<< Back to main

How to Make Tomato Sauce with the Instant Pot

Posted 8/21/2018 4:25am by Jenna Untiedt.

So, I wanted to give canning a try. Growing up, my mom never did much canning because she was always busy helping out in different ways on the farm. It wasn’t until we started the CSA that she began making raspberry jam. My grandma or another family friend would always can tomatoes for our family each year. We would give them the tomatoes and in return, we would receive jars of tomato juice and sauce. It was actually kind of magical that way. Sometimes things would just appear on our doorstep.  

I’m not sure what got into me, but I decided I needed to try my hand at canning tomatoes. As I dug into researching how I was going to go about this, I realized I didn’t have all the necessary items and I definitely did not want to add more accessories to my already crowded kitchen. But, I do have an Instant Pot that I am slightly obsessed with so I decided to see if I could can tomatoes that way. The verdict is: Yes! You can use your Instant Pot to make tomato sauce.  

The whole thing about boiling jars to seal them freaks me out, which is why I went with my Instant Pot process of making tomato sauce. Instead of preserving the sauce in jars, I made 2 cup portions in freezer bags and just stuck them in the freezer for later use. Overall, the process was extremely easy, but a bit time consuming.  


What was my process?  

1.     Set up your kitchen for a day of cooking. You will need: cutting board, knife, Instant Pot, Freezer Bags, measuring cups, spatula, large mixing bowl, immersion blender (or blender), and two sauce pots for the stove.

Ingredients: 1 box canning tomatoes (1/2 bushel), 6 onions, a dash of olive oil for the onions each time you saute them. 

2.     Now, I like to add a bit more flavor to my tomato sauce, so I added two onions to each batch of tomatoes in the Instant Pot.

3.     For 1 box of canning tomatoes (1/2 bushel), I  made three batches in the Instant Pot so 6 onions were used in total. Prep all 6 onions by slicing them and placing the first two in the Instant Pot on Saute.

4.     While the onions are sautéing, you can begin washing and cutting all the tomatoes. Now, cut the tomato in half, cut the little cortex out and then cut in half again. If there are any spots, you can cut those out as well.

5.     Once your tomatoes are all sliced, the onions should be semi soft, they don’t need to be cooked all the way. Pour a few tomatoes on top of the onions, mix together and then continue filling the Instant Pot with your large chunks of tomatoes. I filled mine all the way to the top. Do not add any water. The tomatoes release enough water throughout the cooking process.

6.     Put the top on and set your Instant Pot to Manual at 23 minutes. Now, walk away. Let the Instant Pot do its thing.


7.     When the timer goes off, you can choose to let it release Naturally or Rapid Release. I am impatient, so I chose Rapid Release. Once the top is off, take the Immersion Blender (or transfer to a blender), and blend until smooth.

8.     Once smooth, transfer to a pot on the stove and simmer until you reach your desired thickness. I did each batch for about 2 -2 ½ hours. Stirring occasionally.

9.     Continue with the Instant Pot for the remaining batches and repeat the blending and transfer to stove.

10.  Once the sauce is at your desired thickness, remove from heat and let cool. I let mine cool naturally, but sticking the sauce in the fridge helps speed up the process.

11.  Once cool, portion out into freezer bags and put into the freezer. The 1/2 bushel of tomatoes made (15) 2 cup portions.

12.  There you have it, you preserved tomatoes! Good work.  

While it seems like a lot of work and takes some time, I definitely would do it again. It was not a project that required me to be in the kitchen all day, but one that required me to be home most of the day to check on the simmering pots. For perspective, I started at 8am and was done with all the cooking by Noon. Yes, I left the pots on the stove until about 3pm at an extremely low simmer, but I was busy doing other things throughout the house.  

One thing to note is that I did not season the sauce at all. You can definitely add salt and pepper, garlic, basil, or any other seasoning. I wasn't really sure what I was doing or what I would be doing with the sauce, so I left mine plain and will season when I thaw and use this winter. 

I hope this helps and if you have any questions, definitely let me know! By no means am I an expert, but this seemed to work out pretty well. A great use for my Instant Pot that hasn’t seen a lot of use this summer.