posted in Dairy Free

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Soooooo, are you a jarred spaghetti sauce kind of family? Guilty here. Some jarred sauces have an off-taste- mostly too sweet due to (unnecessary) added sugar. I do have to say though that I love Classico’s Tomato-Basil variety, and I use it more often than not. But then I received Kelsey Banfield’s new cookbook The Naptime Chef in the mail. I flipped through her book trying to decide from the oodles of delicious-sounding recipes what I wanted to make. When I saw the recipe for Homemade Marinara Sauce I thought… Wow, that looks super easy. And guess what? It was. I’m not sure I’ll buy the jarred stuff ever again!

Just 6 simple ingredients turn this recipe into 6 cups of marinara sauce. I used up all my sauce in just one recipe, but you can certainly use some now and refrigerate (up to 2 weeks) or freeze (up to 3 months) the rest! I’m thinking…make ahead in mass quantities! ย Here’s the super-simple how-to:

Heat some olive oil in a pan.

Add a bunch of sliced garlic and cook it in the oil until your whole kitchen smells of garlic and the garlic itself is golden. I have a garlic press that has a dual-chamber press and slicer, which makes slicing garlic VERY easy to do.

Tear apart 4 large leaves of fresh basil and stir those into the garlic in the pan.

Pour in two 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes with their juices, and bring that mixture to a boil.

Add Kosher salt and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 45 minutes, swirl in a couple of teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, and your sauce is done! See how easy? If you want to save some of it for later use, just cool it down before storing. See the printable recipe below for details.

Kelsey Banfield is a fellow food blogger friend of mine, and her debut cookbook, The Naptime Chef, ย was released on March 12th, 2012 Kelsey has always loved to cook. When her daughter was born, time for cooking became more challenging. Kelsey began using her daughter’s nap times to reinvent her favorite recipes and create quick meals, leaving her more time to spend with her family. You certainly don’t have to have any nap-age children to utilize The Naptime Chef cookbook. My son is well past nap-age (though I’d certainly love it if he took a snoozer once in a while), yet I’m excited to try the following recipes from this book: Strawberries and Cream Overnight French Toast, Caramel-Stuffed Cinnamon Muffins, Creamy Parmesan and Chive Polenta, Summer Gazpacho, Bistro Steak with Gorgonzola Sauce, Sticky Orange Drumsticks, Chocolate- Zucchini Loaf, and Uncle Will’s Dirty Blondies. Everything looks so good! I’m thinking this would make a lovely gift for a baby shower too ๐Ÿ™‚


Iโ€™m giving away one copy of Kelsey Banfield’s The Naptime Chef cookbook, courtesy of Running Press. ย ย This giveaway is open to anyone who has a mailing address in the USA OR CANADA. One winner will be chosen via on Wednesday, March 14th and will be contacted via email. The winner will receive The Naptime Chefย cookbook to be mailed from Running Press. ย This giveaway is now closed- the randomly selected winner is commenter #307 Jennifer- congrats! ย Thanks to all for entering!

The Naptime Chef is available for purchase on Amazon, and it will be in bookstores too. It’s official release date is Monday, March 12th. You can visit author Kelsey Banfield on her blog: The Naptime Chef, on Twitter and Facebook.

Yield: 6 cups

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 50 min

Homemade Marinara Sauce


1 tablespoon olive oil
8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes, with their juices
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar


1. In a large saucepan or deep skillet, warm the olive oil at low heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Stir in the basil.

2. Pour in the tomatoes with their juices, bring the sauce to a boil, and then add the Kosher salt. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 45 to 50 minutes. As the sauce thickens toward the end, stir in the balsamic vinegar. Remove the pan from heat.


*To store: cool the sauce to room temperature before storing. It will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, and it will keep in a covered freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

Source: (re-printed with permission from The Naptime Chef cookbook)

375 Responses to “Homemade Marinara Sauce”

  1. postedMar 9, 2012 6:34 AM
    lauren o

    spaghetti is def our go-to favorite!

  2. postedMar 9, 2012 6:34 AM

    Quesadillas! Working full-time means we need something fairly quick and easy and these can be made with a ton of different ingredients.

