Marinara Sauce

Make this homemade marinara sauce recipe once, and you'll never buy it at the store again! It's super simple to make, and it has a rich tomato flavor.

Marinara sauce

Buying marinara sauce is easy, but I’ll let you in on a secret: so is making your own!

Meet my go-to homemade marinara sauce recipe. It’s simple to make – all you need is 10 pantry ingredients and 30 minutes – and it tastes immeasurably better than any kind I’ve found in a jar. Its base is canned crushed tomatoes with their juices, which I simmer with sautéed shallot and garlic for depth of flavor. Red pepper flakes give it a touch of heat, dried oregano adds Italian flair, balsamic vinegar makes it nice and tangy, and salt and pepper and a bit of sugar make all the flavors pop.

This sauce is easy enough to whip up on a weeknight, but it’s also a great recipe to make in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze it for up to a few months! I like to keep a stash on hand for anytime a spaghetti or lasagna craving strikes. 🙂

Homemade marinara sauce

How to Make Marinara Sauce

Making this homemade marinara sauce is simple! Here’s what you need to do:

First, sauté finely chopped shallot and garlic in a small saucepan with olive oil, salt, and pepper until they become soft and translucent.

Then, simmer the sauce. Add 28 ounces of crushed tomatoes and their juices, balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and a dash of cane sugar. Cover the sauce and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until thickened.

Finally, enjoy! Here are some of my favorite ways to use this simple homemade marinara sauce:

What are you favorite ways to use marinara sauce? Let me know in the comments!

Marinara sauce recipe

If you love this marinara sauce recipe…

Try my homemade Caesar dressing, pesto, or cauliflower alfredo sauce next. And if you want to try making tomato sauce with fresh tomatoes, check out page 251 of our first cookbook!

Marinara Sauce

rate this recipe:
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves 3 cups
This homemade marinara sauce is delicious and easy to make - perfect for using on pizzas, in pastas, and more!


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • cup finely minced shallot
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cane sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes


  • Heat the olive oil in a small pot over low heat. Add the shallot, garlic, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the tomatoes and their juices, balsamic vinegar, cane sugar, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Shirley Little

    This is a general question regarding eggplant. Do you recommend soaking eggplant slices prior to slicing for aggplant parmesan? I am going to try cooking eggplant for the first time & am so anxious to try your rendition of your mother’s baked eggplant parm. Thank you.

  2. Alona Angel

    5 stars
    Perfect. Delicious. Easy to make.
    I’ll keep making it! Thanks for the recipe (-;

  3. Judy

    5 stars
    First time making homemade sauce. Made as directed except used whole canned tomatoes and didn’t have oregano so I omitted that. This was soo easy and delicious. Will be making often. Thank you

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Judy, I’m so glad you enjoyed the sauce!

  4. Ellie

    So excited to try this tonight. How would I make enough to use in your baked ziti recipe? That one calls for 4 cups sauce, do you have a recipe conversion?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Elle, this yield will be close to the 4 cups, I’d use this whole marinara recipe in the baked ziti. I hope you enjoy!

  5. Sandy Milike

    Hi! I am trying out this recipe with homemade pasta (the recipe from this website). Is the shallot necessary in the sauce recipe?

    also do u have any tips on making sure the pasta doesn’t stick togther?

    haha thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Sandy, yep, the shallot is necessary for the flavor in the sauce.

      For the pasta – just be sure to very liberally flour the pasta sheets and it’ll stick together less. I hope you enjoy!

  6. Kathryn Massel

    Since it’s summer, & I have a large amount of tomatoes from my garden, how many tomatoes would one use? Thanks!

    • amber ripp

      I have the same question! I might try and just substitute the same amount of canned with my fresh tomatoes.

      • Jeanine Donofrio

        Hi Kathryn and Amber – yep, you can use fresh tomatoes. Depending on what type and how watery they are, you may want to simmer a little bit longer. If you don’t like the texture of the skins in the sauce you might want to remove the skins first, or run through a strainer or food mill at the end (the skins don’t really bother me, but they do some). Hope that helps!

        • amber ripp

          I typically remove the skins! Thanks for the recommendation! Making a batch tonight:)

  7. Kristan

    What are the steps if using fresh tomatoes? We have a ton of tomatoes in the garden that I will be using.

  8. Gina from

    5 stars
    Yahoooeeee! This is so good! I rarely follow recipes exactly, but I wanted to do it this time so I would have a baseline to adjust for my own taste – No changes needed at all, thank you so much. My husband said it was better than his dad’s sauce – I am so happy 🙂

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Gina! I’m so glad you both loved it – ha ha, that’s the biggest compliment 🙂

  9. Jen

    5 stars
    This is my favorite homemade marinara sauce and so easy. My husband loved it too! Used it with your delicious lasagna recipe. Also I love how it is so much cheaper than buying prepared marinara sauce!

  10. brasen from

    From the color, it is very beautiful. The taste of tomatoes is especially loved by my children.

  11. Sabrina from

    thank you, love how few ingredients your recipe has compared to the list in any store brand I’ve seen, love making this fresh, much appreciated

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.