Homemade Marinara Sauce

Homemade Marinara Sauce is a staple in Italian cooking, known for its simple ingredients and robust flavors. This sauce combines ripe tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a touch of garlic to create a versatile and richly flavored base that can enhance any pasta dish, pizza, or appetizer.

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Homemade Marinara Sauce

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: About 4 cups 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Homemade Marinara Sauce is a classic Italian sauce made from simple, fresh ingredients. It features ripe tomatoes, garlic, and herbs simmered to perfection, creating a versatile sauce that’s ideal for pasta, pizza, and dipping.



2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (145 g) finely chopped yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic (approximately 5 large cloves)
28 oz (680 g) crushed tomatoes (no spices or salt added)
2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil
2 teaspoons sugar
¾ teaspoons dried oregano
¾ teaspoons finely ground sea salt
½ teaspoon finely cracked black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes


Heat Olive Oil: Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium/high heat until shimmering.

Saute Onion: Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent (about 3 minutes).

Add Garlic: Add garlic, cook (stirring frequently) until fragrant (about 30 seconds).

Combine Ingredients: Add crushed tomatoes, basil, sugar, dried oregano, sea salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir well to combine.

Simmer: Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer marinara sauce for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve: Use as desired with your favorite pasta, pizza, or as a dipping sauce. Enjoy your homemade marinara sauce!

Now, you have a delicious and healthy homemade marinara sauce ready to enhance your dishes! 🍝


  • For a smoother sauce, blend after cooking.
  • Adding a pinch of sugar balances the acidity of the tomatoes.
  • Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Simmering
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • Calories: 90 per serving (1/2 cup)
  • Sugar: 6g
  • Sodium: 10mg
  • Fat: 5g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.7g
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 2g

FAQs About Homemade Marinara Sauce

Can I use canned tomatoes for Marinara Sauce? Yes, you can use canned tomatoes to make Marinara Sauce, especially when fresh tomatoes are not in season. Choose high-quality, whole peeled tomatoes for the best flavor.

How can I thicken my Marinara Sauce? To thicken Marinara Sauce, simply let it simmer uncovered on low heat. The longer it simmers, the more it will reduce and thicken. Avoid adding thickeners like flour or cornstarch, which can alter the sauce’s flavor and texture.

Is it possible to make a no-cook version of Marinara Sauce? While traditional Marinara Sauce is cooked to blend the flavors, you can make a raw version for dishes like bruschetta. Blend fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil, and seasonings until smooth for a fresh, uncooked sauce.

Can I make Marinara Sauce in a slow cooker? Yes, making Marinara Sauce in a slow cooker is an excellent way to develop deep flavors. Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and let it cook on low for 6-8 hours.

How can I store leftover Marinara Sauce? Store leftover Marinara Sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze it for up to 3 months. To freeze, pour the sauce into freezer-safe bags or containers, leaving some space for expansion.

Selecting the Right Ingredients

Choosing high-quality, fresh ingredients is key to making a standout Marinara Sauce. Opt for ripe, juicy tomatoes for their natural sweetness and acidity. Fresh basil, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil add depth and aroma, transforming the sauce into a celebration of Italian culinary traditions.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Preparing the Tomatoes

Start by blanching the tomatoes to easily remove their skins. Make a small X on the bottom of each tomato and immerse them in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then transfer them to ice water. The skins should peel off effortlessly, leaving you with the perfect base for your sauce.

Cooking the Sauce

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sauté minced garlic until it’s fragrant but not browned. Add the peeled tomatoes, crushing them gently in the pan to release their juices. Simmer the mixture on low heat, allowing the sauce to thicken and the flavors to meld together. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity.

Infusing the Sauce with Herbs

Once the sauce has begun to thicken, stir in fresh basil leaves, allowing them to infuse the sauce with their flavor. For a more complex taste, you can also add oregano or thyme. Let the sauce simmer gently, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and to ensure even cooking.

Final Touches and Serving Suggestions

After the sauce has reached the desired consistency, adjust the seasoning to your taste, adding more salt, pepper, or herbs as needed. Serve your homemade Marinara Sauce over freshly cooked pasta, as a dipping sauce for bread and appetizers, or as a base for pizza and other Italian dishes. Its rich, vibrant flavor is sure to elevate any meal, bringing a taste of Italy to your table.

Storing and Preserving the Sauce

To enjoy your Homemade Marinara Sauce beyond the day it’s made, proper storage is essential. Allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring it to airtight containers. Refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for up to three months. Freezing in portion-sized containers or ice cube trays ensures you can thaw exactly the amount needed for future meals, minimizing waste and maximizing convenience.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Customizing Your Marinara Sauce

The beauty of Homemade Marinara Sauce lies in its versatility. Feel free to experiment by adding capers, olives, or red pepper flakes for a punch of flavor. For a smoother sauce, blend the cooked tomatoes before adding the herbs. Incorporating ground meat transforms it into a hearty Bolognese, showcasing the sauce’s adaptability to different tastes and dishes.

Pairing with Pasta

Choosing the right pasta to accompany your Marinara Sauce can enhance your dining experience. While spaghetti and linguine are classic choices, short pasta shapes like penne or rigatoni can better capture the sauce within their hollows. Whole wheat or gluten-free pasta are great alternatives for those with dietary preferences, ensuring everyone can enjoy the rich flavors of this Italian classic.

