Basic Tomato Sauce in an Instant Pot® – Instantly Delicious

UPDATED: After some reader feedback and more recipe testing, I reduced the amount of water in this recipe from 2 cups to 1 cup. You can simmer the sauce further to thicken to your taste. So many of our dinners start with a good tomato sauce. Sometimes (a lot of the time), I open a jar. I am busy and like lots of families, I need to get dinner on the table quickly. Nothing compares to the ease of jarred sauce, but this ​homemade pasta sauce recipe ​is pretty darn close and tastes WAY better. The Instant Pot® does a great job of giving it that long-simmered flavor in a fraction of the time.

Since one of my kiddos is a vegetarian, I typically double the sauce and save half for his frequent pasta dinners. I might use the other half as a base for Bolognese, meatballs, or if I am super smart, I freeze it for those nights when I would otherwise open a jar.
Basic Homemade Pasta Sauce
​Makes 6 cups

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
​1/2 cup onion, chopped
​2 cloves garlic, minced
​1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
​1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
​1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
​1/2 teaspoon pepper
​1 cup water​


​1. Heat olive oil in the Instant Pot® pressure cooker using the saute function.  Add chopped onion and saute for about 3 minutes, or until soft.  Add the garlic and tomato paste.  Stir until the tomato paste starts to turn orange. Deglaze with red wine.

2. Add the tomatoes, spices, seasoning, and water.  Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes.

​3. Set Instant Pot® to manual – high pressure, adjusting the time to 8 minutes.  Make sure the valve is set to sealing.  When finished, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick pressure release by setting the valve to venting. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.  Sauce can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

​*For a thicker sauce, set Instant Pot to saute after you release the pressure and simmer for 10-12 minutes.

8/31/2016 07:31:03 pm

This came out awfully thin , almost watery. Why so much water ? New to The Instant Pot, so lesson learned. Will not use this recipe again.


9/6/2016 11:39:16 pm

Considering Jill’s comment, would this work with just one cup of water in a 6-quart IP? Or is it best to add two cups and then letting the sauce cook down a bit?


9/7/2016 10:06:21 am

I bet it would work with either method. With regards to the above comment, I plan to make this again with possible adjustments to the recipe.


11/4/2016 11:07:53 am

One cup of water should be fine, if even that much. The tomatoes are full of water and the wine is additional liquid. I would actually do this with 3/4 cup water.


Candace Green
10/10/2016 06:20:55 pm

A watery sauce may have been caused by the types of tomatoes used. Simmer longer to thicken, or add more tomato paste. Some cut the seed areas out and then let the tomatoes sit in a colander a bit, if they are using a non-paste type tomato. The recipe is not at fault, you just need to adjust it to the type of tomatoes you are using.


10/12/2016 02:15:14 pm

Great insight, Candace. Thank you.


2/19/2017 01:40:07 pm

Love this recipe. All the ingredient measures are the perfect amounts for me. I added a little red pepper flake. Mine came out watery too, but I added 1T of paste and simmered until it was thicker. This will be my go-to recipe now for tomato sauce!


2/20/2017 10:28:14 pm

So glad you liked the recipe.


9/29/2017 05:22:50 pm

I didn’t have Roma tomatoes which would be best but am trying this anyway because it can always be cooked down. Am I able too pressure can this?


10/1/2017 07:45:31 pm

Hi Val,

Hope the sauce turned out well for you. I have zero knowledge of pressure canning, so I can’t help. Good luck.


Regina Giniotis
12/10/2017 06:17:55 pm

I simmered the sauce for an extra 10 min. and added extra tomato paste…I actually made the sauce with frozen cooked turkey meat balls and it turned out great…


12/11/2017 11:57:22 am

Great. So glad to hear.


9/10/2018 03:38:41 pm

Just tried this came out very good. I also cooked it with keto meatballs and Italian sausage. Used an 9qt IP. Made a full pot’s worth enough to freeze for a few months. Thank you.


10/15/2018 09:43:04 pm

Great to hear! Thank you.


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