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Are you looking for an easy way to make tomato sauce in an instant pot? Well, you’re in the right place. Making tomato sauce in an instant pot is really easy. And it doesn’t require much effort or supervision.

The Instant Pot has a variety of settings and bonus features that make this recipe a breeze.

Making tomato sauce in an instant pot is convenient, allowing you to “set it and forget it” during cooking. You can even leave your sauce to thicken overnight! 

Here’s a quick and easy guide on how to make tomato sauce in an instant pot.

tomato sauce in an instant pot

How to Make Instant Pot Tomato Sauce

Ingredients and Supplies

  • Instant Pot – You can also substitute a slow cooker.
  • Mesh Screen (or something else to protect the sauce from fruit flies while cooking)
  • Chef’s knife
  • Cutting Board
  • At least 5lbs Paste Tomatoes or a mixture of mostly paste with other tomatoes

Instructions

Rinse your tomatoes in a sink or bowl full of cold water to remove debris. Sort out any damaged or bruised fruit. You want to use ripe, fresh tomatoes for sauce.

Step 1

Set your instant pot to the saute setting.

Step 2

Depending on size, chop your tomatoes in quarters or halves and drop them into the Instant Pot immediately after turning on the heat. There is no need to remove seeds from the tomatoes, but you should remove stems and any damaged parts of the fruit.

tomatoes chopped and put in instant pot

Step 3

Once all your tomatoes are in the Instant Pot, leave on the saute setting, uncovered, for about 15 minutes and stir occasionally. This will give you a quick first cook of the tomatoes.

tomato sauce in instant pot

Step 4

Turn off the saute setting if using an Instant Pot. Select the “slow cooker” setting, pressing the button until the “more” light is selected. This will give you a higher temperature simmer. Set the time to 2-4 hours (less time if your pot is not at least halfway full).

Let the sauce sit in the slow cooker for that whole time, uncovered and stirring occasionally. You may want to place a screen over the top to avoid splattering and keep fruit flies out.

Step 5

After the initial slow cook, puree your softened tomatoes. You can use an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer the sauce to a regular blender in batches, then return the sauce to your Instant Pot.

tomato sauce in blender scaled

Step 6

Once blended, set the instant pot to low or medium setting and cook (uncovered) until you reach your desired consistency. Check the sauce every few hours, if possible, to stir it and check the consistency.

If you leave the sauce overnight, ensure the Instant Pot is at least half full and set it to low. It should still be fairly thin when you go to bed if it will be all right for 8 hours.

Once you reach the desired thickness, you can use your tomato sauce right away, or you can store it. This sauce stores well in the fridge for about a week, in the freezer for up to 6 months, or in canning jars for up to a year.

If freezing, allow space at the top of your container for expansion when frozen.

home canned tomato sauce

Best Tomatoes for Tomate Sauce

Almost any tomato can make a great sauce. However, the best tomatoes for sauce are the ones that have more meat than juice and seeds. These are typically called “paste” tomatoes and include Roma, San Marzano, and Amish Paste varieties.

There are a few reasons these tomatoes are better for sauce. Here’s why:

  • They have more meat and less juice, so they thicken up faster. In other words, there is less liquid that needs to evaporate.
  • They have fewer seeds. Seeds can make a tomato sauce taste bitter or add unwanted texture. With paste tomatoes, you have fewer seeds, so you can chop them into chunks and throw them in your pot without needing to de-seed before or after the sauce cooks.

The best tomatoes for sauce are full of meaty flesh and light on seeds and juice. They will cook up perfectly for sauce. They are also a bit sweeter, making for a delicious tomato sauce.

As long as the bulk of tomatoes you are using for your sauce are paste tomatoes, you can also throw in other tomatoes that you have available – from beefsteaks and italian slicers to cherry tomatoes, by all means add them in!

photo of beautiful tomatoes on the table, healthy diet, autumn harvest, tomatoes of different shapes and colors

Other recipes you might like: How to Make Homemade Yogurt in an Instant Pot

How long does it take to make tomato sauce in an Instant Pot?

At a minimum, you’ll need at least 5 hours to make a great tomato sauce. But it can take up to 10 hours if you use the slow cooker method or want a thicker sauce.