Creating a Complete Italian Meal

Round out your meal with complementary Italian dishes. Start with a fresh salad dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, followed by your main dish featuring the Marinara Sauce. A side of garlic bread is perfect for sopping up any remaining sauce. For dessert, consider a simple gelato or tiramisu to maintain the Italian theme, creating a well-rounded and satisfying meal experience.

Engaging in the Cooking Process

Making Homemade Marinara Sauce is not just about the end product; it’s also about enjoying the cooking process. The act of peeling tomatoes, simmering the sauce, and tasting for the perfect balance of flavors can be a meditative and joyful experience. Share this process with friends or family to make cooking a communal and memorable event, spreading the love for Italian cuisine through each stir of the pot.

Exploring Regional Variations

Dive into the diversity of Italian cuisine by exploring regional variations of Marinara Sauce. For instance, in certain areas of Italy, anchovies or sardines are added for a distinct, umami-rich flavor. Others might include a splash of wine for added depth. Experimenting with these regional touches can introduce you to new flavors and traditions, enriching your culinary repertoire.

The Health Benefits of Marinara Sauce

Homemade Marinara Sauce is not only delicious but also packed with health benefits. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate. They also contain antioxidants such as lycopene, which has been linked to reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. By making your sauce from scratch, you control the ingredients and avoid the added sugars and preservatives found in many store-bought versions, making it a healthier choice overall.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Enhancing Flavors Over Time

One of the magical aspects of Marinara Sauce is that its flavor develops and deepens over time. If possible, prepare the sauce a day in advance and refrigerate it overnight. This resting period allows the herbs and garlic to meld with the tomato base, creating a richer, more cohesive flavor profile. Reheat the sauce gently before serving to awaken all the vibrant flavors.

Sustainable Cooking Practices

Incorporate sustainable cooking practices by using locally sourced, seasonal tomatoes for your Marinara Sauce. This not only supports local farmers but also ensures your sauce has the freshest flavor. Additionally, consider growing your own herbs like basil and oregano. Not only are they easy to grow, even in small spaces, but they also guarantee you have the freshest ingredients at hand, further enhancing the taste of your sauce.

Celebrating Italian Cuisine

Finally, Homemade Marinara Sauce is a celebration of Italian cuisine, emphasizing freshness, simplicity, and tradition. It’s a dish that tells a story of generations of families gathering around the table, sharing meals made with love. Each time you prepare this sauce, you’re not just making a meal; you’re participating in a rich cultural heritage and creating your own traditions to be passed down through the ages. Enjoy the process, share the results with those you love, and take pride in the culinary masterpiece you’ve created.

Incorporating Marinara Sauce into Various Dishes

Marinara Sauce’s versatility extends beyond pasta; it’s a fundamental component in numerous Italian and Italian-American dishes. Use it as a base for lasagna, a simmering sauce for meatballs, or a dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks and garlic bread. Experimenting with Marinara Sauce in different contexts allows you to appreciate its adaptability and the way it enhances the flavors of various ingredients.

Mastering the Art of Sauce Texture

Achieving the perfect texture in your Marinara Sauce is an art. For a chunkier sauce, coarsely chop your tomatoes and add them to the sautéed garlic and onions. If you prefer a smoother consistency, use a blender or food processor to puree the sauce before adding it back to the pot to simmer. The texture of the sauce can significantly influence the dish’s overall feel, providing a personalized touch to your culinary creations.

Garnishing for Enhanced Presentation

The presentation of a dish elevates the dining experience, and a well-garnished Marinara Sauce is no exception. Before serving, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the sauce and sprinkle with fresh basil leaves or grated Parmesan cheese. These simple garnishes not only add a burst of color and flavor but also invite diners into a more engaging and appetizing meal experience.

Learning from Italian Cooking Traditions

Delve into the rich traditions of Italian cooking to find inspiration for your Marinara Sauce. Many Italian chefs and home cooks swear by the simplicity of ingredients and the patience required in cooking, emphasizing that good food needs time to develop flavors. Engage with Italian cooking shows, cookbooks, or culinary classes to learn the subtleties of Italian cuisine and bring authenticity to your sauce.

Sharing Your Culinary Success

In the spirit of Italian hospitality, share your Marinara Sauce with friends, family, and community. Hosting a pasta night, where guests can enjoy different pasta dishes featuring your homemade sauce, not only shares the fruits of your labor but also brings people together over good food. Sharing recipes or even jars of your sauce can inspire others to embark on their culinary journey, spreading the love for homemade Italian cuisine.,


Homemade Marinara Sauce is more than just a recipe; it’s a gateway to exploring the rich and vibrant world of Italian cuisine. With its simple ingredients and straightforward preparation, it invites cooks of all levels to experience the joy of creating something truly delicious from scratch. By selecting quality ingredients, mastering the cooking process, and experimenting with variations, you can transform this classic sauce into a personalized expression of your culinary creativity. Whether served over pasta, used as a dip, or as a base for other dishes, Marinara Sauce is a testament to the beauty of Italian cooking—where simplicity meets profound flavor. Enjoy the process of making your sauce, share it generously, and let every meal be a celebration of good food and good company.

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