Homemade Marinara Sauce

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This homemade marinara sauce recipe is easy to make in 30 minutes. It’s smooth and flavorful and so more delicious than store-bought marinara sauce.

a bowl of Homemade Marinara Sauce with basil and pepper


We eat spaghetti in our house at least once a week, and I was so tired of sub-par jarred sauces that I created this homemade marinara sauce recipe and have never looked back.

This easy marinara sauce is as simple as it is delicious. Made with 9 ingredients in 30 minutes, it’s delicious served with homemade meatballs or your favorite Italian recipes for quick and hearty weeknight dinner.

Homemade Marinara Sauce on top of spaghetti, garnished with basil, parmesan and pepper.

Marinara Sauce: Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead photo of the labeled ingredients in this Homemade Marinara Sauce recipe
  • Onion. I suggest a sweet white or yellow onion for the best results.
  • Minced garlic. Use freshly minced or jarred.
  • Olive oil. I really don’t recommend substitutes, but if you must, avocado oil is the next best choice.
  • Whole Peeled Tomatoes. I use canned tomatoes for ease – to use fresh tomatoes, you need to boil and peel the tomatoes, then use in this recipe as directed. You can also use crushed or diced tomatoes if you don’t keep whole, peeled tomatoes on hand.
  • Fresh basil. No substitutes here!
  • Dried oregano. you can substitute 1 teaspoon dried oregano with 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano.
  • Granulated sugar. honey is a good substitute for sugar. This just helps cut the acidity of the marinara sauce, it does not make the sauce sweet.
a fork twirling pasta topped with Homemade Marinara Sauce

How to Make Marinara Sauce

Well walk through the steps in this marinara sauce recipe together, and be sure to watch the video for extra guidance.

Begin by cooking the onion, olive oil, onion and garlic in a 5-quart saucepan until onion is soft, stirring occasionally (about 3-5 minutes).

two photos showing How to Make Marinara Sauce - sautéing onion and garlic

Then, add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar and stir to combine.

two photos showing How to Make Marinara Sauce - adding tomatoes, herbs and spices

Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, breaking up the tomatoes into smaller pieces.

two photos showing How to Make Marinara Sauce - cooking in a pot

After 20 minutes, transfer the marinara sauce to a blender, or use an immersion blender, and blend until smooth (note this is optional if you like a chunkier sauce).

two photos showing How to Make Marinara Sauce - blending in a blender

Serve

Marinara sauce is a key ingredient in so many Italian recipes – and pairs well with many of our favorite Italian dishes. Here are some serving suggestions:

Marinara Sauce Recipe in a bowl with a spoon, garnished with basil

Store

Store leftover sauce in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Freeze

Freeze leftover sauce in a glass jar (make sure to leave some room at the top because the sauce expands in the freezer), for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature, reheat on the stovetop.

homemade marinara sauce on top of spaghetti noodles garnished with parmesan and basil

Marinara Sauce Recipe FAQS

Can I double this recipe?

Yes, you can double (or triple) this recipe easily.

What is difference between marinara and spaghetti sauce?

Marinara sauce is a thinner sauce with a shorter cook time. Spaghetti sauce slow cooks for longer and is thicker.

What makes marinara sauce taste better?

Fresh basil and a touch of sugar or honey are the secret ingredients that make this the best marinara sauce ever! Also, using high-quality tomatoes.

Why do people add sugar to marinara sauce?

Sugar helps cut the acidity of the sauce and creates a more pleasant flavor.

homemade marinara sauce on top of spaghetti noodles garnished with parmesan and basil

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Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

Laura
This homemade marinara sauce recipe is easy to make in 30 minutes. It's smooth and flavorful and so more delicious than store-bought marinara sauce.
5 from 1 vote
Course Main Course, sauce
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12 servings
Calories 40
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • Add onion, olive oil, onion and garlic to a 5-quart saucepan. Cover and cook until onion is soft, stirring occasionally.
  • Add tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar and stir to combine.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, breaking up the tomatoes into smaller pieces.
  • Transfer the mixture to a blender, or use an immersion blender and blend until smooth (note this is optional if you like a chunkier sauce).
  • Serve on top of your favorite pasta, tortellini, etc.

Video

Notes

Ingredient Notes/Substitutions
  • Onion. I suggest a sweet white or yellow onion for the best results.
  • Minced garlic. Use freshly minced or jarred.
  • Olive oil. I really don’t recommend substitutes, but if you must, avocado oil is the next best choice.
  • Whole Peeled Tomatoes. I use canned tomatoes for ease – to use fresh tomatoes, you need to boil and peel the tomatoes, then use in this recipe as directed.
  • Dried oregano. you can substitute 1 teaspoon dried oregano with 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano.
  • Granulated sugar. honey is a good substitute for sugar. This just helps cut the acidity of the marinara sauce, it does not make the sauce sweet.
Store
Store leftover sauce in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Freeze
Freeze leftover sauce in a glass jar (make sure to leave some room at the top because the sauce expands in the freezer), for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature, reheat on the stovetop.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0.3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 101mg | Potassium: 179mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 572IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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