This Instant Pot Tomato Sauce is so much better than store-bought! It’s made with fresh tomatoes and 11 other simple ingredients. Enjoy over your favorite pastas, as a delicious pizza sauce, marinara dipping sauce, and more.
📋 About the Recipe
- Perfect way to use up summer tomatoes. If you have a garden full of ripe tomatoes, making homemade tomato sauce is the best use for them. It uses up several pounds of tomatoes at once and is easy to freeze for up to 6 months.
- More flavorful than store-bought. Although jarred store-bought tomato sauce is convenient and necessary from time to time, nothing beats the freshness and flavor of this Instant Pot tomato sauce. Give it a try with my Pink Sauce Pasta, Air Fryer Pizza Rolls, or Mushroom, Sausage, and Arugula Pizza.
- Instant Pot cuts down the cook time. Traditional tomato sauces are made by simmering the tomatoes until soft, usually for a couple of hours. By using the pressure cooker, you can make homemade Italian marinara sauce in a fraction of the time.
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Fresh tomatoes - Homemade tomato sauce made with fresh tomatoes over canned are almost always better flavored and require less sweetness to balance the acidity. For best results, weigh the tomatoes to make sure you use enough tomatoes in your homemade sauce.
- Carrots - Add a natural sweetness and complexity to the tomato sauce.
- Onion and garlic - Essential in any tomato sauce. Please make sure to use raw onion and garlic - dried will not be nearly as flavorful or fresh tasting.
- Red wine - Adds a rich, robust flavor profile and enhances all the other flavors in the tomato sauce. A dry wine such as merlot, cabernet sauvignon, or pinot noir will all work well.
- Sugar - A small teaspoon or two of sugar helps cut the acidity and makes the sauce sweeter. I recommend using cane sugar - it is neutral in sweetness and will not overpower the flavor of the tomatoes.
⁉️ Substitutions and Alterations
- How to make a spicier tomato sauce: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes to the tomato sauce in step 1 after the salt. Remember, do not stir.
- How to make a sweeter sauce: After blending the sauce smooth in step 4 and 5, taste and add additional sugar to taste if you find the sauce is too acidic.
- Use a different tomato variety: If you don’t have fresh vine tomatoes, you can substitute San Marzano ‘plum’ tomatoes or Roma tomatoes. Both are low in seeds and are ideal for making sauces. Or, check out the full list of The Best Tomatoes for Making Tomato Sauce.
- Make a smoother sauce: Add a few tablespoons of high quality extra-virgin olive oil.
- Add ingredients to Instant Pot. In the following order, add the fresh tomatoes, onion, carrots, garlic cloves, red wine, oregano, basil, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and sugar to the Instant Pot. Do not stir.
- Pressure cook for 20 minutes. Cover the Instant Pot with the lid and check that the valve on the lid is set to seal. Pressure cook on manual high pressure for 20 minutes. This will take additional time to come to pressure.
- Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. After the pot has pressurized and cooked for 20 minutes, allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally for 10 minutes before releasing remaining pressure.
- Add tomato paste and blend smooth. Using an immersion blender, countertop blender, or food processor, blend until completely smooth. If using a blender or food processor, do so in batches, releasing the excess steam as you blend so it does not explode.
- Serve. Serve with your favorite pasta, spread on No Knead Sheet Pan Pizza Dough, or with fresh basil and Quick and Easy Air Fryer Garlic Bread.
❄️ How to Store
To store: This homemade tomato sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight jar for up to 5 days.
To freeze: Store in a freezer safe jar, container, or bag for up to 6 months. If freezing in a bag, make sure the sauce is cooled to room temperature, then freeze the bag flat for optimal storage. When ready to use, thaw the tomato sauce completely in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days, then reheat as usual.
To reheat: Leftovers reheat best in the microwave, on the stovetop, or in the Instant Pot on the sauté setting until warm. Tomato sauce can splatter when warmed, so it is best to cover almost completely when reheating, leaving just a small amount of space for heat to escape.
🔍 Recipe FAQs
Tomato sauce can burn in the Instant Pot if the tomatoes are too acidic or if the spices reach the bottom. Fresh tomatoes are much less acidic than canned tomatoes so they should not trigger a burn warning.
Tomatoes can be peeled when making homemade sauce, but I find the skin blends smooth without peeling and is not worth the extra step (especially if you are using a countertop blender). If you prefer sweeter tomato sauces, you may want to peel the tomatoes beforehand. The skin can make your tomato sauce more bitter.
The key is to add the ingredients into the pot in the exact order listed and do not stir. Stirring the sauce beforehand can cause the spices and garlic to fall to the bottom of the pot and trigger a burn warning.
💭 One More Tip
Use ripe tomatoes. Ripe tomatoes are less acidic and make for a sweeter, more flavorful tomato sauce. When making homemade tomato sauce, splurge on higher quality tomatoes for the best flavor.
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Instant Pot Tomato Sauce
- 3 pounds (about 11 to 13) fresh vine tomatoes, cored and quartered
- 2 cups diced yellow onion (about 1 onion)
- 3 large carrots, cut into chunks
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled
- ½ cup dry red wine merlot, cabernet sauvignon, or pinot noir
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar plus more to taste
- 6 ounces (1 can) tomato paste
- In this order, add tomatoes, diced onion, carrots, whole garlic cloves, red wine, oregano, basil, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and sugar to the instant pot. Do not stir.
- Cover with the lid, switch the valve to “sealing,” and pressure cook on high for 20 minutes.
- When the timer is up, allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes before switching the valve to “venting” and manually releasing any remaining pressure.
- Remove the lid and add tomato paste. Using an immersion blender, blend sauce until completely smooth. You can also use a countertop blender or food processor by scooping sauce into the base and blending until smooth. Just be sure to release the steam as you blend so it does not explode.
- Serve tomato sauce in your favorite pasta or pizza recipe. Or, simply allow sauce to cool and store it in a jar in your refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the sauce for up to 6 months.This recipe makes 8 cups of sauce.
- To make this a spicy tomato sauce, add a pinch of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.
- When the sauce is done blending, taste it and slowly adjust the sugar if you find it too acidic.
- Make sure you add the ingredients to the instant pot in the order listed in step 1. If you stir the ingredients, or the spices end up on the bottom, they will cause a burn warning.
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