On the search for a fresh tomato sauce made with real tomatoes? This recipe for cherry tomato sauce is bright, fresh, slightly sweet, and full of flavor. It works great as a pasta sauce, just like our red pasta sauce from scratch, and tastes especially incredible when the tomatoes are in season during the summer months!
This bright and delicious recipe for cherry tomato sauce is stewed with cherry tomatoes, onions, fresh garlic, a few spices, and fresh basil. It also tastes even better topped with parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper!
Reasons you’ll love this recipe
- BETTER THAN STORE BOUGHT: Just like our red pasta sauce from scratch and mac and cheese bake with bacon, this roasted cherry tomato sauce tastes much better than buying a pre-made sauce from the grocery store!
- TOMATO SEASON: While this cherry tomato sauce tastes just as delicious year round, it’s especially tasty and fun to make during tomato season in the summer when everyone gets excited about fresh tomato recipes!
- EASY: This homemade tomato sauce with cherry tomatoes comes together easily with simple ingredients and steps.
- OLIVE OIL: The olive oil is used for baking the cherry tomatoes and sauteeing the onions and garlic.
- CHERRY TOMATOES: Fresh cherry tomatoes are the base for this homemade roasted tomato sauce. Look for dark red tomatoes at your local grocery store; grape tomatoes work too, if they’re out!
- ONION: Diced onion is sauteed for the sauce and adds a lot of flavor to the dish.
- FRESH GARLIC: Fresh minced garlic is also a part of the sauteeing process and creates a ton of flavor.
- SUGAR: Granulated sugar will help balance the acidity from the tomatoes.
- SPICES: Dried oregano, paprika, and garlic are also included in the sauce and add a hint of earthy, smoky flavors.
- TOMATO PASTE: Tomato pasta helps thicken the sauce and create a deep red color.
- FRESH BASIL: The basil in this recipe gives the tomato sauce a very fresh and vibrant flavor and gives off a beautiful aroma.
- SALT AND PEPPER: To enhance the flavor of the sauce.
- PASTA: This recipe uses spaghetti, but you can use any pasta noodle you like!
See the recipe card below for the ingredient measurements.
- 9X13 BAKING DISH: For roasting the tomatoes.
- LARGE PAN: For sauteeing the onion and garlic.
- POT: For cooking the pasta.
- COLANDER/STRAINER: For draining the pasta water.
- KNIFE: For chopping the onions, garlic, and fresh basil.
- CUTTING BOARD: For safely chopping the ingredients and protecting your countertops.
- MEASURING SPOONS AND CUPS: For measuring the ingredients.
- Prepare: Preheat the oven to 400° F and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
- Roast: In a bowl, mix the tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper, and 1 and ½ tablespoons of olive oil. Add the tomatoes to the baking dish and bake uncovered on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes.
- Sauté: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a deep large pan on low to medium heat and sauté the onions until translucent, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat to the lowest heat setting and add the minced garlic. Casually stir the garlic and onions at this temperature until the tomatoes are done roasting.
- Combine: Carefully transfer the roasted tomatoes and all the juices to the pan and mix in the tomato paste. Add the sugar, garlic powder, oregano, and paprika. Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the basil.
- Serve: Serve the sauce with cooked spaghetti following the instructions on the pasta package. Garnish with parmesan cheese as desired.
- Prevent the onions from burning. The heat is generally low for cooking the onions; however, if you think they’re starting to look like they might burn, add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan to keep them from sticking or burning.
- Control the thickness of the sauce. If you find the sauce too thick, there are ways how to thin spaghetti sauce, such as adding a couple of tablespoons of water until it’s thinned out and a bit more runny.
- Add the basil last. The basil should be the last ingredient added to the sauce! This will keep the basil fragrant and flavorful. If it’s cooked too early, it will lose some of its flavor.
- Keep the leftovers. This recipe feeds 4-6 servings with a pound of pasta. If you’re making less pasta and have leftover sauce, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.
An easy way to thicken it is to add another can of tomato paste or simmer it uncovered until some liquid has evaporated.
One of the most common ways to counteract the acidity of tomato sauce is to add sugar! This recipe includes sugar, so try adding more, or try adding ¼ teaspoon of baking soda.
If you have leftovers, store the tomato sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.
Additional Ingredient Options
- Chili Flakes: If heat is your thing, add some dried chili flakes to the sauce. It will add subtle spice and more flavor.
- Red Bell Peppers: To completely transform this sauce into a delicious roasted red pepper and tomato sauce instead, you can slice a red bell pepper and add it to the tomatoes while roasting. The roasted red pepper tomato sauce flavor is delicious and will make the sauce slightly sweeter.
- Pesto: Try adding in some pesto if you like fresh, herby flavors. Pesto will add a beautiful color to the sauce and add a rich garlicky and herby flavor to it.