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Easy Marinara Sauce

Easy Marinara Sauce made with crushed tomatoes and fresh or dried herbs is simple, quick, and the perfect sauce for your pasta!

A wooden spoon of easy marinara sauce in a large pot.

This easy marinara sauce takes about 30 minutes to make and will keep for days in the refrigerator or months in the freezer. It'a bursting with tomato flavor, the way a marinara sauce should be. And it's way better than jarred sauce!

You can add ground beef or sausage (or both) to make this a quick and hearty marinara sauce.

  • Dutch oven - I love my Le Creuset Dutch ovens, but this option from Lodge is less expensive and gets great reviews! And this one from Amazon Basics is nice too!
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Red wine - adds a subtle flavor to your marinara sauce
  • Granulated sugar
  • Fresh or dried basil
  • Fresh or dried oregano
  • Fresh or dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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How to make easy marinara sauce

Step 1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and stir for about a minute then add garlic. Turn heat to low and stir just until garlic and onion turn light but not brown.

Step 2. Add crushed tomatoes, wine, sugar and seasonings. Stir well and simmer about an hour.

Cook's Tip: Here's a tutorial for how to make crushed tomatoes.

This sauce is wonderful over any type of pasta, meatballs or chicken for chicken parmesan. One batch usually makes enough for one meal and a nice bit of leftover marinara sauce for the freezer.

Note: I clipped this recipe from a newspaper about 20 years ago, from an article titled "An Italian Grandma's Kitchen." So while some marinara sauce recipes will omit the onion, the Italian grandmother in that article added it.

A wooden spoon stirring a pot of marinara sauce.

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A wooden spoonful of easy marinara sauce with dried herbs.

Easy Marinara Sauce

4.80 from 10 votes
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A simple Italian marinara sauce with crushed tomatoes and seasonings. It's great for pasta and quick enough for a week night.
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prep time: 20 mins
total time :1 hr 20 mins
servings :6 servings
author: Lucy Brewer


  • 4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 28- ounce cans crushed tomatoes (I like Muir Glen organic)
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • Add onion and stir for about a minute then add garlic.
  • Turn heat to low and stir just until garlic and onion turn light but not brown.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, wine, sugar and seasonings.
  • Stir well and simmer about an hour.


Add cooked ground beef or Italian sausage (or a mix of both) to make this a quick and easy meaty sauce.
Click here to save this recipe to your Pinterest board!
Serving: 6servingsCalories: 194kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 614mgFiber: 5gSugar: 13g
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Update Notes: This post was originally published March 8, 2011, and on February 19, 2020, was updated with one or more of the following: step-by-step photos, video, updated recipe, new tips.

More Italian-American recipes:

Recipe Rating


Saturday 14th of May 2022

Since I tried this recipe, I have not used any other, and certainly not jarred sauce. This is so delicious. Thank you!

Lucy Brewer

Thursday 19th of May 2022

Thank you so much! I just love how easy this sauce is, and how you can add whatever you want.


Friday 28th of January 2022

Could you make this in a crockpot?

Lucy Brewer

Thursday 3rd of February 2022



Friday 16th of July 2021

Have you canned this and if so, did you double, triple the recipe?

Lucy Brewer

Monday 2nd of August 2021

I have never canned it but I just about always double or triple the recipe anyway! I like to keep some in the freezer.


Thursday 11th of February 2021

I’m putting this recipe on the inside of my cabinet door to join all my other favorite recipes!! It’s quick to make, I always have these items in my pantry and it’s delicious!! I left out the sugar and only had one can crushed tomatoes so I used some stewed tomatoes I had in the freezer. Thank you!!!

Lucy Brewer

Friday 12th of February 2021

I'm so glad you enjoyed it! I think pretty much any tomatoes will work, I just like the texture of the crushed tomatoes.


Wednesday 27th of January 2021

This is a keeper. An excellent pantry staple meal. I did blend the sauce and added bay leaf with the tomatoes and about 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes. Very nice weeknight meal.