  3. postedMar 9, 2012 6:43 AM
    Carrie B

    A little red wine would accent this marinara sauce perfectly!

  4. postedMar 9, 2012 6:43 AM
    Robin Stauffer

    I think I will try the marinara sauce on vege pizza. I think my kids will love it. Love new recipes always trying something new ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. postedMar 9, 2012 6:44 AM
    Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables

    I love making jazzed up salads-the more goodies in there, the better!

  6. postedMar 9, 2012 6:45 AM

    Wow, I really love that! Guilty, too, of the jarred sauces – but I am always looking for a way to spice them up. I will definitely be trying this! Maybe tonight. Oh, and, me to on that snooze thing!!

  7. postedMar 9, 2012 6:47 AM

    I love making sauce! It’s so much better than jarred and not too hard to make plus it makes the house smell great!

  8. postedMar 9, 2012 6:47 AM

    Pasta wit peas, leeks, and proscuitto…my whole family enjoys it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. postedMar 9, 2012 6:48 AM

    This marinara sauce is great! I’m a big fan of the Classico brand as well, but I always feel guilty not making sauce from scratch.

    My favorite thing to make for dinner is risotto.

  10. postedMar 9, 2012 6:51 AM

    My favorite thing to make is homemade pizza! There are so many different combinations you can put together and I love trying new ones! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. postedMar 9, 2012 6:51 AM

    I’m of Italian descent and I’ve been making sauce since I’m a little girl (we call it gravy, where I’m originally from in the Bronx!) I love that this recipe calls for some balsamic – and I will definitely give it a try to mix up my usual marinara! Thanks for the post!

  12. postedMar 9, 2012 6:54 AM

    My go to meal is usually a quesadilla… it is a good way to use up whatever leftovers I have and it always has a new taste… Yumm-O!! I would love to win the cookbook!! I need some help!

  13. postedMar 9, 2012 6:55 AM
    julie gasparro

    wow! looks delicious!! thanks for the post and i’d love to have this!! xoxo

  14. postedMar 9, 2012 6:59 AM

    My favorite thing to make for dinner is: anything in the crockpot. I love to fix it and forget it. Makes me really feel like I have my act together at dinner time!

  15. postedMar 9, 2012 7:02 AM

    Risotto is my favorite thing to make for dinner, all kinds of it. This sauce looks amazing! I love a rich homemade marinara sauce!

  16. postedMar 9, 2012 7:07 AM

    Our “go to” meal is Emeril’s Kicked Up Tomato Sauce….always a hit in our house, except when one time when we used wholewheat pasta…Gag!

  17. postedMar 9, 2012 7:08 AM

    my favorite thing to make for dinner is simple spaghetti!

  18. postedMar 9, 2012 7:09 AM

    i like to make macaroni

  19. postedMar 9, 2012 7:09 AM

    My favorite thing to make for dinner is smothered chicken: peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheese on top of a yummy chicken breast, roasted in the oven. We frequently have it with rice and veggies. Yummy stuff.

    That sauce looks great. I’d love to get to try out the cookbook. :] Thanks!

  20. postedMar 9, 2012 7:11 AM

    Stir fry! Easy and delicious, and so much you can do with it!

  21. postedMar 9, 2012 7:13 AM
    Jackie Ashcroft

    Corn chowder is my favorite thing right now. Mmmm, delish ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. postedMar 9, 2012 7:14 AM

    Left to my own devices, I’d eat italian food like this yummy sauce most nights. My husband on the other hand could live off mexican/tex-mex food of all varieties. It makes for some interesting dinner wars. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. postedMar 9, 2012 7:16 AM

    We love breakfast for dinner… Shakshouka or poached eggs with asparagus and truffle salt to name a few!

  24. postedMar 9, 2012 7:19 AM

    My favorite thing to make for dinner is a big pot of hearty soup or stew…feeds the whole family and is great for leftovers. I always have crusty, warm bread on the side, too!

  25. postedMar 9, 2012 7:23 AM

    My favorite go-to meal is roast with veggies cooking in the crockpot – super easy and time saving.

