San Marzano Tomato Recipes

San Marzano tomatoes are well-known for their good flavor and I’m sharing a few of our favorite San Marzano tomato recipes.

The tomatoes are grown and canned in the Campania region of Southern Italy.

So…what’s the big deal about these tomatoes anyway? Let’s chat a little about these special tomatoes and favorite ways to prepare delicious meals using canned San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes.

San Marzano tomatoes and italian seasoning in a skillet with the veggies.

This post is part of the I ❤️ San Marzano DOP campaign. Tomatoes were provided courtesy of the Consorzio di Tutela del Pomodoro San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP and ANICAV. As always, all opinions are my own.

San Marzano Tomato Recipes

Homemade recipes often rely on canned ingredients unless fresh produce is in season. One of the most popular canned tomatoes are San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes. So, what makes them so special?

They are high in flavor, low in acidity and have a few characteristics that make them special enough to be certified as “protected designation of origin” by the European Union.

Since testing them out for myself, I’ve used them in many of our favorite homemade tomato sauce recipes and the really do elevate the dish. I love to use these tomatoes in our favorite San Marzano sauce, authentic chicken cacciatore, and meatball marinara sauce.

They also make excellent tomato sauce recipe over eggplant parmigiano, lasagna, homemade pizza, or in stews & soups!

San Marzano tomatoes grown on the vine.

San Marzano Tomatoes

If you’ve never heard of these tomatoes before, allow me to introduce you to the San Marzano tomato. This tomato is incredibly special and only grown in a particular region of Italy. It is not the same as the San Marzano style tomatoes we find in the grocery stores or the seeds we can grow in our home gardens.

I thought they were the same, but I was wrong! True San Marzano tomatoes are grown in the area of Agro Sarnese-Nocerino, in the province of Salerno near Naples. The Mediterranean climate and volcanic soil, rich in potassium and phosphorus, make this territory the ideal place for them to grow and thrive.


Aside from growing in this specific region of Italy, they are harvested completely by hand from July to September and immediately canned at the height of their ripeness and peak of flavor and texture to lock in its freshness.

The San Marzano tomato is known as the King of tomatoes or the the “Crown Jewel” of European canned tomatoes! And rightfully so, these canned tomatoes are superb!

They are known and loved for their deliciously sweet flavor and low acidity!

San Marzano tomatoes in a large skillet with other ingredients in small bowls.
bolognese sauce combined with pasta noodles in a white bowl.
holding a can of the San Marzano tomatoes above the dutch oven of tomatoes.
When looking for these tomatoes in the store, be sure to look for “San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP” on the label.
Note: the above labels are for promotional purposes only and are not the the labels available in stores.

If you’re like me, quality ingredients are important to you. These canned tomatoes are amazing quality and you should give them a comparison test in your recipes. Using them in place of the standard canned tomatoes in my recipes, has truly elevated the dishes! They have the best fresh taste, are slightly sweet and are just bursting with flavor! Just give it a test yourself and notice the difference in quality and taste!


Where to find San Marzano D.O.P. Tomatoes

There are some important things to know when you’re shopping for authentic San Marzano D.O.P. tomatoes at the grocery store. Some of your local shops will carry them, but others will not. I live rurally and we don’t have them available in our local stores. So, I have to order them online. Trust me, it’s worth it!

Also, if you have an Italian market nearby, they will also carry them!

When shopping for them, you want to look for “San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP” on the label. What does this mean?  D.O.P. = Denominazione d’ Origine Protetta (“protected designation of origin”). DOP certification means that a tomato is the San Marzano variety. But not all San Marzano tomatoes are DOP certified. So, this is why it’s important to read the labels when searching for these tomatoes.

If you need to order online, you can find them here:


blue dutch oven pot with San Marzano tomatoes and can of tomatoes on the side.

When looking for these tomatoes in the store, be sure to look for “San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP” on the label.

Note: the above labels are for promotional purposes only and are not the the labels available in stores.


More San Marzano tomato sauce recipes

Who knew a can of tomatoes could spur such creativity? From a simple pasta sauce to a lush chicken cacciatore, San Marzano tomatoes add magic to these recipes.

Here’s a few of our favorite recipes for using canned San Marzano tomatoes — we know you’ll love them too!

I love to make a big batch of this San Marzano tomato sauce for storing in the freezer for a quick dinner later. They are great over our favorite pasta noodles or for a quick sub recipe.

This sauce is perfect for freezing and super easy to defrost. Follow the instructions in that recipe, and add to freezer-friendly ziplock bag or other freezer safe airtight container for storage up to 4 months.

Thaw in the refrigerator, reheating the sauce in a saucepan or large pot. Stir until warmed through over medium heat.

Even more delicious tomato recipes you’ll love!

Tomato, Basil, Ricotta Pizza
This quick and easy pizza recipe uses tomatoes and herbs from the garden and creaminess from ricotta cheese. It's the perfect recipe for your next pizza night!
GET THE RECIPE
Creamy Pomodoro Sauce Recipe
This creamy and delicious pomodoro sauce is easy to make with a few simple and flavorful ingredients. Have dinner on the table in about 20 minutes!
GET THE RECIPE
Easy Meatball Marinara Recipe
Mix up this easy meatball marinara recipe for a delicious dinner that the entire family will love. Serve with spaghetti and a green salad for a complete meal.
GET THE RECIPE

FAQ (frequently asked questions)

What can San Marzano tomatoes be used for?

San Marzano tomatoes are excellent for making a good quality tomato sauce. But don’t just stop there! They are also excellent for use in pasta, pizzas, lasagnas, soups, and other ragu sauces.

What is so special about San Marzano tomatoes?

Real San Marzano tomatoes are grown in the area of Agro Sarnese-Nocerino, in the province of Salerno. The Mediterranean climate and volcanic soil, rich in potassium and phosphorus, make this territory the ideal place for them to grow and thrive. 

Aside from growing in this specific region of Italy, they are harvested completely by hand from July to September and immediately canned at the height of their ripeness and peak of flavor and texture to lock in its freshness.

Give them a try and see why they are simply the best and known as the “Crown Jewel” of European canned tomatoes!

How do I know if my San Marzano tomatoes are real?

When shopping for them, you want to look for “San Marzano dell’Agro Sarnese-Nocerino DOP” on the label. What does this mean?  D.O.P. = Denominazione d’ Origine Protetta (“protected designation of origin”). DOP certification means that a tomato is the San Marzano variety. But not all San Marzano tomatoes are DOP certified. So, this is why it’s important to read the labels when searching for these tomatoes.

Are Roma tomatoes the same as San Marzano?

While they kinda look alike, they are actually very different. The San Marzano is the gold standard for creating delicious tomato recipes & sauces. San Marzano tomatoes are thinner and more pointed than the Roma tomato. They have fewer seeds, and the taste is sweeter and less acidic. They are renowned for their rich flavor and texture.

These “crown jewel” tomatoes are grown in the area of Agro Sarnese-Nocerino, in the province of Salerno. The Mediterranean climate and volcanic soil, rich in potassium and phosphorus, make this territory the ideal place for them to grow and thrive. Romas can be grown here. You may even have found a variety of seeds called San Marzano variety, these are not the same as true San Marzano tomatoes which are only grown in this specific region of Italy.

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