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!
Ingredients in Marinara Sauce
Tomatoes – For the best marinara sauce, use canned crushed and whole tomatoes. Whole tomatoes will create a slightly thicker consistency compared to canned diced tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes have the best flavor, but any variety of canned whole tomatoes or plum tomatoes will work well.
Sweetness – Tomatoes are acidic and can be tart so I add shredded carrot for natural sweetness. You can replace it with a bit of sugar (start with ½ teaspoon) to balance the flavor if you’d prefer.
Herbs – Dried herbs should be added before simmering, while fresh basil and/or parsley can be stirred in right before serving.
- You can add other vegetables like shredded zucchini or diced celery.
- Use this marinara sauce to make a homemade meat sauce for ziti!
- Add a pinch of red pepper flakes if desired.
How to Make Marinara Sauce
Marinara sauce is a flavorful and surprisingly easy dish to make in just 30 minutes!
- Finely dice onions, shred carrots, and soften in a pan according to the recipe below.
- Add the tomatoes and dried herbs and simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes.
- Stir in fresh herbs.
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.
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.
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. If using this recipe for pizza, I would suggest simmering it a bit longer to thicken further and adding a bit of oregano and tomato paste.
Yes, you can use marinara sauce in place of tomato sauce.
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.
Did your family love this easy Marinara Sauce? Leave us a rating and a comment below!
Easy Marinara Sauce
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion finely diced
- ⅓ cup carrot shredded
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 28 ounces whole tomatoes canned
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes canned
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
- ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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