This homemade marinara sauce is a family favorite and a recipe that I have been making for years. It’s easy to make and the longer it simmers the more the flavors develop. This marinara sauce is a must-try recipe!
I’ve been asked at least a hundred times for my marinara sauce recipe. It’s a recipe that I’ve made countless times through the year and an absolute favorite to anyone that has tried it. It’s incredibly easy to make and made with fresh ingredients.
There’s nothing like the homemade marinara sauce simmering on the stove. The aroma of the onion, garlic, and tomatoes fill the house. If only Bath & Body works had that candle scent.
This Is The BEST Marinara Sauce
- made from scratch
- freezes beautifully
- perfect for a variety of recipes
- so much flavor
Marinara Sauce Ingredients
- Olive Oil: Just 1 Tablespoon to start the process.
- Onion: We’re using grated onion for this recipe. It results in BIG flavor.
- Fresh Garlic: I prefer to use fresh garlic slices (we’re garlic fanatics over here) but feel free to use minced.
- Crushed Tomatoes: I strongly recommend splurging on good quality crushed tomatoes. This is not sponsored, but I love Cento. My pantry is filled with their tomatoes.
- Fresh Basil: Not everyone has fresh basil on hand, but if you do, USE IT. It makes a HUGE difference. See the notes in the recipe for using dried basil as a substitution.
- Oregano, Salt & Pepper: Flavor! These also help balance out the tartness from the tomatoes.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: Seems odd, but it adds brightness to the recipe.
- Butter: This gets added at the end. It’s just 1 Tablespoon but as it melts into the sauce it adds richness.
- Red Pepper Flakes: These are optional but if you like spice, these are a must!
Overview: How To Make Marinara Sauce
When I tell people how to make marinara sauce they are shocked when they realize how easy it is. It’s nothing complicated.
- Sauté: In a large pot such as a dutch oven, add the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic on medium-low. It’s imperative that you do this on medium-low to help develop flavor without burning the onion and garlic.
- Add the Tomatoes: Once the flavor develops from the onion and garlic, stir in the tomatoes.
- Stir in the Basil: Toss in the fresh basil.
- Add the Spices: Stir in the spices including the red pepper flakes, if using. Give it a big stir.
- Bring It To A Simmer: Bring the sauce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Give it a taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper. Sometimes I add more.
- Finish It Off: Stir in the lemon juice and butter. Then, allow it to simmer for another 30 minutes. The longer it simmers, the better it gets.
This marinara sauce pairs well with almost anything— spaghetti, meatballs, garlic knots, garlic bread, meatball subs, etc.
Why buy store-bought marinara when homemade is SO much better?
Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup grated sweet onion
- 4 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- In a large pot like a dutch oven, add the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic on medium-low. It's imperative that you do this on medium-low to help develop flavor without burning the onion and garlic.
- Stir in the tomatoes, fresh basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using.) Give it a big stir. Bring the sauce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Give it a taste to see if it needs more salt and pepper. Sometimes I add more.
- Stir in the lemon juice and butter. Then, allow it to simmer for another 30 minutes. The longer it simmers, the better it gets.
- Serve over pasta, with meatballs, etc. The marinara sauce stays fresh for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- Make Ahead Instructions: The marinara can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The sauce can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Tomatoes: I use crushed tomatoes, though you can use tomato sauce too.
- Basil: If you don’t have fresh basil, you can substitute it with 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of dried basil.