This flavorful from scratch Marinara Sauce recipe is so versatile. Terrific served over pasta, mixed into soups and meatloaf, or used as a dip for bread and more. Made with simple, fresh ingredients and done in minutes!
Put this sauce to perfect use on our wonderful Margherita Pizza!
Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce
My busy and tired life loves the convenience of canned goods and jarred sauces, but my taste buds and the desire for fresh ingredients does not. And honestly, homemade sauces really are so easy to make. I never regret carving out time to whip up any of our favorite Italian sauces, including this from scratch Marinara Sauce recipe, which has been a staple in my kitchen for years. It only takes 25 minutes to make (just 25 minutes start to finish, you guys!) using only a handful of fresh ingredients. And the flavor? *chef’s kiss* …you’ll want to eat it off the spoon.
Before we get into my homemade marinara sauce, though, I wanted to break down the differences between our collection of Italian sauces, so you understand which one to choose. Let’s do it!
5 Italian Sauces – What’s the Difference?
- Marinara Sauce: Marinara is usually without meat, and at its most basic level is tomato sauce with aromatics such as onion and herbs. It’s quick to make and tends to be smooth, without big tomato chunks. But that doesn’t mean this sauce is boring! Our sauce (below) is full of wonderful flavor and the uses for it are very versatile.
- Spaghetti Sauce: Spaghetti pasta sauce includes at least one type of cooked meat and several more ingredients than marinara. It also slow simmers for a much longer period of time to deeper the flavors and achieve a thicker consistency.
- Bolognese Sauce: This is a meat sauce that comes from the region of Bologna, Italy (although in Bologna, they refer to the sauce as ragù.) It usually includes vegetables, wine, and milk, and has a creamier texture than spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce.
- Alfredo Sauce: Alfredo Sauce is a rich, smooth and creamy white sauce, made with Parmesan cheese, butter, heavy cream, and salt. Luscious!
- Pesto Sauce: Pesto is a gorgeous green sauce, which traditionally consists of garlic, pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and lots of fresh basil leaves, then blended with olive oil. It comes together in minutes and doesn’t require any cooking.
Marinara Sauce Recipe
So what’s in Marinara Sauce? Our recipe includes just a handful of ingredients, which you probably already have on hand.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Canned crushed tomatoes: This is the base for the sauce, so buy the best quality.
- Tomato paste: This adds a rich, deep tomato flavor and helps give the sauce body.
- Onion and Garlic: Sweet onions and fresh garlic for great aromatics and flavor.
- Olive oil: Used to sauté the vegetables and adds richness.
- Herbs: Fresh oregano sprig, thyme sprig, and basil leaves. If you’re in a pinch, you could use our dried homemade Italian seasoning, but we really prefer fresh herbs for this simple sauce for best flavor.
- Seasoning: Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
How to Make Marinara Sauce
If you’ve never made marinara sauce before, you won’t believe how quick and easy it is. Simply sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil, then add all the other ingredients and gently simmer for about 15 minutes. Discard the herb sprigs, taste and season more if necessary. Use right away or cool and store for later. To make this easy marinara sauce, follow the steps below included in the printable recipe card. Make sure to refer back to the article for more information.
How to Store
How long does Marinara Sauce last in the fridge? If not using right away, allow to cool completely, then store in a sealed jar or airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can you freeze Marinara Sauce? Yep! Allow to cool completely, then transfer to a sealed jar or airtight container (leaving room for expansion.) Alternatively, you can also transfer to a freezer-safe plastic bag, removing any excess air and lay flat to save space. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat on the stovetop.
10 Great Ways to Use Marinara Sauce
- Use it as a pizza dough sauce (although we do prefer our homemade pizza sauce, which is thicker and ideal to prevent a soggy crust.)
- Perfect on our Margherita Pizza
- Top on Meatball Sliders
- Stir it into Macaroni and Cheese
- …or American Goulash
- Add to Roasted Cauliflower Parmesan casserole
- Use as a dip for Zucchini Fries
- …or Toasted Ravioli
- For Italian Pull Apart Bread
- A key ingredient for Eggs in Purgatory
Homemade Marinara Sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small sweet onion , diced small
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- sprig fresh oregano
- sprig fresh thyme
- 3 leaves fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Saute the onion and garlic, stirring, until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and the herb sprigs; bring to a bubble, then lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to avoid scorching.
- Remove from heat and discard the herb sprigs. Stir in the salt and season with pepper, to taste.
- Use right away or allow to cool and store for later.