Homemade Marinara Sauce

Aromatic and totally delicious, this homemade marinara sauce flavored with garlic and basil is a classic sauce recipe that can be used in so many ways!

Homemade marinara sauce

How to make marinara sauce

Marinara sauce can be made with either canned or fresh tomatoes. If you have beautiful, perfectly ripe in-season tomatoes then using them to make marinara sauce is a fantastic idea. However, if you can’t find ripe tomatoes using canned is completely fine. In fact, it’s the way I most often make marinara. I like to flavor my sauce with onion, garlic, basil, chilli (red pepper flakes) and a pinch of sugar. You could add other herbs like rosemary, thyme and oregano too.

Cook the onion in a generous splash of olive oil until soft and translucent then add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add whole, canned tomatoes or peeled fresh tomatoes. If using fresh tomatoes, you’ll need to add half to 1 cup of stock or water to get the sauce started. Add the aromatics then lower the heat and simmer gently for at least 30 minutes but up to an hour with the lid ajar. Season to taste before using/storing.

Freezing and storing

  1. Freezing: Marinara sauce freezes very well. Allow cooked sauce to cool completely then transfer to freezer-safe containers or freezer bags. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw completely before using.
  2. Storing: This sauce can be canned (preserved) if using proper canning procedure. Stored in an airtight jar, this sauce will last for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Homemade marinara sauce with fresh basil

How to use marinara sauce

  1. Vegetarian lasagna with basil pesto
  2. Pizza pasta bake
  3. Bolognese baked gnocchi
  4. Crispy fried mozzarella
  5. Easy Zucchini Parmesan


Marinara sauce in jars.

Sauce recipes

  1. Creamy Gorgonzola sauce
  2. Béchamel sauce
  3. Home-made Peri-Peri sauce
  4. Easy creamy pepper sauce
  5. Roasted tomato sauce

Marinara sauce

Aromatic and totally delicious, this homemade marinara sauce flavored with garlic and basil is a classic sauce recipe that can be used in so many ways!
4.34 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Marinara, Marinara sauce, Marinara sauce recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Calories: 31kcal
Author: Alida Ryder
Servings: 12


  • 1 red onion finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1.6 kg (2 x 800g cans) whole tomatoes (2 x 28oz cans) Alternatively use 2kg (4lbs) fresh, peeled tomatoes.
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • ½-1 tsp chilli flakes / red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar


  • Fry the onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil until soft and translucent.
  • Add the garlic and cook until fragrants, approximately 1 minute.
  • Add the tomatoes, basil, chilli flakes, salt, pepper and sugar. Reduce the heat and cook with the lid ajar for at least 30 minutes. For a more concentrated sauce, cook for up to 60 minutes. Check on the sauce regularly and add water if it looks too dry.
  • Adjust seasoning if necessary then use or store as needed.


Calories: 31kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 395mg | Potassium: 333mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1111IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg


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  1. Great recipe. A single 3-star rating is unwarranted.

    Thanks Alida, have been enjoying your easy but tasty takes on a number of dishes here on the website.

    1. I wouldn’t be able to tell you Kirsty as it wasn’t developed for preservation purposes and I wouldn’t want to advise you and then it doesn’t work/you get ill.

  2. Wahh!! I have been roasting at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 2 hours now and started to read the comments because I have tomato soup as well. hopefully I can remedy this. what a bummer!

  3. Oh.my.word. Every year I try a new spaghetti sauce recipe when my tomatoes are ripe in the garden, and every year I am sadly disappointed. This sauce is amazing. Sing-it-from-the-hills AMAZING. I will never try another sauce recipe again. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  4. Tanya, perhaps put your oven on nice and hot then pour the sauce into a deep roasting tray and allow it to ‘roast’ until reduced and more intense in flavour? You could also do that in a saucepan and just simmer it down until it’s more intense? Add a little tomato paste if your sauce isn’t as red as you want it.

  5. hello, I was about to come on here and leave you a nasty comment because my sauce turned out nothing like yours and then I realised that you said Celsius not Fahrenheit, so I now have orange soup mush… any suggestions on how to save this batch?

  6. Anne, it does make for a better sauce. The easiest way to peel tomatoes is to score the top of each tomato then pour boiling water over them and allow to sit in the hot water for a minute then dunk into ice water and the skins should just slip off.

  7. It’s strange what Americans think of as marinara, because real marinara has anchovies in it. What made you put in thyme instead of basil and parsley out of curiosity?

  8. I need to try this one out this weekend, have been looking for a neat pasta sauce that I can freeze and re-use.

    Two quick questions:
    1. Do you have a quick recipe for gravy sauce (for rice, potatoes, meat etc)?
    2. Where is the best place that stock fresh herbs like the thyme?

    Gonna be a regular visitor to your blog from now on 🙂

    Keep well

    1. MM: I don’t actually have a gravy recipe. I normally just take the pan I roasted the meat in, stir in some flour over heat and then add stock.
      I live in South Africa and all supermarkets have fresh herbs. But you should also get fresh herbs at a fruit and veg shop (green grocer) or a fresh produce market?

  9. Your recipe is flawed. There was nothing left for freezing!! ;). Was really easy to make. Already posted link to your blog on fb. My kids don’t like tomato-based sauces (weird cause they like tomatosauce) but they all had second helpings. Someone said they are adding butternut. Think that will be nice too!!

    Thank you!! Thank you!!

  10. OMGreatness…. Num Num Num… Added two little green chilli’s and Lordy lordy lord… Used a whole pot of Penne, Scoffed the lot (Ssssh dont tell anyone)… Thank you so much… This will def become a regular…

  11. OOOhhhh Wow… I like the Idea of Roasting the tomatoes and onions…. MMMM and add a little Fresh chilli and you will have the most divine Arrabbiatta.. OMW guess what I’m doing for dinner tonight