Looking for a taste of summer you can enjoy all year round? You need to try my easy Cherry Tomato Sauce recipe. Simply made in less than 30 minutes with just 7 ingredients (including salt & pepper), this delectable pasta sauce is certain to become a family favorite. 

closeup shot of spaghetti sauce with cherry tomatoes on cooked rotini pasta.

Why You’ll Love This Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce Recipe

  • Quick & Easy – Using cherry tomatoes means less prep work. You’ll have this yummy pasta dinner on the table in less time than it takes to watch an episode of Friends, and you don’t even need to be a Monica to make it. 😉 Plus, you only need 5 fresh ingredients, so your grocery list will be nice and short.
  • Bright & Fresh – You can’t go wrong with tomato basil sauce made with fresh tomatoes! It’s a savory, sweet, juicy masterpiece the whole family can get behind. And since cherry tomatoes are perfect for greenhouse growing, they’re delicious even in the dead of winter
  • Super Versatile – While I typically use it to make burst cherry tomato pasta, this luscious tomato sauce is a culinary pocket knife. Spoon it over fish or chicken, turn it into makeshift bruschetta, blitz it to use as pizza sauce or dipping sauce… the options are endless! Read on for plenty of dinnertime inspo. 
flat lay shot of cherry tomato sauce in a skillet with a wooden spoon.

Ingredients & Substitutions

As promised, this homemade tomato sauce with cherry tomatoes requires just a handful of simple ingredients. Here’s what to grab:

  • Fresh Cherry Tomatoes – If you’re in the thick of tomato season (about late July to September), feel free to swap in grape tomatoes or chopped larger tomatoes, like Roma tomatoes. If not, cherry tomatoes are the way to go! If possible, buy ones that are still attached to the stem — for whatever reason, they just taste better. 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – You can’t make a classic Italian tomato sauce without olive oil! In a pinch, use another heart-healthy pick like avocado oil.
  • Onion – I typically reach for yellow onions here, but you’re welcome to use white or red if you prefer. Shallots also work!
  • Fresh Garlic – Fresh garlic cloves taste the best, but if you’re in a rush there’s no shame in using the jarred minced kind. 
  • Fresh Basil Leaves – This fresh herb is essential for giving your cherry tomato spaghetti sauce that bright, fresh, summery vibe. In a serious pinch, you can use about ⅓ as much dried basil and/or Italian seasoning, but it won’t be quite as delicious. 
  • Salt & Black Pepper – For seasoning, to taste. Use freshly ground black pepper for the best taste.
ingredients needed to make cherry tomato sauce measured out into bowls on a white table.


How To Make Fresh Tomato Sauce With Cherry Tomatoes

This recipe for homemade cherry tomato sauce is as easy as 1-2-3! Here’s how it’s made:

Step 1: Sauté Aromatics. Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, reduce the heat to medium-low then add the onion and garlic with a pinch or two of salt. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onions are beginning to turn translucent and soft.

Step 2: Cook Tomatoes. Add the cherry tomatoes and fresh basil to the pan. Season with salt and black pepper. Combine and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the cherry tomatoes have burst. If any tomatoes remain intact, carefully press down on them with the back of your cooking utensil to help them pop. 

Step 3: Season & Serve. Add additional salt or black pepper if needed. Serve and enjoy! 

Optional Variations & Dietary Adaptations

As much as I love this simple homemade cherry tomato pasta sauce recipe just the way it is written, there are plenty of ways for you to make it your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Puréed – Depending on what you’re making (e.g. pizza), chunky pieces of tomatoes may not be ideal. To make a smooth cherry tomato tomato sauce, simply use an immersion blender or a regular blender to purée the tomatoes until you reach the desired consistency. 
  • Pantry Version – Keeping a few cans of cherry tomatoes in the pantry means this pan-roasted cherry tomato sauce is never far from reach. 
  • Spicy – Want to give your blistered cherry tomato pasta a bit more of an arrabbiata feel? Add a few shakes (or more!) of red pepper flakes to the pan with the garlic and onions. 
using a wooden spoon to toss cherry tomato sauce with cooked rotini pasta.

Expert Tips

Making sauce from cherry tomatoes is pretty straightforward, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Keep it Fresh. Using fresh, high-quality ingredients is essential when a recipe uses so few ingredients. 
  • Don’t Rush. This fresh cherry tomato sauce comes together in a flash, but don’t try to speed up the process more. Giving the onions and garlic time to sauté over medium-low heat helps to coax out their sweetness, resulting in a more flavorful sauce.
  • Spatter Alert! If you need to smash any leftover tomatoes, do so carefully — they have a tendency to splatter and turn your clothes (or face 🫣) into a Jackson Pollock painting.
  • Use Shortcuts. If 5 minutes of prep seems like too much hassle, feel free to use frozen chopped onions and jarred garlic. If you do, you won’t need to do any prep other than washing the tomatoes and tearing the basil leaves.
  • Keep it Cheap. Want to know my favorite basil hack? When you get back from the store, slice off the bottom ¼ – ½ inch of the basil stems, then plop them in a glass of water. If possible, keep at least one small stem with at least one leaf node for long enough that it sprouts a white root or two so you can plant it in potting soil. Voila! You just made yourself a brand-new basil plant. Within a few weeks, it should be big enough for you to start harvesting!
bowl of cherry tomato sauce pasta on a white table.

