This homemade gluten-free spaghetti sauce recipe, made with San Marzano tomatoes and flavorful herbs, is the best homemade sauce you'll ever make! Whip up this meatless recipe in about 15 minutes, then let it simmer on the stovetop or in a crock pot to bring out the best flavor.
- Why You'll Love This Homemade Pasta Sauce
- Simple Ingredients
- Spaghetti Sauce Variations
- How to Make Gluten-Free Spaghetti Sauce
- How to Make Spaghetti Sauce in the Crock Pot
- How Long To Store Spaghetti Sauce In The Fridge
- How To Freeze Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- How To Re-Heat Spaghetti Sauce
- How To Make Spaghetti Sauce Thicker
- How To Reduce Acid In Spaghetti Sauce
- Top Recipe Tips
- Recipe FAQs
- More Gluten-Free Recipes You'll Love
- Comments and Ratings
Why You'll Love This Homemade Pasta Sauce
- A savory tomato marinara sauce, simmered with Italian herbs, garlic, and onion.
- Easy recipe to make with pantry staples like canned tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Simmer for as little as 30 minutes or let it go a bit longer for a more robust flavor. You can even cook it in the crockpot!
- More cost-effective and flavorful than store-bought spaghetti sauce.
- Freezer friendly!
Serve this gluten-free pasta sauce over your favorite pasta, roasted spaghetti squash, or gluten-free fresh pasta. Pair with gluten-free baked chicken meatballs and gluten-free garlic bread for an easy weeknight dinner even the pickiest eaters will love! You can also use this sauce to make a delicious gluten-free lasagna!
- San Marzano tomatoes: While San Marzano tomatoes are a bit more expensive than regular canned tomatoes, these Italian plum tomatoes are definitely worth the cost. Compared to other tomatoes, San Marzano have a distinctive sweetness, low acidity, and concentrated tomato flavor, making them the perfect choice for this spaghetti sauce recipe.
- You can typically find San Marzano whole-peeled tomatoes at your local grocery store. I like to buy the big can from Costco; you can find many other gluten-free finds at Costco while you're there!
- Tomato paste: brings slow-cooked depth of flavor to the sauce.
- Fresh garlic, onion, and carrots: Aromatic and sweet, these veggies build up the flavor of our sauce.
- Fresh herbs, if you have them: I often make this with dried herbs but if you happen to have some fresh basil, oregano, or thyme, feel free to add that in! You'll be amazed the difference fresh herbs can make to this sauce!
- Red Pepper Flakes: I often sprinkle some red pepper flakes into the sauce, but feel free to omit that if you like.
*Full ingredient list and amounts can be found in the recipe card below.
Spaghetti Sauce Variations
- Make a Meat Sauce: Before you sauté your vegetables, brown up to 2 pounds Italian sausage, lean ground beef, or ground turkey in the pot. Remove the meat and drain the fat. Continue with the recipe, adding the browned meat back in at the end when it's time to simmer the sauce.
- Simmer Some Meatballs: Another way to add protein to your spaghetti would be to simmer some gluten-free meatballs in the sauce before serving.
- Add Extra Veggies: Feel free to add more veggies into the sauce if you'd like! Celery, mushrooms, bell pepper, or even zucchini would be great additions. The finer you grate or chop your veggies, the less they will be noticeable in the final sauce.
- Even More Flavor: Add 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce or balsamic vinegar to the sauce, it will add a little umami flavor and brighten up the sauce.
- Sweeter Spaghetti Sauce: Depending on the acidity of your tomatoes, you may want to add a little sugar. Start with a teaspoon and taste the sauce. Adjust until you reach your desired sweetness and flavor balance.
How to Make Gluten-Free Spaghetti Sauce
- Sauté the onions, carrots, and garlic in a large pot over medium heat until tender.
- Stir in the tomato paste. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
- Stir in the whole San Marzano tomatoes with their juices and fresh herbs.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Simmer loosely covered for 30 minutes or longer. Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed.
