Sunday Sauce (Slow-cooked Tomato Sauce Recipe)

Sunday Sauce (Slow-cooked Tomato Sauce Recipe)

Created Nov 2021, Updated Nov 30 2023

This homemade Sunday sauce is so easy to make! We make it on a Sunday, so that we have it for the week to use in pastas and on pizza. The longer you cook this tomato sauce, the richer the flavor. We add a good bit of red wine to de-glaze the pan. That leaves enough for you to have a glass of wine while you are cooking it!

This Sunday sauce can be used for so many things during the week for dinner. We love using it in our Italian meatball pasta. It is a great sauce to use for pizza. If you make up enough your can keep it in a jar in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Baked Italian Sausage pasta is such an easy and tasty dish that you will want to add to your menu.

Why do they call it Sunday Sauce?

“Sundays sauce” is a term often used to refer to a rich, hearty, and slow-cooked tomato-based sauce that’s typically prepared on Sundays in Italian-American households. The name originates from the tradition of spending more time in the kitchen on Sundays, allowing for a leisurely preparation of a special, flavorsome sauce that simmers for hours on the stovetop. Families would often gather on Sundays for a larger meal, and making the sauce was a way to bring everyone together, as it requires patience and time for the flavors to meld and develop. The term “Sunday sauce” has become synonymous with this particular style of slow-cooked, deeply flavorful tomato sauce, usually used in pasta dishes or as a base for various Italian recipes.

Here are the key ingredients for the Sunday sauce recipe and their roles:

  1. Olive Oil: Serves as the base for sautéing the onions and garlic, adding richness and a subtle fruity flavor to the sauce.
  2. Onions: Provide a savory-sweet base and depth of flavor to the sauce as they cook down, enhancing its overall taste.
  3. Garlic: Offers aromatic and pungent notes, infusing the sauce with a distinct and robust flavor.
  4. Italian Seasoning: A blend of herbs like oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary that imparts a classic Italian taste profile to the sauce.
  5. Red Wine: Adds depth, richness, and complexity to the sauce, enhancing its flavor profile with a hint of acidity.
  6. Tomato Paste: Provides concentrated tomato flavor and thickens the sauce, contributing to its richness and depth.
  7. San Marzano Style Tomatoes: Known for their sweetness and low acidity, these tomatoes are prized for sauces, offering a rich, velvety texture and robust flavor.
  8. Diced Tomatoes: Add texture and bulk to the sauce, contributing to its thickness and chunkiness
  9. Granulated Garlic: Boosts the garlic flavor without the texture of fresh garlic, enhancing the overall garlic presence in the sauce.
  10. Sea Salt: Balances and enhances the flavors of the sauce, ensuring it’s well-seasoned.
  11. Fresh Ground Pepper: Adds a touch of heat and a subtle depth of flavor to the sauce, complementing the other seasonings.

These ingredients collectively contribute to the depth, richness, and classic Italian flavors that define a traditional Sunday sauce. Adjustments to these seasonings can be made based on personal taste preferences to achieve the desired flavor profile.

Try this tomato sauce with a few of our favorite dishes!



2 pints of tomato sauce, one laying down and one open

Sunday Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Course: dinner, Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Sauce, Sunday sauce, Tomato sauce
Servings: 3 quarts
Calories: 240kcal
Author: Dina and Bruce Miller


  • Large pot
  • Sharp knife
  • Can opener


Ingredients for Sunday sauce:

  • 2 Tbls olive oil
  • 2 medium onions diced
  • 9 cloves garlic shredded
  • 3 Tbls Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 7 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 - 28 ounce cans San Marzano style tomatoes
  • 2 – 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes

Additional seasoning for tomato sauce once cooked down and blended:

  • 1 Tsp Granulated garlic
  • 1 Tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tbs sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper



  • Heat olive oil in a 7 quart pot. Toss in diced onion and sauté until onions are just turning brown.
    2 Tbls olive oil, 2 medium onions diced
  • Add in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add in the Italian seasoning and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and the red wine. Raise the heat to a simmer and cook until reduced by half.
    9 cloves garlic shredded, 3 Tbls Italian seasoning, 1 cup red wine, 7 ounce can tomato paste
  • Add in the rest of the tomatoes, cover pot and simmer for 2 hours. After 2 hours, use a large spoon to smash and break up any of the large tomatoes. Cover and simmer for 2 more hours.
    2 - 28 ounce cans San Marzano style tomatoes, 2 – 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • Using an immersion blender, pulse any large tomatoe piece until desired consistency is reached. Add in a tablespoon of salt and check seasoning.
    1 Tbs sea salt
  •   Add in additional italian seasoning, granulated garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
    1 Tsp Granulated garlic, 1 Tsp Italian seasoning, 1 Tbs sea salt, Fresh ground pepper


This sauce tastes best when you can cook it “all day”. The longer it cooks, the more intense the flavor. This is the perfect “Sunday Sauce”. Start it in the morning, and allow it to cook all day.


Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 2883mg | Potassium: 930mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1131IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Dina and Bruce at the Golden Gate Bridge

Hi, we are Bruce and Dina Miller. We love to cook every night. We enjoy making a few healthy dishes, and also comfort food. We love crafting cocktails too! Come take a look, we would love to share our recipes with you.


  1. Karen Reply

    5 stars
    This is my go-to recipe for pasta, pizza… and I have added it to my repetoire.

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  7. Anjali Reply

    5 stars
    This sauce was so flavorful and delicious!! We used it as a topping for homemade pizza and it worked so well!

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