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This fresh, homemade Cherry Tomato Sauce is a delicious meatless sauce made from scratch. This simple spaghetti sauce creates tasty magic from fresh cherry tomatoes and herbs.

pasta topped with fresh cherry tomato sauce.
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This cherry tomato sauce is an amazing way to use up an abundance of garden-fresh cherry tomatoes. If you’ve ever thought “can you make a tomato sauce with cherry tomatoes”, the answer is a resounding and delicious “yes”!

Prefer to use canned tomatoes to make marinara sauce? If so, check out this Freezer Spaghetti Sauce that uses canned goods and pantry staples.

And if you’d prefer to use your slow cooker, check out our Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce.

Cherry Tomato Sauce Ingredients

a bowl of cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs, garlic, onion, and other ingredients on a marble board.

This recipe has:

  • Cherry tomatoes (surprise!)
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Herbs – fresh (or dried) basil, parsley, oregano, and a bay leaf
  • Brown sugar – just a pinch
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Baking soda

The (optional) baking soda is a great way to neutralize the natural acidity of tomatoes without adding additional sugar. It’s a fun little kitchen hack that I love.

How to Make Cherry Tomato Sauce

*I’ll walk you through it here with some photos and tips, and you’ll also find a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post with exact measurements, etc. You can also click “jump to recipe” to skip down.

As written, this recipe leaves the skins on the tomatoes and the seeds in the sauce. The amount of seeds in cherry tomatoes will vary by variety, so if seeds/skins are an issue for you, don’t worry, I’ve got your back! Check out the section in the post titled “How to remove the tomato skins and seeds”.

To make your cherry tomato sauce, start by heating olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet or braiser pan. I used this braiser pan.

Add the minced onions and garlic to the olive oil, and saute everything on low heat until the onions are softening and starting to become translucent.

Add in the cherry tomatoes, parsley, basil, oregano, bay leaf, and brown sugar. Toss to combine everything.

Increase the heat for 1 minute, and stir the mixture constantly to prevent the tomatoes from popping. Reduce the heat and place a lid, slightly ajar over the pan to allow steam to escape, and cook everything down for 1-2 hours. Stir everything occasionally, but don’t fuss too much with it.

After the tomatoes are softened and bursting and looking deliciously jammy, remove the pan from heat. Discard the bay leaf and add the baking soda. Stir everything gently, as the baking soda will react with the tomatoes and foam just a bit.

Depending on your desired consistency, you can either gently mash the sauce with a potato masher or wooden spoon or carefully transfer the cooled sauce to a blender or a food processor, and pulse it until it has become well-combined. If the texture of the skins or seeds bothers you, the blender/food processor option is the way to go!

Add balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper to taste. You can serve it right away, but I also love the flavor of the sauce after it has sat in the fridge for 12-24 hours.

4 photos showing how to roast cherry tomatoes for marinara.

How to remove the cherry tomato skins and seeds (Optional)

If the skin/seed texture is not for you, there are super easy ways to remove both!

Removing the skin from cherry tomatoes

To remove the skin from the tomatoes, you have two simple options:

  • Option 1: Freeze the cherry tomatoes for 3-4 hours and then leave them at room temperature for ~1 hour. As the tomatoes thaw, the skins will slip right off. It’s so easy that it feels like cheating. For more info, check out our tutorial on Freezing Tomatoes.
  • Option 2: Blanch the tomatoes. Add the tomatoes to a pot of boiling water and boil them for 1-2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes to a bowl of ice water. Allow them to cool and then carefully peel the skin from each tomato. They should slip right off. You can see step-by-step photos of this process in our tutorial on How to Blanch and Peel Tomatoes.

Sustainability Tip

Sustainability Tip

Save the tomato skins to dehydrate to make Homemade Tomato Powder.

Removing seeds from cherry tomatoes

If you’re also removing the skins from the tomatoes, you might as well take the seeds out too. If you use one of the skinning methods above, the easiest way to remove the seeds would be to cut the tomatoes in half and just push the seeds out with your thumb.

peeling and deseeding a tomato for crockpot spaghetti sauce

If you prefer to leave the skins on the tomatoes and still want the seeds removed, that’s easy too. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half using a bread or cheese knife (this keeps them from getting smashed). Use your thumb to push the seeds out.

And if you want to be super diligent about removing every single seed, a quick rinse of the scooped-out tomato under running water will do the trick.

How to Use Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce

This sauce is so versatile! Enjoy it over pasta, like this Homemade Spinach Fettucine, in a Ravioli Bake, or in Gluten-Free Lasagna.

Love pizza (duh!)? Try it with our Overnight Pizza Dough, Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, Puff Pastry Pizza, Air Fryer French Bread Pizza, or Tortilla Pizzas. You could even use it in homemade Air Fryer Pizza Rolls

It’s also fantastic as a dipping sauce for Air Fryer Ravioli, Cheesy Garlic Bread, and Air Fryer Texas Toast.

