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The homemade marinara sauce I’ve got for you today combines fresh basil, high-quality canned tomatoes, and simple ingredients. 

up close image of homemade marinara sauce in a white bowl

When it comes to Italian cuisine, a rich and flavorful homemade marinara sauce is absolutely necessary.

With all that, you’re going to create a delicious sauce that can be used in countless dishes! It’s one of my favorite recipes, and you’ll see why.

Whether you’re topping your favorite pasta, using it as a pizza sauce, or serving it as a dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks, this marinara sauce will become your go-to for all things Italian.

It’s packed with fresh herbs, aromatic garlic, and a hint of sweetness that makes it stand out. For me, that’s what Italian food is all about.

The other day we used this sauce for homemade pizza. It was probably Lily’s favorite activity that week.

Kids love cooking and baking! It’s so much fun making memories in the kitchen. From the pizza crust to the toppings, my girl loves the process.

So don’t hesitate to get your kids involved. Let’s dive further into this homemade marinara sauce!

Some of our other favorite Italian recipes we have on our site include: Baked Tortellini Recipe with Italian Sausage, Best Homemade Italian Meatball Recipe, and Easy Scalloped Italian Zucchini Recipe.

overhead image homemade marinara sauce in a white bowl with basil garnish

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:

  1. Fresh Ingredients: The use of fresh basil, garlic cloves, and high-quality canned tomatoes ensures a rich, homemade flavor that stands out against store-bought sauces.
  2. Simple Process: Despite its depth of flavor, this homemade marinara sauce recipe involves just a handful of steps and is easy to follow, even for beginners.
  3. Versatility: Whether you’re making a dipping sauce, pizza sauce, or pairing it with pasta recipes, this sauce adapts beautifully to many dishes.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED (SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST FOR THE FULL RECIPE CARD):

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Shallot
  • Garlic cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Canned tomatoes (crushed tomatoes or whole tomatoes)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Italian seasoning
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
ingredients needed to make homemade marinara sauce

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE MARINARA SAUCE:

  1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. 
  2. Add the shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper to the oil. Cook for 2 minutes, often stirring to avoid burning the garlic, until fragrant.
shallots and garlic in the pan for making homemade marinara sauce
  1. Add the crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar, Italian seasoning, basil leaves, and red pepper flakes, stir in to combine.
  2. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
homemade marinara sauce being assembled in a skillet
  1. Remove the basil and taste, and adjust the seasoning before serving.
finished homemade marinara sauce in a skillet

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS RECIPE:

Adding a bit of sugar to your homemade marinara sauce recipe is essential to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes, which can sometimes be quite sharp.

This small addition brings out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes, giving the sauce a richer flavor.

It’s a trick often used in Italian recipes to achieve the best marinara sauce recipe with a hint of sweetness, enhancing the overall taste.

This helps transform pantry ingredients into a delicious marinara sauce that works perfectly for traditional spaghetti sauce, angel hair pasta, and other pasta dishes.

Even a little bit of sugar can help achieve the perfect flavor balance, making this sauce a delicious addition to your next bowl of pasta.

This versatile marinara recipe has many delicious ways to enhance your favorite Italian dishes.

Use it as a traditional spaghetti sauce over angel hair pasta or lasagna, where its rich tomato flavor shines through.

For pizza night, it makes a fantastic pizza sauce base, offering much flavor to every slice.

It’s also an excellent dipping sauce for appetizers like fried ravioli, mozzarella sticks, or garlic knots.

Don’t forget about classic marinara sauce uses, like pairing it with chicken parmesan or as a topping for ground beef dishes.

Whether you’re making a homemade pizza or a hearty bowl of pasta, this simple marinara sauce will elevate your meal with its smooth sauce and rich flavors.

finished homemade marinara sauce in a white bowl

I’ve found that it’s best to tailor your sauces to your own taste buds. What do you think of this list below?

  • Fresh parsley
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Red wine
  • Mushrooms
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Anchovy paste
  • Sausage
  • Roasted garlic
  • Capers
  • Fresh oregano

Absolutely! Let me know in the comments how this goes for you. I always love hearing your feedback!

  • Substitute shallots with yellow onion for a milder flavor.
  • Use whole tomatoes and blend with an immersion blender instead of crushed tomatoes.
  • Mix your own Italian seasoning from oregano, rosemary, and thyme.
  • Honey or a sugar substitute can replace granulated sugar.
  • Swap fresh basil with dried basil for a longer shelf life.
overhead image of homemade marinara sauce in a white bowl with a wooden spoon

HOW TO STORE:

Refrigerator: Store this sauce in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Freezer: For longer storage, place it in freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months.

DANA’S TIPS AND TRICKS:

  • Choose San Marzano tomatoes for the best homemade marinara sauce.
  • For a smooth texture, blend the sauce with a food processor or immersion blender before adding the basil.
  • Let the sauce simmer for at least 20 minutes to fully develop the flavor.
  • A splash of balsamic vinegar enhances the flavor depth.
  • Freeze the sauce in small portions for easy meal prep.
  • Fresh garlic and basil bring a robust flavor that is key to a good marinara sauce.
overhead image of homemade marinara sauce in a bowl with garnishes

Crafting your own homemade marinara sauce is a rewarding experience that pays off with superior flavor.

With a pantry full of simple ingredients and just a bit of cooking time, you can whip up this classic Italian sauce that’s perfect for pasta recipes, dipping, or as a pizza sauce.

The vibrant flavors of fresh herbs, garlic, and San Marzano tomatoes come together to create a delicious marinara that you won’t want to miss out on!

If you’ve tried this HOMEMADE MARINARA SAUCE, let me know how it turned out in the comments! You can follow me over on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM OR FACEBOOK to find some more of our mouthwatering recipes! 

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5 from 1 vote

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

Author Dana at ThisSillyGirlsKitchen.com
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
The homemade marinara sauce I’ve got for you today combines fresh basil, high-quality canned tomatoes, and simple ingredients. 
Servings 3 cups

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
    2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Add the shallots, garlic, salt, and pepper to the oil. Cook for 2 minutes, often stirring to avoid burning the garlic, until fragrant.
    1 shallot, 3 garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon Kosher salt, ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, sugar, Italian seasoning, basil leaves, and red pepper flakes, stir in to combine.
    1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, ½ teaspoon granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 4 fresh basil leaves, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Remove the basil leaves if using and taste, and adjust the seasoning before serving.

Notes

Nutrition is calculated per cup.
  • Choose San Marzano tomatoes for the best homemade marinara sauce.
  • For a smooth texture, blend the sauce with a food processor or immersion blender before adding the basil.
  • Let the sauce simmer for at least 20 minutes to fully develop the flavor.
  • A splash of balsamic vinegar enhances the flavor depth.
  • Freeze the sauce in small portions for easy meal prep.
  • Fresh garlic and basil bring a robust flavor that is key to a good marinara sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 190kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 746mg | Potassium: 850mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 725IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 4mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
Course Condiment, Sauce
Cuisine American

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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