Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

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Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce absolutely bursts with authentic Italian flavor! Made with fresh tomatoes and the perfect blend of aromatics and spices, this butter tomato sauce will take your taste buds into a new dimension!!

titled: Marcella Hazans Tomato Sauce Recipe

Recreate one of the most famous Marcella Hazan recipes — marinara sauce — in the comfort of your kitchen.

ingredients for Marcella Hazan's tomato sauce

Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce

While you only need a few ingredients, there is no shortage of flavor or the incredible aroma wafting through your home.

Use these pizza breadsticks as a shovel to get all the tasty goodness into your mouth! Or devour these air fryer mozzarella sticks while dipping them into the sauce.

Hazan tomato sauce is delicious with all types of garlic bread and pasta too. You can also spoon it over some meatballs and spaghetti for some delicious comfort food.

canned tomatoes and onion halves in pot

How To Make Marcella Hazan Sauce

In less than an hour, you can whip up a batch of this delicious butter tomato sauce. It’s super easy!

Cook the tomatoes, butter, and onions using medium-high heat in a large pot. Simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

Gently break up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.

Remove any chunks of onions, season with salt, and serve Marcella Hazan sauce with a pile of your favorite pasta.

close up: ladle full of hazan tomato sauce

Helpful Tips and Tricks

  • Spice it up! If you are in the mood for some extra flavor, go ahead and add in some minced garlic, pepper, basil, oregano, or any other Italian spices and herbs.
  • Make it extra smooth. Want the onion flavor but don’t like the chunks? No problem!

    Simply transfer Marcella Hazan tomato sauce to a blender or food processor and give it a whirl.
  • Salted butter works. Adding butter to the marinara sauce makes it richer. It’s an excellent change compared to sauces like my easy 5 minute marinara.

    You may want to cut back on added salt if using salted butter, but the flavor is going to be amazing either way. 
  • Feed a crowd! This recipe makes a large batch, for 12 servings! However, you can double or even triple the batch for more Hazan tomato sauce!

    You will need to use a stock pot if you are making a larger batch.
  • Love onions? Add more! While onions are common in Marcella Hazan recipes, this sauce doesn’t have a strong onion flavor.

    If you love lots of onions, go ahead and chop them small then add them to the tomatoes.

    I find the flavor of Marcella Hazan tomato sauce to be more like the marinara sauce you find in Southern Italy, which is not overpowered by onions.

Hazan Tomato Sauce FAQ

What is Hazan tomato sauce?

Named for its creator, Marcella Hazan, it’s a rich butter tomato sauce that’s seasoned with onions and salt.

Hazan is a famous Italian cookbook author, credited with introducing traditional Italian cooking techniques to home cooks in the UK and the US.

Is Marcella Hazan sauce thick?

As the tomatoes cook, they do break down and give you a hearty and rich marinara sauce.

However, it isn’t going to be as thick as an Italian meat sauce that uses tomato paste

Can you freeze Marcella Hazan tomato sauce?

Absolutely! Pour the sauce into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Remove any air from the bag, close it, and lay it flat on a baking sheet.

Freeze until solid, then you can move it to make more space.

Marcella Hazan sauce will last for 6 months in the freezer. Defrost in the fridge overnight before serving.

Butter Tomato Sauce Serving Suggestions

The options are endless! Mix the Marcella Hazan tomato sauce into eggs, top a piece of toast, mix it into pasta, or ladle it over pizza dough.

It’s just as delicious added to sandwiches and roasted veggies.

pasta with butter tomato sauce

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penne topped with tomato sauce and parmesan

pasta with marcella hazan tomato sauce

Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce

Donna Elick
Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce is a rich, classic marinara sauce recipe. This simple sauce is absolutely packed with authentic Italian flavor!
5 stars from 2 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Method Stovetop
Servings 12


  • 28 ounces San Marzano whole tomatoes
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 white onions, peeled and chopped in half
  • salt, to taste


  • Add the tomatoes, butter, and onions to a large pot over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer and then reduce to medium heat.
    Allow the sauce to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon as they cook.
  • Discard the onion and season to taste. Serve over freshly cooked pasta with parmesan cheese.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 158cal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 98mg | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled recipe collage for marcella hazan tomato sauce

Originally published August 2021, updated and republished May 2023

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  1. I have been making this sauce for years, the only red sauce I will use with pasta. At the beginning it was difficult to find San Marzano tomatoes in my stores, now no problem. Love this sauce.

    1. Still not sure about the cans of tomatoes…for 1x recipe, is it 1 can of tomatoes? For 2x, 2cans, plus 2 cups butter, etc?

  2. 5 stars
    So simple and so good! I used a combination of canned tomatoes and fresh garden tomatoes. I think the butter makes the difference!

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