Recipes

Easy Marinara Sauce

Easy Marinara Sauce tastes as if it’s been simmering for days, but takes less than an hour to whip up. See how I make this traditional Italian sauce.

A bowl of authentic quick and easy marinara sits in a bowl over linens on a dining table, next to a large can of San Marzano tomatoes.

No more hours and hours of simmering huge pots of marinara to feed an army of people—well, unless of course you do have an army of people to feed. My easy marinara sauce is both delicious and hassle free. It’s perfect for one or two people, and still produces the flavor of authentic marinara that tastes like it’s been simmering for days.

This recipe will have you licking the bowl and wishing it were a soup rather than a sauce for topping pizza or pasta.

I use fresh garlic and oregano when I make this, and if I close my eyes for a minute it feels like I’ve been transported to a charming little cottage in the middle of the Italian countryside.

The finished product is a thick and luscious dark red sauce that is perfect for making two pizzas or for topping two or more large bowls of pasta. Here, I’ve applied a thick layer of marinara to homemade pizza dough for a truly handmade dinner to enjoy with my husband. 

Pizza dough has quick and easy marinara smothered on it and lays on a dark wood table.

If you decide to make extra to share with everyone, they’ll be oohing and ahhing about your easy marinara sauce.

You’ll be able to smile knowing you’ve made a nutritious, delicious kitchen staple in less than an hour with just four simple steps. As the Italians say, “Buon appetito!”

Antique linens sit atop a kitchen table with a can of tomatoes and a bowl of quick and easy marinara.

Tools you may need

  • Dutch oven or deep pot
  • Garlic press, optional
  • Immersion blender, optional
  • Large spoon
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cutting board and culinary knife
A blue dutch oven is coated in olive oil and is ready for onions and garlic to be thrown in on the stovetop.

Ingredients

San Marzano tomatoes – These tomatoes are grown in Italy and make the perfect marinara. You can also use blanched and peeled Roma tomatoes. I like to do this in the summer months when I grow them in my backyard.

Yellow onion – Yellow onions are slightly sweet once cooked and get pureed into this rich tomato sauce.

Extra virgin olive oil – This is used to cook the onions and brings out the flavor of the tomatoes.

Garlic – You can’t have an Italian dish without garlic. I love garlic and add as many cloves as I can.

Salt – Salt helps enhance the flavor. You can use table salt or sea salt in this recipe.

Oregano – Use fresh or dried oregano. Use less if you’re using dried oregano.

Granulated sugar – Sugar helps cut the acidity in tomato sauces, making them palatable and richer in flavor.

A cooked pizza sits on a plate on the kitchen table waiting to be devoured. It is covered in mozzarella and fresh veggies.

Steps for Making Easy Marinara Sauce

  1. Dice and sauté the onion in olive oil until tender and then add the crushed garlic and sauté a couple more minutes.
  2. Add canned tomatoes and crush tomatoes down in the pot and simmer covered for about 15 minutes.
  3. Uncover and use immersion blender to completely blend until smooth and then add in sugar, salt, and oregano.
  4. Gently simmer another 15 minutes until sauce no longer tastes acidic and appears a darker red with a thickened texture. 
A quick and easy marinara is mixed with pasta and fresh mozzarella in a bowl, on a cutting board.

Tips for making Easy Marinara Sauce

  • San Marzano tomatoes originated in Italy, and they’re truly the best tomatoes to use for making an authentic marinara. However, homegrown blanched, peeled Roma tomatoes are also great for using, especially in the summer months.
  • Marinara can burn if it’s boiling, so pay special attention that it’s only simmering and stir frequently to prevent burning.
  • For a larger batch, simply double the recipe. Longer simmering time may be required for the same results. 
  • I prefer to use my Dutch oven to make this in because of the deep sides of the pot. If you have something similar, feel free to use it, but you may have to adjust cooking times slightly. Just be sure to use something that will prevent splattering sauce all over your countertops.

More Recipe Inspiration:

Sour Cream and Chive Mashed Potatoes

The Best White Pizza

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Easy Marinara Sauce

Easy Marinara Sauce will have you in disbelief that it's made in less than an hour but tastes as if it's been simmering for days…
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword easy marinara, easy recipes, Italian recipes, pasta sauce recipe, quick marinara recipe, quick recipes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 3
Calories 170kcal

Equipment

  • dutch oven
  • garlic press optional
  • immersion blender optional
  • large spoon for stirring and serving
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • cutting board
  • culinary knife

Ingredients

  • 1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes (or about 8 Roma tomatoes, blanched and peeled)
  • 1/2 small yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh, chopped oregano (or 2 tsp dried oregano)
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar

Instructions

  • Dice onion. Sauté onion in olive oil on medium-low heat in Dutch oven until onions begin to become tender.
  • Add garlic to the Dutch oven for about two minutes, stirring frequently and being careful not to burn. Onions should be almost caramelized before the next step.
  • Add in canned tomatoes, crushing them down with a large wooden spoon. Turn stovetop to medium heat until tomato mixture comes to a simmer. Let simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. 
  • At this point, turn the heat down to a low setting. Remove lid and use an immersion blender to completely blend the mixture smooth. 
  • Stir in sugar, salt, and oregano. Leave the lid off and simmer for another 15-20 minutes on low heat—be sure this is a gentle simmer, not boiling. Keep stirring every few minutes or so until marinara has thickened and darkened a bit.
  • The finished marinara should be robust and slightly sweet, without any acidic taste to it. Pour over pasta or use on pizza crust for pizza making. If using at a later time, store in airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. 

Notes

  • San Marzano tomatoes originated in Italy, and they’re truly the best tomatoes to use for making an authentic marinara. However, homegrown blanched, peeled Roma tomatoes are also great for using, especially in the summer months.
  • Marinara can burn if it’s boiling, so pay special attention that it’s only simmering and stir frequently to prevent burning.
  • For a larger batch, simply double the recipe. Longer simmering time may be required for the same results. 
  • I prefer to use my Dutch oven to make this in because of the deep sides of the pot. If you have something similar, feel free to use it, but you may have to adjust cooking times slightly. Just be sure to use something that will prevent splattering sauce all over your countertops.

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