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.
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.
How to Make it
Heat the oil and the garlic over medium heat for 1 minute.
Add the Plum Tomatoes.
Crush the tomatoes.
Stir to combine.
Simmer for 15 minutes or until ready to serve, sauce will continue to thicken as it simmers.
(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.
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.”
- If you’re looking for DOP certified tomatoes, look for this red and yellow starburst on the label.
- Read more about DOP certified tomatoes from serious eats and taste cooking.
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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Homemade Marinara Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 oz. plum tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
(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.