Easy Marinara Sauce

This Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe uses pantry ingredients, comes together quickly, and you can use it in all of your favorite Italian recipes. This marinara sauce is perfect for Sunday dinner or during the busy work week. The best part is you can make a double or triple batch to freeze for future dinners!

easy marinara sauce in a skillet

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I don’t mind purchasing a high-quality jarred sauce – I’ve done it many times. However, the problem is you’re going to pay top dollar for a clean organic marinara sauce. 

Also, there are many times I forget to purchase a jar of sauce and have baked chicken parmesan, healthy eggplant parmesan, or baked ziti on the menu. So, instead of running to the store, I’ll whip a pan of this easy marinara sauce.

Reasons you’ll love this recipe

  • Made with pantry ingredients – All you need is canned tomatoes, olive oil, Italian seasoning, onions, garlic, and red wine. The wine is optional, but I’ll talk more about that in a minute.
  • Delicious flavor in less than 45 minutes – This sauce doesn’t need to simmer all day to get that deep rich flavor. 
  • You can use it in various Italian recipes – use this sauce in any recipe that calls for jarred spaghetti sauce or marinara.
  • Naturally gluten-free and vegan – No sneaky ingredients when you make homemade marinara sauce.
  • Meal prep or freeze – This recipe comes together fast, but it can also be made ahead of time for the week or frozen to use in future recipes. I’ll give more make-ahead tips below.

Ingredients

ingredients to make homemade marinara sauce.
  • Canned crushed and diced tomatoes – This tomato variety gives the best texture to the marinara sauce. It’s smooth with just the right amount of tomato chunks. If you want a chunkier marinara, then use whole tomatoes for a smoother texture, then swap out tomato sauce for the diced tomatoes. 
  • White onion, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil – This is the foundation of any marinara sauce recipe.
  • Dry red wine – I’ve made marinara sauce many times without red wine, but I prefer using it because it gives the sauce a rich flavor.
  • Italian seasoning – a mix of dried basil and oregano will work if you don’t have any Italian seasoning.
  • Red pepper flakes – this gives the marinara sauce a spicy kick.

Cooking Tips

Dice the onion to your liking – I like small pieces of onion in my sauce, so I tend to dice it finely. But if you want a chunkier sauce, then roughly chop the onion into larger pieces. 

Measure the onion before adding to the recipe – Onions release a sweetness into the sauce, so the more onion you use, the sweeter the sauce will be. I don’t like a very sweet sauce, so I find that one cup of diced onion gives a well-balanced flavor without adding an extra sweet taste.

You can use onion powder if you don’t like raw onions – Yes, I know onions are a staple in marinara sauce, but not everyone wants onions. If you’re one of those people, then you can swap 1-2 tablespoons of onion powder for raw onion. Stir this in after pouring the tomatoes into the pan.

Don’t use cooking wine – This is another mistake in my beginning cooking days. If you wouldn’t drink it, then don’t use it in the sauce. The best-tasting sauce uses high-quality red wine. My favorite wine to use is Cabernet, Merlot, or Pinot Noir.

San Marzano tomatoes have the best flavor – I highly recommend splurging on canned San Marzanos. You can locate them with the other canned tomatoes; I’ve mostly seen whole or diced tomatoes. San Marzano is a type of plum tomato that is less acidic and has a rich, delicious tomato flavor. They can elevate any Italian sauce recipe. But don’t worry, any high-quality canned tomato will work. I love Thrive Market canned tomatoes.

Stir in fresh basil – I don’t use fresh basil every time I make this sauce, but if it’s summertime or I find some on sale, I’ll stir in a small amount to add some fresh flavor.

easy homemade marinara sauce in a skillet.

Supplies

  • Large skillet or saucepot
  • Silicone or wooden spoon

Serving Tips

You can use this easy marinara sauce in various recipes.

  • Keep it simple and use it on your favorite pasta. 
  • Pour some in a ramekin and use as a dipping sauce for garlic bread or mozzarella sticks.
  • Use in place of spaghetti sauce in all your favorite Italian recipes.
  • Use as a pizza sauce on your favorite crust.

How to Make this Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe

step by step collage showing how to make marinara sauce
  • First, get all the ingredients together.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s fragrant and translucent. Stir in the garlic with the onions and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.
  • Pour in the wine and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the liquid reduces by half.
  • Carefully stir in the tomatoes and bring the sauce to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 30 – 45 minutes or until the sauce turns a rich dark red.
  • Remove from the heat. If you’re using, stir in the fresh basil.

Storage Tips

To prepare this sauce for the week, first, let it cool to room temperature. Then put into an airtight container and refrigerator for up to 4 days. Next, heat up on the stove or in the microwave.

There are a couple of ways to freeze the sauce. First, you need to let it cool to room temperature. Then either –

  1. Pour the sauce into airtight containers and freeze. If you use this method, make sure to leave about 1-inch from the top to allow for expansion.
  2. Freeze into blocks using silicone trays like Souper Cubes. After the sauce is frozen, remove the blocks from the tray and then put them into a freezer bag and freeze.
  3. Portion out the sauce into small or large freezer bags. Roll the bags out flat and flash freeze on a baking sheet or lay flat in the freezer. After the sauce is frozen, place the bags wherever they fit in the freezer. Here are more tips for freezing spaghetti sauce.
easy marinara sauce

Easy Marinara Sauce

Print Pin Rate

Course: dinner, dinner recipe

Cuisine: Italian

Keyword: easy marinara sauce, marinara sauce, marinara sauce recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Servings: 8 people

Calories: 137kcal

Author: Organize Yourself Skinny

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced or chopped white onion
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes add more if you want a spicier sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a couple of sprigs of fresh basil chopped (optional)

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it’s fragrant and translucent. Stir in the garlic with the onions and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute.

  • Pour in the wine and cook for 3-4 minutes or until the liquid reduces by half.

  • Carefully stir in the tomatoes and bring the sauce to a boil.

  • Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 30 – 45 minutes or until the sauce turns a rich dark red.

  • Remove from the heat. If you’re using, stir in the fresh basil. Salt and pepper to taste

Notes

Storage Tips To prepare this sauce for the week, first, let it cool to room temperature. Then put into an airtight container and refrigerator for up to 4 days. Next, heat up on the stove or in the microwave. There are a couple of ways to freeze the sauce. First, you need to let it cool to room temperature. Then either –

  1. Pour the sauce into airtight containers and freeze. If you use this method, make sure to leave about 1-inch from the top to allow for expansion.
  2. Freeze into blocks using silicone trays like Souper Cubes. After the sauce is frozen, remove the blocks from the tray and then put them into a freezer bag and freeze.
  3. Portion out the sauce into small or large freezer bags. Roll the bags out flat and flash freeze on a baking sheet or lay flat in the freezer. After the sauce is frozen, place the bags wherever they fit in the freezer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 3g | Sodium: 263mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 11g

Other Italian Sauce Recipes

Have you tried this Easy Marinara Sauce recipe yet? If so, I’d love for you to rate this recipe and leave a comment below. We all learn from each other’s experiences. Also, it would be awesome if you could share a picture on Instagram and tag it #organizeyourselfskinny. I can’t wait to see it.

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