This easy homemade marinara sauce can be made quickly and easily, and it’s the perfect red sauce for pasta, as well as pizza, lasagna, and more. Plus it can be made ahead and stored or frozen, so you’ll have a fresh and flavorful sauce ready to go any time.

Cooked marinara sauce in a saute pan with a wooden spoon.

5 star review

“Fresh, bright, delicious and easy! A new go-to.”

– Sarah

About this Easy Marinara Sauce Recipe

If you’re looking for a simple, flavorful, quick and easy marinara sauce, then this is the recipe for you!

Made with a short list of pantry ingredients, and ready in under 30-minutes, this simple sauce recipe will elevate everything from spaghetti, crock pot lasagna, pizza, and my personal favorite, meatballs!

I especially love this easy marinara sauce for meatballs in this slow cooker meatballs recipe, our go-to weekday turkey spaghetti, and this healthy twist on slow cooker turkey meatballs.

And, if you happen to have homemade or store bought pizza dough on hand, this easy marinara sauce for pizza is the best thing to have on hand to take pizza night over the top.

But really, when it comes to pasta night, this nearly effortless homemade red sauce for pasta can’t be beat.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the convenience of a good store bought sauce (especially the Washington Post best marinara sauce winner), but making a homemade version is often more cost effective and even more flavorful than jarred.

Plus, it’s more versatile since you can control the quality and amount of ingredients that go in.

So, if you’ve never made the best marinara sauce from scratch, this is definitely the time to give it a try!

Visual Guide: How to Make Marinara Sauce

Jump to Recipe Instructions

Process & Tips

The process for how to make this pasta sauce couldn’t be easier, and if you love Rao’s homemade marinara sauce as much as I do, you’re going to love this homemade version!

Simply finely dice an onion (check out the visual guide for tips), then quickly saute with olive oil, salt, freshly minced garlic, salt, and pepper.

Then add hand crushed whole tomatoes – I like using whole San Marzano tomatoes if you can find them, but any whole tomatoes will work.

Once the whole tomatoes are crushed, add them to the sauteed onion and garlic, then cook until slightly thickened.

Follow with a sprinkling of fresh basil and you’re good to go!

How to Crush Whole Tomatoes

Be sure to start with adding your whole tomatoes to a big bowl to catch any juices and avoid spraying tomato juice across your kitchen. Then gently squeeze each tomato until it breaks into very small pieces. Continue with the remaining tomatoes.

How to Store & Freeze

This marinara sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container. It also freezes well, stored in a sealed freezer friendly container for up to 3 months.

Marinara sauce in a saute pan with thinly sliced basil.

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

Olive oil: Adds depth of flavor and authenticity to this sauce, so I recommend using either olive oil or extra virgin olive oil if possible.

Yellow onion: Yellow or white onion will work in this recipe, as will red onion in a pinch.

Kosher salt: Look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store, as iit has a subtle flavor. Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.

Garlic: Use freshly pressed or finely minced garlic for the best flavor.

Oregano: Dried oregano adds plenty of flavor and that signature marinara flavor, but no-salt Italian seasoning will also work.

Whole tomatoes: Look for whole San Marzano tomatoes if possible, but any whole canned tomatoes will work, as will crushed tomatoes in a pinch.

This Recipe Is…

A clear mason jar with marinara sauce.

Follow my step-by-step video:

Marinara sauce in a saute pan with thinly sliced basil.
5 stars (5 ratings)

Easiest Marinara Sauce (5-Ingredients!)

This easy homemade marinara sauce can be made quickly and easily, and it's the perfect red sauce for pasta, plus pizza, lasagna, and more.


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup finely-diced yellow onion, about ½ medium or 1 small
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or finely-minced
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes with juices, San Marzano if possible


  • Pour the whole tomatoes along with the juices into a medium bowl. Using clean hands, squeeze the tomatoes until they are all crushed into small pieces. Set aside.
  • Heat a medium pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, the onion, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook the onions until translucent but not browned, about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Add the garlic, oregano, and pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes with juices and two sprigs of fresh basil. Bring to a strong simmer, then reduce the heat to a low simmer.
  • Cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Use immediately or allow to cool and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Serve with remaining spring of fresh basil, thinly sliced.


See blog post for ingredient substitutions, how to use, storage, freezing, and more.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 (of 8), Calories: 86kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 0.4g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Sodium: 367mg, Potassium: 40mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 8IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 15mg, Iron: 0.3mg
Nutrition disclaimer
Did you make this recipe?If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

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