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Easy oven roasted tomato sauce

So easy is a relative term, and I get that. What I think might be easy could not be so easy for you, and vice versa. And I feel like people are always calling things easy – especially on food blogs. I do it too, all the damn time. But this oven roasted tomato sauce is honestly something that I believe anybody can make. And I have yet to find someone who doesn’t think it is delicious.This easy oven roasted tomato sauce recipe is perfect on a plate of spaghetti

It is March, where are you getting good tomatoes?

Out of a can baby! Don’t laugh, I mean, tomatoes are only in season for like two solid months so we all have to learn how to adapt for the other 10 months. Sure, I make and freeze things with fresh tomatoes, but that is usually gone by December. And this easy oven roasted tomato sauce with canned tomatoes does the trick for the rest of the year – I promise.

How’d you come up with this oven roasted tomatoes out of a can?

I can take no credit really for this. This is my take on the greatest Jammy Tomato Sauce by Phyllis Grant…someone I happen to love. Her recipe is a stovetop recipe and it has been my go-to forever, but I wanted something I could put in the oven, sort of a set it and forget it.Packed with flavor from roasting at a high temperature, this is the best oven roasted tomato sauce recipe you will ever find!

What you need to make this the best oven roasted tomato sauce recipe.

Not a lot , this is largely a pantry recipe.

  • Two large cans of whole tomatoes. I use the kind labeled San Marzano (this links to the exact kind I use). Are they really San Marzano? Probably not, there is currently debate on the authenticity of tomatoes labeled as such, but I still buy them. They are not THAT much more expensive, and I still hold out hope they are authentic.
  • Brown sugar. Just the tiniest bit. This is a jammy tomato sauce so you want a little extra sweetness.
  • Whole garlic cloves. Just throw them right in there. They will roast and soften and you will mash them right into the tomatoes.
  • Anchovy. Don’t cringe, now. Anchovy adds a complex salty element and I absolutely promise you can’t taste them in there. They cook down and are mashed into basically nothing but flavor when you mash it all together. And you can absolutely leave them out and just use additional salt, but I would try them, just don’t tell anybody (unless you all are allergic of course).
  • Olive oil. For richness and thickness.
  • Sherry vinegar. This is my secret ingredient in most of my roasted vegetable dishes. Tomatoes are acidic, don’t get me wrong, but this adds a sort of balance to acid-wise. I don’t know if this makes sense, but I always add sherry vinegar to roasted tomatoes. You can certainly make without it if you don’t have it, but if you do, throw a sprinkle of it on the tomatoes – you won’t be sorry.

Ok you have convinced me to this. What can I serve this with?

I am so glad you asked. Because this is an excellent tomato pasta sauce, it is rich and thick and clings to it ever so perfectly. But pasta is totally not all this is good for. Grill up some thick AF pieces of bread with olive oil and smear this all over it. Top any sandwich ever with it too _ goes extra amazing with pork belly and beef tenderloin. Also amazing in place of ketchup on burgers. And of course there is always a spoon for this easy oven roasted tomato sauce recipe…I don’t judge and I do it all the time.Oven roasted tomato sauce, thick and jammy clinging to your pasta!


Easy oven roasted tomato sauce

Course condiment
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword canned tomato recipe, oven roasted tomato sauce, oven roasted tomato sauce recipe, oven roasted tomatoes, tomato jam, tomato sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes


  • 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes with all the sauce and juice in the can
  • 6 cloves of garlic I use the biggest ones for this, if you only have small cloves use more
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes if you like a little kick increase this amount to 1/2 teaspoon
  • 3 anchovy filets left whole
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus one more tablespoon after roasting
  • 1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar literally a splash


  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Dump the two cans of tomatoes, into a large baking dish, roasting dish or Dutch oven. Preferably a long and shallow baking dish.
  2. Add your garlic cloves and anchovies and stir together a little bit. Sprinkle the brown sugar, red pepper flakes and a little salt over the top. Drizzle with olive oil and splash with sherry vinegar. Do not stir further.
  3. Put in oven and roast for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours, stirring at the hour marks. The sauce should be thick and jammy, dark and reduced significantly (see my pictures for exactly what it should look like, that deep red color and burnt around the pan is what you want it to look like).
  4. Remove from the oven and using a potato masher or a large serving fork, smash everything up together nice and good, until it looks like a literal jam. drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and taste for seasoning (add more salt if needed).

Recipe Notes

This can be served right away or stored in the fridge for a week (I keep it in a mason jar). You can also freeze this in a freezer appropriate container.

Let me know whatcha think!