This homemade marinara sauce recipe is easy to make, naturally gluten-free and vegan, and slow-simmered with the BEST tomato, basil and garlicky flavors.
Friends, do you have an amazing homemade marinara sauce recipe in your repertoire?
If not, bookmark this one. ♡♡♡
It’s the classic marinara sauce that I have made countless times over the years and it is my absolute favorite. It’s incredibly easy to make with a few classic ingredients, which also happen to be naturally gluten-free and vegan. It’s made with a blend of herbs and seasonings that perfectly compliment those slow-simmered rich tomato marinara flavors, without completely overpowering them. It only requires about 10 minutes of active hands-on prep time, giving you time to work on the rest of dinner while the sauce simmers on the stove. And best of all, this marinara sauce is just so incredibly nostalgic and comforting and flavorful.
Serve it up with your favorite pasta, pizza, lasagna, meatballs, parmigiana, subs, or whatever sounds good. And while you’re at it, I also highly recommend doubling the recipe anytime you make this marinara sauce, as the leftovers keep beautifully in the fridge or freezer for later.
So many good reasons to make this marinara sauce…so let’s do it!
Marinara Sauce Recipe | 1-Minute Video
Marinara Sauce Ingredients:
To make this homemade marinara sauce recipe, you will need the following ingredients (amounts included in the recipe below):
Olive oil (or butter): Choose one or the other. Or my favorite — a tablespoon of each! Whichever option you choose will be delicious.
Onion: I really like to finely-diced my onion for this sauce, so that the onion chunks aren’t too big. But go with whatever size of dice you prefer. White or yellow onion will do.
Garlic: Either finely minced or pressed.
Crushed red pepper flakes: Which we will briefly sauté in the olive oil (or butter) to bring out their flavor. Feel free to double the amount of crushed red pepper flakes if you would like a spicier sauce.
Whole tomatoes: I strongly recommend splurging an extra few dollars on a large can of good-quality San Marzano tomatoes, which are famously more flavorful, a bit sweeter and less acidic than Roma tomatoes and delicious in marinara sauce. But that said, any can of good-quality whole tomatoes will work well in this recipe.
Fresh basil: I like to just simmer a few sprigs of fresh basil in my marinara, and then remove (and discard) them before serving. But you are also welcome to chop the basil leaves and just leave them in the sauce — up to you!
Dried oregano: A generous pinch of oregano is a must for me with marinara sauce.
Fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper: Don’t forget to taste the marinara sauce once it has simmered and see if it needs extra salt and pepper!
How To Make Marinara Sauce:
To make the best marinara sauce, simply…
Sauté onion and garlic: First we will sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil (or butter) until softened, adding in the crushed red pepper flakes at the very end to help bring out their flavor.
Add remaining ingredients. Next, add in the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.
Simmer. Simmer the sauce covered for about 20-30 minutes to help deepen all of those delicious flavors.
Season. Discard the basil sprig, and season the marinara with extra salt and pepper if needed.
Serve. Then dish it up nice and warm with your favorite recipe…and enjoy!
Possible Recipe Variations:
There are all sorts of ways that you can customize this marinara recipe if you would like, so please feel free to experiment and get creative! For example, you could…
Make it spicier: Double (or even triple) the amount of crushed red pepper flakes in the recipe.
Make it herbier: I like to also toss in a sprig of fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme, if I happen to have one on hand.
Make it extra buttery: If you really want to be indulgent, stir an extra tablespoon or two of butter into the sauce just before serving. It tastes so decadent and delicious!
Make it cheesy: Stir 1/2 cup of freshly-grated Parmesan into the cheese just before serving.
Make it creamy: If you would like more of a rose sauce, you can stir 1/2 cup of heavy cream into the marinara.
Make it chunkier or smoother: You have the option to break up the tomatoes as much or as little as you would like with a wooden spoon. But if you would like an even smoother sauce, just purée it with an immersion blender or a traditional blender once it has finished cooking.
Ways To Use Marinara Sauce:
There are sooo many delicious ways that you can put this marinara recipe to use! For example, feel free to serve it with…
Pasta: Spaghetti marinara is a classic, of course. But you could stir this sauce into any other kinds of pasta, baked ziti, lasagna and more. Or if you really want to go for the gold, make some homemade pasta!
Meat or seafood: You could make Italian meatballs marinara, chicken marinara, shrimp marinara, mussels marinara, or whatever else might sound good!
Sauté onion and garlic: Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until combined. Add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until combined.
