Homemade Marinara Sauce

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This Homemade Marinara Sauce is tomato based with added olive oil, garlic and fresh basil.  It’s the perfect easy marinara sauce recipe to add to freshly cooked pasta.  Watch the video showing you how to make this recipe, then scroll to the bottom of this post and print out the recipe so you can make it at home.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

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 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.  Since I had never made Homemade Marinara Sauce, this easy marinara sauce recipe caught my eye.  It makes the house smell amazing, and it turns out to be much better than anything in the jar.

What’s the difference between Marinara Sauce and Spaghetti Sauce?

Marinara sauce recipes usually involve a base of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil.  There really isn’t such thing as “spaghetti sauce,” since spaghetti is just pasta that you can add any sauce to.  Many people add marinara sauce to spaghetti, and others prefer a marinara sauce with ground beef added to it.

Just 6 simple ingredients turn this recipe into 6 cups of marinara sauce. I usually use up all my sauce in just one recipe, but you can certainly use some now and the rest later! I like to make ahead in mass quantities!  Here’s the super-simple how-to:

How to Make Homemade Marinara Sauce

How to make Marinara Sauce:

Heat some olive oil in a pan.

How to Make Homemade Marinara Sauce

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.

How to Make Homemade Marinara Sauce

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

How to Make Homemade Marinara Sauce

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

How to Make Homemade Marinara Sauce

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 it is to make homemade marinara sauce?

How long is Homemade Marinara Sauce good for?

  • 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.

Homemade Marinara Sauce over pasta

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

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

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5 from 6 votes

Homemade Marinara Sauce

This easy homemade marinara sauce is a good one to add to pasta dishes!
1 1 1
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 cups
Calories 112kcal
Course Sauces
Cuisine Italian
Keyword easy marinara sauce, homemade marinara sauce


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


  • 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.
  • 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.


Serving: 1serving (1 cup) | Calories: 112kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 1125mg | Potassium: 791mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 585IU | Vitamin C: 25.6mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 3.5mg | Blue WW Smartpoints: 1 | Green WW Smartpoints: 1 | Purple WW Smartpoints: 1
Recipes Using Marinara Sauce...
Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

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  • Deebi27 wrote:

    Looks amazing, would love to try!
    I can easily give up meat in my sauce, but got to have the veggies!

  • Jocelyn wrote:

    A big batch of this marinara sauce and pasta always gets rave reviews in our house! It’s so easy and so good!

  • Amy wrote:

    This is so good! There is nothing better than making a big batch of homemade marinara.

  • Stephanie wrote:

    We use marinara sauce all the time but I’ve been too intimated to make my own. This looks so easy and delicious, I can’t wait to try it!

  • lauren kelly wrote:

    This looks so fresh and delicious! Such a great recipe!

  • Liz wrote:

    What a great recipe! I love how easy it is!

  • 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.