Easy Marinara Sauce

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You can have this Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe on the table in just 30 minutes, with a handful of ingredients! Perfect for meatball subs, chicken parmesan, mozzarella sticks, and more.

Marinara sauce in a pan

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

It is a fact that homemade sauces always taste better than the store version and this Homemade Marinara Sauce is no exception. After making this, I can definitely say that I will never be buying the jarred version again.

This is an easy recipe made with just a handful of ingredients but it packs a LOT of flavor. Tomato paste really elevates the flavor of the crushed tomatoes while dried oregano and basil give it some traditional Italian flair. Plus, it needs to simmer for just 30 minutes so it’s easy to whip up anytime.

A wooden spoon stirring marinara sauce

What is Marinara Sauce?

Marinara sauce is a tomato-based sauce seasoned with basil and oregano, very similar to spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce. The main difference between this sauce and spaghetti sauce is the texture, as marinara sauce isn’t blended super smooth as spaghetti sauce usually is. It also usually contains no meat.

Marinara sauce is great for meatball subs, chicken parmesan, and doubles as a dip for mozzarella stick and other appetizers.

Overhead view of homemade marinara sauce ingredients


There are just a handful of ingredients needed to make this easy sauce.

  • Yellow onion & garlic – Sauteed in olive oil to add flavor to the sauce.
  • Crushed tomatoes – You can also use whole tomatoes and break them up with a spoon during cooking.
  • Tomato paste – Really enhances the deep tomato flavor in the sauce.
  • Seasonings – Oregano, basil, and salt are the only spices needed. You can add crushed red pepper flakes for extra spice if desired.
  • Sugar – Helps to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.

Can I Substitute Fresh Tomatoes?

Fresh tomatoes should not be substituted in this recipe. Otherwise, you’d end up with salsa instead of a marinara sauce. However, you can use homemade canned tomatoes in place of the crushed tomatoes if desired.

How to Make Marinara Sauce

There are just 2 steps required to make this easy marinara sauce!

  • Saute the garlic and onion. Saute the onion until lightly browned then add in the garlic. Cook for 20 seconds.
  • Simmer. Add the remaining ingredients, stir, then cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes.

Tips & Variations

Here are a few tips, as well as a few ways to switch up the flavor of your marinara sauce.

  • Use quality tomatoes. The tomatoes are the most important ingredient in this sauce, so make sure you grab a good quality brand for the best flavor.
  • Simmer a bit longer. The longer the sauce simmers, the more flavor it will have. (Within reason, of course.) You can also prepare it in advance so the flavors have time to sit.
  • Make it spicy. If you like marinara sauce with a kick, add more red pepper flakes.
  • Make it smoother. Marinara sauce is meant to have a bit of texture but if you want yours smooth, just run it through an immersion blender.
  • Add more herbs. I kept it simple with Italian staples like basil and oregano. But if you want more of an herby flavor, feel free to add some rosemary, sage, thyme, or even an Italian seasoning blend. You can also add more garlic.
  • Make it creamy. For a creamy pink sauce, add in 1/4 cup or so of heavy cream.
Marinara sauce in a glass jar

What to Serve It With

Homemade marinara sauce goes with so many things. In a pinch, it can be used in place of a spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce and it’s oh-so-good on meatball subs. And we can’t forget about mozzarella sticks! But that’s just the beginning. Here are a few other recipes that are exactly what you need to dip in this marinara sauce recipe.

A black spoon in a jar of marinara sauce

How Long Will This Last?

This homemade marinara sauce will last for 3 to 4 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer. I like to store it in mason jars, though any jar or container will work. This is a great thing to keep stocked in the freezer so you always have it on hand whenever you want to make a last-minute meatballs dinner or need something for dipping. You can even freezer it in small quantities, like in an ice cube tray, so you only thaw what you need.

More Homemade Sauce Recipes:

Marinara Sauce feature
5 from 2 votes

Marinara Sauce

You can have this Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe on the table in just 30 minutes, with a handful of ingredients! Perfect for meatball subs, chicken parmesan, mozzarella sticks, and more.
Servings: 8 cups
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 40 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)


  • Add the olive oil and onion to the pan and sauté until very lightly browned.
  • Spoon in the garlic and cook for another 20 seconds.
  • Add in the rest of the ingredients and simmer, covered, on low for 30 minutes.

Last Step:

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Calories: 707kcal | Carbohydrates: 106g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 21g | Sodium: 4730mg | Potassium: 4271mg | Fiber: 26g | Sugar: 62g | Vitamin A: 4385IU | Vitamin C: 117mg | Calcium: 474mg | Iron: 19mg


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