How to Make Fermented Tomato Sauce

Fermented tomato sauce is a sneaky-good way to get your kids to eat fermented foods, and an awesome way to incorporate more beneficial bacteria into your life. If your children are anything like mine, they love anything having to do with tomato sauce and noodles, and they will happily dig into this lacto-fermented tomato sauce any day of the week.

I like to serve this tomato sauce at room temperature, over hot noodles for adults, or lukewarm noodles for young children. It’s great for dinner or for a quick and easy after-school snack. You can also use it on top of bread, adding some homemade Parmesan as a garnish, or in an eggplant Parmesan.

Tips for Making Fermented Tomato Sauce

If you’re going to eat lacto-fermented tomato sauce, please note: Don’t heat up the tomato sauce, otherwise you run the risk of killing off all the good bacteria.

Also, make sure to use fresh tomatoes, not those that are canned or stewed in any way. The heating process to properly can those tomatoes killed off all of the lactobacilli on the vegetables, and you’ll need some to kick-start your fermentation.

Use kitchen shears to cut fresh herbs and garlic. You can get garlic slices super thin this way.

Although you can use dry herbs in a pinch, I really only recommend fresh herbs. They will have some lactobacillus on them, too, helping the ferment get going, but you’ll also get the added benefit of the natural essential oils in the herbs, which will be added to your tomato sauce.

A Fermented Tomato Sauce Recipe

Yield: 2 quarts

• 5 lbs fresh tomatoes (I prefer classic Roma tomatoes.)
• 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
• 1 tbsp fresh oregano (or to taste)
• 3 tablespoons fresh basil (or to taste)
• 1 clove garlic, sliced as thin as possible
• 1 tablespoon olive oil for taste
• Lacto-fermenting starter (optional)

• Your Fermentools fermentation kit
• Mason jar


1. Roughly chop your tomatoes into ½” pieces, and combine with chopped garlic, fresh herbs, salt, and starter (if you plan to use one.) Make sure your garlic is as thin as possible. Transfer to your mason jar and stir the mixture a little to more evenly distribute the starter.

2. Once you have all the ingredients added, pack them down under the liquid line. We will only ferment the tomato sauce for 24 hours. Because tomatoes are a little sugary, fermenting for too long will cause the mixture to turn into alcohol.

3. Place the weight, lid, and airlock filled half with water and transfer to a cool, dark place.

4. Once your tomato mixture is fermented, if you want, use a food mill or fine mesh colander to remove skins and seeds. If some of the herbs and garlic don’t make it through the sieve, don’t worry, their flavors and scents should have permeated the tomatoes, and you’ll be left with a yummy, fragrant sauce.

5. After milling, mix in a tablespoon of olive oil,  making sure to only add the olive oil after you ferment the tomatoes.

Refrigerate when not in use, or serve at room temperature over hot spaghetti. Enjoy!


Fermentools’ fermentation lids for Mason jars are made in North America of surgical stainless steel to last a lifetime. Add to them our affordable glass fermentation weights, gasket, and airlock and you have the perfect kit for all your fermenting needs. Visit our store today!


Maat van Uitert is a professional writer and homesteader based in the South. Maat is a fermenting nut who specializes in making cheeses, yogurts, probiotic sauces and condiments to spice up and create flavorful meals. You can read more about Maat and her homestead at FrugalChicken, where Maat helps everyday people achieve independence by raising chickens, learning traditional skills, and becoming more self-sufficient. You can also catch up with her on her weekly podcast, What The Cluck?!, available on iTunes now.

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