The Best Tomatoes For Cooking Sauces


Every gardener knows that nothing beats the taste of biting into a freshly grown tomato from your garden. Selecting tomatoes for sandwiches and salads, however, is different than those used for cooking. Tomatoes for sauces generally are meatier and denser than those eaten fresh.

When selecting the best tomatoes for cooking sauces, the experts at the Italian Home Cooking Blog suggest planting the following varieties.

Super Italian Paste

This Italian heirloom is reddish-orange in color and has piquant and firm flesh along with a lot of flavor. Plants produce lots of elongated six-inch long fruit that hold well after ripening.

Amish Paste

Originating in the Pennsylvania Amish country, this tomato is also good for eating fresh. It is a large, meaty, bright red tomato that many cooks believe is the ultimate paste tomato.


One of the most popular varieties, Roma tomatoes have few seeds in a very meaty interior. It has high levels of sugar, acids and pectin. Roma packs an incredible taste that intensifies when it cooks.

Viva Italia

These vigorous plants yield 3 oz. fruits that are ideal for soups and homemade ketchup.

San Marzano

This heirloom tomato features long, blocky fruit that matures in 80 days. They contain a small seed cavity that can be easily scooped out, leaving behind savory meat that is ideal for making sauces and for canning.

Big Mama

Plum-shaped and extremely meaty, Big Mama is an enormous tomato that grows as large as five inches long and three inches wide. This variety is easy to peel and core and is geared toward thick, homemade sauces.

Little Mama

Little Mama produces huge clusters of small Roma-like fruit on vigorous vines. The firm, rich flesh cooks into a dense sauce, while the raspberry-red skin is thin and perfect, guaranteeing that every dish looks as good as it tastes.

Tangerine Mama

With a gorgeous orange color that stays that way even during cooking, Tangerine Mama has fruit with rich, tangy flavor that adds zest to any sauce.


If you do not growing your own tomatoes, always choose ones at the store that are firm and not overripe for the best results.

For more advice and delicious cooking tips, visit us often at the Italian Home Kitchen Blog.


13 thoughts on “The Best Tomatoes For Cooking Sauces

  1. I don’t think I’ve met a tomato I didn’t like. I wish I could grow my own, but I live in Colorado and it’s really rough to grow a garden here. By the time it starts to warm up after winter, even if you start a garden indoors, we tend to get a lot of hail early in the summer and unless you have a greenhouse, the hail will destroy the garden. One day I need to get a greenhouse so that I can have a glorious garden!

  2. Very helpful, and so timely! Do you have any sauce recipes? Ideally, a crockpot/slow cooker recipe, but stovetop would work. I’d only be making about a bushel-full… probably plums.

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