smoked meatloaf, smother it on naan pizzas, bake it into casseroles like our chicken farro casserole and slow cooker goulash. Here are some more ways to use it:


  Storage and Reheating


  1. Let the sauce cool before transferring it to an airtight container.
    Store in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  2. If you’re storing it in the freezer, pour it into a resealable plastic freezer bags and freeze it flat. This will make it easier to defrost when you need it, as well as maximize space in your freezer!


Reheat the sauce in the microwave in 60 to 90-second intervals until hot, stirring between blasts.

You can also heat the sauce on the stovetop over medium-low heat.

Marinara sauce and meatballs on a pile of spaghetti noodles.

Making your own marinara sauce is a great way to save money and ensure you’re getting the best quality ingredients. This garlic basil tomato sauce has an amazing flavor that will take any pasta or pizza dish to the next level. Plus, it’s so easy to make and store for future use.

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A ladle scooping basil tomato sauce from a pot.

Garlic Basil Tomato Sauce

A thick tomato sauce with basil and garlic that is wonderful served over pasta, chicken or fish.
4.64 from 25 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 24 servings
Calories: 61kcal
Author: Pat Nyswonger


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 8-10 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each), crushed tomatoes
  • 1 six-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 cup rough chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: 1 to 2 mashed anchovies


  • In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil and cook the onions over medium heat until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in the tomatoes (along with their liquid), and the rest of the ingredients (the anchovies are optional but will add depth of flavor).
  • Bring the sauce to a boil, turn the heat to low, and simmer for one hour.
  • Transfer from the heat, remove and discard the bay leaves and allow the sauce to cool. Pour the cooled sauce into 4 sterilized pint jars leaving 1-inch for expansion, label, and freeze. When completely frozen secure lids. Use as needed. Makes 4 pints of sauce.


  • This sauce will thicken as it simmers and if you like it less thick add a little more water.
  • For freezing, fill the jars leaving 1-inch headspace for expansion. Do not cover until after the sauce is frozen.


Serving: 1/3 cup | Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1.5g | Fat: 1.7g | Sodium: 8mg

Tomato Basil and Garlic Sauce

Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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4.64 from 25 votes (23 ratings without comment)
Recipe Rating

Anne Davis

Sunday 28th of March 2021

A delicious, easy to prepare sauce that we will enjoy many times--thanks for the great recipe.

Pat Nyswonger

Sunday 28th of March 2021

Thank you, glad you enjoyed this tomato sauce!

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