Pomodoro Sauce

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Pomodoro Sauce is herbaceous, silky smooth, and bursts with fresh Italian flavors! This recipe comes together in a snap and can be used to make simple or elegant meals!

titled image (and shown): pomodoro sauce in pan with wooden spoon


Wondering, what is Pomodoro sauce? Learn all about this rustic Italian favorite, as well as the difference between Pomodoro vs marinara!

ingredients to make pomodoro sauce

Pomodoro Sauce

If you like to prepare Italian cuisine, having a go-to red sauce recipe is an absolute must.

You can whip up a batch, serve it with any type of noodle you like, and bam! A mouthwatering pasta dish in no time flat.

Plus, a homemade sauce like Pomodoro freezes beautifully and thaws pretty quickly. It’s perfect for easy meal prep on busy days.

Another Italian tomato sauce recipe that I love is this roasted tomato sauce. You roast your own seasoned veggies for this one, but I promise it’s easy as can be!

Prefer a white sauce? Check out my copycat Olive Garden Alfredo!

What is Pomodoro Sauce?

This decadent and delectable Italian tomato sauce comes together with basic pantry ingredients — tomatoes, garlic, and basil are the main players.

Don’t let that fool you into believing that it lacks flavor, though!!

The simple seasonings really highlight the natural flavors of the herbs and tomatoes — pure, authentic Italian cooking!

tomatoes and spices in a large skillet

Pomodoro vs Marinara

These two sauces have really similar ingredients and really similar flavors. So what’s the difference between the two? 

Marinara is pretty thin and has lots of tomato chunks. Usually, you don’t take the time to cook marinara down.

On the other hand, Pomodoro sauce simmers down and is blended until it’s totally smooth.

They taste similar, but you can absolutely tell the difference when you sample them.

Pomodoro Sauce Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil is the best for a nice, clean taste. But you can always use canola oil or vegetable oil instead.
  • Garlic – It doesn’t take long to saute, and it’s the best way to get as much flavor and aroma.

    You can also use more or less as you like. Personally? I like a ton of garlic!
  • Tomatoes – Most people would recommend Roma tomatoes, and those are really good! They don’t have a ton of seeds so they’re great to cook with.

    But you can use basically any heirloom tomato.
  • Basil – What is Pomodoro sauce without basil?! Use as much or as little as you’d like, but remember that this herb has a pretty strong flavor.

A traditional Pomodoro doesn’t have chunks. It’s super smooth and thick, and completely coats whatever you pour it on.

overhead: pomodoro sauce in blender

Tips for a Perfectly Smooth Sauce

  • Blend properly.

So you’re definitely going to want a blender, immersion blender, or food processor. I recommend using a blender because it’s the least messy option.

  • Remove the basil.

The herb imparts plenty of flavor while simmering with the other Pomodoro sauce ingredients.

Be sure to remove the leaves before blending. No matter how long you blend them, there will still be tiny pieces throughout the Pomodoro sauce.

  • Avoid a mess.

Keep in mind that you’re blending a hot liquid, so be careful and make sure that the lid is vented.

The steam needs a way to escape — either lift up the cap in the center of the lid or leave a corner of the lid unsealed.

wooden spoon in red sauce with sprig of basil

Pomodoro Sauce Recipe FAQ

What does Pomodoro taste like?

Pomodoro sauce is very simple yet flavorful! You taste the olive oil, tomatoes, basil, and garlic in each spoonful. 

You can add salt and pepper to taste, so it’s as seasoned as you want it to be.

It isn’t spicy — unless you add spices to it — and it isn’t very sweet. It also isn’t too vinegary, like some other canned sauces.

How do you make Pomodoro sauce?

A bit more goes into this Pomodoro sauce recipe than your average Italian tomato sauce.

First, you need to fry up the garlic. Then, you add the tomatoes until they’re completely soft and mushy.

Follow up with the basil, then let it simmer until the mixture is thick and the tomatoes are totally broken down.

But, that’s not the end! You need to take out the herbs and blend the mixture until totally smooth, while the liquid is still warm. The result is a thick, luscious sauce with a full body of flavor! 

What does Pomodoro mean?

The original name of the dish is actually sugo di pomodoro, meaning “tomato sauce.”

But the word pomodoro literally translates to “apple of gold!” The name comes from the color of the tomatoes when they’re still a bit yellow. 

Actually, this Pomodoro sauce recipe is traditionally made with tomatoes that aren’t quite ripe! But you can use red tomatoes — the flavor is still spectacular.

close up: spaghetti coated in red sauce

Storing and Freezing Italian Tomato Sauce

The longevity of homemade sauces depends on proper storage. Use a completely airtight container and keep refrigerated at all times! I like to use mason jars for easy pouring and storing.

In the fridge, it’ll last for 5 days. But you can also freeze for up to 3 months!

If you make a lot of pasta, I really recommend making this Pomodoro sauce recipe in bulk.

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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stirring red sauce in large skillet

Other Amazing Sauce Recipes

pomodoro sauce close up

Pomodoro Sauce

Donna Elick
Pomodoro Sauce is herbaceous, silky smooth, and bursts with tomato flavor! This recipe comes together in a snap for an easy Italian meal!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Method Stovetop
Servings 4 make 2 cups


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 28 ounce can whole, peeled tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Basil leaves


  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute minced garlic in the olive oil for 1-2 minutes, until slightly golden and fragrant.
  • Add whole tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat, breaking apart the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
  • Add several basil leaves to the sauce, if you wish, and simmer together for 20-25 minutes, until the sauce is thick and broken down with just some chunks remaining.
  • Remove basil leaves from the sauce and transfer to a blender. Blend until smooth. Return sauce to the pan and keep warm until ready to serve.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Donna’s Notes

Pomodoro sauce is traditionally very simple, smooth and thick.
We use a blender to create a smooth sauce. You can use an immersion blender or a food processor, though the blender will be the least messy. Be careful that the lid is secure while blending, and be mindful of the hot temperature of the sauce.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 100cal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 575mg | Sugar: 5g | Fiber: 2g | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 2mg

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 image (and shown): close up of pomodoro sauce

Originally Published July 2022, updated and republished September 2023

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I love making homemade sauce, definitely adding this one to my favorite recipes. The flavor in this sauce is amazing!

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