  26. postedMar 9, 2012 7:23 AM
    Catherine Jackson

    My favorite thing to serve for dinner? Anything my husband cooks!

  27. postedMar 9, 2012 7:24 AM
    Linda K

    My favorite thing to make for dinner is taco salad.

  28. postedMar 9, 2012 7:25 AM
    Maria Kaldis

    My favourite go-to meal is definetly pasta with chicken and veggies…the sauce is always an adventure because I end up using whatever we have in the pantry or fridge! Last night was cream cheese and balsamic dressing and it was delicious. I have a toddler – so would love that cookbook!

  29. postedMar 9, 2012 7:26 AM
    Aunt Sukey

    My go to meal is talapia with crabmeat on top, salad, wild rice.

  30. postedMar 9, 2012 7:28 AM

    I am definitely going to try this. I always use jarred sauce as a base & “dress it up”…..thanks for sharing! The cookbook sounds awesome. Can’t wait until yours comes out; I am going to do a giveaway on my blog when it does! ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. postedMar 9, 2012 7:30 AM

    My Kids love Homemade Chicken Parmesana!!!!!

  32. postedMar 9, 2012 7:32 AM

    OOPS! My favorite thing to make for dinner is grilled chicken & a simple salad ๐Ÿ™‚

  33. postedMar 9, 2012 7:34 AM

    My current favorite thing to make for dinner is a healthier version of eggplant parmesan with the eggplant portion baked instead of fried.

  34. postedMar 9, 2012 7:35 AM
    Nicole B.

    My favorite thing to cook for dinner is chicken broccoli alfredo because everyone eats it without any complaints!

  35. postedMar 9, 2012 7:36 AM
    Alison Martin

    It has to be my husbands favorites……corned beef and cabbage or baked chicken wings. My favorite are eggs of any kind!

  36. postedMar 9, 2012 7:39 AM

    Usually dinner for us varies weekly, however lately we have been stuck on Fish Taco’s and our version of black beans (we have been using dark red kidney beans with our black bean recipe). That with Mango Salsa. We just cannot seem to get enough lately!! And of course a good beer to wash it all down ๐Ÿ˜‰

  37. postedMar 9, 2012 7:40 AM
    April V

    Lasagna is my favorite go-to dinner!

  38. postedMar 9, 2012 7:44 AM

    Tacos or pastaaaaa!!

  39. postedMar 9, 2012 7:45 AM

    Stir fry is my favorite go to – you can update it based on the vegetable in season and I love sesame oil. Yum

  40. postedMar 9, 2012 7:47 AM

    Chicken Paprika from the Dinosaur BBQ Cookbook. It’s the best!

  41. postedMar 9, 2012 7:48 AM

    I love to make tacos- from bbq & baked beans to tacos al pastor!

  42. postedMar 9, 2012 7:50 AM
    Claudia Barragan

    Lentil soup, fish and vegetables for us.

  43. postedMar 9, 2012 7:54 AM
    Heather Bryant

    I don’t know if I have 1 favorite thing to make. But I discovered an easy dinner idea. Pesto chicken. It’s chicken coated in shake n bake topped with pesto and mozzerella cheese. YUM!

  44. postedMar 9, 2012 7:55 AM

    Tacos because they are so fast and the kids love them!

  45. postedMar 9, 2012 7:58 AM

    I definitely love soft tacos. It’s such an easy and customizable meal, and it’s fun to eat!

  46. postedMar 9, 2012 7:59 AM

    Chicken Stir fry has been my family favorite lately. I can’t wait to try this sauce with my favorite pasta dish Baked Ziti ๐Ÿ™‚

  47. postedMar 9, 2012 8:00 AM

    Lately, I’ve been stuck on pasta for dinner … I try to mix it up, but it usually ends up being some combination of pasta, white sauce, chicken, and a veggie.

  48. postedMar 9, 2012 8:01 AM

    I have that exact same garlic press!

    My favorite thing to make for dinner is anything Mexican, though lately I’ve been on a pizza and panini kick.

