Go Back
+ servings
How to make marinara sauce
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

Marinara Sauce Recipe

An easy marinara sauce that needs just five ingredients, one pot, and that takes under 30 minutes to make. It is easily the best marinara I've ever eaten.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course/Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 39kcal



  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic (crushed with your knife, then finely sliced)
  • 28 oz San Marzano tomatoes (canned. You need both the tomatoes and all the juices)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (or basil. Use dry or, if using fresh, bump up to 1 tbsp. In summers I like using fresh basil. Use a sprig with about five large leaves of basil, whole)
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more if you like your sauce spicier)
  • Ground black pepper (optional. You can use some of this instead of the red pepper flakes, or use half of each)
  • Salt to taste


  • Empty the can of San Marzano tomatoes into a bowl and, using your fingers, crush the whole tomatoes into the juices. Leave a few chunks. Add a cup of water to the can, swirl it to mix in any tomato sauce that's sticking to the sides of the can, and empty into the bowl. Mix once.
  • In a large, wide saucepan, place the olive oil and the garlic and turn on the heat. Stir and let the garlic cook over medium-low heat until it starts to just turn blonde.
  • Add the prepped tomatoes and stir to mix. Stir in the oregano or basil and red pepper flakes or ground black pepper. If using fresh herbs, don't chop them. Drop in the sprigs of oregano or basil whole, stir them in, and then fish them out of the sauce before serving.
  • Once the sauce comes to a boil, turn the heat so the sauce simmers gently, and let it cook 15 minutes. The sauce should be a bright red when it's ready. Stir a few times during cooking.
  • Fish out any fresh herbs, if you used them before serving.


  • To make this marinara heartier and pump up the protein in the recipe, add 12 to 14 oz of ground sausage or meatless meat to the pot after the garlic begins to turn blonde. Once the sausage or faux meat browns a bit, add the tomatoes and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
  • To add meatballs to your sauce, saute the meatballs separately in a tablespoon of oil, then add them to the sauce toward end of cooking. Turn off the heat after two minutes.


Calories: 39kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 247mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 864IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg