Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

This easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe uses canned tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and fresh basil to create a rich and hearty meatless Italian spaghetti sauce that’s perfect for pasta, dips and more!

Top your freshly cooked pasta with this easy Homemade Marinara Sauce that's filled with rich tomatoes, garlic and basil!pinterestWhile I’m a big fan of my quick and easy Italian Meat Sauce, this meatless alternative is great for topping all sorts of pasta too. It’s even quicker and easier because you don’t need to brown any meat!

What Is Marinara Sauce?

Marinara sauce is a tomato based sauce, primarily consisting of tomatoes, onions, garlic and fresh herbs. The difference between marinara sauce and spaghetti sauce is that marinara sauce is a little more simple in ingredients, while spaghetti sauce can contain other ingredients like veggies and/or meats.

Marinara Sauce is made with simple ingredients like tomatoes, onion, garlic and fresh basil.

How To Make Marinara Sauce –

  • Start by sautéing some onion in a little olive oil until the onion is nice and tender. Stir in a little fresh garlic until it’s nice and fragrant.
  • Toss in a can of crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and a little tomato paste along with some Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper, sugar and fresh basil.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 20 minutes, until the flavors have blended and the sauce has thickened.

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of making homemade Marinara Sauce. It’s actually really easy and almost impossible to mess up. Let your tastebuds guide you when seasoning. Taste as you go and adjust the seasonings to your preference.

Why Is There Sugar In Pasta Sauce?

Sugar in tomato sauce? Yup!

There’s actually a scientific reason behind it, so don’t skip it! Tomatoes are naturally high in acid, which can become very strong when you’re using a lot of tomatoes in a sauce. It can give the sauce a very sharp and bitter taste. Sugar helps to balance out the acidity in the tomatoes while also giving the sauce a nice mouth feel.

Don’t worry, we’re only talking about 1 to 2 teaspoons of sugar for the whole batch of sauce, so it should ruin anyone’s diet.

Simmer Marinara Sauce in pan to thicken the sauce and help it to become more rich in flavor.

What Do You Use Marinara Sauce For?

I’m sure it’s no surprise that Marinara Sauce is great as a topping to cooked pasta, but here are some of my other favorite ways to use it..

Can You Freeze Spaghetti Sauce?

YES! Marinara Sauce, Spaghetti Sauce, Italian Meat Sauce, etc. these are all great sauces to stock up and freeze! I’ll usually make a double batch of sauce and freeze the leftovers for another time.

Let sauce cool completely then ladle into a zip close bag or freezer friendly container. Marinara sauce can be frozen for up to 3 to 4 months.

Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe with fresh basil

This amazing meat-free pasta sauce is sure to become a staple in your household!

Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe with fresh basil
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Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

This easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe uses canned tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic and fresh basil to create a rich and hearty meatless Italian spaghetti sauce that's perfect for pasta, dips and more!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 cups
Calories: 95 kcal
Author: Shawn


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 to 2 tsp sugar, to taste
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil


  • Sauté the onion in olive oil over medium-high heat, until onion is nice and tender. Add in the garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in the remaining ingredients and bring mixture to a low simmer, stirring frequently. Let sauce simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, breaking up the diced tomatoes as you stir, until the sauce is thickened.
  • Serve warm over fresh pasta and enjoy!
FREEZER OPTIONS - Marinara sauce can be stored frozen in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Let defrost in fridge and reheat over low heat or in microwave.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 95kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 598mg | Potassium: 547mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 454IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords: Easy, Italian, Marinara Sauce, Meatless, Pasta Sauce, Quick, Vegetarian
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?don't forget to share a picture and mention @iwashyoudry on Instagram or tag #iwashyoudry!


Simple Marinara Sauce Recipe

About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes. Mom to 5 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
3 Responses
  1. Susan

    Hi Shawn, this is Susan. I am so new at looking up recipes. But it is fun. Having to stay in the last two month, with 2 grown sons and my husband, I realized my cooking was boring. I too had 5 kids and cooking seemed easier when they’re little. Probably cause they were hungry and not too fussy. I really appreciate how you made it so way to print your recipes. That’s so much

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Shawn Syphus

Hi, I’m Shawn and I’m a busy mom of five; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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