  49. postedMar 9, 2012 8:05 AM

    I love to make paninis for dinner! There are so many yummy combinations that it’s easy to please everybody!

  50. postedMar 9, 2012 8:09 AM
    Amy Hinkle

    Anything I can make in my crockpot is my favorite – ie Italian Chicken

  51. postedMar 9, 2012 8:09 AM

    I’m boring… Roast Chicken because then I can parlay that into so many other things throughout the week. ๐Ÿ™‚

  52. postedMar 9, 2012 8:09 AM

    I love making lasagna.

  53. postedMar 9, 2012 8:10 AM

    I love to make and eat homemade soups.

  54. postedMar 9, 2012 8:11 AM

    Hmmm….. My Favorite Thing to Make for Dinner Would be: Spicy Marinated Chicken (Jerk Chicken, Sriracha Tenders, Buffalo Chicken Tenders) with a Roasted Vegetable (Broccoli, Cauliflower or Brussels) and Sweet Potato Fries or Potato Salad.

  55. postedMar 9, 2012 8:12 AM

    I rarely make the same thing twice (I’m a glutton for punishment!) but my favorite is when we have breakfast for dinner!

  56. postedMar 9, 2012 8:16 AM

    We’ve got three go-to basics at the moment – Fettuccine Alfredo, Benihana-style fried rice, and Japanese curry – but I’m always on the lookout for fun new things to try.

  57. postedMar 9, 2012 8:44 AM

    I’ve been looking for a good but EASY marinara sauce. This looks great. Will def try! I like the idea of adding some red wine.

  58. postedMar 9, 2012 8:48 AM
    A. Harel

    Favorite dinner – Sunshine Salad – Romaine Lettuce, pecans, blue cheese, red onions, and cherry tomatoes with a poppy seed dressing. Love your blog!

  59. postedMar 9, 2012 8:50 AM
    Kara D

    I love BBQ bone in chicken breasts with roasted sweet potatoes!

  60. postedMar 9, 2012 8:54 AM

    My favorite thing to make for dinner would be chicken fettuccine alfredo!

  61. postedMar 9, 2012 8:55 AM
    Melissa Calvin

    My fav things to make for dinner is black bean chili with all the fixins. Thanks!

  62. postedMar 9, 2012 9:01 AM

    Anything easy that my kids will eat!

  63. postedMar 9, 2012 9:03 AM
    Nancy L

    Grilled steak or chicken! Easy and yummy!

  64. postedMar 9, 2012 9:06 AM

    WOW! Makes me want to eat some chicken parmigiana.

  65. postedMar 9, 2012 9:06 AM

    Tacos! So quick and everyone can customize their own and avoid whatever they don’t like

  66. postedMar 9, 2012 9:07 AM
    Holly H.

    My stuffed meatloaf! It can be prepped in seconds and just popped in the oven.

  67. postedMar 9, 2012 9:12 AM
    amy marantino


  68. postedMar 9, 2012 9:12 AM

    My favorite thing to make is chicken breasts in the crockpot with Philadelphia cooking creme. Then shred, and serve over pasta.

  69. postedMar 9, 2012 9:13 AM

    I like making crock-pot meals best for convenience sake.

  70. postedMar 9, 2012 9:15 AM

    Our favorite EASY dinner is chicken fried rice– and sometimes we even cheat and get the Trader Joe’s mix and add extra egg and chicken!

  71. postedMar 9, 2012 9:17 AM

    Yummy! Very simple recipe, must try this!

    As always thanks for all the great recipe ideas!


  72. postedMar 9, 2012 9:24 AM

    My go-to is soup. Throw some veggies, beans/grains, and homemade stock in a pot with whatever I feel like, and goodness always happens. ๐Ÿ™‚

  73. postedMar 9, 2012 9:26 AM
    Averie @ Averie Cooks

    favorite thing to make for dinner is anything my family will eat ๐Ÿ™‚

  74. postedMar 9, 2012 9:41 AM

    Pasta would be one of our favourite dinners. My wife is gluten free, and so many store bought sauces contain gluten, I’ve been experimenting with pasta sauces for a while now (don’t worry, we buy gluten free pasta for her). I’ll be trying this Marinara Sauce next time!
    Thanks for sharing this Lori.

