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The EASIEST Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

This homemade marinara sauce is amazing and takes under 20 minutes to make. Some links in this post are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.

Freshly made homemade pasta sauce

I am so stuffed right now. You know how sometimes you make food you really like and you eat just a little bit too much just because it’s so good?

I did that tonight. Then again, I’m pretty sure the wee ones did, too! Thanks a lot, homemade tomato sauce.

Traditionally in many families, Monday night is pizza night. I’m all for that tradition, but I can’t justify eating out that often — especially when it’s so easy to make homemade pizza that tastes oh-so-good.

Homemade sauce on pizza

Yup, in warm weather, we grill our pizza, and it tastes amazing!

While I’m making my pizza dough, I whip up this simple marinara pasta sauce, too. By the time it’s finished simmering, the dough is ready to shape and bake.

This is the same marinara sauce that I use for spaghetti (less blended), lasagna (medium blended), pizza (completely blended), meatball subs (medium blended), and more! It’s super quick and tastes great.

Why use canned tomatoes?

I’m all about speed, and canned tomatoes are “good” canned vegetables (don’t get me started on canned peas). Don’t buy a knock off brand of cheap tomatoes because there is a taste difference.

While I don’t (always) use San Marzano, those taste amazing in this. Canned tomatoes have a good flavor and save a ton of prep work in this recipe.

Notice in the video that my diced tomatoes are bright red and solid. Cheap tomatoes won’t be as vibrant and are more likely to be softer and squishier, so avoid them.

Can I make this marinara sauce with whole fresh tomatoes?

You absolutely can. (Pun intended.) Whole tomatoes work well for this, and I will often include a tomato or two that is past the point where my family will eat it “fresh.”

To use whole tomatoes, you want to remove the skins, so blanch them first.

Cut a small x in the bottom with a paring knife, then place your tomatoes in boiling water for for 1-2 minutes. Immediately put them in an ice bath for another minute or so.

The skin will peel right off, and if you start where you made the x, it’s even easier. Discard the skins completely.

(If I use just one tomato or a few grape tomatoes, I skip this step, and it’s fine.)

Then dice your tomatoes and proceed with the recipe as written.

Can I use fresh herbs for this pasta sauce?

This recipe uses dried herbs simply because they’re faster to use and most people have them in their pantry. You can use fresh herbs in this sauce, however.

If you use fresh basil and fresh parsley and oregano, don’t add them when you start to simmer. Fresh herbs lose their bright flavor as they cook, while dried herbs need to rehydrate and gain flavor as they cook.

Add fresh herbs a minute or two before the marinara sauce finishes cooking. Stir them in and let them finish the sauce.

Note that dried herbs are far more concentrated than fresh herbs. Use three times as much fresh herbs than you do dried herbs, or you won’t get the flavor.

For fresh herbs, roll them up into a tight log, then slice through them to chiffonade them before you add them to the pot.

How do I safely blend the sauce at the end?

When you blend your marinara sauce, I always use an immersion blender. It’s quick and easy and the safest method. 

Bonus? You don’t have to get an extra dishes dirty!

If you don’t own an immersion blender, you can use a traditional blender, but follow safety precautions. Consider buying an immersion blender though; it’s one of the most used tools in my kitchen.

With a traditional blender, fill it no more than one third full. Place the top on securely, then use a kitchen towel to hold it on firmly while you blend.

The heat builds up pressure inside the blender, so if you fill it too full or don’t take precautions with the lid. The last thing you want is the top popping off and spraying hot tomato sauce.

This is just another argument in favor of an immersion blender, as you don’t have the safety concerns.

After you do the first batch, pour it back into the pot or into a serving container and repeat with as many batches as you need to blend the entire pot.

Is this a marinara sauce or a spaghetti sauce?

Technically this is a marinara sauce that I use as a spaghetti sauce. I like it better than traditional spaghetti sauce ingredients and flavors.

Marinara sauce relies on herbs, garlic, and tomatoes for its flavor. While it’s often simmered for a long time, this recipe is perfect in its 20 minute cook time.

Spaghetti sauce generally has ground beef and onion that you saute before adding the tomatoes. Often, spaghetti sauce gets extra veggies added, too.

So vegan spaghetti sauce? I use it on my spaghetti simply because I don’t like meat sauce with my pasta.

How long does the marinara sauce last in the fridge?

