The Best Marinara Sauce Recipe

by Lindsey
4 cups
35 min

This Italian marinara sauce recipe is fresh and absolutely worth the 30 minutes it takes to make. Made with onions, garlic, fire-roasted tomatoes, basil, and a splash of white wine. Naturally gluten-free and optionally vegetarian.

This marinara sauce recipe is fresh, has a deep rich flavor, and has an amazing texture of saucy tomatoes and slightly crisp onions. I make it in a big batch and save the extra for other meals. It's perfect for pasta, pizza, casseroles, and dipping sauce for cheesy bread or calzones.

I first made this recipe after looking in my pantry for store-bought marinara sauce for spaghetti night and realizing I forgot to buy some. I figured, "How hard could it be to make?" The answer was, it's easier than I thought! On top of that, it was way better than what I could buy in the store. I'm personally of the opinion that anything made from scratch is better. As if you couldn't tell...

The key to this fresh tomato sauce marinara recipe is letting it simmer in the pot for at least 30 minutes. The ingredients need that time to develop and meld into each other to create that deep rich flavor. A little experiment you could try would be to take a small cup of sauce out of the pot right before it starts to simmer and then take another small cup after it's done cooking and taste them each individually. You'll really be able to taste the sharpness of the acidity in the tomatoes and the individual ingredients in the first bowl. Notice how the flavors all compliment each other and come together to create a complex sauce in the second, fully cooked sauce.

Ingredients in this marinara sauce recipe

These ingredients are readily available and easy to get from the store if you don't already have them in your pantry.

  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • White wine
  • Chicken or vegetable broth
  • Fire-roasted tomatoes
  • Sugar (to offset the sharpness of the tomatoes)
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Butter (to create a smooth and shiny consistency, plus it doesn't hurt the flavor 😉 )
  • Salt & Pepper
How to make this homemade marinara sauce recipe

It's really very simple to make. I'll give you a brief look at how to do that here. See the full recipe below for more details.

  1. Sweat the onions until they are soft but still have a slight bite and then add the garlic for 30 seconds. (Overcooked garlic has a bitter and burnt taste)
  2. Add the tomatoes, white wine, and broth. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the butter and chopped parsley and basil.
  4. Use what you need for that day and refrigerate or freeze the rest.

How to store

Refrigerate: Put any leftover sauce in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freeze: This is my favorite part of making almost anything, including this marinara sauce. Portion out the sauce into sandwich size baggies, write what it is and the date on the bag, and lay them flat in the freezer until they're frozen. Then stand them up in the freezer for space. This will allow you to pull out exactly what you need for any future meals.

Needless to say, my freezer is stuffed with food for the future...


Here are a few other ways you can make this marinara sauce recipe.

  • Fresh tomatoes rather than canned (I recommend roasting them first so they have that deeper flavor)
  • Add other fresh or dried herbs like oregano or rosemary
  • A whole red chili pepper or dried red chile pepper
  • Roasted garlic cloves
  • A small amount of tomato paste for a more intense tomato flavor

Recipes to use with this easy marinara sauce recipe

If you try it out, let me know how it goes in the comments or on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

The Best Marinara Sauce Recipe
Recipe details
  • 4  cups
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 35 min
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  • 1 yellow onion - diced
  • 5 garlic cloves - minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 15ounce cans fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup white cooking wine
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ cup parsley - chopped
  • ¼ cup basil chopped

Sweat the onions until they are soft but still have a slight bite and then add the garlic for 30 seconds. (Overcooked garlic has a bitter and burnt taste)
Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes, sugar, white wine, broth, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
Stir in the butter and chopped parsley and basil.
Use what you need for that day and refrigerate or freeze the rest.
  • This sauce is better the longer it has to allow the flavors to all come together.
Want more details about this and other recipes? Check out more here!
  • Lyn5058341 Lyn5058341 on May 18, 2021

    Can you give us the nutritional information. Or did I miss it?

    • Lindsey Lindsey on May 22, 2021

      NUTRITION INFORMATION: Yield: 16 Serving Size: ¼ cup

      Amount Per Serving: Calories:35 Total Fat:1g Saturated Fat:1g Trans Fat:0g Unsaturated Fat:0g Cholesterol:2mg Sodium:176mg Carbohydrates:5g Fiber:2g Sugar:3g Protein:1g

      I’m not sure why it did not convert from my blog to the FoodTalk page, I’ll be sure to update it!

  • GabbyOne GabbyOne on May 19, 2021

    The best sauce is a can San Marzano, garlic, basil, that's it.