Add remaining ingredients. Add the tomatoes, oregano, salt and black pepper, and stir to combine. Use a wooden spoon or a potato masher to gently break up the tomatoes as the sauce continues to heat. Stir in the fresh basil sprigs.
Simmer. Continue cooking the sauce until it reaches a simmer. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and continue to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Season. Remove and discard the fresh basil sprigs. Taste and season the sauce with salt and pepper, as needed. (If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can also purée it with an immersion blender until it reaches your desired consistency.)
Storage instructions: To store this marinara sauce, let it cool until it reaches room temperature. Then store it in a sealed jar or food storage container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
This is my family’s go to marinara recipe! We have it with pasta once a week, and use it in a variety of ways as leftovers.
Thank you for sharing! I am loving trout website and recipes!
I’ve used this recipe several times now and can safely say it’s my go to. It’s easy to make and tastes great, also easy to mess with as in alter the flavour from spicy to cheesy. Thumbs up from me.
Added a little more garlic and used sweet onion. Added 1/4 teaspoon of white sugar and 1 1/2 Tblspn of brown sugar. This was as good as the sauce that takes me 2 hours to make. Granted they are distinctly different flavors and this one doesn’t have the depth or smoothness of 2 hour marinara but it was excellent.
Love this recipe! Easy and quick to make. Great and versatile to use for pizza sauce or pasta dishes. Add a little red wine and it’s even better.
Excellent marinara. I haven’t made any other since I discovered this one. Great for everything you’d use marinara for. The pepper flakes definitely add a nice little zing.
I would like to make your recipe and add eggplant. I want to can the sauce. What do you suggest I add to the recipe to can the sauce please.
How do I reheat it if it was made the night before Can I heat in a whole pot altogether please let me know Christmas dinner and my father-in-law’s birthday thank you
So easy to prepare & absolutely delicious!!!
I made this marinara sauce to go with my homemade ravioli. It was very well received by the folks we were hosting for a dinner party. Very delicious and I love the extra zip the red pepper flakes gives this sauce! I’ve already passed the recipe on to two others. Thank you for posting it. This will be my go-to for marinara sauce from now on!!
You mentioned a white lasagna. Is there a recipe for it, or do you just use alfredo sauce in place of red sauce. If so, do you use meat in the lasagna.
The best marinara sauce!
I make this sauce for my eggplant parm, and everyone loves it. So good!
Excellent recipe! Already making it again! Thank you!
Awesome and so easy; made it and the Eggplant Parmesan exactly as recommended (optional tips and all. This is my go to recipe for all time. No need to ever look for another….
I’ve been making this sauce non-stop ever since I discovered it, so thank you very much for posting it! I’ve stopped buying the jarred sauces because this is so tasty, and there are so many ways to use it and vary it.
A question: if I were to make a roasted garlic marinara using this recipe as a template, would I use slightly less raw garlic? Or perhaps eliminate it altogether?
This really is the perfect marinara.
Can you just let this simmer for hours to get depth of flavour.
This looks delicious!!! Do you think I could use fresh garden tomatoes and how would you suggest substituting them?
Hi there Ms. Gimme Some, tried your marinara sauce and meatballs. One word, OUTSTANDING. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Delicious, easy and had all the ingredients. Will definitely make again. Thank you. 😊
This is the best marinara sauce I have ever made. I used my freshly canned tomatoes. The sauce was delicious!
This recipe seems to call for onion, but it’s not listed in the recipe at all.
I love this recipe!To save freezer space have you ever hot bath can this recipe? If so any tips?
Delicious! I use this as pasta sauce, pizza and calzone sauce, and dipping sauce for Stromboli and calzone! It’s the best recipe I’ve found for marinara and far surpasses the one I was using from the NYT.
I love the simplicity; however, it’s quite flavorful!!!
This sauce was really tasty! Especially with the meatball recipe!! Put the Italian music on and WOW!
I use this recipe often to make marinara and freeze it. It’s the only red sauce my toddler eats!! She loves to “dip dip” everything in it.
Amazing sauce! When making a homemade sauce I always add a drizzle of balsamic glaze a nice splash 1/2c of a red blend wine one you enjoy drinking and do both butter and olive oil… to die for delish. Thank you for the recipe!
Loved it! it was amazing!
I made it with a simple homemade pasta and it was delish! I will put the pasta recipe at the bottom
I am new to your website, but after making your marinara sauce (at least half a dozen times), I am a big fan! Love the sauce, the easy cooking method, and the hints from the other commentators as they nudge the ingredients a bit. Thank you for sharing!