An easy marinara sauce recipe with just a few simple ingredients. Store up to a week in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer. Click here to jump to the recipe!
We eat a lot of pasta around here and while we always stock up on boxes of pasta, we usually forget the jars of pasta sauce. Night after night of disappointment led to learning how to make our own marinara sauce.
We’re so glad we did.
Our marinara sauce recipe is surprisingly easy to make and can be stored up to a week in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer.
Take a look at our Spinach Lasagna Recipe, using this marinara sauce recipe layered between fresh spinach and cheeses. It’s delicious.
How to Make Our Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe
This is a very basic sauce and can be used as a building block for many dishes. Use for pastas, fish or meats. You can add a little cream, add olives or capers or try making it a little spicy with crushed red chile flakes.
Main ingredients include cans of whole peeled tomatoes, which we hand crush (more on that below), olive oil, garlic, onion and carrot.
The onion and carrot add natural sweetness to the sauce, balancing the acidity of the tomatoes. For the carrots, we took a tip from Mario Batali — he gates the carrot. We loved that — the carrot sort of melts into the sauce. You almost don’t know it’s there.
We also add lots of fresh basil at the end — you could also use parsley.
Why we prefer canned whole tomatoes for marinara sauce.
By hand crushing whole tomatoes, you control the texture of the sauce. Like your sauce a little chunky? Don’t crush the tomatoes as much. Love it extra smooth — crush the tomatoes more. We like it somewhere in the middle.
Not only do we love the extra control, we like getting our hands (well, hand) a little dirty — it’s fun to crush tomatoes. Cooking should make you smile — digging into a bowl of tomatoes and squeezing most certainly achieves that.
If that’s just not your thing though, you could always use a potato masher or just buy crushed tomatoes from the store — it’s your sauce after all.
You May Also Like
- We love pasta, so you may want to take a glance at all pasta recipes on Inspired Taste.
- We make our own rich tomato sauce for this Meaty Lasagna Recipe.
- Or, try adding this marinara sauce to our Baked Ziti with Spinach — We love it.
Equipment you’ll need. A chef’s knife, boxed grater, large pot, measuring spoons, large bowl and a wooden spoon or spatula.
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- 1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 large onion, finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups or 180 grams)
- 1 medium carrot, grated (about 1/2 cup or 60 grams)
- Two 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 20 fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare Sauce: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add onions and garlic then cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned - about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the grated carrots and a pinch of salt then cook another 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.
- Crush and Add Tomatoes: While the vegetables cook, open tomato cans then pour tomatoes with juices into a large bowl. Use you hands or a potato masher to crush the tomatoes until desired sauce consistency.
- Add crushed tomatoes with all juices and bay leaf to pan. Stir sauce then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Note - if the sauce is too bright or acidic, try adding a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity from the tomatoes).
- Remove bay leaf and discard then stir in chopped basil.
- To Store: To store, cool then refrigerate up to one week or freeze up to 6 months.