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Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe

This incredibly easy Marinara Sauce Recipe (also known as red sauce or pasta sauce), is made using simple ingredients and can be used as the based for so many recipes. Great on your weekend pizza or your weeknight pasta!

Marinara Sauce - sauce shot from the side in a pot

Nothing comes close to the fresh flavors of a home-made pasta sauce. Ready in 30 minutes, it’s a great all-round sauce that can be used in so many ways!

Marinara Sauce - side by side

What is Marinara Sauce?

Marinara sauce is an Italian tomato-based sauce often paired with pasta or used as a base in recipes like Lasagna, Spaghetti And Meatballs or Pastitsio!

It’s commonly made of tomatoes (canned or fresh), garlic, onion, tomato paste and herbs. I take mine a step further with the addition of soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce which add loads of umami!

Marinara Sauce - sitting on top of pasta

Let’s talk tomatoes!

Marinara Sauce - LET'S TALK TOMATOES WITH FRESH TOMATOES AND CANNED TOMATOES

This recipe calls for easy to use crushed, canned tomatoes. Which quality you use matters. I would highly recommend buying from an Italian deli. It’s easy to ask the people who work there which brand they recommend to get the very best flavor out of your sauce.

Substituting for fresh tomatoes

You can substitute canned tomatoes for fresh tomatoes. However, you will need to blanch them in boiling water, remove the skin and crush them in a food processor.

For a smoother sauce

My Marinara sauce uses crushed tomatoes which gives you a nice chunky sauce. For a smoother sauce use equal parts passata in place of crushed tomatoes.

Ingredients You Need To Make Marinara Sauce

Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

The ingredients used to make these intensely delicious tomato sauce are pretty simple and you probably already have them in your cupboard now! This recipe relies heavily on good quality ingredients. I’ll delve a little into them below.

Marinara Sauce - ingredients image

  • Olive oil – Use a good quality olive oil here. I used extra virgin olive oil.
  • Onion – white or brown will work. Finely chop it unless you’re ok with visible chunks.
  • Garlic cloves – use good quality, locally grown garlic. Not imported garlic.
  • Tomato paste – Regular old plain tomato paste. No need for you to get ones that are flavored with basil and other things. Opt in for a good quality one. Not a no-name one (if you can).
  • Italian herbs – I always have this in the house. You can use it in meats, fish and is perfect for this sauce. You can use dried oregano in its place.
  • Salt – I used fine salt.
  • Pepper – freshly ground black pepper is ideal. I like using white pepper too.
  • Crushed tomatoes – yes, brand matters. More importantly than that, buying from an Italian deli is always going to be better than buying the cr–p they sell at supermarkets. Ask your friendly deli attendant which one they use at home.
  • Stock – use whichever stock you have on hand, just make sure it’s good quality. Beef stock is a great one to use if you’re adding mince into this sauce to make it a Bolognese.
  • Basil – use fresh basil for added flavor. Dried basil will work at a pinch but isn’t as strong in flavor.

Optional ingredients, but highly recommend!

  • Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce – yes, you read right! You can’t taste the soy sauce, but both of these sauces are added in small amounts to add an extra depth of salty umami flavor.

How to make Marinara Sauce!

Marinara Sauce - steps

  1. Sauté the garlic and onion.
  2. Then add the tomato paste, herbs, salt and pepper and stir until tomato paste begins to caramelize.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
  4. Then, turn your heat down and simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce has reduced and is thickened. use it on pizza or pasta!

Marinara Sauce - used on sheet pan pizza

Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!

  • Use good quality ingredients! Locally grown garlic and good quality canned tomatoes.
  • Make it your own! – use your favorite herbs and flavorings to make it extra delicious!
  • For added heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes!
  • Turn this into a meat sauce by adding beef mince in with the onion and garlic.

How do I store this?

This sauce is a freezer friendly, take out and heat up during the week option! Store in an airtight container once cooled and freeze for months. You can also store this in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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Marinara Sauce - thumbnail image

Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe

This easy Marinara Sauce Recipe is made using simple ingredients and can be used as the based for so many recipes. Great on pizza or with pasta!

Serves 4

5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 26 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Calories: 161kcal
Author: Nick Makrides

Ingredients

Marinara Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves - finely minced see notes
  • 2-3 tbsp tomato paste best quality you can get!
  • 1 tsp Italian herb mix
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 cans crushed tomatoes (see notes)
  • 1 cup (250 ml) beef, chicken or vegetable stock (good quality!)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce adds flavor!
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce flavor!
  • 2 tbsp basil chopped


Instructions

Marinara Sauce

  • Note: this recipe is really forgiving. The soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce are optional but add a good boost of umami (savory flavor). No, you can’t taste the soy sauce, it’s only a small amount but enhances the overall tomato flavor.
  • Add the olive oil in a large saucepan (you’ll need one with a lid) and add your chopped onion and garlic. Mix using a wooden spoon for 60 seconds on medium heat.
  • Turn the heat to medium high and add the tomato paste, Italian herbs, salt and pepper and stir until the tomato paste starts bubbling.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, stock, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and basil and stir until mixture bubbles. Turn heat down to low, cover pot with lid and simmer for 20 minutes. The mixture should thicken slightly, reduce, and intensify in flavor. The longer you cook it, the thicker it gets, just take care not to let it burn! Thicker sauce is great for pizza!

Notes

Crushed tomatoes - yes, brand matters. More importantly than that, buying from an Italian deli is always going to be better than buying the cr--p they sell at supermarkets. Ask your friendly deli attendant which one they use at home.
Garlic - If you’re in Australia, buy from a good fruit shop, not the supermarket. And make sure you buy Aussie grown garlic, it tastes way better. Supermarkets sell really old garlic that’s mass produced and takes months to arrive here.
Serving suggestions - if using for pasta, cook your favorite pasta using package instructions, throw 2-3 tbsp of pasta water in your sauce to thin out (if thick). Thicker sauce goes well on pizza! This can be used in any way you would use store bought marinara. It tastes 100x times better though!
Storage - Marinara Sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Can be stored in a zip lock bag and frozen for months. Thaw at room temp and then reheat before using.
Nutrition - is based on per cup. This makes about 2 cups depending on how long it’s cooked.
A note on measurements - all ingredients in this recipe are offered in Australian cup measurements and weight measurements. Weight measurements are created by me, in my kitchen here in Melbourne Australia. The best way to get recipe success is to measure ingredients by weight, using kitchen scales.

Nutrition

Calories : 161kcal
Carbonhydrates: 22g
Protein: 6g
Fat: 8g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
Monounsaturated Fat : 5g
Sodium: 1140mg
Potassium : 873mg
Fiber: 5g
Sugar : 12g
Vitamin A: 628IU
Vitamin C: 24mg
Calcium: 102mg
Iron: 4mg
Nutrition Disclosure
Gave this recipe a go?Mention @thescranline or tag #thescranline!

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1 comment

Nick Makrides September 9, 2023 - 7:04 am

5 stars
My go to sauce for pasta and pizza. It’s so tasty! N x

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