Sicilian Tomato Sauce

4.5 from 4 votes


By Ollie Cartwright

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Add a burst of Mediterranean flavors to your bread or pasta with the sweet and savory blend of our Sicilian Tomato Sauce.

Sicilian Tomato Sauce (side view bread dip)

How to Make Sicilian Tomato Sauce

A detailed recipe with full quantities can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.

Step 1: Prepare your ingredients by mincing the garlic, grating the carrot, and chopping the onion, oregano, and basil.

Sicilian Tomato Sauce ingredients

Step 2: Heat the olive oil over medium heat and then add the onions,  sauté until translucent. Add minced garlic, stirring for 1-2 minutes.

Sicilian Tomato Sauce saute onions and garlic

Step 3: Pour in crushed tomatoes, and then add your grated carrot, oregano, basil, chilli (if using it), salt, and pepper.

Sicilian Tomato Sauce tomatoes carrots and spices

Step 4: Stir until well mixed. Simmer on low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally as sauce thickens. You can add a little water if it thickens too much, and a teaspoon of sugar if it’s too acidic.

Sicilian Tomato Sauce Simmer

Step 5: Garnish with fresh basil (I like stirring mine in for a more even flavour) and serve with bread or on top of pasta.

Sicilian Tomato Sauce basil


Try a few of these tweaks if you’re looking to change things up.

  • Herbal Experiments: Try experimenting with different herbs. Thyme, rosemary, or marjoram are good options for added complexity.
  • Additional Aromatics: Add a bay leaf (I do this) to infuse additional flavor into the sauce. Just remember to remove it before serving.
  • Caramelize those Onions: Taking the extra time to caramelize your onions will add a sweet and rich depth to the sauce. I love this one when using the sauce exclusively on pasta versus bread.
  • Roast the Garlic: Roast the garlic before adding it to the sauce for a milder, slightly sweet flavor.
  • Parmesan Rind: If you have a Parmesan cheese rind, toss it into the sauce while it simmers. It’ll add a savory richness to your sauce. Or, garnish the original recipe with a little grated parmesan.


Admittedly, this sauce is best fresh. But if you made too much, never fear, here’s how to manage your leftovers.

Refrigerate: Homemade pasta sauces will last 3-4 days in the fridge. Once you’ve let it cool, transfer it to a glass container, and then cover. A few layers of cling wrap or a reusable lid will do.

Freeze: Most pasta sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months, but this one is chunky…really chunky. Which means it does better when you only freeze it for 3 months. If you’ve still got a lot, divvy your sauce into appropriate portion sizes and take some to work for lunch. Want more help? Read this.

Reheat: The best way to thaw your pasta sauce is to place it in the refrigerator overnight. Once mostly defrosted, you can place your pasta sauce in a sauce pan on a low burner setting, stirring every few minutes.

Alternatively, you can place your pasta sauce directly in the microwave from frozen. If you choose this method, ensure you’re using a low setting and remove it every few minutes to stir thoroughly. Also, don’t forget a loose fitting lid to keep any splatter at bay.

Sicilian Tomato Sauce Recipe

4.5 from 4 votes
Course: MainCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time


Total time



This is my freezer-friendly recipe for Sicilian tomato sauce.

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  • 400 g 1 2/3 cup – Can Crushed Tomatoes (Ideally San Marzano)

  • 3 3 – Garlic Cloves, Minced

  • 1 1 – Medium Onion, Finely Chopped

  • 1 1 – Carrot, Finely Grated

  • 1 tbsp 1 tbsp – Fresh Oregano, Chopped (or 1 tsp Dried)

  • Handful of Fresh Basil, Chopped (or 1 tsp Dried)

  • 1 1 – Dried Chilli, Optional

  • 2 tbsp 2 tbsp – Olive Oil

  • 1 tsp 1 tsp – Sugar


  • Prep
    Get your ingredients ready by mincing the garlic, grating the carrots, and chopping the onion, oregano, and basil.
  • Onion and Garlic Base
    In a large saucepan or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and  sauté until translucent. Stir in the minced garlic and sauté for another 1-2 minutes without letting the garlic brown.
  • Add Other Ingredients
    Pour in the crushed tomatoes, grated carrot, oregano, basil, chilli (if using), salt, and pepper.
  • Simmer
    Reduce heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the sauce gets too thick, you can add a little water. If the sauce is too acidic, add the sugar.
  • Taste and Adjust
    Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed before taking the sauce off the heat.
  • Garnish
    Remove from heat and stir in some fresh parsley or basil for a fresh touch.

Recipe Video

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2 thoughts on “Sicilian Tomato Sauce”

  1. You omitted canning the sauce as a method of preserving it.
    Canning frees refrigerator and freezer space, and can last longer. You can make a big batch to save time and work, then reach for a jar from your pantry when needed.


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