A quick and easy recipe for homemade Marinara Sauce using fresh garden tomatoes or canned tomatoes simmered on the stovetop in under 30 minutes. Freeze for winter! Video.

A fast and easy recipe for Marinara Sauce using fresh or canned tomatoes, with garlic, onions and oregano and basil cooked on the stovetop in under 30 minutes. Use this classic Marinara Sauce on pasta, pizza or meatballs. 

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James Hollis

Harvest season is upon us and many of you have been very busy making our Roasted Tomato Sauce, but I wanted to share a very quick and easy recipe for Marinara Sauce that can be made on the stovetop in just a few minutes. Perfect for busy weeknights. It’s full of flavor and couldn’t be more delicious.

It can either be made with fresh, ripe summer tomatoes or canned San Marzano tomatoes when tomatoes are no longer in abundance. The recipe makes the same amount of marinara sauce you would get in a jar of store-bought marinara sauce- roughly 3 cups. If you happen to be lucky enough to have a garden full of tomatoes, make a big batch and freeze the Marinara sauce to pull out during the cold months.

Here are a few more recipes to celebrate fresh tomatoes Grilled Tomatoes and Tomato Vinaigrette! So delicious!

Easy Marinara Sauce | 60-sec Video

Why You’ll Love This Marinara Sauce!

  • Quick and Easy: This marinara sauce recipe can be made on the stovetop in under 30 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights when you need a delicious meal in a pinch.
  • Versatile: Use this classic marinara sauce on pasta, pizza, or meatballs. It’s incredibly versatile and can elevate a variety of dishes.
  • Full of Flavor: With the combination of fresh or canned tomatoes, garlic, onions, oregano, and basil, this marinara sauce is packed with delicious flavors that will enhance any dish.
  • Freezer-Friendly: Make a big batch of this marinara sauce and freeze it to enjoy during the colder months when fresh tomatoes aren’t readily available. It’s a convenient option that allows you to enjoy the taste of summer all year round.
  • Health Benefits: Tomatoes, the main ingredient in this marinara sauce, are rich in nutrients and antioxidants. They are known to be beneficial for heart health, and skin health and may even have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Authentic Italian Flavor: This marinara sauce captures the essence of Italian cuisine with its simple yet robust flavor profile. It’s a true taste of Italy in every bite.
  • Homemade Goodness: Making marinara sauce from scratch allows you to control the quality of ingredients and customize the flavors to your liking.

Ingredients in Marinara Sauce

Ingredients in marinara sauce- tomatoes, garlic, onions or shallots, olive oil, oregano and fresh basil

Ingredient Notes

  • Onion or shallot– Choose whichever you prefer or have on hand.
  • Garlic cloves– Garlic cloves add a delicious flavor to the sauce. 
  • Chili flakes– If you like a bit of heat, add chili flakes to spice up the sauce. Adjust the amount based on your desired level of spiciness.
  • Tomatoes– Fresh, ripe summer tomatoes or canned San Marzano tomatoes.
  • Fresh herbs: Oregano, whether fresh or dried, adds an aromatic and earthy flavor to the sauce. Fresh basil leaves are a classic addition to Marinara Sauce. Tear them and add them to the sauce to infuse a fresh and herby flavor.
  • Salt and Pepper– Adjust to taste.
  • Optional– Tomato paste- If your fresh tomato sauce lacks sweetness, stir in some tomato paste (or maple syrup or honey) to sweeten.

How to make Marinara Sauce

Step 1: Prep the tomatoes

A fast and easy way to prep fresh tomatoes is simply to blend them up, skins and all. Yup, I know, this is not traditional but it is really time-saving – and I happen to like, even prefer the skins in here because they contain a higher concentration of healthy flavanols ( see #10).

Alternatively, you can slice the tomatoes in half and grate them, leaving the tomato skins out. This is also relatively fast and easy. In either case, you’ll end up with roughly four cups of tomatoes, which will end up reducing down to three.

Step 2: Saute!

Saute the shallot or onion in a generous amount of olive oil for a few minutes, then add the garlic., chili flakes, and oregano.

Step 3: Simmer!

Add the grated or blended tomatoes, salt and pepper.  (See recipe notes for canned Tomatoes.) Simmer the Marinara Sauce uncovered on the stovetop for 10 minutes over medium heat until reduced by one cup. Add the fresh basil.

Step 4: Taste and Adjust Seasonings

If your fresh tomato sauce lacks sweetness, stir in some tomato paste (or maple syrup or honey) to sweeten it. Adjust salt, pepper and chili flakes to your liking. In the end, you’ll have enough sauce for a batch of pasta or several pizzas.

FAQS

1. What is marinara sauce?
Marinara sauce is a classic Italian tomato-based sauce known for its simplicity and bright flavors. It is typically made with tomatoes, garlic, onions, herbs, and spices.

