Classic sofrito

Classic Sofrito

It's easy to make a classic sofrito-style sauce full of healthy polyphenols from olive oil and vegetables.

Sofrito is a basic tomato sauce that is made all over Spain. It's easy to put together—simply sauté tomatoes, onions, garlic, and green peppers in olive oil in a frying pan. The gentle cooking mellows the acidity of the tomatoes and creates a perfect blend of flavor that is versatile and adaptable.

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 2


  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 green capsicum or long green pepper Anaheim or other sweet pepper, not “hot”
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 400g can crushed tomatoes (or 5 to 6 large ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika preferably sweet Spanish pimentón


  1. Finely chop the onion and garlic.

  2. Cut the capsicum into 1/4-inch (or smaller) pieces.

  3. Heat a large frying pan with a heavy bottom over medium heat. Pour in enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

  4. Put the onions into the pan and sauté them until they are transparent, reducing the heat if necessary to avoid burning them

  5. Add the capsicum and continue to cook for 5 minutes, adding olive oil if necessary. Be sure to stir often, so the vegetables do not burn.

  6. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.

  7. Add the crushed tomatoes and paprika to the pan and mix well.

  8. Continue to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, reducing the liquid released from the tomatoes until a somewhat thick sauce is achieved.

  9. Serve as desired and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Serving and Storing Sofrito

If you are using the sofrito as an ingredient in another recipe, allow it to cool for a few minutes before adding it to your dish. Warm sofrito is preferred if you are serving it as a sauce with fried eggs or rice.

Tomato sauce mellows and becomes sweeter overnight, so many Spanish cooks like to make a double recipe and use it throughout the week. It will keep in the refrigerator for five days in a well-sealed container or jar. You can also store that double batch of sofrito in the freezer and save it for future uses. Be sure to let it cool completely, then divide it into plastic freezer bags. It will last up to six months.