Pressure Cooker Tomato Sauce

Pressure Cooker Tomato Sauce

Sharing a recipe for tomato sauce other than my mother’s is risky business.  Blasphemy really.  But when I saw this Pressure Cooker Tomato Sauce in Modernist Cuisine at Home, I was intrigued.  In this recipe, onion, carrot, garlic and tomato are cooked under pressure until the flavors melt together, forming a vibrant marinara sauce.  Finished with a drizzle of rich extra virgin olive oil and a handful of fresh herbs, this sauce is bright, well-balanced and full of flavor.  You can use this pressure cooked sauce in any way you would use a regular tomato sauce: chicken, pizza and pasta to name just a few.  Personally, I love to tear off chunks of crusty bread, and dip into a bowl of hot tomato sauce.  Now you may be wondering, which sauce is better?  This sauce or my other Homemade Tomato Sauce?  My answer:  neither!  Each sauce has a unique, delicious flavor.  I would be more inclined to make this Pressure Cooker Tomato Sauce during the week (because of the shorter cooking time), and my Homemade Tomato Sauce on Sunday afternoon.  Well that’s it!  I’m just hoping the Italian side of my family will forgive me 😉  Continue reading for the recipe.

Onions and Carrots Chopped Onions and Carrots

Pressure Cooker Tomato Sauce
Adapted from Modernist Cuisine at Home.
Recipe type: Sauce
Serves: 4 cups
  • 2 cups large dice yellow onion
  • 1 cups large dice carrot
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 28 oz. cans crushed tomato (preferably organic or San Marzano)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly chopped basil and Italian flat-leaf parsley
  1. Add onion, carrot and garlic to a food processor, and pulse until minced. Don't go overboard here. You don't want to process it into a watery puree.
  2. Warm olive oil in the base of a pressure cooker over medium heat, then add the minced onion mixture and a pinch of kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Add the crushed tomatoes, stirring to combine. Secure the lid on the pressure cooker, then cook the vegetables at a gauge of pressure of 1 bar / 15 psi for 45 minutes.
  3. When using a pressure cooker, you want to start timing when full pressure has been reached. After you put the lid on, continue cooking the mixture over medium heat. Once the indicator pops up, start timing the 45 minutes, and continue cooking over medium flame for 5 minutes. Drop the heat to medium-low and finish cooking at the lower temp. If the indicator goes down at any time during the 45 minutes (meaning the cooker is no longer at full pressure), you'll need to increase the heat until the indicator pops up again. You'll really have to pay attention the first time you do this to get a good feel for what heat level will maintain steady pressure. It will vary based on your range. But once you figure it out, you can easily walk away while the sauce cooks.
  4. Depressurize the cooker by letting it cool (slow method) or running lukewarm water over the rim (fast method), and remove the lid. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a handful of chopped basil and parsley, stirring to combine. Season to taste with additional kosher salt.

Related recipes and articles:

What to Look for in a Pressure Cooker

Mini Cannelloni

Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan

Why Pressure Cookers Are Awesome

Kimchi and Bacon Pizza


    • Brandon Matzek says

      I’ve never cooked beans in a pressure cooker; however, I heard it’s definitely doable. Typically with great results! You can make this sauce in a slow cooker too, but the taste will be different.

  1. says

    You can try it in the slow cooker but something kind of magical happens in the pressure cooker with food and flavors – they get more intense while the slow cooker seems to muddle the flavors. You can always try it and see what happens.

    Regarding the pressure valve dropping and turning the heat back to high, the only issue is that sometimes the sugars in tomatoes settle to the bottom and there might be a chance of scorching on the bottom of the cooker. Once you know your pressure cooker you will know how to maintain the pressure on your stove.

    Regarding cooking beans and the pressure cooker – legumes and the pressure cooker are a perfect match. Beans cook quickly and taste great. Imagine lentil soup from scratch in less than 20 minutes and the same for soaked black beans. It’s amazing. I have a pressure cooking cookbook and have been teaching people how to use the pressure cooker for almost 18 years.

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Hi Jill, thanks for the information. The pressure cooker does a good job at sealing in the aromatics which intensifies flavor.

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Hi Greg, a pressure cooker is different than a slow cooker. The slow cooker uses gentle heat to braise foods. Great for soups, stews, and tough cuts of meat. The pressure cooker creates a high pressure moist environment that cooks food quickly. This is just a very basic description. I’m still learning myself :)

  2. says

    What a wonderful idea. The sauce looks great, and I am always interested in new methods of preparation. I don’t have a pressure cooker, but I keep hearing about them, and this post has pushed me closer to purchasing one!

  3. says

    This looks just wonderful. Pressure cooker is one of the rare kitchen furnishings I have yet to explore. They make me a bit nervous but I have a collection of recipes I’m dying to try should I ever break down and get one. Now, I have one more. Beautiful.

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Thanks Trevor! Apparently new pressure cookers are completely safe. They don’t explode like the old ones.

  4. says

    This looks so flavorful and delicious! I wonder if I could make it using fresh, ripe tomatoes from our yard instead of the canned ones…because I’ve ran out of ideas to use them up and I really want to try this wonderful recipe 😉

    • Brandon Matzek says

      Thanks Consuelo! You can use fresh tomatoes. Just make sure you peel and deseed them first. Enjoy!

  5. Lucy says

    Thanks for this recipe. My family & I are currently living in Peru, to be exact the Andes mountains in Peru, due to high altitude (over 2700meters) cooking beans, meats or tomatoe sauce takes a looong while, so we just bought a pressure cooker. Best Idea ever!!!

  6. Iris says

    I just made this sauce in my pressure cooker, and it was delicious. I did make some changes in adding about 4 teaspoons of sugar to balance out the acidity.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  7. says

    Wow, that sauce looks great. I’ll be sure to add the 4 teaspoon of sugar as Iris suggested. I would love to dip some mozzarella sticks in that!

  8. says

    I made this a few weeks back and i can promise you that its the real deal. The flavor is unreal. I actually added a little chinese 5 spice to mine and it worked out well.


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