This vegan marinara sauce lasts at least a week in the fridge. Place it in a clean glass jar after you make it and close the lid.

Once it fully cools, place it in the fridge. If you are a canner, feel free to can this so it remains shelf stable even longer. (This is not my area of expertise, however.)

Can I freeze marinara sauce?

Yes, you can freeze pasta sauce. Make sure you let it cool completely before you do anything else.

Place the marinara in a freezer safe container, and freeze. Make sure you leave some space for the sauce to expand a bit.

This stays good up to three months in the freezer. Thaw it overnight in the fridge before you use it, then gently heat it before you serve it.

How to Make Homemade Marinara Sauce in 20 Minutes

Heat a sturdy saucepan on medium heat until the bottom is fairly warm, then add the olive oil. While the olive oil is heating, peel and slice the garlic Add the garlic, once the olive oil is shimmery. Immediately open the can of tomatoes.

You want the tomatoes in there within about forty-five seconds of sauteing the garlic so that the garlic is fragrant but not colored at all.

Once the tomatoes are in, add your dried herbs and the salt and black pepper. Yes, I use dried spices for this recipe, and they work perfectly.

Tomato sauce ingredients

Stir, then let simmer for ten to fifteen minutes. Use an immersion blender (or a regular one in batches) to blend it to the consistency you desire.

Note: See the safety precautions about blending above. Be careful if you use a traditional blender.

Puree tomato sauce

This homemade pasta sauce is a super forgiving. Put in what you want, adjust the quantities to your liking, and enjoy.

My secret trick for leftovers? I use a funnel to pour the homemade pasta sauce into a mason jar. No mess, and it’s easier to serve later, too.

Jar of homemade tomato sauce

You don’t even want to know the last time I bought jarred pasta sauce. This tastes so much better (to me), and it’s also far cheaper.

Have you ever made homemade marinara sauce before? What’s your secret?

Summer no stove spaghetti and meatballs

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Yield: 3 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This incredibly simple homemade pasta sauce uses pantry staples and is ready in just 20 minutes, but you would never know from the taste.


  • 1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 t dried basil
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat heavy saucepan on medium heat. Once warm, add olive oil.
  2. Peel and slice the garlic, then add to pot. Add tomatoes when garlic is fragrant along with dried herbs, salt, and pepper.
  3. Stir, then let simmer for ten to fifteen minutes. Blend it to the consistency you desire.
  4. Serve immediately or store in a sealed container for up to three days in the fridge.


This recipe doubles easily. I usually make a double batch in fact!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 57Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 135mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 1g

This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself.

Did you make this recipe?

Please rate the recipe above and save it on Pinterest so you can find it to make again and again. Leave me a comment to let me know what you think about it, too!

Bowl of homemade pasta sauce

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  1. Michelle says:

    Pami – You're welcome. It's so easy and quick. I use this *all* the time.

    UnfinishedMom – Hopefully this is it for you. Plus, you can easily adapt it with whatever you have on hand. Add 1/2 c cream, and you have a rose sauce. Mmmmm.

    Karen – It's amazing how some of the yummiest things slip out of the rotation, isn't it?

    Unknown Mami – It totally is. So easy and so good… and I like to pretend lower in calories 😉

    Brenda – So much of what I cook is like that. I don't have recipes so much as approximations, and nothing is exactly the same twice. But that's the fun of cooking!

    shortmama – Ohhh so do I!

    Cookie – I hope it turns (ok turned, I'm late) out well!

  2. Cookie says:

    I'm planning to make pizza tomorrow night. Yum!

  3. shortmama says:

    We love homemade pizza in our house too!

  4. Brenda says:

    I love thiings like this because you can give them exactly the flavor you want.

  5. Unknown Mami says:

    I love homemade pizza, it's really a lot easier than people think and oh so yummy.

  6. Karen says:

    Sounds delish. I may have to make homemade pizza. It's been a while.

  7. septembermom says:

    15 minutes??? That's what I need. Thanks for your kind comments on my
    “couple time” post yesterday. I appreciate your thoughts. By the way, I have to make Irish scones for my son's school next week. I have a bunch of recipes, but do you know any good tips about technique for these? You're my “Recipe” authority”:)

  8. UnfinishedMom says:

    I've been looking for a good easy versatile tomato sauce recipe. Thanks for posting. I've bookmarked it!

  9. Pami says:

    thansk for sharing I will have to try this out 🙂

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