  75. postedMar 9, 2012 9:42 AM

    Chicken, asparagus and basalmic salad. I’m eating leftovers of it right now!

  76. postedMar 9, 2012 9:44 AM

    quesadillas or pasta are our go-to meals, along with a quick green salad.

  77. postedMar 9, 2012 9:47 AM

    My favorite thing to make for dinner is chicken enchiladas…they make the house smell so darn good!

  78. postedMar 9, 2012 9:48 AM

    My go-to is pasta since my boys will eat it with little griping ๐Ÿ™‚ I sneak veggies in every way I can

  79. postedMar 9, 2012 9:52 AM
    Molly l.

    My favorite thing to make for dinner is always always always spaghetti with meatballs!

  80. postedMar 9, 2012 9:55 AM

    i love anything mexican!

  81. postedMar 9, 2012 10:01 AM

    I have a 10-wk-old so our meals have become a bit haphazard. Anything I can prep after she goes to bed and then just toss together the next day, like fajitas or a quick casserole, has become my go-to.

  82. postedMar 9, 2012 10:01 AM
    Lisa T

    I have three very picky eaters, and pasta is always a hit, so I’ll have to choose pasta. A close second is tacos since they can be customized to taste.

  83. postedMar 9, 2012 10:04 AM

    My favorite thing to make is pizza- there are so many options! It was the first meal my kids helped me make.

  84. postedMar 9, 2012 10:12 AM
    Robin Whiting

    Anything pasta for dinner!

  85. postedMar 9, 2012 10:13 AM
    Lisa W.

    Spaghetti or lasagna,hands down!!!!!

  86. postedMar 9, 2012 10:17 AM

    Homemade tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches, so yummy! Life is Good ๐Ÿ™‚

  87. postedMar 9, 2012 10:20 AM

    My favorite thing to make for dinner is pasta!

  88. postedMar 9, 2012 10:23 AM

    Guilty too! I need to start making my own sauce. Thanks for sharing!

  89. postedMar 9, 2012 10:30 AM
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet

    I love making veggie-ful pasta dishes and would love to win her book!

  90. postedMar 9, 2012 10:32 AM

    We like to make lasagna or baked spaghetti.

  91. postedMar 9, 2012 10:36 AM

    I have really been enjoying trying new recipes a couple of times a week. Just made the Paleo Shepherd’s Pie (from Elana’s Pantry)-DELICIOUS! Will definitely be making this marinara sauce!

  92. postedMar 9, 2012 10:58 AM

    I love making chili!!

  93. postedMar 9, 2012 11:05 AM

    That looks delish! I may never buy jarred sauce again. I love to make Mexican food for dinner. There are so many ways to go with it and it’s often reasonably low in fat. Our favorite are spicy bean burritos.

  94. postedMar 9, 2012 11:09 AM

    My favorite thing to make for dinner is breakfast for dinner – french toast and pancakes are my specialty! ๐Ÿ™‚

  95. postedMar 9, 2012 11:15 AM

    Hi Lori! Thanks for hosting the giveaway! My favorite thing to make for dinner is tilapia, lightly sauteed and served on a salad with our special sauce! Blessings from Bama!

  96. postedMar 9, 2012 11:22 AM
    Sarah L

    That’s a great idea for a cookbook! I love making soup for dinner. It’s always comforting.

  97. postedMar 9, 2012 11:23 AM

    My favorite thing to make is spaghetti. Everyone likes it!

  98. postedMar 9, 2012 11:32 AM
    Barb H

    Lately tacos have been a big hit around here.

  99. postedMar 9, 2012 11:41 AM

    We love making Orzo with butter and veggies for dinner!

  100. postedMar 9, 2012 11:46 AM

    I love her! Would definitely love her cookbook. My favorite dinner to make is chicken parmesan. It’s my husband’s favorite food and he loves to help me make it so we have a good time in the kitchen making a delicious meal.

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