Homemade Marinara Sauce

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.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

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.

Pasta smothered in crushed tomatoes, onions, and perfectly blended spices.

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.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

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 perfect tomato-based dipping sauce for mozzarella cheese sticks.

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.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

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!

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5 from 4 votes

Homemade Marinara Sauce

A perfectly seasoned meatless tomato based sauce for pasta, dipping, or use on pizza.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time2 hours
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: canned tomatoes, garlic, old fashioned
Servings: 8 cups
Calories: 136kcal
Author: Sweet Ordeal


  • 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!


Store in a sealed container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
To freeze: place in a sealed container for up to 3 months.


Calories: 136kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 417mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2924IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @sweetordeal or tag #sweetordeal!

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Looking for more Italian recipe ideas? I have a few, check them out:

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.

Pasta covered with a tomato-based topping including basil, onion, and garlic.Homemade Marinara SauceCopyright © Sweet Ordeal. All content and images are copyright protected. Do not use any images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, make sure to re-write the recipe in your own words and only list ingredients making sure to link back to this post for the original recipe and directions.

5 from 4 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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