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.



5 from 33 votes (19 ratings without comment)

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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Julia

    5 stars
    This was very quick and delicious. Made to use with your stuffed shells recipe.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Julia, I’m glad you enjoyed the sauce!

  2. Beverly Leonard

    5 stars
    Fantastic sauce. We added more garlic (of course) but were otherwise faithful to the recipe. Husband still raving about it.

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      Hi Beverly, love this! So glad the sauce was a hit.

  3. Alyssa

    5 stars
    This should have 1000 5-star reviews. I stopped buying expensive jarred stuff because this is so good and so easy!

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      I’m so glad you love the recipe!

  4. Cindy

    Easy and very tasty! I did add a bit of red wine because I couldn’t help myself! 😂

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  5. sheinagh

    5 stars
    excellent! Thank you

    • Phoebe Moore (L&L Recipe Developer)

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Allegra

    5 stars
    This is an amazing recipe! I used it for eggplant parm and realized today when I pulled it up again to make chicken parm that I forgot to review it. This is definitely my go-to recipe for pasta sauce now

  7. Francoise Bailey

    5 stars
    The only reason I made this recipe was to go with your zucchini noodle recipe. It turned out to be the best marinara sauce I’ve ever made!

    I used date sugar instead of cane sugar. This is a definite keeper!

  8. bani

    Hiya – just wondering how long this sauce will keep and would it be best kept in the fridge?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      About a week in the fridge, you can freeze it after that!

  9. susan wright

    Is there a good substitute for sugar. I’m no white sugar and wondered if its necessary to use it in the marinara recipe? Maybe a little raw honey could work. Thank you & love your easy vegan recipes.

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Susan, sometimes tomatoes can be tart, so it helps balance the flavor. You can skip it altogether or add some honey, to taste, if you’d like.

  10. 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.

  11. Alona Angel

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

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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:)

  16. Kristan

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

  17. 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 🙂

  18. 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!

  19. brasen from

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

  20. 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.