Instant Pot Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: Sauce to cover 1 pound of pasta


Instant Pot Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce. The famous sauce from Marcella’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, adapted to work in a pressure cooker.



  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes (or plum tomatoes), crushed by hand, with juices
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (If using Italian tomatoes – American canned tomatoes have extra sodium and don’t need more)


  1. Melt the butter, crush the tomatoes, everything in the pot: Set the Instant Pot for Sauté mode (medium heat in a stovetop PC) and add the butter to the pot, and then the onion halves, cut side down. When the butter stops foaming, pour in the hand-crushed tomatoes. (Sprinkle with the fine sea salt if they are Italian canned tomatoes, otherwise, hold the salt.)
  2. Pressure cook for 30 minutes with a natural pressure release: Pressure cook on high pressure for 30 minutes in an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode), or for 24 minutes in a stovetop pressure cooker. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes.
  3. Discard the onion and serve: Discard the onion, give the sauce a vigorous stir to break up the tomatoes, and serve.


  • This recipe makes enough sauce to cover a pound of pasta
  • Chunky vs. smooth sauce: This is a chunky sauce – hand-crushing the tomatoes only goes so far. If you want a smooth sauce, use a stick blender to puree the tomatoes in the pot after cooking.
  • Extras: The beauty of this sauce is in its simplicity. And…I can’t help myself. I mess with it. Marcella tosses everything in the pot; I melt the butter and brown the onions a little before adding the tomatoes. I will add a teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning or dried basil, or maybe mince fresh basil and sprinkle it over the sauce right before serving; Marcella uses her sauce straight up.


  • Category: Weeknight Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Instant Pot Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce, Pressure Cooker Marcella Hazan Tomato Sauce