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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  • Laurie B. wrote:

    This was very good marinara sauce. The only thing I will change next time is that I thought it was very salty so I will only use 1 tsp of salt instead of 2.

  • Jenni C wrote:

    I’m in the process of making this now and it smells fantastic ! I usually make my own recipes buy wanted something a little more simple. I only made half the recipe though since I don’t need much, and will be freezing the rest.

  • Diane Rochford wrote:

    I’m in love with this recipe! So easy and way better than store bought.

  • cheekygirl wrote:

    i loved this recipe! it will be in heavy rotation chez cheeky. i made a few tweaks (mostly because i thought it only used one can of tomatoes so i upped the garlic, basil, and balsamic. still delish)

  • Sara e wrote:

    Does it make a difference consistency wise if you use fresh diced up tomatoes instead of the canned? i’m not a fan of all the salt in canned veggies

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m not sure about that- I haven’t tried fresh.

  • Cindy wrote:

    Can this sauce be canned? If so, how long would it stay good for? I don’t use marinara frequently but when I do I would love for it to be homemade!

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      I’m not familiar with canning, so I’m not sure…

  • Mel wrote:

    Reviews on this recipe would be nice. All i see are what peoples favorite meals are. Very weird posting that under someone elseS recipe….

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Sorry- about that- it must seem confusing. This was originally a giveaway post for the cookbook mentioned. To enter the giveaway, commenters had to share their favorite meal. It’s an excellent, easy sauce recipe!

  • Frank wrote:

    To improve on this while still keeping it simple and real Italian. Use Roma tomatoes from Italy, crush the tomatoes by hand. Skip the balsamic vinegar no real Italian chef does that, just use a good red wine. If you place your canning jars in the dishwasher with the sani-cycle and full heat dry remove when still hot, don’t cool the sauce while still boiling pour into jars, wipe the sides use new lids and when tighten flip jars over till at room temperature. Then place in fridge. I get 8 jars of sauce . With that you can change the sauce by jars, add a heavy cream and vodka to one jar and you got vodka sauce. cook some ground sirloin add a jar and you have meat sauce, or take a jar, cook the beef add some cream and you have bolonaise sauce.. The canning method is called country canning I have never had a bad jar yet, and it keeps for 3 months. Problem is I use pasta a lot so my jars never last more then 6 weeks.

    • Lori Lange wrote:

      Great tips!

  • Blondie wrote:

    Quesadillas or huevos rancheros. Yum!

  • Marcy Hutsko wrote:

    Love making homemade mac and cheese!

  • Claire wrote:

    mmm, I love some miso soup and rice!

  • Erin wrote:

    Definitely sweet chilli prawn stir fry- quick, cheap and DELICIOUS 🙂

  • Sheila wrote:

    Stuffed Shells is our favorite dish. mmmm

  • Sandra Kovalchick wrote:

    Steak! Always love a good steak recipe!

  • Christina Loy wrote:

    My new favorite thing is: swiss steak in the crockpot, served with mashed potatoes and rosemary bread. Yummo!!! Plus it makes for a fragrant home!

  • Stacey wrote:

    Any kind of pasta is my favorite because it’s so quick and easy!

  • Colleen wrote:

    My definitely favorite is mostacoli ,…yummy!

  • linda sch wrote:

    pasta with bacon peas and butter!

  • Tina wrote:

    I love to make something in the crock pot because the house always smells so good when I get home from work!

  • Pam wrote:

    probably spaghetti, because my husband loves it!