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!

pomodoro sauce in pan with wooden spoon

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!

pomodoro sauce ingredients

Pomodoro Sauce

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

You can whip it up and serve with any 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!

whole tomatoes in pan with spices

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 simmers down and is blended until it’s totally smooth.

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

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

My pomodoro sauce recipe uses a few seasonal ingredients: herbs and tomatoes. If you have a garden, I really recommend giving it a try!

Using home grown ingredients during their peak seasons is so rewarding. Not to mention, the flavor is outstanding!

  • 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 get all of the flavor and aroma from garlic. 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 – You can’t have Italian without basil. Use as much or as little as you’d like, but remember that this herb has a pretty strong flavor!
pomodoro sauce in blender

Tips for a Perfectly Smooth Sauce

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

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.

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.

Also, be sure to remove the basil before blending! 

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.

close up of pomodoro sauce on wooden spoon

Pomodoro Sauce 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 salty or as peppery 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 vinegary, like some other canned sauces.

How do you make pomodoro sauce?

A bit more goes into a 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 and 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 then blend 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 recipe is traditionally made with tomatoes that aren’t quite ripe! But you can use red tomatoes — the flavor is still spectacular.

pomodoro sauce on pasta wound around a fork


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pomodoro sauce close up with basil leaves

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 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
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!
close up of pomodoro sauce

Originally Published July 2022

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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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