Serving Suggestions

This delightfully versatile pasta sauce from cherry tomatoes is ​​like summer in a pan, ready to brighten up any meal. Here are a few of my favorite ways to let it shine:

  • Classic Italian Pasta Dinner: There’s nothing quite like twirling up a forkful of al dente spaghetti coated in a rich, vibrant tomato sauce. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and basil leaves, or other fresh herbs, for an unbeatable classic. You can even swap in zucchini noodles for a low carb option!
  • Rustic Pizza: Homemade pizza night is a great way to use this sauce. Top your flatbread pizza with a generous spread of pesto, then spoon on some of this chunky tomato sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella before baking to bubbly perfection. You can also purée the sauce first to use as pizza marinara.
  • Eggs in Purgatory: For a bold start to your day, gently crack eggs into the simmering cherry tomato spaghetti sauce, then cover the pan. Let the eggs poach to perfection and serve with crusty bread (or better yet, garlic bread baguette slices) to soak up all the saucy, yolky goodness.
  • Quick Chicken Parm: Make a batch of my baked chicken cutlets, then serve with a generous ladle of this burst tomato sauce and a shower of cheese for the speediest chicken parmesan around. 
  • Grilled Cheese Dip: Rather than the classic tomato soup combo, use your fresh cherry tomato sauce as a tangy, sweet dip for your melty grilled cheese sandwiches. 
  • Appetizer Allstar: Got friends headed over? Whip up some crescent roll garlic knots and warm some chicken sausage, then serve with a bowl of cherry tomato pasta sauce for dipping. It’ll taste like you slaved for hours, but takes less than an hour to get the whole platter ready. 
closeup shot of a forkful of cherry tomato sauce pasta.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

This spaghetti sauce from cherry tomatoes is so yummy, I doubt you’ll have any leftovers. However, if you decide to make a big batch on your meal prep day, simply:

  • Add any leftovers to a clean, airtight container, then refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • You can also allow the sauce to cool before spooning into freezer-safe zip-top bags. Use the water displacement method to remove as much air as possible, then freeze flat. Once frozen, store the freezer bag like books on a shelf. It should keep well for up to 3 months.
  • To use, allow the easy tomato sauce to defrost overnight in the fridge, then either allow it to come to room temperature (if using in a charcuterie situation) or gently warm it on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.
cherry tomato pasta sauce in a pan with rotini.


What is the difference between cherry tomatoes vs grape tomatoes?

Not all tiny tomatoes are created equal. Cherry tomatoes are like little bursts of sunshine. They’re round, vibrant, and slightly sweet with a hint of acidity that pops in your mouth. The skin is thin and the inside is juicy as all get-out, which makes them perfect for turning into a saucy sensation. 
Grape tomatoes, on the other hand, are firmer, less juicy, less acidic, and more sweet. They’re great for snacking straight, adding to salads, roasting, or using in recipes where you’d like them to hold their shape. 

What can I do with a lot of cherry tomatoes?

Why not make this flavorful tomato sauce for pasta, pizza, bruschetta, and more? You’ll be glad you did. 

Can you use cherry tomatoes for pasta sauce? Do cherry tomatoes make good sauce?

Yes, and an enthusiastic heck yes! This spaghetti sauce with cherry tomatoes is one of my favorite 30-minute dinners. 

How do you thicken cherry tomato pasta sauce?

You can let the sauce continue to simmer until it gets jammier, or, if you’re making it for pasta dishes, save some of the starchy pasta water and add a few tablespoons as needed to help it cling to the noodles. 

Can you freeze cherry tomato spaghetti sauce?

You sure can! Hop back up to my “storage & reheating” instructions for greater detail on how. 

Do you need to peel cherry tomatoes to make pasta sauce with them?


white bowl filled with rotini pasta tossed in cherry tomato pasta sauce and garnished with basil chiffonade.

Related Recipes

More Pasta Sauce Recipes

More Fresh Tomato Recipes

Connect With Me!

If you make this pan roasted tomato sauce recipe or any of my other recipes, I would absolutely love to know! Tag me @wellnessbykay on Instagram so I can see and share your recreations.

closeup shot of pasta tossed with fresh cherry tomato tomato pasta sauce in a white bowl with a silver fork.

Love this recipe? Leave a comment and a rating! I love to see and it helps me continue to develop delicious recipes for this blog.

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bowl of cherry tomato sauce pasta on a white table.

Cherry Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Kayla Berman
  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian


Looking for a taste of summer you can enjoy all year round? You need to try my easy Cherry Tomato Sauce recipe. Simply made in less than 30 minutes with just 7 ingredients (including salt & pepper), this delectable pasta sauce is certain to become a family favorite. 


  • 24 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 fresh garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • Salt 
  • Black pepper


  1. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to a large pan or skillet on the stove over medium low heat. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  2. Next add the cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. Season with salt and black pepper. Combine and simmer for 10-15 minutes until the cherry tomatoes have bursted. If any tomatoes remain intact, you can carefully press down on them with the back of your cooking utensil.
  3. Add additional salt or black pepper if needed. Serve and enjoy!

Keywords: Cherry Tomato Sauce, Tomato Sauce with Cherry Tomatoes, Spaghetti Sauce with Cherry Tomatoes, Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce, Cherry Tomato Spaghetti Sauce