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Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

This easy Homemade Marinara Sauce is robust, flavorful, and as the name suggests – EASY! You only need one pot and about 20 minutes to make this signature sauce. You’ll never buy a jar of marinara that is this delicious! 

Marinara sauce on top of pasta with basil sprinkled on top.

Our Favorite Marinara Sauce Recipe

Stop buying jars of marinara sauce! Chances are, if you look at the nutritional information on those jars, you’ll see plenty of words you can’t pronounce. Keep things simple and scrumptious with ingredients like olive oil, tomatoes, fresh garlic, dried herbs, and other flavorful additions. 

As easy as it may be to dump a jar of sauce onto your spaghetti, we can guarantee that this easy marinara sauce will yield much more mouthwatering results. Plus, it’s an incredibly easy recipe to whip up! It only takes 20 minutes from start to finish and the steps are hassle free. Essentially, you just need to stir everything together and let it simmer!

Another great thing about making your own marinara sauce at home is that you can customize it any way you want to. While we think the balance of flavors here is perfect, you may want it more or less spicy, garlicky, etc. It’s your sauce, so you’re the boss! Enough chit chat, let’s get cooking!

Ingredients in white bowls and olive oil in a jar.

Ingredients Needed

You only need a few ingredients and most are pantry staples you may already have on hand:

  • Olive Oil – Try to use a good quality olive oil for the best tasting results. 
  • Onion – We use a yellow onion, but a white one will also work. 
  • Garlic – Fresh garlic yields MUCH better results than the pre-minced kind in a jar at the store.
  • Tomatoes – You’ll need three separate tomato ingredients to create the best base for this Marinara Sauce. Petite diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste come together to create the best consistency and flavor. 
  • Italian Seasoning – You can add a little more if you want a more herbaceous note to come through. 
  • Salt and Pepper – Be careful not to add too much salt! Also, freshly cracked black pepper will give your sauce the best flavor. 
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – Add more or less of this ingredient to control the level of spice in your sauce. A little pinch will enhance the other flavors, while a lot of it will make this sauce deliciously spicy. 

How to Make Easy Marinara Sauce

The hardest part of this marinara sauce is dicing up your onion and mincing the garlic!

  • Sauté. In a medium size skillet, sauté the onion over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and continue sautéing for another few minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients. Stir together the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. Do not cover!
  • Simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. Serve, and enjoy!

Tips for the Best Easy Marinara Sauce

  • Finely Chop: Make sure to chop your onions finely! A big chunk of onion isn’t tasty in a sauce, so make sure to cut them into a smaller dice.
  • Pasta: When boiling pasta, do not add any oil or butter to the pot or drained pasta. If you add butter/oil to boiling pasta, it sticks to the pasta. Then when you add sauce to the pasta it does not stick as well. We only add salt to the water when cooking pasta!
  • Do Not Cover: In order for the sauce to thicken, make sure you do not cover the sauce while it cooks.
  • Too Thick: If you accidentally over cook your sauce, it can thicken a little too much. But don’t worry, it’s an easy fix! Just add a little extra tomato sauce and it will thin it right out.
Marinara sauce in a sauce pan with a wooden spoon.

Variations to Try

  • Thick: Want a thicker sauce? Add more tomato paste. 
  • Smooth: If you want a perfectly smooth sauce, use an immersion blender at the end of cook time. If you plan on blending it all together, you don’t have to chop your onions finely – they’ll be blended anyways! 
  • Spicy Or Not: Add more crushed red pepper flakes to make this sauce spicy. Omit them entirely if you have picky or sensitive eaters at the table. 
  • More Garlic Please: Not garlicky enough for you? Stir in a tablespoon of garlic powder! Alternatively, you can roast your garlic before adding it to your sauce to give it a milder, sweeter roasted garlic flavor.
  • Basil: Love fresh basil in your marinara? Add it! You can use fresh or dried, to taste!
Marinara sauce on top of pasta on a white plate.

How To Use Marinara Sauce:

There are a ton of ways to use marinara sauce! Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Pasta: First and foremost, marinara sauce is amazing served over some freshly cooked pasta of any kind! You can use it in our favorite Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs or One Pot Pasta.
  • Meatballs: Meatballs always need some good marinara to simmer in! Serve them in a meatball sub or over spaghetti.
  • Meat: Any chicken parmesan, veal parmesan or even Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan needs some savory marinara sauce spread on top.
  • Stuffed Pasta: Anything from ravioli to Stuffed Shells!
  • Pizza: This marinara sauce makes an amazing pizza sauce! Try it on our favorite Cast Iron Pizza or Grilled Margherita Pizza!
  • As A Dip: Marinara sauce also makes a great dip for cheese sticks, garlic knots, bread sticks and more.

Storage

There are a few options for how to store your homemade marinara sauce:

  • Fridge: Store your marinara sauce in an airtight container for up to a week.
  • Freezer: Place cooled marinara in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, I recommend moving it to the fridge a day or two before you need it, allowing the sauce to thaw. If you need to thaw it quickly, you can also take it from the freezer to the stove top or microwave.
  • Canned: Marinara sauce can be canned. If you follow safe canning procedures and store your canned sauce in a dark cool place, it can stay good for up to a year!
Yield: About 4 cups sauce

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce on top of pasta with basil sprinkled on top.

This easy Homemade Marinara Sauce is robust, flavorful, and as the name suggests - EASY! You only need one pot and about 20 minutes to make this signature sauce. You’ll never buy a jar of marinara that is this delicious! 

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz can) tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions

  1. In a medium size skillet, sauté the onion over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and continue sautéing for another few minutes.
  1. Add the remaining ingredients- diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper stir until well combined. Do not cover!
  2. Simmer for 20 minutes over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally. Serve over your favorite pasta, chicken parmigiana or eggplant parmigiana.

Notes

Storage:

  • Fridge: Store your marinara sauce in an airtight container for up to a week.
  • Freezer: Place cooled marinara in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, I recommend moving it to the fridge a day or two before you need it, allowing the sauce to thaw. If you need to thaw it quickly, you can also take it from the freezer to the stove top or microwave.
  • Canned: Marinara sauce can be canned. If you follow safe canning procedures and store your canned sauce in a dark cool place, it can stay good for up to a year!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 72Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 731mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 2g

More Easy Kitchen Basic Recipes

A good sauce or seasoning recipe can take a dish from good to amazing! Here are a few of our favorite kitchen basic recipes that add so much more flavor to a recipe:

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