Homemade Marinara Sauce

This simple homemade marinara sauce is easy to make it just 20 minutes.  Use it for pastas, meatballs, pizza, and as a dipping sauce! This is one of the easiest sauces to make from scratch and is perfect for the freezer!

Plus, I’ll give you all of the info you need to know about picking out the best tomatoes for marinara sauce.

A wooden spoon scooping up homemade marinara sauce from a pot.

I absolutely love making my own marinara sauce at home. Not only is it budget-friendly, but it takes just 20 minutes!

…that’s about how long the jarred stuff takes to heat up on the stove anyway!

Sometimes I’ll combine my homemade version with a jar of my favorite store-bought sauce to stretch it a little farther and expand the flavors a bit.

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil- Lucini olive oil is a high-quality brand that I like to use for sauces and dressings.
  • Garlic- Use fresh cloves for best results. A garlic twister makes it easy and fast.
  • Plum Tomatoes- See below for important brand recommendations.
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Bay Leaf
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Salt

How to Make it

Heat the oil and the garlic over medium heat for 1 minute.

Add the Plum Tomatoes.

Garlic and oil in a pot with plum tomatoes to make homemade marinara sauce

Crush the tomatoes.

You can use an immersion blender, regular blender, or food mill.

Add seasonings. 

Crushed tomatoes with seasonings being added to make marinara sauce

Stir to combine.

Simmer for 15 minutes or until ready to serve, sauce will continue to thicken as it simmers.

Seasonings being stirred into a pot of marinara sauce.

(Optional) Premium Additions

  • Salt Pork- Add 2 oz, sliced thin. Add with the olive oil. Saute for 5 minutes, discard, then add garlic.
  • Minced Onion- Add 3 tablespoons. Heat with olive oil for 3 minutes before garlic is added.
  • Fresh Basil- 6 leaves, sliced into strips. Stir in at the end.

San Marzano Plum Tomatoes

The San Marzano variety of tomatoes are ideal for marinara sauce. But there are a few options to consider.

Authentic Italian San Marzano Tomatoes:

  • Carmelina San Marzano tomatoes are a high-quality variety to purchase that are true San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy. They’re well worth the cost.

Beware of What You Buy:

  • These cans are actually called San Marzano but that’s nothing more than the brand name. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not imported from Italy and they’re arguably not even true San Marzano tomatoes. (But the packaging would fool you.)

Popular US Variety:

  • Cento plum tomatoes are easy to find on US shelves. Although they have the word “certified” on the can, they aren’t truly DOP certified.
  • Although they are suitable for a simple marinara sauce, the word “certified” usually comes with a higher price tag, which you may better off spending on true DOP certified tomatoes. In the end, it comes down to personal taste preference.

DOP Certified:

This is a certification to look for when trying to find specific and Authentic Italian foods. As described by Walks of Italy: DOP is a certification that “ensures that products are locally grown and packaged.”

Using Fresh Garden Tomatoes

This recipe is a great way to use up fresh tomatoes from the garden:

You’ll just need to boil, blanch, and peel the tomatoes first. You can see how to do that in my recipe for canned tomatoes.

Marinara Sauce vs. Spaghetti Sauce

  • Marinara Sauce is a simple mix of crushed tomatoes, garlic, and seasonings.
  • Spaghetti Sauce can contain chopped vegetables and meat.

Storing Homemade Marinara Sauce

  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • Marinara sauce freezes very well. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 months.

What to Serve this With

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A wooden spoon scooping up homemade marinara sauce from a pot.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Use this simple homemade marinara sauce for pastas, meatballs, pizza, and as a dipping sauce! This is one of the easiest sauces to make from scratch and is perfect for the freezer.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz. plum tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Blend the plum tomatoes using an immersion blender, regular blender, or food mill.
  • Add the tomatoes and seasonings to the pot and stir to combine.
  • Simmer for 15 minutes or until ready to serve.

Notes

This recipe yields 28 oz. which is sufficient for 16 oz. (or 1 lb.) of pasta.

(Optional) Premium Additions

• Salt Pork- Add 2 oz, sliced thin. Add with the olive oil. Saute for 5 minutes, discard, then add garlic.
• Minced Onion- Add 3 tablespoons. Heat with olive oil for 3 minutes before garlic is added.
• Fresh Basil- 6 leaves, sliced into strips. Stir in at the end.

Using Fresh Garden Tomatoes

This recipe is a great way to use up fresh tomatoes from the garden:
You'll need to boil, blanch, and peel the tomatoes first. You can see how to do that in my recipe for canned tomatoes.

Nutrition

Calories: 68kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 104mg, Potassium: 320mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 1102IU, Vitamin C: 19mg, Calcium: 21mg, Iron: 1mg