This easy homemade marinara sauce is made with simple staple ingredients like canned tomatoes, onion, garlic, and herbs. Use it with pasta, casseroles and more!
I have a little secret to share. I haven’t purchased bottled marinara sauce in a very long time, because making my own is so incredibly quick and easy! It requires just 5 ingredients under $5 total, about 20 minutes to make, and you have so much more control over the flavor.
I love my tomato basil marinara sauce made with fresh tomatoes, but this recipe is so much simpler to make and it’s honestly the one I use for everyday cooking. Make this easy homemade marinara sauce year-round and use it as a simple pasta sauce, as a base for soups, in casserole recipes, as a sub for pizza sauce, and in so many other ways!
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Canned crushed tomatoes— you can use diced tomatoes if you prefer a chunkier sauce.
- Fresh herbs— like rosemary, basil, oregano or thyme (I use whatever I happen to have on hand). Dried herbs will also work.
- Brown sugar— canned tomatoes aren’t as sweet as fresh tomatoes, so I usually like to add just a touch of sweetness to balance out the acidity. This is optional, of course.
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
How to Make Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce
- Cook onions and garlic in olive oil till softened.
- Add canned tomatoes.
- Stir in herbs and seasonings. Adjust to taste.
- Simmer sauce for at least 10 minutes (if I have time sometimes I’ll simmer for up to 1 hour).
- Use immediately or store for later. If you prefer a smooth sauce, blend with an immersion blender or blender.
This marinara sauce keeps really well! Store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for a month or more.
Use this homemade marinara sauce as a jumping off point!
- Meat Sauce— brown 8 ounces sausage or ground beef in pot first before cooking onions.
- Mushroom Marinara Sauce— cook 8 ounces sliced button or cremini mushrooms with onions.
- Spicy Marinara Sauce— add ¼-½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes along with the other seasonings.
- Combination Marinara Sauce— combine any or all of the options above!
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Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ onion , chopped
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 28 can crushed tomatoes (use traditional or Italian-style)
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried such as Italian seasoning)
- 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar (optional)
- Salt and pepper , to taste
- Add olive oil to large pot or skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for a few minutes until softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Add crushed tomatoes, herbs, brown sugar if using, and salt and pepper.
- Simmer on medium low heat for at least 10 minutes, or up to 1 hour if you have the time.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- This sauce is slightly chunky, if you prefer a smooth sauce blend with an immersion blender or blender.
- Use sauce immediately or store in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for a month or more.