marinara sauce in bowl close up
Basics, Pasta Recipes, Sauces, Vegan, Vegetarian

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

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This marinara sauce made from scratch comes together in under 15 minutes, and only requires a small handful of simple ingredients. This sauce is HIGHLY customizable, so you can add any additional spices/meat/veggies you like!

Why crack open a jar of pasta sauce when you can make your own, fresh, flavorful and customizable homemade sauce within 15 minutes??

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    There are a ton of different ways to serve this sauce, and it’s super freezer friendly!

    marinara sauce in skillet close up

    What is marinara sauce vs spaghetti sauce?

    Marinara sauce is a simple, tomato based sauce (that’s typically used on pasta). It is slightly different than spaghetti sauce.

    Spaghetti sauce usually has the same base ingredients as marinara sauce, but with a few extra add-ins. The most common additions that make spaghetti sauce … spaghetti sauce are ground beef, turkey, chicken, etc. And/or vegetables like carrots, celery, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.

    So basically, marinara sauce is a super simplified, bare-bones version of spaghetti sauce. But that doesn’t mean it’s any less delicious! The simplicity really makes all of the ingredients stand out!

    How to use marinara sauce:

    I especially love using this sauce for lasagna, but you can use it for any shape of pasta you love. You can serve any style pasta with marinara sauce, make a marinara meat sauce with your preferred meat, add extra spices and/or vegetables, enjoy with meatballs, or it can even double as a pizza sauce!

    marinara sauce in bowl

    Marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes:

    You can make this marinara sauce with either fresh or canned tomatoes.

    For fresh tomatoes, you’ll need 2 pounds of peeled and pureed Roma tomatoes. It should come up to about 2 cups once it’s blended up. You can also dice them finely if you like more texture in your sauce!

    For canned, I like to use pureed tomatoes, but you can also use diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes and just blend them yourself. Or (again if you like more texture) leave them on the chunkier side!

    marinara sauce in spoon

    How to store marinara sauce:

    Marinara sauce will keep for around 1 week in the fridge, stored in an airtight container. You can also freeze marinara sauce for up to 3 months!

    To freeze, store the sauce in either a freezer safe airtight container or (my favorite) a plastic bag! Storing your sauce in a plastic bag makes for easier defrosting.

    If stored in a bag, you can simply cut the bag open and transfer the frozen marinara sauce to a medium sized pot. Heat over low heat to defrost and you’re ready to go!

    If stored in a container, you’ll need to let it sit out at room temperature for a few hours to let it defrost before using.

    If you liked this recipe for marinara sauce, you may like some of these similar recipes:

    fettuccini in alfredo sauce
    penne alla vodka
    tomato & mushroom spaghetti
    classic beef lasagna
    Italian meatballs

    Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

    This marinara sauce made from scratch comes together in under 15 minutes, and only requires a small handful of simple ingredients. This sauce is HIGHLY customizable, so you can add any additional spices/meat/veggies you like!
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 10 minutes
    Total Time 15 minutes
    Servings 2 cups of sauce


    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced or grated * see notes
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
    • 2 cups tomato puree ** see notes for substitutions
    • salt & pepper to taste


    • In a large skillet, combine olive oil, onion, and garlic, along with a pinch of salt. Place over medium heat and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion has softened and turned translucent. Add your oregano and basil, and cook for an additional minute just to toast the dry herbs.
    • Add your tomato puree to the skillet. Raise your heat to high to bring the sauce up to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer the sauce for 5 to 10 minutes. *The longer you simmer the sauce, the more flavorful! You should aim for under 30 minutes* Taste for seasoning and adjust if needed.


    * How you cut your onions depends on how textured you’d like your marinara sauce. I usually use my sauce for lasagna, so I prefer it on the smoother side. I usually grate my onion for that reason, but it is up to you!
    ** In place of tomato puree, you can also use diced tomatoes or canned whole tomatoes (just give them a rough chop before adding them). Again, if you like a more textured sauce, you can use a larger cut of tomatoes or use fresh tomatoes that have been peeled and chopped. For a smoother sauce, you can use canned pureed tomatoes, or puree your own fresh tomatoes in a food processor or blender.


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