Marinara Sauce

Make this homemade marinara sauce recipe once, and you'll never get the store-bought kind again! It's 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 are 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, and dried oregano adds Italian flair. Balsamic vinegar makes it nice and tangy, while 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 recipe ingredients

How to Make Marinara Sauce

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

  • First, sauté the shallot and garlic in a 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 (use San Marzano tomatoes if you can!), balsamic vinegar, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, and a dash of cane sugar. Cover the sauce with a lid and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, giving it a good stir every now and then, until it’s thickened.

That’s it! Season to taste and enjoy.

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

How to Use This Marinara Sauce Recipe

I’m sure you already have a few favorite ways to use marinara sauce, but if you’re looking for more, I’ve got you covered! You can’t go wrong with any of these:

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

Marinara sauce recipe

More Favorite Homemade Sauces

If you love this marinara recipe, try one of these delicious sauces next:

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Marinara Sauce

rate this recipe:
5 from 33 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves 3 cups
This homemade marinara sauce is delicious, easy to make, and SO much better than store-bought! It's perfect for using on pizzas, pastas, and more. Find additional serving suggestions in the post above. Leftover sauce will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator and in the freezer for up to 3 months.



  • Heat the olive oil in a medium 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. Season to taste.



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Margot

    5 stars
    Delicious sauce with pasta. Will this make enough for your vegetarian Baked Ziti recipe ?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Margot, yep!

  2. Julia

    5 stars
    Yum! Followed the recipe exactly. Turned out delicious and used it with your vegetarian lasagna recipe!

  3. Greg

    5 stars
    After 3-1/2 years in Italy, I am more than a bit fussy about my red sauce. This has become one of my favorites. Was it the Balsamic vinegar that pushed it over the top? Normally, I would experiment, but I believe I have found perfection!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Greg, what a compliment, I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Ellen

    I accidentally bought Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes instead of a normal can, but I went ahead and tried this recipe anyway and it turned out great! Used it as a pizza sauce but I’m sure it would be great on pasta as well.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it with the fire roasted tomatoes!

  5. Jaz

    5 stars
    I adjusted the recipe slightly, I wasnt sure it was enough spices for the 28 oz tomato can. I doubled the sea salt, pepper flakes, cane sugar, and oregano and it came out great. I then used the marinara sauce to make your eggplant parmeasean. Now I’m a fan of eggplant 😉

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jaz, I’m so glad you’re loving eggplant now!

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.