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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.

👋 Want the printable recipe? Just scroll down!

Helpful tools and ingredients

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  • 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

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

A simple Italian marinara sauce with crushed tomatoes and seasonings. It's great for pasta and quick enough for a week night.


  • 4 tbsp 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 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 2 tsp dried
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or 1 tsp dried
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and stir for about a minute then add garlic.
  3. Turn heat to low and stir just until garlic and onion turn light but not brown.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, wine, sugar and seasonings.
  5. 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.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 6 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 194Saturated Fat: 1gSodium: 614mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 5gSugar: 13gProtein: 4g

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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.

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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.

joan exline

Tuesday 15th of September 2020

is there something i could subsitute for the wine -i have everything else i need to make this except the wine and no way to get to the store


Sunday 1st of November 2020

@Lucy Brewer, chicken broth works as well

Lucy Brewer

Wednesday 16th of September 2020

Just use a little tomato sauce and it will be fine.


Saturday 30th of December 2017

Try substituting half of the olive oil with unsalted butter.

Rufus' Food and Spirit Guide

Tuesday 15th of March 2011

I agree I can't stand store-bought!

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