This easy homemade Marinara Sauce is made with canned (or fresh) tomatoes and 6 simple ingredients. It’s healthy, and tastier than anything you’ll find in a jar!

There is just so much to love about easy Italian recipes. This marinara recipe is a perfect example of how cooking from scratch is just as easy and SOOO much better than running to the store for a jar of Prego.  Try this pasta sauce with homemade Chicken Parmesan or use it as a dip for Garlic Knots!

A mason jar full of homemade marinara with a basil leaf on top and spoon to the side.

Marinara sauce

Whenever I take the time to make sauces from scratch they always add that little extra “wow” factor to the dish I’m preparing. The store-bought equivalents could never measure up, and when the sauce is as easy to make as this Marinara sauce, it’s really a no brainer to put in the extra few minutes.

You can enjoy this marinara sauce as a dip for cheesy breadsticks, or as the sauce for your favorite Italian dishes, chicken parmesan or homemade manicotti.

Why make homemade marinara?

  • 6 ingredients.  Yep, just canned tomatoes, olive oil, fresh garlic, dried oregano and basil, sugar, and salt.
  • Healthy.  This homemade pasta is lower in sugar and sodium than what you’ll find at the store.  Plus, we all know tomatoes are good for you :).
  • Freezer-friendly.  Store it for up to 4 months in the freezer.

What’s the difference between MARINARA SAUCE and spaghetti sauce?

Spaghetti sauce and marinara sauce are often used like synonyms but they aren’t exactly the same (as any picky eater might tell you).   Though they are both tomato based sauces, marinara sauce is a meatless sauce that is slow-simmered and made with tomatoes, garlic, and herbs.  Traditional spaghetti sauce is basically a more complex version of marina sauce that has additional spices and is often made with meat and cut up vegetables.

How to Make Marinara Sauce:

  1. Crush the tomatoes.  Use your hands and crush them into a large bowl.
  2. Prep your skillet.  Heat oil in a large skillet, once hot, add the garlic and stir.
  3. Add all ingredients.  Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, sugar, and salt to the hot skillet.
  4. Simmer. Turn sauce down to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the oil on the surface turns a deep orange.

The ingredients for marinara sauce including a can of whole tomatoes, basil leaves, oregano, salt, olive oil and oregano, next to the ingredients in a saucepan.

In a rush? Make it ahead of time:

This marinara sauce is perfect for making ahead of time.  In fact you could double the recipe and freeze the extras.

Allow the marinara sauce to cool and store it in an airtight container or jar in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.  To freeze, put the homemade pasta sauce in an airtight container or freezer ziplock bag and store it for up to 4 months.

A saucepan full of homemade marinara sauce with a wooden spoon lifting some from the pan.

Also, if you’d like to use fresh tomatoes for this recipe, substitute about 6-7 fresh tomatoes for the 28oz. can of whole tomatoes.  Blanch them and remove the skins before step 1 of the recipe.

Overhead view of a spoonful of marinara sauce being lifted from a mason jar.

What to serve with marinara sauce:

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Recipe

A mason jar full of homemade marinara with a basil leaf on top and spoon to the side.
Prep 5 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 20 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
  

  • 28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes*
  • ¼  cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • Crush the tomatoes with your hands into a large bowl. Set aside.
  • Add oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic. Stir and then add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, sugar, and salt.
    The ingredients for marinara sauce including a can of whole tomatoes, basil leaves, oregano, salt, olive oil and oregano, next to the ingredients in a saucepan.
  • Turn sauce down to a simmer and cook for at least 15-20 minutes, until the oil on the surface turns a deep orange.
    A saucepan full of homemade marinara sauce with a wooden spoon lifting some from the pan.

Notes

*To substitute fresh tomatoes in place of the 28oz can of whole peeled tomatoes, use 6-7 ripe fresh tomatoes. Blanch them and remove the skins before step 1 of the recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 215kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 2gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 3gSodium: 767mgPotassium: 509mgFiber: 3gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 310IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 97mgIron: 3mg

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. I made fresh marinara sauce just dicing the tomatoes and removing the core, placed in a crock pot and simmered for 4 hours with the oregano, Italian seasoning, bay leaf. sugar and crushed garlic. Once the tomatoes had broken down I let it cool for 3 hours and put into a food processor and blended it to a nice consistency, placed in quart jars and in the refrigerator. I will use this on a pizza, for spaghetti sauce with hamburger added and of course chicken marinara. My daughter in law came over for a short visit and tasted the marina sauce while still warm and her reply was “Mom you should market this it is better tasting than any of the bottled stuff”. so will make again and freeze it next time.

  2. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe several times with canned tomatoes. It was delicious. Much better than any jar sauce. I use it for pasta, meat balls , lasagna and any posts dish everybody loves it wait.

    1. There are 13g of carbs in each serving. Tomatoes are primary carbohydrates so that makes sense :). There is 1 teaspoon of sugar in the recipe (which would contain 4 grams of carbs, totaling less than 1 gram of refined sugar per cup of sauce). You could certainly use a sugar substitute if you wanted to. Hope that helps.

      1. Just to chime in – Lauren’s numbers seem to be based on 3 servings per batch. I use sauce more sparingly and find that I get more like 4 to 5. The entire batch has about 46g carbs. I use a packet of splenda for a double batch to cut out the 4g sugar.