Tomato Passata Recipe | How to Make Italian Tomato passata

Here is how to make Italian tomato passata recipe and how should you use it.

tomato passata recipeTraditionally in Italy passata is made right at the end of summer, when there’s a glut of ripe, juicy tomatoes. But fortunately red ripe tomatoes can be found throughout the year. It is enough to know how to choose the right quality. Today we’ll try to show you a way to enjoy the taste of ripe tomatoes in every season and we’ll do it making the classic tomato passata.

Tomato passata is one of the most useful basic recipe in Italian cuisine. It is cooked tomato, without seeds or skins, which is bottled and preserved to be used in sauce dishes throughout the year. It can not be eaten directly from the bottle as it requires cooking.

What do you use Passata for?

You can use it to make pizza, or just add it in many pasta sauces, such as sugo all’amatriciana, penne alla vodka, lasagna, spaghetti with tomato sauce or fresh egg noodles with bolognese sauce (Ragù alla Bolognese). There are many Italian recipes that require the use of the tomato passata recipe.

Best Tomato Variety for Passata

In order to make a delicious tomato passata recipe it would be better using  “San Marzano” tomatoes. If you can’t find them, you can use other type of tomatoes, such as cherry tomatoes, pizzutello, datterino or cluster tomatoes, as long as they are ripe red. If tomatoes are not ripe enough, let them ripen in the sun a couple of afternoons.

What is a substitute for tomato passata?

There is no substitute for tomato passata. Why, you say? Because tomato passata is a basic recipe made only with tomatoes and nothing else. You can find tomatoes everywhere and it’s very easy to make. So why substitute it when you can easily make it by yourself or buy it already made?

But pay attention: if you add other ingredients such as onion, garlic, oil, you are making a tomato sauce, that is a different recipe.

READ: Tomato Passata, Tomato Sauce and Tomato Puree. Do you really know the difference?


Passata is an Italian word that comes from the Italian verb passare, in English go through. This is because the tomato passata is obtained through a mechanical process whereby tomatoes go through the blades and the holes of the machine used to make passata.

Tomato Passata Recipe

Prep Time: 20 Min
Cook Time: 20 Min
Yelds: 10


  • 2 Kg (4lbs 4oz) very ripe red tomatoes


tomato passata 1

Step 1) – For our tomato passata recipe we’ve chosen very red and ripe San Marzano tomatoesCheck the tomatoes one by one, removing rotten, stained or bruised ones. Then wash them very well under running water. Finally put them in a bowl and start cutting in half.

tomato passata 2

Step 2) – With a knife, remove the seeds and all the internal part of the tomato, as to make small tomato boats. This inner part is very watery, therefore it would make the tomato passata too liquid. Now place the tomatoes in a rather large pot.
tomato passata 4

Step 3) – Let them cook over low heat, covering the pot with a lid and stirring from time to time, until they are smashed. Now take your tomato strainer machine (if you don’t have one check it here some options) and, with a ladle, begin to place the cooked tomatoes in the special slot.

tomato passata 6

Step 4) – As you can see on the left, the skins of the tomatoes and the residual seeds will come out, which will be discarded, lower down, instead, the tomato passata will come out, ready to be used. If the passata should still be too liquid, pour it with a small strainer, until you get the consistency you want.

tomato passata 15

Step 5) – Don’t you have a tomato strainer machine? Don’t worry, the classic food mill will be fine. It’ll only take a little more time to make a delicious tomato passata than with a tomato strainer machine, but the result is the same. So don’t worry, here you can find some good choices of food mills.

How to preserve tomato passata

tomato passata 7

Step 1) – Take a rather large pot, fill it with cold water, then put a kitchen towel on the bottom. Get hold of some glass jars with vacuum seal button lids. Immerse them in the cold water. Turn on the heat and bring the water to a boil. This way you’ll sterilize the glass jars.

tomato passata 8

Step 2) – After about 10 minutes from the boiling, remove them and put them to cool on a kitchen towel.

tomato passata 9

Step 3) – Now, with the help of a funnel, start filling the jars with the tomato passata, but not to the brim. For 2 kg/4lb of tomatoes you will have from 500ml to 700ml of tomato passata, based on its consistency.

tomato passata 10

Step 4) – Close the jars then bring a huge pot. At the bottom of the pot, put a clean cloth. Lean the jars on the cloth and try to wrap it around the jars (to not crash the jars during the boiling process). Fill the pot with water. Make sure to completely cover the jars. Use a lid if necessary. Calculate 40 minutes from the moment of boiling. After this time, turn off the heat and let the jars cool in the water. Remove the jars from the pot only when the water is cool. 
It’s possible to keep the jars of tomato passata in a cool dry place for one year.

How to Make Passata with Tinned Tomatoes

If you want to make tomato passata for your recipes but you don’t have fresh tomatoes, you can use canned peeled tomatoes. Our recommendation is that they are of excellent quality, possibly San Marzano quality, without preservatives or additives. So read the label on the box carefully. Then proceed following the recipe from step 4/5. In any case, if it is a single box of peeled tomatoes, it is better to use a food mill.

Tomato Passata Recipe Ingredients Box

Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Yields: 10
  • 2 Kg (4lbs 4oz) very ripe red tomatoes


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22 Replies to "Tomato Passata Recipe | How to Make Italian Tomato passata"

  • comment-avatar
    Mr Paul Freeman September 11, 2020 (9:24 pm)

    If you are putting it in sterilized jars, then boiling the jars until the contents are sufficiently hot to be rendered sterile, why would you not just bring the sieved mixture in the pan gently to a boil and jar it with screw sealed lids like you would jam?
    A lot less fuss!

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