This delicious homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe is a simple blend of tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic and red wine, all simmered together to create an incredibly flavorful, rich sauce that’s perfect for pasta, meatballs, and so much more. This easy tomato sauce is SO much better than the store-bought kind!

homemade marinara recipe storred in a mason jar

This easy marinara sauce recipe is a staple in my kitchen, and I hope it becomes a go-to recipe for you too! There are so many uses for it and as an added plus, my kids love it!

I get that it’s really convenient to grab a jar of marinara sauce from the grocery store. That being said, I find that so many store-bought red sauces aren’t all that flavorful. Most lack that rich, bold taste and many also contain ingredients like vegetable oil, sugar, preservatives and tons of salt. This one tastes so much better; it’s worth it to take the extra time and make it at home.

This is super easy to make and soooo much better than a jarred version from the store!

— Romina

Why you should make this recipe

  • So simple & flavorful. It only takes a few (hands-on) minutes and very basic ingredients to make your own marinara sauce, and this version has the most wonderful authentic Italian flavor. It’s great on spaghetti, meatballs, as a pizza sauce and more!
  • Healthy. This marinara sauce recipe is delicious and tasty, yet entirely plant-based with zero added sugars, made simply with real whole foods. Omit the wine and it’s even Whole30 compliant! 
  • A family favorite. There’s nothing like a comforting bowl of spaghetti with rich, delicious marinara sauce, and you can make it a meal by serving it with our healthy turkey meatballs or alongside our favorite Italian salad and breadsticks.

Ingredients needed

To make this homemade marinara sauce recipe, we’re using simple ingredients that combine for a wonderful, rich flavor. Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Olive oil. A little bit of fat goes a long way in this sauce.
  • Onion. Finely diced onion is a classic in marinara sauce. White or yellow onion will work.
  • Garlic. We love a delicious garlic flavor in our sauce! You can use finely minced or pressed garlic. And I highly recommend using fresh garlic, rather than the jarred kind.
  • Tomato paste. Adds thickness and rich flavor.
  • Red wine. Totally optional, but red wine gives sauces a more complex depth of flavor. If you don’t want to use red wine, you can use water or vegetable broth instead.
  • Crushed tomatoes. It’s important to use high-quality canned tomatoes for the best flavor. We like San Marzano tomatoes. They are a bit sweeter and less acidic than other tomato varieties.
  • Sea salt and black pepper. To bring all of the flavors together.

How to make this recipe

This marinara sauce recipe could not be easier! Here’s the simple process:

  1. Sauté onion, garlic and add tomato paste. Heat oil in a large saucepan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until soft. Then, add garlic and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  2. Add all other ingredients. Stir in the red wine and cook for an additional minute. Next, pour in the crushed tomatoes (without draining), salt and pepper; stir to combine.
  3. Simmer. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; gently boil, stirring occasionally for at least 1 hour to really let the flavors develop.
  4. Taste. Give the sauce a taste and season, if needed, with additional salt and pepper.
  5. Serve. Enjoy this sauce warm and with your favorite dish! 


There are so many ways to change up this recipe and make it your own! Here’s some ideas:

  • Make it spicy. Add about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Basil marinara. You can really mix in any favorite herbs. If you want a delicious basil flavor, add 3-6 fresh basil leaves into the sauce as it simmers. Remove the leaves before serving.
  • Cheesy sauce. Stir in about 1/2 to 1 cup of freshly-grated Parmesan into the sauce just before serving. Or you can add the cheese into individual servings.
  • Add creaminess. For more of a cream sauce, stir in 1/2 to 1 cup heavy cream into the marinara just before serving.

Expert tips

  • Simmer over low heat. When simmering the sauce, be sure the heat is on low. If the heat is too high it may splatter onto your stove.
  • Fresh tomatoes. You can use fresh tomatoes for this recipe, but the tomatoes would need to be turned into crushed tomatoes by blanching and peeling them, then simmering them down to the correct consistency.
  • Cook time. You can probably get away with reducing the simmer time down to about 20 minutes, if you’re in a hurry. However, for the best flavor we recommend simmering the sauce for at least one hour and up to six hours.
  • Make it smooth. This sauce has some small chunks, if you prefer a smooth sauce, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, transfer sauce to a blender and blend until smooth. Allow the sauce to cool slightly before trying to blend it in a blender.
Pasta sauce cooking in a large stock pot.

Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between marinara sauce and spaghetti sauce?

These terms are often used interchangeably, however marinara sauce actually originated as a tomato-based sauce used for seafood. It’s typically made with plum tomatoes or canned ones like San Marzano tomatoes, plus garlic, basil and oregano. It’s a thinner and lighter sauce that is often used on pasta and pizza. Traditional tomato sauce is thicker and richer and is typically made with meat like salt pork or bacon, veggies like onion and carrot, fresh tomatoes, some type of stock, and even some flour and butter to thicken it up.

What are the best tomatoes for marinara sauce?

We like using canned organic crushed tomatoes, as they’re easy to find and make for a smooth sauce. San Marzano tomatoes have really great flavor! You can also use canned whole tomatoes. Just use a spatula or wooden spoon to break them down while they cook. The texture may be a bit chunkier, but it will still be delicious.

Can I add meat to this tomato sauce?

Yes, if you want a bolognese sauce, you can brown ground beef, ground turkey or even Italian sausage in the pot before adding the blended tomato mixture. This would be delicious and give the pasta sauce a boost of protein.

Serving suggestions

There are countless ways to use this homemade marinara sauce recipe!

Some of my family’s favorites are baked chicken parmesan, my easy healthy lasagna, healthy sloppy joes, over spaghetti or zucchini noodles and this baked ziti recipe.

Make ahead

This marinara sauce recipe is very good the first day. However, if you have the time to make it a day or two ahead of time, it will give the ingredients time to marry and become even more delicious. In fact, we recommend making a double batch! Once it is cooled, we like to store about half of it in the refrigerator for two days. We then eat some with dinner and freeze the rest for another time. So convenient!

Storage recommendations

  • Storing leftovers. Place any leftover tomato sauce in a jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • To freeze. Add the leftover sauce to a freezer-safe, airtight container and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, let the sauce thaw in the fridge before heating it through on the stovetop or in the microwave.
storing homemade marinara sauce in small mason jar

More sauce recipes

If you try this marinara sauce recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.

Homemade marinara sauce stored in a mason jar.
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Marinara Sauce Recipe

This delicious homemade marinara sauce recipe is a simple blend of tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic and red wine, all simmered together to create an incredibly flavorful, rich sauce that’s perfect for pasta, meatballs, and so much more.
Author: Kim


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine*, (optional, add for extra flavor)
  • 2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes, we like San Marzano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt + more to taste , as desired
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until onion is soft.
  • Add garlic and tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  • Add wine (alternatively you can use water or vegetable broth); cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  • Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; gently boil, stirring occasionally for 1 hour.
  • Serve warm. This sauce keeps well, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days. Freeze it for up to 3 months.


*alternatively you can use water or vegetable broth
**Feel free to simmer sauce past the 1 hour mark to further develop the flavor. You can cook on very low heat for up to 6 hours. Cover and stir occasionally. Add about 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth as needed for desired consistency.
Storage instructions: Before storing this marinara sauce, let it cool to room temperature. Store it in a sealed jar or food storage container or in a zip-top baggie. Refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Serving: 0.5cup, Calories: 76kcal, Carbohydrates: 12.7g, Protein: 2.7g, Fat: 2.5g, Saturated Fat: 0.4g, Sodium: 510mg, Fiber: 3.1g, Sugar: 7.4g

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