How long should I simmer tomato sauce?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: How long should I simmer tomato sauce? We will discuss how to prepare a tomato sauce and whether we should use oregano, chili, garlic, or onion as seasonings. 

How long should I simmer tomato sauce?

How long you should simmer tomato sauce depends on the quantity of the sauce you are cooking. This is an extremely subjective question, but we can say that a tomato sauce will become good to eat even after 10 minutes of cooking. However, more elaborated sauces need to be simmered up to an hour, even four!

Once the tomato has been added, lower the heat and cover the pot, but leaving a small opening for the water vapor to pass. The sauce should be turned from time to time, and it is necessary to add water every time it dries too much, to prevent it from burning.

How to prepare a tomato sauce 

The sauce with tomato puree can be extremely basic, but it can also lend itself to variations on the theme that make it more elaborate. But let’s see the basic recipe.

What we need is obviously the tomato sauce, and then the various condiments: garlic or onion, extra virgin olive oil, salt, and basil. The procedure is extremely simple and can be compared to that used to make the sauce with fresh tomatoes.

You have to heat the oil in a pan, fry the garlic or onion, and then put the sauce in the pan. At this point, the tomato is salted and cooked for a time that can vary according to the type of sauce we want to obtain. If you want to make a quick sauce, a quarter of an hour may be enough: enough time for the tomato water to evaporate. 

Once the sauce has reached the consistency we prefer, the basil is added and the heat is turned off: the sauce is ready to season our pasta dish.

Simple right? Among other things, the use of puree allows us to save time compared to fresh tomato sauce since all the preparation of the tomatoes before cooking is bypassed. Another advantage of tomato puree sauce is that it lends itself very well to being frozen.

But now let’s explore all the main variables offered by the tomato sauce.

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

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How do you store leftover spaghetti sauce?

Tomato sauce with garlic or onion?

The great dilemma that often afflicts us: is it better to put garlic or onion in the sauce with tomato puree? Or both? Here too personal taste comes into play, but in reality, we can draw some boundaries.

Garlic, with its strong flavor, is in fact to be preferred in the case of a sauce with fresh tomato, or in any case in sauces that require rather short cooking. So if you really prefer garlic, best use it for a quick sauce.

The onion, on the other hand, lends itself very well to the preparation of sauce made with tomato puree, to which other ingredients can be added. In particular, the onion performs much better, with its sweet taste, in long cooking sauces.

And if you want to reach a compromise, you can put both garlic and onion in the sauce, or use shallots. And yes, if you prefer it, you can even make a sauce without garlic or onion, but do it at your own risk: both of these ingredients have an added value that should not be underestimated in terms of flavor.

Tomato sauce with chili

If you like spicy you can add the chili pepper to your sauce with the tomato puree. You can use the chili pepper you prefer, whether fresh, dry or in oil: the only care is to “know” the degree of spiciness of the chili to get an idea of ​​how to lose it. 

It is also important to put it in the sauce right from the start of cooking so that the tomato takes on its flavor correctly. And of course, always be careful not to overdo it: it is always better to add an inedible sauce afterward.

Tomato sauce with oregano or basil?

Basil is the smell par excellence that goes best with tomato sauce, but this does not prevent you from using others. Oregano is particularly popular, but thyme or parsley can also be used. The important thing is to add these ingredients only towards the end of cooking, which is especially true for basil.

The secret for cooking a great tomato sauce

One of the kitchen’s fundamental rules for the dishes’ success is to follow them, not stray during cooking, and choose the right intensity. 

Generally, the flame should be medium and proportionate to the size of the pot or pan. 

Usually, the stoves have a very small fire source (excellent for preparing coffee, cooking meat sauce, or for heating milk), two medium burners (ideal for almost all pot and pan preparations), and a large fire, only necessary for large portions or boiling pasta. 

The most supplied also have a double or triple crown, ideal for having a lot of heat in a short time (always for large preparations or for pasta). I recommend using one of the medium burners, except for large preparations. The sauté must still be cooked over medium-low heat; it must just sizzle. Not only will it not burn, but it will also get even better!

If the sauce dries too much before it has reached the desired consistency, add a little more vegetable broth. Stir from time to time.


Simmering a sauce is perhaps the greatest option to thicken it, but be careful not to keep the fire on for too long. Once the sauce has reached the consistency we prefer, the basil is added and the heat is turned off: the sauce is ready to season our pasta dish.

How long do you simmer the tomato sauce? If you have any tips for us, please do not hesitate to leave a comment!