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Marinara Sauce (Best Homemade Recipe)

Are you someone who loves pasta, pizza, and Italian recipes in general?

If so, good, old-fashioned marinara sauce is a must-have ingredient in your kitchen.

Marinara Sauce in a White Bowl

It’s so incredibly versatile yet simple. And it can bring robust flavors to all your favorite recipes.

Everything from traditional spaghetti and lasagna to chicken parmesan sliders and Italian meatball subs will benefit from it.

So today, I’ll tell you everything you ever wanted to know about marinara sauce and more.

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe

I could talk for hours about the different uses for marinara, so let’s skip that for now.

Instead, let’s talk a bit about this particular marinara recipe.

  • It’s quick and easy, and it’s far superior to any store-bought marinara.
  • It has a rich, bright tomato flavor infused with tons of herby goodness.
  • It takes a little more than 30 minutes to make and requires no particular culinary skill.

Sounds pretty impressive, don’t you think?

Homemade Marinara Sauce on a White Ceramic Bowl

Ingredients

  • Stewed tomatoes. Stewed tomatoes also hugely to this pasta sauce recipe. You’ll need more than double the stewed tomatoes to tomato paste ratio for the best and freshest flavor.
  • Tomato paste. Use high-quality tomato paste. Stick to the original flavor. You won’t need any add-ins.
  • Fresh parsley. Some recipes use basil, but I prefer parsley. It has an earthy, fresh flavor that pairs well with all the tomatoes.
  • Garlic. Some might say, “Don’t go overboard with the garlic!” But I say, “Measure with your heart!”
  • Oregano. There’s no need to go with fresh oregano. A single teaspoon of dried oregano will be just fine.
  • Salt and black pepper. These common pantry staples enhance all the other flavors in the recipe.
  • Olive oil. High-quality olive oil (or butter) is a must. Don’t try to save money by going with a generic brand here. Stick to the good stuff.
  • Onion. You can use yellow or white onions. Be sure to dice them finely, as you don’t want the chunks too large.
  • White wine. Not all marinara recipes call for wine. However, I’ve found it’s just the thing to really set off all the other flavors in the sauce.
Marinara Sauce on a Bowl Top View

How to Make Marinara Sauce

For the complete marinara recipe, keep scrolling. But check out this section if you want a quick overview of the steps.

1. Process the ingredients. Add everything except the onion, white wine, and olive oil to a food processor. Then, blend them until they make a smooth, liquid paste.

2. Saute the onions. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Then, saute the onions in the oil until they’re just barely soft. (It shouldn’t take longer than a couple of minutes.)

3. Add the sauce and wine. Once the onions are soft, slowly add the sauce mixture and wine. Stir frequently as you pour them in.

4. Simmer. Let the mixture simmer for about 30 minutes. At the end of that time, it should be thick (like regular marinara sauce). Once it is, it’s ready to use or store.

If you’re storing it, let it cool for at least 2 hours first.

Tips and Variations

Here are a few final tips to keep in mind:

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  • Skip the food processor for a chunkier sauce. Instead, use a spoon to crush your tomatoes manually. That will leave you with more texture.
  • Use fresh tomatoes if you prefer. I go with stewed tomatoes simply for convenience. If you have fresh garden tomatoes, feel free to use those.
  • Make it meaty. If you want a meatier sauce, add some browned beef. Ground turkey is another good option. Brown the meat first, then add it during the simmering stage.
  • Add parmesan for more flavor. You won’t need much, half a cup or less. Don’t add it while it’s cooking. Instead, save it for immediately before you serve it.
  • Add heavy cream for a creamier sauce. Doing so makes the sauce richer and more indulgent. As with the cheese, you’ll need only half a cup.
  • Make it spicy. Add red pepper flakes if you like a little heat in your sauce. A small dash of cayenne will also dial up the temperature gauge.
Spaghetti With Marinara Sauce Garnished With Fresh Basil

Ways to Use Marinara Sauce

Remember earlier when I said I could talk for hours about the different ways to use marinara?

That wasn’t a lie or an exaggeration. There are hundreds of recipes with marinara in their ingredients.

Here are a few of my favorite uses for it:

  • Pizza sauce
  • Spaghetti (or another pasta) sauce
  • Manicotti or stuffed shells
  • Meatballs
  • Italian sloppy Joes
  • Italian meatloaf
  • Dipping sauce for breadsticks or cheese sticks
  • Lasagna
  • Chicken parmesan (or chicken parm sliders)
  • Calzones
  • Pizza rolls, pizza balls, or bagel bites
  • Condiment for sandwiches

You can also use marinara to top your various meat dishes, no matter how you cook them.

How to Store Marinara Sauce

It doesn’t matter if you’re making it ahead of time or have leftover sauce.

Either way, you must know how to store it properly to use later.

The first step is to let it cool completely. This typically takes about 2 hours once you remove it from the heat source.

After that, transfer it to an air-tight container (such as a Mason jar) and pop it into the fridge. It should remain fresh for up to a week.

You can also freeze marinara. Let it cool. Then, transfer it to freezer-safe Ziploc bags or another airtight container.

If you’re using bags, be sure to lay them flat in the freezer.

You can freeze your sauce for up to 6 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight when you plan to use it.

You can heat it from frozen, but you may have to add chicken stock if you do.

Marinara Sauce (Best Homemade Recipe)

Servings

8

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Calories

151

kcal

You’ll want to keep this recipe for marinara sauce in your arsenal forever! Made with classic ingredients and a touch of white wine, you’ll Want to put it on everything!

Ingredients

  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans stewed tomatoes

  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/3 cup onion, finely diced

  • 1/2 cup white wine

Instructions

  • Use a food processor to blend the following ingredients: tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper. Process until the mixture is blended and smooth.
  • Add oil to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Transfer the diced onions to the oiled skillet and cook for about 2 minutes. They should be slightly soft.
  • Slowly pour in the sauce mixture and wine, stirring continuously.
  • Simmer the sauce for approximately 30 minutes until it thickens. Stir occasionally throughout. When it’s ready, use it immediately while still warm. Or remove it from heat to cool before storing it in an airtight container for future use.
Marinara Sauce

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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