Easy Marinara Sauce

Quick Summary

Learn how to make the best homemade marinara sauce with basic ingredients. Serve with your favorite pasta, meatballs, lasagna, vegetables, and more! It goes great with so many meals and freezes well too!

My homemade marinara sauce is one of my all-time favorite recipes. I make this recipe ALL of the time, it is a staple in our kitchen. It’s a family recipe, that could be a secret family recipe, but since we don’t keep any secrets from you guys, I am sharing the recipe. You are our family, our recipes are your recipes:)

I love this marinara sauce recipe because it is EASY, but the flavors are so good. It is made with basic ingredients that I always have on hand: olive oil, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, tomatoes, fennel, bay leaves, crushed red pepper, and basil.

I promise it is WAY better than any marinara sauce you can buy at the store. I know it’s easy to buy a jar of pasta sauce, but I promise my recipe is just as easy and it freezes well. I ALWAYS have this sauce in the fridge or freezer. It has saved dinnertime SO many times!

The sauce is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian!

How to Make Marinara Sauce

Get out your aprons and let’s get to work. It’s going to get saucy in here!

  • Start with a large pot. I like to use a Dutch oven.
  • Cook the vegetables in olive oil until they are softened. If you prefer to use butter, go for it!
  • Add the garlic after you cook the vegetables so it doesn’t burn.
  • My special touch includes a pinch of fennel seed. I learned this trick from my dad. Make sure you just add a pinch because a little fennel goes a long way.
  • I also add a bay leaf for flavor. Let the bay leaf simmer in the sauce and remove it before serving.
  • I use canned tomatoes because I always have them in my pantry. This is a great recipe to make any time of the year. My favorite tomatoes are San Marzano tomatoes. They are a little more expensive, but they are SO worth the splurge. A good marinara sauce starts with GOOD tomatoes.
  • Use fresh basil. Fresh basil adds a ton of flavor to the marinara sauce.
  • Let the sauce simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes so all of the flavors can meld together.
  • If you want to add a little sugar to cut the acidity in the tomatoes, you can. If I am using San Marzano tomatoes, I don’t add the sugar because they are lower in acidity, but if I am using regular tomatoes, I usually add a little sugar to cut the acidity. Taste and decide.
  • If you want a kick of heat, you can add crushed red pepper flakes too.
  • If you are feeling cheesy, stir in freshly grated Parmesan cheese. The boys love it when I do this:)
  • I use crushed tomatoes and like the consistency, but if you want a super smooth sauce, you can blend the sauce with an immersion blender or carefully transfer it to a blender and blend.

How to Use Marinara Sauce

I make this homemade marinara sauce all of the time. It is a staple in our kitchen and is great to serve with:

  • spaghetti and meatballs
  • baked ziti
  • lasagna, lasagna soup, or lasagna stuffed mushrooms
  • gnocchi
  • tortellini
  • rigatoni
  • baked pasta
  • polenta
  • chicken parmesan or eggplant parmesan
  • roasted vegetables
  • zucchini noodles
  • garlic knots
  • pizza rolls

SO many things! I could go on and on! It is one of those sauces you will make and use over and over again!

How to Store

The marinara will keep in the refrigerator, in a jar or airtight container, for up to 5 days.

This sauce freezes well and I am sure it can be canned, but I am not a canner, so you will have to figure out those instructions on your own. Sorry!

You can easily double the recipe so you can have leftovers. I love having this sauce in the freezer at all times.

To freeze, let the sauce cool completely and put it in a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Label the sauce and date it so you know what it is in your freezer. Defrost and use!

More Sauce Recipes

  • Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce
  • Spinach Basil Pesto
  • Alfredo Sauce
  • Easy Pizza Sauce
  • Cauliflower Bolognese
  • Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

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