Skip to Content

Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce

Olive oil, salt, fresh tomatoes, and a little time are all it takes to create the most vibrant fresh tomato sauce recipe that’s ever emerged from the TMP test kitchen.


Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce pomodoro sauce with noodles in a bowl with fresh basil and parmesan cheese

The Best Way To Enjoy a Fresh Tomato? Cooked into Pomodoro Sauce!

Oh, tomatoes. Oh, you beautiful fruit, you. Is there anything you can't do? Any wrong you can't right? Juicy red bursting fruit that our every culinary dream is made of. We wait all year for tomato season—watching our tiny tomato plant sprouts grow slowly in the heat. Yellow blossoms and then little promising green baubles that blush and then blush some more until they're absolutely glowing with ruby goodness. Tomatoes are nature’s perfect gift to those of us who live to eat. While we love to dig into them fresh off the vine, we also feel that a cooked tomato can be a really wonderful thing. Imagine a perfect, simple spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes and lots of good olive oil—bubbling away on the stove until those lovely fresh tomatoes become a (dare we say?) even better version of themselves, simmered down to their most flavorful essence. That perfection? That’s what this pomodoro sauce recipe produces. So get ready to be even more in love with pasta than you already were.

tomatoes, basil and salt on a cutting board with a knife and a linen
roma tomatoes in a colander

Fresh, Homemade Tomato Sauce in Just Three Ingredients

What’s a simple tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes without, well, fresh tomatoes!? So of course, that’s where this recipe starts. The first time we made this sauce, we used perfect, heirloom tomatoes fresh from the garden. We were in love with the resulting tomato sauce, but nervous that the only reason it tasted so good was because of the high quality of fresh tomatoes.The next day we ran to the supermarket and bought the most ordinary roma tomatoes we could find. We made this simple tomato sauce again with those regular old grocery store tomatoes, and were completely blown away. Every bit of intense tomatoey-sweetness that we loved about the initial batch was still there. You seriously can’t go wrong with this sauce. It will be good no matter what—it just can’t help itself. Tomatoes! Even the not-so-great ones are full of umami magic. They don’t need much help—all we add is:

  • Olive oil. A full cup of olive oil—don’t skimp! It makes the sauce absolutely silky. We really created this simple tomato sauce for pasta, and all that oil helps to make sure the finished tomato sauce really clings to the pasta.
  • Salt.
  • Fresh basil. This is totally optional, but it’s a classic addition in true Italian pomodoro sauce, and it’s lovely in this sauce. If you’ve got it, add it!
Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce pomodoro sauce in a soup pot
Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce pomodoro sauce in a jar

How To Make Fresh Tomato Sauce from Scratch

How many times, when tomatoes are fresh and abundant at the market—not to mention cheap, which they often are at the peak of tomato season—have you wished you knew how to make tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes? Well wish no more! Making homemade tomato sauce out of fresh tomatoes is really easy. We even make our tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes with skin on! No peeling necessary! Here’s how to make it:

  1. Take the stems off and cores out of your tomatoes.
  2. Plop them into a pot with the oil and salt.
  3. Cook this lovely mixture over medium heat for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Stir often, and smash the tomatoes as they soften to make the mixture increasingly sauce-like.
  5. Cook until the sauce is nicely thick. When it’s nearly done, add the basil if you’re using it.
  6. We like to finish the sauce by giving it a quick blend with an immersion blender, but this is optional.
  7. Serve!
Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce pomodoro sauce with noodles in a bowl with fresh basil and parmesan cheese
Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce pomodoro sauce with noodles in a bowl with fresh basil and parmesan cheese
Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce with noodles in a bowl with fresh basil and parmesan cheese and two forks swirled in the pasta
Three Ingredient pomodoro sauce with noodles in a bowl with fresh basil and parmesan cheese and two forks swirled in pasta

4 Ways To Use Fresh Tomato Sauce

We love this sauce served simply with spaghetti that’s been cooked until just al dente—this means “to the tooth” as in the cooked pasta still has a bit of bite to it. But! There’s no wrong way to use this sauce. When tomatoes are in season, and your favorite booth at the farmers market it running a $1/tomato special, buy them up! Make tons of this sauce and freeze it—you’ll be thanking yourself all winter long. You can use this fresh tomato sauce anywhere you’d use jarred tomato sauce. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Tools You’ll Need:

Three Ingredient pomodoro sauce with noodles in a bowl with fresh basil and parmesan cheese and two forks swirled in pasta

Buon Appetito!

We’re so excited about this fresh tomato sauce recipe, and we hope you will be as into it as we are. Try the recipe, and let us know how you like it, OK? Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

💌 Let's Stay Together

There are so many great ways to receive all of our latest recipes, meal tips, and inspiration.

Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  30 min
  • Calories: 280


  • 4 pounds ripe tomatoes, preferably Roma, stem and core removed
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3-5 fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving (optional)


  1. In a large pot, set over medium-low heat, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, salt and basil, if using. Cook, stirring often, gently smashing the tomatoes with the back of a spoon until very tender and the sauce begins to thicken, about 30-45 minutes.

  2. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce to your desired consistency directly in the pot; it should still have some texture to it.

  3. Store in an airtight container, refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories280
  • Protein2 g
  • Carbohydrates9 g
  • Total Fat27 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium593 mg
  • Total Sugars6 g

Three Ingredient Tomato Sauce

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Colleen

    Can this sauce be frozen?

    We haven't tested freezing it yet.

  • Maria

    Could I use canned tomatoes outside of tomato season?

    We haven't tested it with canned tomatoes, but should be ok.

  • Emilly

    This was very clumpy. Smelled nothing like delicious, mouthwatering tomato sauce. What happened?

    A typical pomodoro sauce is not smooth, this would be similar if not exactly like that. If you're looking for marinara sauce check out our marinara sauce recipe. Hope you enjoy!

  • Shari

    Do I not have to peel the tomatoes to take off the skins?


  • Lea

    So you really don't even need to remove the seeds from the tomatoes either? If so, that's amazing. Just wanted to confirm.


  • Regula

    I somehow posted this in questions, so now I'm resubmitting it in reviews: This recipe is fantastic and so versatile! I have used it as pasta sauce, pizza sauce, and tomato soup along grilled cheese sandwiches. I cook it down to the desired thickness depending on use. If one were to cook it down even more it would make a perfect tomato puree. My family loves it when I add about 1/2 cup of parmesan into the sauce as this cuts down some on the acidity. I also like to use several yellow tomatoes in the recipe for the same reason.

    Yes! We use it for all of the above as well!

  • New

    Best tomato sauce I ever tasted, plus I got a 45 minute sauna.

  • Hana

    So good!!