2. Is marinara sauce the same as spaghetti sauce?
While marinara sauce is often used as a base for spaghetti sauce, the two are not exactly the same. Marinara sauce is a simple tomato sauce, while spaghetti, or pasta sauce, often includes additional ingredients like meat, vegetables, or cheese.

3. Can I use either fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes in marinara sauce?
Yes, you can use fresh tomatoes in marinara sauce. Fresh tomatoes will give the sauce a subtly different flavor and texture compared to canned tomatoes. For canned tomatoes, I highly recommend San Marzano Tomatoes.

4. How long does it take to make marinara sauce from scratch?
The cooking time for marinara sauce can vary, but it takes just about 30 minutes to make this delicious homemade marinara sauce.

6. What are some dishes that can be made with marinara sauce?
Marinara sauce is incredibly versatile and can be used in various dishes. Some popular options include pasta dishes like spaghetti or lasagna, pizza sauce, eggplant Parmesan, chicken Parmesan, and as a dipping sauce for garlic bread or mozzarella sticks.

7. Can I adjust the spiciness of marinara sauce?
Yes, you can adjust the spiciness of marinara sauce to your liking. You can reduce or omit the chili flakes if you prefer a milder sauce
. For a spicier kick, you can add more crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper.

8. Do I need to use tomato paste in marinara sauce?
While tomato paste is not always mandatory, it is commonly used in marinara sauce recipes to enhance the tomato flavor and add a little sweetness.

9. How do I store Marinara sauce?
Properly stored in an airtight container, the Marinara Sauce will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge. Marinara Sauce can also be frozen in a mason jar – just be sure to leave an inch of headroom for expansion.

10. Can I substitute dried basil for fresh basil in marinara sauce?
While fresh basil will provide the best flavor, you can substitute dried basil for fresh basil in marinara sauce. Keep in mind that dried herbs are more concentrated, so you will need less. As a general rule, use about 1 teaspoon of dried basil for every tablespoon of fresh basil.

A fast and easy recipe for Marinara Sauce using fresh or canned tomatoes, with garlic, onions and oregano and basil cooked on the stovetop in under 30 minutes. Use this classic Marinara Sauce on pasta, pizza or meatballs. 

More Saucy recipes you'll love!

Ways to use Marinara Sauce!

A fast and easy recipe for Marinara Sauce using fresh or canned tomatoes, with garlic, onions and oregano and basil cooked on the stovetop in under 30 minutes. Use this classic Marinara Sauce on pasta, pizza or meatballs. Freeze for the winter months!

I know you’ll find a lot of uses for this Easy homemade Marinara Sauce recipe. Tuck it in your back pocket!

Have a beautiful weekend, friends!

xoxo

Sylvia

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A fast and easy recipe for Marinara Sauce using fresh or canned tomatoes, with garlic, onions and oregano and basil cooked on the stovetop in under 30 minutes. Use this classic Marinara Sauce on pasta, pizza or meatballs. 

Marinara Sauce Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 19 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Category: sauce, vegan
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

A fast and easy recipe for Marinara Sauce using fresh or canned tomatoes, with garlic, onions and oregano and basil cooked on the stovetop in under 30 minutes. Use this classic Marinara Sauce on pasta, pizza or meatballs.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shallots or 1 cup onions, diced
  • 46 garlic cloves
  • pinch red pepper flakes (or up to 1/4 teaspoon for a nice kick)
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes (or 28-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes– see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt,more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
  • 810 basil leaves, torn
  • optional: 1-2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey

Instructions

  1. Prep the tomatoes: If using fresh tomatoes, quarter them and blend in a blender. Alternatively, slice them in half and grate the flesh, leaving the skins behind.
  2. Saute: In a saute pan, saute shallot or onion over medium heat, for just a few minutes until just tender and fragrant, add the garlic, saute 1-2 minutes. Add the chili flakes and stir for one minute. Add the oregano, and give a stir. Add the tomatoes and all their juices. (If using canned tomatoes, break them apart with a metal spatula as best you can and add all the juice from the can-then add one cup of water rinsing out the can. ) Stir in the salt and pepper.
  3. Simmer: Bring to a simmer, uncovered, and simmer gently 8-10 minutes over medium-low heat,  stirring occasionally, until sauce begins to reduce and thicken. Reduce by one cup ( so you’ll end up with 3 cups).  If you used the canned whole tomatoes, feel free to blend them with an immersion blender.
  4. Stir in the torn basil leaves. Taste, adjust salt, pepper, and chili flakes, and add more if you like. If your sauce lacks sweetness, stir in some tomato paste and/or maple syrup.  If your sauce seems watery, just continue to cook it gently uncovered for a few more minutes. If it gets too thick add a splash of water, or if too sweet, balance it with a few drops of vinegar.
  5. Use on pasta or spaghetti or on meatballs. To use as a pizza sauce, cook it down just a few more minutes, to thicken a little more if you like. 😉

Notes

San Marzano Tomatoes, have amazing flavor and break down into a sauce beautifully. They make a better sauce than diced or crushed tomatoes.