How to Store and Reheat

Storing Leftovers: Allow the sauce to cool and store covered leftovers in the fridge for 4-5 days.

Reheating Leftovers: Cherry tomato pasta sauce can be enjoyed cold (as a dipping sauce), at room temperature, or heated. To reheat, cover and microwave for 1 minute. Stir and heat in 15 second increments until fully heated through.

Freezing Cherry Tomato Sauce: Allow the sauce to fully cool and store it in freezer-safe containers. My favorite way to store it is to freeze it in 1-cup Souper Cubes. Once frozen, remove from the trays and transfer to freezer-safe bags. You can freeze this sauce for 6-9 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Make Tomato Sauce in the Oven?

You sure can! If you prefer to make a roasted cherry tomato sauce, add everything except for the baking soda and balsamic vinegar to a deep oven-safe pan or skillet. Roast at 300˚F for 2-4 hours.

You can mash or blend the sauce once it has finished roasting and has cooled.

Can I Add Meat to This Sauce?

Absolutely. Any meat that you’d like to add would need to be cooked before being incorporated into the sauce.

Can This Sauce Be Canned?

I only recommend canning recipes that have been tested for the proper/safe PH balance. To follow best practices, I would only feel comfortable freezing this sauce.

Looking for tested recipes for canning tomatoes? Check out our tutorial on Canning Whole Tomatoes, Canning Tomato Soup Base, and Canning Stewed Tomatoes.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • If you prefer to use dried herbs instead of fresh ones, use a 1:3 ratio. For 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs, use 1 tsp of dried.
  • (Variation) Once the sauce has finished cooking, add in 1/4 cup of heavy cream for a creamy cherry tomato sauce.
  • (Variation) Try adding a splash of red wine to the sauce as it cooks.
  • (Variation) Like a spicy sauce? An added pinch of red pepper flakes will make a delicious and spicy tomato sauce.
  • (Variation) Add in other veggies during the cooking process. Suggestions: shredded zucchini or carrots, sliced peppers, or mushrooms.
a braiser pan with roasted cherry tomato sauce.
5 from 1 rating

Cherry Tomato Sauce

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 5 minutes
pasta topped with fresh cherry tomato sauce.
This fresh, homemade cherry tomato sauce is a delicious meatless sauce made from scratch. This simple spaghetti sauce creates tasty magic from fresh tomatoes and herbs.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic {minced}
  • 3/4 cup onion {chopped}
  • 24 oz cherry tomatoes {stems removed}
  • 1 tbsp basil {minced}
  • 1 tbsp parsley {chopped}
  • 3 tsp oregano {chopped}
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda {optional}
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a heavy skillet, saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until softened (~10 minutes).
    1/4 cup olive oil, 5 cloves garlic, 3/4 cup onion
  • If you prefer to remove the seeds and skins from the tomatoes prior to cooking the sauce, see note 1.2 at the bottom of the recipe card.
  • Add cherry tomatoes, basil, parsley, oregano, brown sugar, and bay leaf. Stir to combine.
    24 oz cherry tomatoes, 1 tbsp basil, 1 tbsp parsley, 3 tsp oregano, 2 tsp brown sugar, 1 bay leaf
  • Increase the heat to medium-high for 1 minute (stir to prevent popping). Reduce heat to low and simmer.
  • Place a lid slightly ajar on the pan to allow steam to escape. Cook down for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until it has reached your desired consistency.
  • Discard bay leaf.
  • Gently mash the sauce with a potato masher or wooden spoon. If you prefer a sauce without skins or seeds, and you didn't remove them prior to cooking, carefully transfer the cooled sauce to a blender.
  • {optional} Add 1/8 tsp baking soda, and stir well to combine. The baking soda will react with the tomatoes and cause a bit of foaming.
    1/8 tsp baking soda
  • Add balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper to taste.
    salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar


  1. If the texture of the skins and seeds will bother you, we recommend two options:
    1. Transfer the finished sauce to a blender or food processor after it has finished cooking and has cooled.
    2. Remove the skins and seeds prior to cooking. See the section titled “How to Remove the Tomato Skins and Seeds” in the body of the post above.
  2. If you prefer to use dried herbs instead of fresh ones, use a 1:3 ratio. For 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs, use 1 tsp of dried.
  3. Will keep in the freezer for 6-9 months.
  4. Feel free to add any other veggies that you love.
  5. Any meat you add needs to be fully cooked before being stirred into the sauce.


Serving: 0.5cupCalories: 90kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 2gFat: 3gSodium: 255mgPotassium: 450mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Fusion
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!

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    1. Hi Susan, unfortunately as it is written, it cannot. There is a note about that under the heading “Can This Sauce Be Canned?”. I’ll copy and paste the info below:

      I only recommend canning recipes that have been tested for the proper/safe PH balance. To follow best practices, I would only feel comfortable freezing this sauce.

  1. I love using cherry tomatoes for sauce and they are so plentiful in my garden. This looks like a flavorful recipe. I’ll give it a try. Thanks.5 stars