Homemade Marinara Sauce is delicious and easy to make from scratch. This perfectly seasoned meatless, tomato-based sauce is the ideal sauce for pasta, pizza, and as a dipping sauce. Use fresh basil, saute the onions and carrots, and smell the delicious aromas in your kitchen. Then, open the window and make your neighbors crazy smelling the tomatoes and spices simmer for hours.
The only thing better than a batch of Homemade Marinara Sauce is a double batch. Freeze half of it so you always have some on hand.
Pasta dinners are quick and easy, especially when the sauce is already made.
Making Homemade Marinara Sauce
In a large pot, (preferably something with high sides to keep your stove clean), saute the onions, carrots, and garlic in the butter and olive oil.
Instantly, your kitchen smells fantastic.
Let the onions cook until they turn opaque and soften up.
Next, add in the crushed tomatoes, juices and all. In other words, do not drain them.
Canned tomatoes are wonderful; all the work is done for you — they’re peeled, crushed, and ready to go.
Can you use fresh tomatoes? Sure, of course. There’s more to it, however, and I’m not much of a farmer, so I’m taking the easy road.
Ergo, if you’re driving down Easy Street with me, dump in the cans of crushed tomatoes.
The spices go in next. Stir in the salt, pepper, and fresh basil.
Measure the oregano, then pour it into your hand. Now, rub your hands together (right over the pot) to break down the spice. Makes you feel like an Italian chef.
Can I use dried basil?
I strongly urge you to use fresh basil in this recipe.
Dried basil, unfortunately, tends to take on a minty flavor that doesn’t compliment the marinara sauce like fresh does.
If you need a substitute for the basil, you can use fresh spinach, like I’ve done in my Classic Basil Pesto.
Last ingredient, and this one is optional, is crushed red peppers. Some people like a spicier marinara sauce, and the red peppers bring the heat.
Ok, time to sit back and watch your stove do all the rest for you.
Let the sauce simmer uncovered on low for about an hour and a half to two hours.
Covering it might keep your kitchen cleaner, but the sauce will thicken up nicely with it uncovered.
This is why I recommended a high-sided pot in the beginning.
In addition, the sauce shouldn’t be splattering everywhere if you have it on low.
Q & A Time
Q. Can I freeze this sauce?
A. Yes, and well you should. Double the batch and freeze half of it in tightly sealed containers, like zip locks, for up to 3 months.
Q. I’m out of carrots…what can I substitute?
A. You can use granulated sugar instead of carrots, but carrots are better. They’re better tasting and they sneak in more nutrients, but if you’re out, you’re out.
Substitute about 1/4-1/3 cup granulated sugar in place of the carrots.
Q. Can I add meat to this sauce?
A. Absolutely. It won’t be a marinara sauce any more, because a marinara sauce is meatless, but who cares? It will become more of a spaghetti sauce, but it’s a great starter sauce.
Add in ground beef, sausages, or throw in some frozen turkey meatballs. My fave!
Q. What should I serve Homemade Marinara Sauce with?
A. Any type of pasta, from shells to linguini.
It’s also fantastic as a pizza sauce for homemade pizzas, or for dipping your pizza into, like my friend, Kimberly, does. Better heat that sauce first, though! lol Don’t bring it to her cold.
Also, we all love to dip our mozzarella cheese sticks into marinara sauce. In fact, I want my own sauce bowl in case I feel like double-dipping.
Likewise, use this sauce in a veggie lasagna, too. So good!
Homemade Marinara Sauce
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 1 cup carrots, shredded (about 2 carrots)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- Optional: crushed red pepper for spicy heat
- In large pot, heat olive oil and melt butter. Add onions, carrots, and garlic. Sauté over medium heat until onions turn opaque and start to soften.
- Add both cans of tomatoes, undrained. Stir in oregano, salt, pepper, and basil; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Stir occasionally.
- Optional: add crushed red pepper for a spicy heat. Enjoy!
Homemade Marinara Sauce
Looking for more Italian recipe ideas? I have a few, check them out:
- Start out with some Pepperoni Pizza Cups as an appetizer.
- Then move onto an amazing Italian Pasta and Lettuce Salad.
- For the main course, try this Baked Tortellini with Sausage, or some Slow Cooker Chicken Alfredo.
- You could also make that pesto sauce I mentioned earlier and use it in this Pesto Tortellini Salad, which is delicious.
- And since you’re on an Italian kick, enjoy these Italian Spumoni Cookies for dessert.
- Or, simply click here for more Italian recipes.
Let me know in the comments below if you try this recipe, and I hope you’ll follow me on Pinterest.
Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you next recipe.
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