Homemade Marinara Sauce

When I spotted this 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!

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.

Homemade Marinara Sauce recipe by RecipeGirl.com

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!  Here’s the super-simple how-to:

Homemade Marinara Sauce recipe by RecipeGirl.com

Heat some olive oil in a pan.

Homemade Marinara Sauce recipe by RecipeGirl.com

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.

Homemade Marinara Sauce recipe by RecipeGirl.com

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

Homemade Marinara Sauce recipe by RecipeGirl.com

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

Homemade Marinara Sauce recipe by RecipeGirl.com

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,  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 🙂

The Naptime Chef Cookbook

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Yield: 6 cups

Prep Time:5 minutes

Cook Time:50 minutes

  • 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.
  • 1 Weight Watchers Freestyle SmartPoint per 1-cup serving
SOURCE: RecipeGirl.com (re-printed with permission from The Naptime Chef cookbook)

Here are a few more homemade pasta sauce recipes you might enjoy:

Disclosure:  There are Amazon affiliate links included within this post.

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Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

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  • Judy Crawford wrote:

    Very good! I added half an onion and some carrots and before I added all the tomatoes I pureed it all up.

  • Claudia Barry wrote:

    I made this it was just a bit too bitter for me so I added a tablespoon of honey made all the difference

  • Denise G wrote:

    This sauce is delicious! I made a few minor personal tweaks to it and oh my word its amazing and SO SO SO much better than jarred sauce. This is my go to from now on! I love that it is flavorful and makes enough to feed my large family, plus some!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Deitra wrote:

    Made this tonight didn’t have Two-28 oz cans of tomatoes only one so added 16 oz of tomato sauce very tasty! Thanks for sharing.

  • Amanda wrote:

    How much dried basil would you use instead of the fresh basil?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      1 teaspoon dried basil = 1 tablespoon fresh

  • Debbie wrote:

    So I decided spaghetti was for dinner when I saw your recipe. Cue the grocery store – which was out of fresh basil and the garlic was pathetic and no good, so I bought a tube of basil paste and used some of the jar chopped garlic I keep in the fridge and about 1/4 cup fresh minced onion. I only bought one can of crushed tomatoes (didn’t realize it was a 2 can recipe) and used the full amount of everything else and I added some fresh ground pepper. The taste is excellent and I will make this again.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Glad to hear!

  • Krissy wrote:

    How long will the sauce stay good in canning jars?

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m afraid I’m not familiar with canning, so I have no idea. I usually use it up right away!

  • John Grillo wrote:

    Being of Sicilian descent I’m always looking for sauce variations. I’m presently cooking your sauce…anxious to see what the balsamic vinegar does to the flavor.Never heard of adding balsamic…but I live a shelterd life. My cousin whose a terrific .Italian cook told me to try adding 3 anchovie fillets to the sauce. Has anybody ever tried this. I’m going to try it on the next pot of sauce.