Easy Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce is an easy-to-make tomato sauce that is perfect to top your favorite pasta or to use in recipes calling for jarred pasta sauce.

A simple base of canned tomatoes with onions and garlic is all you need, Add in a sprinkle of fresh herbs and simmer for 30 minutes.

Make it in large batches and freeze it for a great homemade sauce anytime!

Easy Marinara Sauce in a pot

Homemade Marinara Sauce is incredibly easy to make, and once you try it, you’ll say goodbye to jarred sauces! It’s perfect with meatballs or used to make chicken parmesan.

Ingredients in Marinara Sauce

Tomatoes: For the best Marinara Sauce, I recommend using canned crushed and whole tomatoes. Whole tomatoes give the sauce a slightly thicker consistency compared to canned diced tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes have the best flavor, but whole plum tomatoes (or any canned whole tomatoes) will work well.

Got fresh tomatoes? Great! Include them in your sauce (in addition to the canned tomatoes) for an added fresh flavor. Just ensure they’re peeled first

Sweetness: Tomatoes can be tart due to their acidity. Shredded carrot helps add sweetness or, feel free to skip the carrot and add a bit of sugar to balance the marinara sauce.

Herbs: Dried herbs should be added before simmering, while fresh basil and/or parsley can be stirred in right before serving.

Additions: Try adding other vegetables like shredded zucchini or even diced celery, or use this Marinara Sauce to make a homemade meat sauce for ziti! Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if desired.

Marinara Sauce ingredients in pot

How to Make Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce is a flavorful and surprisingly easy dish to make in just 30 minutes!

  1. Finely dice onions and shred carrots and soften in a pan.
  2. Add the tomatoes and dried herbs and simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in fresh herbs.

Simmer this marinara sauce recipe a bit longer to adjust the consistency. Make it a little thinner if it is being used as a pasta sauce, or a little thicker if it’s being used on a pizza or as a dip.

Serve it over pasta, zucchini noodles, or use it for eggplant parmesan. The possibilities are endless.

Marinara Sauce being stirred with wooden spoon
What is Marinara Sauce?

Marinara sauce is a simple tomato-based sauce perfect for pasta or making things like lasagna or even soups. This marinara recipe has a base of canned tomatoes with aromatics like onion and garlic and a sprinkle of herbs. Don’t let the simplicity fool you, it’s a fantastic addition to pasta, a delightful dip for snacks, or a superior substitute for store-bought sauces in all your favorite recipes.

Is marinara sauce the same as spaghetti sauce?

Marinara sauce is a thinner sauce with very few additions, while our spaghetti sauce recipe contains meat and is simmered longer for a thicker, more robust sauce.

Is marinara pizza sauce?

Marinara sauce is different than pizza sauce. Pizza sauce tends to be thicker, and our recipe has a bolder and slightly sweeter flavor than marinara sauce.

Can I substitute marinara sauce for tomato sauce?

Yes, you can use marinara sauce in place of tomato sauce.

How long does marinara sauce last in the fridge?

Marinara sauce will last about 5 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. For longer storage, store marinara sauce in the freezer for up to 4 months.

More Easy Pasta Sauces

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Easy Marinara Sauce in a pot

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Easy Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce is an easy-to-make tomato sauce that is perfect on top of pasta or to use in recipes calling for jarred pasta sauce.

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Total Time 30 minutes

Servings 8 cups

Author Holly Nilsson

  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

  • Add the finely diced onion, shredded carrot, and minced garlic to the pot. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

  • Add whole canned tomatoes, juice included, breaking them apart gently with a spoon.

  • Mix in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar if using, dried oregano, and season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir in ½ cup of water.

  • Simmer uncovered on low heat for about 20 minutes, or until thickened to the desired consistency. Stir in fresh basil.

  • Serve over spaghetti or enjoy in your favorite recipes.

Fresh basil is recommended and should be added just before serving.
Fresh basil can be substituted with 2 teaspoons of dried basil. If using dried, add it along with the oregano.
Sugar may be required depending on the brand of tomatoes you purchase.
Store leftover sauce in a covered container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop until heated through. 

5 from 89 votes

Calories: 112 | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 310mg | Potassium: 568mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1320IU | Vitamin C: 21.5mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 2.5mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course, Pasta, Sauce
Cuisine Italian

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