The more meaty your tomatoes and the less liquid, the quicker you’ll go from tomatoes to sauce. Likewise, the time it takes to make tomato sauce depends on how thick you want it. A nice sauce for pasta can be a bit thinner than, say, a sauce you want to use on pizza. Some of it comes down to personal preference.

The recipe included here suggests 3-4 hours of cooking on high and then another 4-8 hours on medium or low. You have options, in other words. As you get closer to the end of the cooking process, you’ll want to keep an eye on your sauce to ensure you don’t overdo it and end up with ketchup!

Is this tomato sauce recipe appropriate for canning?

Yes! This recipe is great for canning. You’ll use a hot water bath method for canning, and the sauce, just like the canning process described in this basic recipe from Ball.

When canning tomato sauce, you need to add either lemon juice or citric acid to be sure your sauce is acidic enough for storage. You can also add salt to boost the flavor of your sauce; this step is optional, but we recommend it.

Keep in mind that canning recipes are carefully tested to ensure that they have enough acidity for shelf storage. Do not add additional ingredients unless you follow an established and trustworthy canning recipe.

Luckily, basic tomato sauce is adjusted for acidity jar-by-jar, so with this recipe, you can make as much sauce as you have tomatoes (and space) to make, then adjust when you pour it into jars.

Are there other methods of making tomato sauce?

Yes, You can make your tomato sauce in a traditional slow cooker or crock pot.

Can you add anything else to this recipe?

This recipe does not use herbs, but yes you can add dried herbs safely to tomato sauce to make the flavor unique. Dried basil, oregano, or thyme are all good choices (or a combination). If you want to add onions and garlic, saute them in the Instant Pot first.

You will also need to add a bit of lemon juice to each jar before canning to ensure that the Ph is at the right level for safe canning.

Make sure to add the seasonings in the last step.

tomato sauce in instant pot

Instant Pot (or Slow Cooker) Tomato Sauce

Make tomato sauce in your instant pot or slow cooker for a hands-free, deliciously slow simmered sauce that is perfect to eat right away or can for storage.

Equipment

  • Instant Pot You can also substitute a slow cooker.
  • Mesh Screen (or something else to protect the sauce from fruit flies while cooking)
  • Chef's knife
  • Cutting Board

Ingredients
  

  • At least 5 lbs Paste Tomatoes or a mixture of mostly paste with other tomatoes

Instructions
 

  • Set your instant pot to the saute setting.
  • Depending on size, chop your tomatoes in quarters or halves and drop them into the Instant Pot immediately after turning on the heat. There is no need to remove seeds from the tomatoes, but you should remove stems and any damaged parts of the fruit.
  • Once all your tomatoes are in the Instant Pot, leave on the saute setting, uncovered, for about 15 minutes and stir occasionally. This will give you a quick first cook of the tomatoes.
  • Turn off the saute setting if using an Instant Pot. Select the “slow cooker” setting, pressing the button until the “more” light is selected. This will give you a higher temperature simmer. Set the time to 2-4 hours (less time if your pot is not at least halfway full).
    Let the sauce sit in the slow cooker for that whole time, uncovered and stirring occasionally. You may want to place a screen over the top to avoid splattering and keep fruit flies out.
  • After the initial slow cook, puree your softened tomatoes. You can use an immersion blender. If you don't have an immersion blender, transfer the sauce to a regular blender in batches, then return the sauce to your Instant Pot.
  • Once blended, set the instant pot to low or medium setting and cook (uncovered) until you reach your desired consistency. Check the sauce every few hours, if possible, to stir it and check the consistency.
    If you leave the sauce overnight, ensure the Instant Pot is at least half full and set it to low. It should still be fairly thin when you go to bed if it will be all right for 8 hours.

Notes

Once you reach the desired thickness, you can use your tomato sauce right away, or you can store it. This sauce stores well in the fridge for about a week, in the freezer for up to 6 months, or in canning jars for up to a year.
If freezing, allow space at the top of your container for expansion when frozen.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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Carrie Williams Howe is an educational leader by day and an aspiring homesteader by night and weekend. She lives on a small homestead in Vermont with her husband, two children, and a rambunctious border collie. She blogs about her family's homestead life at The Happy Hive.

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