Spanish Tomato Sauce (Sofrito Sauce) Recipe

Spanish Sofrito Sauce Recipe
Delicious Spanish sofrito sauce. Angelique Vaccaro / EyeEm via Getty Images
  • 25 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 3-4 cups (serves 24 - 32)
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Sofrito is a basic tomato sauce that is made all over Spain. Tomatoes, onions, garlic, green peppers and olive oil are sautéed in a frying pan. This mellows the acidity of the tomatoes and blends with the flavors of the onion, pepper, and garlic. It can be eaten with rice or eggs, but often it is used as an ingredient in other dishes, such as the filling for empanadas. Prepare a double recipe, allow to cool, then divide it into plastic freezer bags and freeze.

As with all traditional recipes, there are hundreds of different versions of sofrito sauce. The amount of garlic, pepper and spices can be adjusted according to the chef's taste.

The recipe below is from my mother, who is from Avila, Spain.

What You'll Need

  • 1 28 to 29-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (or 5-6 large ripe tomatoes, diced)
  • 1 long green pepper (Anaheim or other sweet pepper, not “hot”)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin Spanish olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish sweet paprika

How to Make It

Start by finely chopping the onion and garlic. Chop the pepper into 1/4" (or smaller) pieces.

Heat a large frying pan with a heavy bottom over medium heat. Pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Put the onions into the pan and sauté them until they are transparent, reducing the heat if necessary so as not to burn them. Add the green pepper and continue to cook for 5 minutes, adding olive oil if necessary.

Be sure to stir often, so that the vegetables do not burn.

Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1 minute more. Pour the crushed tomatoes and paprika into the pan and mix well. Continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes, reducing the liquid released from the tomatoes. 


If using as an ingredient in another recipe, allow the sofrito sauce to cool for a few minutes before using. If serving as a sauce with fried eggs or rice, serve warm. Because tomato sauce mellows and becomes sweeter overnight, many Spanish cooks like to make a double recipe and use it throughout the week. It will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.

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