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5 from 4 votes

Marinara Sauce Recipe

This easy homemade Marinara Sauce recipe can be made with fresh tomatoes or canned tomatoes for a delicious addition to any Italian-inspired meal!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword easy marinara sauce, marinara sauce recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Calories 107kcal
Author Blair Lonergan


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons (about 2 cloves) minced garlic
  • 1 lb. fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped; OR 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (or ½ teaspoon dried oregano)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, but definitely our preference)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for about 3-5 minutes (or until soft). Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 more minute.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and reduce heat to medium low. Add basil, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Simmer, partially covered, stirring regularly, until sauce is thickened (about 10-15 minutes).
  • Taste the sauce, and add additional salt, pepper and herbs if desired.
  • If using fresh tomatoes, use a handheld stick blender, a food processor, or a large blender to puree the sauce until smooth. If using canned crushed tomatoes, you can skip this step.


  • This recipe yields about 2 cups, which is enough for one family dinner, one casserole, or one large jar. If you're like me and you'd rather have more to keep on hand, just double the ingredients and proceed with the same cooking instructions.
  • Use the best tomatoes! If you can get your hand on sweet, ripe, fresh local tomatoes, those are wonderful. There's a lot more work involved in using the fresh tomatoes, though -- you'll need to peel, seed and dice. As a result, I make this sauce year-round with a large can of crushed tomatoes (canned San Marzano tomatoes are the best)!
  • This marinara can be left chunky, or you can use a blender (or handheld blender) to puree the sauce to reach your desired consistency. 
  • How long does marinara sauce last? Store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • Can you freeze marinara sauce? Yes! Make a double batch and freeze a jar for a later date. It will last in the freezer for at least 3 months (and probably longer).
  • The small amount of sugar called for in the recipe gives the sauce that subtle sweet finish that balances the acid in the tomatoes. The sugar is optional, though! You can omit it if you're using fresh tomatoes that are naturally very sweet and flavorful.
  • Once the sauce is finished, adjust seasonings to suit your tastes. Add salt, pepper or additional herbs. If you like a spicy marinara, add crushed red pepper, to taste.
  • This kid-friendly marinara sauce recipe is made without wine. If you like a richer, bolder flavor, add 1/2 cup of red wine to the sauce. You may need to simmer the sauce a bit longer to get it to reduce and thicken.
  • For a briny addition, stir in some capers or olives!
Recipe adapted from The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook.


Serving: 1/2 cup | Calories: 107kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.6g | Protein: 2.2g | Fat: 5.8g | Saturated Fat: 3.7g | Cholesterol: 15.5mg | Sodium: 77mg | Fiber: 4.1g | Sugar: 7g