About this easy marinara sauce:
Making a great marinara sauce does not need to be complicated and anyone can pull it off in under 30 minutes. Some people will swear that it needs to cook for at least an hour (my Italian family included) however if you follow the steps in this marinara sauce recipe you will see that 30 minutes is all you need.
This is the marinara sauce I use as a dipping sauce for bread and mozzarella, for pasta and as a sauce for pizza. This os also the sauce I use to make many of my Italian dishes, like my Italian Baked Zucchini and my modern french bread pizza. This is my favorite quick marinara sauce recipe and one I think you will enjoy too.
- San Marzano whole canned tomatoes.
- Red pepper flakes.
- Olive Oil
- Dried Oregano
- Fresh basil
- Sugar (possibly, if your tomatoes are overly acidic).
Notes about the Marinara Sauce Ingredients:
- I always try to use San Marzano tomatoes. These are a slightly sweeter tomato grown in Italy. If you cannot find them, there is a new variety of San Marzano tomatoes grown in the U.S. called San Merican that uses the same SM abbreviation as San Marzano. They are a great substitute.
- The ingredients for this marinara sauce call for fresh basil and dried oregano. Fresh basil is very important to make a great tasting sauce and you do not need much of it. Try to find this if you can. The dried oregano in the recipe is fine and it blends in better with the sauce versus fresh oregano which would be clumpy.
- Red pepper flakes are an important part of any good tomato (marinara) sauce. You do not get any heat from the red pepper flakes, just added depth of flavor.
How to make the sauce:
- Step 1: Add your olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Once heated, add your onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and cook until the onions are translucent.
- Step 2: Add your whole canned tomatoes to the pan and with a tomato masher or the bottom of a mug or cup, gently press down on the tomatoes until they burst and the pulp of the tomatoes have been mashed.
- Step 3: Let it simmer for 15 minutes without a lid.
- Step 4: Taste for seasoning. This is when you add more salt if needed. This is also where you add a pinch of sugar if you find your tomatoes are too acidic.
- Use a good brand of Italian tomatoes.
- Try to only use fresh basil.
- For the smoothest sauce, try to make sure you mash the tomatoes down well when you add them to the pan.
- Tomato sauce freezes well. You can read below in the recipe section for the best way to freeze it.
- Is marinara sauce the same as tomato sauce. Yes and no! Marinara is a tomato sauce that is made with minimal ingredients. Tomato sauces on the other hand are a little more complex and can involve vegetables, meat and many other ingredients. When you hear the stories of the Italian Mom or Grandmother cooking an all day sauce, that is a tomato sauce.
- Can you freeze marinara sauce? Absolutely. If you have a freezer safe plastic bag or container you can put it in that and freeze for up to 2 months.
- Does this make a marinara sauce for dipping sauce bread and mozzarella sticks? Yes. This is the preferred type of sauce to use for dipping.
- Can this marinara sauce be used on pizza? Yes, this is the classic style sauce you use on pizza.
- Does this make a good pasta sauce? Absolutely! This marinara sauce over pasta is wonderful, especially when you add lots of freshly grated Parmesan on top.
More Italian Recipes:
- Italian Baked Zucchini
- Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
- Pasta with Pancetta and Mushrooms
- Pasta Genovese
- Italian Sunday Gravy Sicilian Style
- Italian Meatballs
Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe (30 minutes)
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!
- 28 ounces san marzano tomatoes canned whole
- ½ yellow onion diced very fine
- 2 cloves garlic diced very fine
- 1 ½ tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 fresh basil leaves
- ⅛ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- sugar (optional) a pinch at a time if your sauce tastes too acidic
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Add your olive oil.
- Now add your red pepper flakes, onion and a pinch of salt and cook until the onions are translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Now add your garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Add your whole canned tomatoes to the pan.
- With a potato masher (or bottom of a mug) mash down the tomatoes gently. It can get a little messy so do this part slowly.
- Keep mashing down the tomatoes until they are mostly broken down.
- Stir the tomatoes into the olive oil mixture well.
- Add your salt, oregano and basil and stir.
- Bring to a simmer then reduce heat to low and let simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
- Taste the sauce for any additional salt.
- Serve over pasta, as a marinara dipping sauce or on pizza.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here