The sauce will keep 4 days in the fridge- or can be frozen. If freezing the sauce in a mason jar, leave 1-inch headroom for expansion.

If your fresh tomatoes are acidic, a reader suggested adding finely diced carrots along with the onions to help sweeten the sauce naturally. Love this idea!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 154
  • Sugar: 7.6 g
  • Sodium: 305.3 mg
  • Fat: 11.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 14.1 g
  • Fiber: 3.9 g
  • Protein: 2.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Comments

  1. While making sourdough bread today I decided to put together a quick marinara for supper. I checked a few websites but I always seem to settle in to the Feasting at Home recipes. So, I like my marinara a bit complex and I found great suggestions in the comments section. (Joseph’s suggestion re: sautéing tomato paste and herbs with the onion/shallot mix and someone else said to add carrots for sweetness). Works for me! My only umami contribution is to add soya sauce instead of salt.






  2. Well Sylvia, once again you do not disappoint! I was motivated to make my own marinara today. This is delicious! Based on an earlier comment I am excited to use it in the “Italian Baked Beans and Kale” with Rancho Gordo Royal Corona GYNOURMOUS beans, (the only RG beans I had left in my pantry!) tonight for dinner! The Italian Baked Beans with Kale has been our staple which we refer to now as our “Sunday Supper” served with toasted sourdough, smeared with garlic and EVOO. Thank you so much!!!






  3. Could i just chop the tomatoes and then run the whole mixture through my vegetable mill? Do you ever use a mill for fresh tomato sauce?

  4. If anyone would care to respond…what type of red wine is best as an added ingredient? I read that a few people added red wine IN the sauce. Suggestions? Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi Saint, you can use either dry red wine or dry white wine in the sauce- both will work!

  5. Loved this recipe! So good and so easy! I added some red wine to the shallots & garlic before adding the tomatoes. I can’t wait to make this recipe again!






  6. Quick Question – Do you need to remove the tomato seeds when using fresh tomatoes? Thanks for your advice!

  7. Wonderful, I actually want to turn around and make another batch to maybe keep in the freezer. I used this in the Italian baked beans and they turned out so well. I used a can of crushed tomato with basil, did add one tab of tomato paste, fresh basil, a bit less garlic, only one teaspoon oil (as I try to cook very low fat) then all the rest you called for and since it was handy two tabs of dry red wine. The flavor and seasonings were wonderful and bright. Better then anything I could buy.






  8. Welp, another FAH recipe that has changed my life. I have made sauce my whole life and this one was by far the best! I will definitely keep this recipe as my favorite when I make spaghetti now! Also, I added 1 lb of beef and it was bombdiggity!






  9. Hello. I am always happy with any recipe I have tried & appreciate your expertise. I plan to make this recipe & am interested in canning it rather than freezing. How long would it need in a water bath to preserve it for winter use? Thanks.

    1. Hi Arleen, I’m not a canning expert. If anyone else is out there, would love some suggestions!

  10. Easy recipe and delicious – thank you! I used canned diced Roma tomatoes, a little less onion than recipe calls for(2/3 vs 1 cup), added 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and found the result full of flavor. I typically have all these ingredients in the house so this will be my go to marinara recipe.






  11. Lovely. It has so much flavor in such a quick sauce! It’s funny how important the tomato paste is for depth. I’ll try it again with canned tomatoes in the off-season or maybe go half and half. It’s perfect with the Italian Baked Beans and Greens!






  12. Simple and fresh! I added a bit of red wine and a spoonful of calabrian chiles instead of chill flakes, it turned out great.






  13. great easy recipe that used up some of my tomato bounty. thanks for the pureeing suggestion. I hadn’t thought of that & it worked great. I learned a trick for cutting the acidity of tomato sauce from an Italian chef. add some finely diced carrot to the sauce along with the onion. after years of using a bit of brown sugar or more salt to tone it down I’ve been able to skip it thanks to the carrot. I love all your recipes and am a faithful follower-thanks for all the effort.






  14. nice recipe however dry herbs should be rubbed between palms. then added to the olive oil stir several times to release their flavorful oils , then add a good squeeze of tubed tomato paste bout a tablespoon stir breaking it up so it cooks then add other ingredients stir altogether follow recipe from there






        1. Yes I did. 🙂 I always love your comments Joseph, they show the passion you have for cooking.

  15. This was wonderful. I only had about half the fresh tomatoes from my garden, so I added a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes after I blended them up. What a great and easy idea to get the taste of the fresh tomatoes without all the skinning and seeding. The herbs and spices were just right. I went to the heavy side of the chili flakes and it was perfect. Definitely adding to my rotation. I had a little bit with some roasted pecorino zucchini for a light supper.






      1. Ask someone to proofread your recipes. Should be:
        “They make a better sauce ‘than’ diced or crushed tomatoes.”

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