I'm quite new to cooking. I want to make spaghetti and all the recipes I've found for spaghetti sauce so far have required multiple types of canned tomatoes. However, I only have fresh tomatoes, nothing canned. I do have the basic spices (garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, etc), just no canned tomatoes.

Should I just finely chop my fresh tomatoes and put them in a pan with the spices? Should I add water or some kind of liquid?

  • 2
    You can also search for "spaghetti sauce fresh tomatoes" and find a ton of recipes which have been optimized for fresh tomatoes.
    – rumtscho
    Aug 12, 2020 at 7:59
  • You could also just try it... it's fun experimenting in the kitchen
    – Luciano
    Aug 12, 2020 at 9:35
  • Also consider the quality of fresh tomatoes you are using. Grocery store tomatoes in the US are typically awful. My off-the-vine tomatoes from my backyard are as delicious as any you can find but I can't find them in the middle of winter.
    – Rob
    Aug 12, 2020 at 11:19

2 Answers 2


Recipes that call for canned tomatoes usually do so because these are picked and preserved when at peak ripeness, as well as saving you the trouble of peeling. For whole or chopped canned tomatoes, you can substitute fresh tomatoes (get the ripest ones you can) that you'll have to peel yourself. For other canned tomato products (like passata or paste), you will need to process the fresh tomatoes to get the same result.

Note that if the recipe calls for canned tomatoes and a pinch of sugar, you might want to omit or dial back the sugar. Recipes often include sugar to counteract the higher acidity of some canned tomatoes.


Yep, fresh tomatoes will work fine. You'll likely need to cook them longer than you would canned tomatoes, and you may need to use more. If you like, you can skin them first: slice a wide, shallow "X" on the bottom of each one and drop them into a pot of water at a rolling boil. After a minute or two, the skins will have peeled back at the X and can be peeled off. (Discard the water.) Then chop them. (There's no need to finely chop them: they'll break down during the long cooking.)

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