Here’s an easy marinara sauce recipe that is irresistibly delicious, it’ll soon become a household staple. 

Made with 7 readily available ingredients, this recipe is super simple to make and great to keep in the freezer for last minute meals.

Marinara Sauce served over pasta

I hope you’ll try this recipe out, it’s a firm favorite in my house and is always a crowd pleaser.

Why you’ll love this marinara sauce

  • Quick and easy: Marinara sauce is one of the simplest sauces to make, as it requires just a few basic ingredients and can be ready in under 30 minutes. 
  • Versatile: Marinara sauce can be used in a variety of dishes, from pasta to pizza to meatballs
  • Healthy: Marinara sauce is typically low in calories and fat, as it doesn’t contain any cream or butter. It’s also a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and potassium, thanks to the tomatoes.
  • Cost-effective: Because marinara sauce is made from simple ingredients like canned tomatoes, onions, and garlic, it’s an affordable option for a homemade sauce. You can also make a large batch and freeze it for later use, which can save you money in the long run.

Looking for more recipes? Here are some of my favorites:

Ingredients and substitution notes 

  • Oil: Any neutral-flavored oil, such as vegetable or canola oil, can be used in place of the specified oil.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic cloves are recommended for the best flavor.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes based on your spice preference.
  • Tomatoes: Canned crushed tomatoes or tomato puree can be substituted for the finely chopped tomatoes. If using whole peeled tomatoes, simply crush them with a potato masher or blend them briefly in a food processor before adding to the sauce.
  • Basil Leaves: Fresh basil leaves can be substituted with dried basil.
  • Better-Than-Bouillon or Chicken Style Seasoning: This ingredient adds a savory, umami flavor to the sauce. If you don’t have “Better-Than-Bouillon” or chicken-style seasoning, you can use vegetable broth instead of the water called for in the recipe.
  • Vegan Margarine: This ingredient is optional, but can help to bring all the flavors together and create a creamier texture. 
  • Sugar: Adding sugar to the sauce can help to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. If you prefer, you can use maple syrup instead of sugar for a natural sweetener.

Marinara Sauce recipe variations and add-ins

  • Vegetable sauce: Add in your favorite vegetables to the marinara sauce to make a chunky vegetable sauce. Some good options include zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions.
  • Spicy sauce: Increase the amount of crushed red pepper flakes or add in some diced jalapeño peppers for a spicy marinara sauce.
  • Herb sauce: Experiment with different herbs to add to your marinara sauce. Oregano, thyme, rosemary, and parsley are all good options. You can also try adding in some fresh or dried bay leaves for a more complex flavor.
  • Olives and Capers: For a tangy, briny twist, add some chopped green or Kalamata olives and capers to the marinara sauce. 
  • Roasted Garlic: Roast a head of garlic in the oven until soft and caramelized, then mash it and stir it into the marinara sauce for a rich, garlicky flavor.
Easy Marinara Sauce in a white pot

Top tips

  • Use high-quality ingredients: Since marinara sauce is made with just a few ingredients, it’s important to use high-quality ones to ensure the best flavor. Look for canned tomatoes that are ripe, plump, and packed in their own juices, rather than in tomato puree.
  • Simmer the sauce slowly: Once you’ve added the canned tomatoes to the saucepan, let the sauce simmer over low heat for at least 10 minutes.

Make ahead of instructions and storage

Make ahead:

Marinara sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer.

To make ahead, prepare the sauce as directed in the recipe, then let it cool to room temperature.

Transfer the sauce to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


If storing in the refrigerator, be sure to use a container with a tight-fitting lid to prevent air from getting in and spoiling the sauce.

If storing in the freezer, use a freezer-safe container or freezer bag and be sure to leave some extra room at the top for the sauce to expand as it freezes.

Once the sauce has been reheated, be sure to use it within 2-3 days and do not refreeze it.

Marinara Sauce Serving Suggestions 

  • Vegetable lasagna: Layer cooked lasagna noodles with marinara sauce, sautéed spinach, zucchini, and bell peppers for a delicious vegetarian lasagna. Top with shredded vegan mozzarella cheese and bake until bubbly and golden brown. You can also serve this marinara sauce with my Vegan Lasanga Roll-Ups.
  • Eggplant parmesan: Bread and bake slices of eggplant until crispy, then layer them in a baking dish with marinara sauce and vegan mozzarella cheese. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, then serve with a side salad for a delicious and satisfying meal. Click Here to check out my Eggplant Parmesan recipe.


Can I use canned tomatoes instead of fresh?

Yes, you can use canned tomatoes to make marinara sauce.

How can I make the sauce less acidic? 

If you find that your marinara sauce is too acidic for your taste, there are a few things you can do to balance out the flavors. One option is to add a teaspoon of sugar to the sauce, which will help to counteract the acidity. 

Watch My Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe Video:

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Marinara Sauce served over pasta

The Best Easy Incredible Marinara Sauce

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  • Author: Chef Ani


Here’s an easy marinara sauce recipe that is irresistibly delicious, it’ll soon become a household staple.


  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 4 fresh garlic cloves, crushed
  • Scant 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cans (14 oz.) finely chopped tomatoes (Mutti)
  • 2 sprigs basil leaves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons “Better-Than-Bouillon”
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine (optional, brings it all together)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, cuts the acid taste)


  1. Add oil to a sauce pan, sauté crushed garlic and red pepper flakes for a minute or two. (Be careful not to burn the garlic)
  2. Add tomatoes, seasoning, and sprigs of basil. Simmer on medium to low for about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove sprigs of basil. Add margarine before serving. Stir to combine.
  4. Adjust salt and bouillon to taste.