How to Make Spaghetti Sauce in the Crock Pot
Making spaghetti sauce in the crock pot is so simple. Here's how to modify this recipe to make it in the crockpot!
- Sauté the onions, carrots, and garlic in a sauté pan over medium heat until tender.
- Add the vegetables to the crock pot and stir in the remaining ingredients. Put the lid on your slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Stir occasionally.
Choose your setting based on how much time you have. As long as the sauce is able to simmer for at least 2 hours, that is plenty of time for the sauce to cook and develop flavor.
How Long To Store Spaghetti Sauce In The Fridge
When stored in an airtight container, spaghetti sauce can be refrigerated up to 5-7 days.
How To Freeze Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
This basic tomato sauce freezes very well, so feel free to make a double batch while you're at it!
- Let the sauce cool completely.
- Portion it into airtight containers or freezer bags, leaving some space for expansion.
- Label with the date and freeze for up to 3-6 months.
- Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
How To Re-Heat Spaghetti Sauce
The easiest way to reheat spaghetti sauce is on the stovetop:
- Place spaghetti sauce in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Cover the saucepan to catch any splatters.
- Stir occasionally until the sauce is heated through.
If you prefer the microwave, cook on high power using short intervals and stir in between. Cover the dish with a paper towel to catch splatters.
How To Make Spaghetti Sauce Thicker
As the sauce simmers, the tomatoes will break down and the sauce will thicken. If you find your sauce is too thin, simply simmer it uncovered on low heat until the desired thickness is reached.
Simmering allows excess moisture to evaporate, resulting in a thicker sauce.
How To Reduce Acid In Spaghetti Sauce
To reduce acidity in spaghetti sauce, try adding a tablespoon of sugar or a finely grated carrot.
You can also incorporate a pinch of baking soda, but use this sparingly to avoid altering the taste too much. With either option, taste and adjust until you achieve the desired balance for your spaghetti sauce.
Top Recipe Tips
- The finer you grate or chop your veggies, the less they will be noticeable in the final sauce.
- This sauce is a homestyle and chunky sauce. If you'd like a smoother marinara-style sauce, use an immersion blender to reach your desired texture. You can also blend in batches in a food processor or high-powered blender.
- Remove fresh herb stems from the sauce before serving.
- When freezing this sauce, be sure to use freezer safe containers. Mason jars can crack, especially the type that do not have straight sides. Do not fill containers all the way to the top, leave room for expansion as the sauce freezes.
While most spaghetti sauces do not contain gluten ingredients, it is important to always check ingredient labels on store-bought sauces, as some could have gluten-containing ingredients. When in doubt, choose sauces that are labeled gluten-free.
For a rich and flavorful spaghetti sauce, simmer for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour on the stovetop. For even better results, let it simmer for up to 2-3 hours. This extended cooking time allows the flavors to develop fully, creating a delicious sauce with depth of flavor. Remember to stir occasionally to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.
For gluten-free pasta that tastes the closest to regular pasta, Barilla, Ancient Harvest, Jovial Foods, and Tinkyada are great options. Banza chickpea pasta is very popular and provides a protein boost, but does not taste like traditional pasta due to the fact that it's made solely with chickpeas. Experiment with these and other brands to find your favorite brand of gluten-free pasta that best suits your taste and texture preferences.
Gluten-Free Spaghetti Sauce
- 1 large sweet onion
- 1 large carrot
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ Tablespoons Italian seasoning
- ½ Tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- 2 (28 ounce) cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
- Fresh herbs: ½ bunch basil, 1 sprig each oregano and/or thyme, optional
- Finely dice the onion and carrot. Mince the garlic.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Sauté the onion, carrot, and garlic until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Then add the whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes with their juices and fresh herbs, if using. Stir and cover loosely.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce heat to low. Simmer at least 30 minutes up to 2 hours. Stir occasionally and break up the tomatoes as they soften.
- Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning, as needed.