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Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

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Marinara sauce, ia an Italian sauce from Naples, made with fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, spices and herbs.

Although the name “marinara” which means “sailor’s sauce”, may bring to your mind seafood, it has nothing to do with that.

marinara sauce in a jar image

What is Marinara sauce?

Marinara sauce is a type of tomato-based sauce used in Italian cuisine. It typically contains ingredients such as San Marzano tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs, and is often seasoned with salt, black pepper, and fresh or dried basil.

Marinara sauce is used as a base for many pasta dishes, on top of pizza dough, for meatballs and is also used as a dipping sauce for bread and in other recipes.

Cooking marinara sauce image

Some legends say that the wives of sail-men prepared this sauce when their husbands returned back from their trips or when the Neapolitan sailors returned from their trips, they prepared a sauce which was named after the sailors making it.

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After our recent trip to Rome , I am still dreaming of Rome and its food.

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I love a good marinara sauce! 

I have been making this sauce for ages and as I will be recreating some recipes we tried, I have realized that I have never posted the recipe before.

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This sauce is very easy and very versatile and it’s not worth buying the ready-made sauce as homemade tastes much better and costs less, when tomatoes are in season.

Collage making Marinara image

During summer, tomatoes are abundant and cheap and I grow basil in a pot on my small balcony.  

‘Even when tomatoes are out of season, I make marinara sauce with canned tomatoes, sometimes I use passata and tomato paste, depending on what I have at home.  

See also my Greek winter tomato sauce.

Basil image

In summer Greek tomatoes are firm, sweet and juicy.  

If your tomatoes are tart, you can add a couple of grated carrots to the sauce or some honey, instead of adding sugar, which balances the tartness of the fresh tomatoes.

Depending on the season, add some fresh basil or if you don’t have any add some parsley, dried oregano, thyme and basil.  

I always peel the tomatoes before making the sauce so that there is no skin in the tomatoes.

Although this is not very traditional, I like to add a piece of cinnamon stick in the sauce but do not mention it in the recipe.  

It’s up to you to add it if you also like the taste of cinnamon, as much as I do.

This sauce is so easy to make and tastes a million times better than the store bought one.  

I always make big batches during the summer, which I deep freeze in plastic cups, which are around 1 cup capacity, so this saves time and money.

Frozen marinara sauce image

I use this sauce to make an easy vegan spaghetti dish, especially during lent, as you can see in the photo with no cheese, but feel free to use grated cheese on top as well.


spaghetti with marinara sauce image
Spaghetti with marinara sauce and grated myzithra cheese
Vegan spaghetti with marinara sauce image
Vegan spaghetti with marinara sauce

I also  serve it with meatballs, as a base for pizza, in calzone, in lasagna etc.

Meatballs with marinara sauce image
Meatballs with marinara sauce i
Penne with mushrooms and marinara sauce image
Penne with mushrooms and marinara sauce
Sausage Lasagna served image
Sausage Lasagna
Homemade marinara sauce image

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

Yield: 2 cups
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

This homemade marinara sauce recipe is easy tomake with just a few ingredients such as ripe tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions.


  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 500 grams tomato passata
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • About 1/2 cup fresh broad leaf basil or parsley, finely chopped


  1. Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent 
  2. Add the garlic and mix for a few seconds, until fragrant.
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir.
  4. Add salt, pepper,as well as dried herbs and stir.
  5. Stir to combine and bring the sauce to a simmer.
  6. Add fresh basil or parsley.
  7. Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover with the lid and cook until the sauce has thickened, about 30 minutes.
  8. Serve with pasta, meatballs, on pizza etc.
Nutrition Information
Yield 2 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 981Total Fat 58gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 47gCholesterol 0mgSodium 2071mgCarbohydrates 114gFiber 23gSugar 76gProtein 17g

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

Other relevant recipes:

Spicy Winter Tomato Sauce

Penne with Mushrooms and Marinara Sauce

Tomato Chutney


Pizza Rolls

Collage Easy and Tasty Homemade Marinara Sauce image

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

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Tuesday 24th of November 2009

This recipe is a keeper. I never buy my pasta sauce. Love the deep color of the sauce.


Tuesday 24th of November 2009

You can never go wrong with a good homemade marinara sauce. This looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe.


Monday 23rd of November 2009

I love a good homemade Marinara! Looks delicious, Ivy!


Monday 23rd of November 2009

Sometimes it's good to be reminded of the simpler things. I just want to toss a little parmesan on that last picture and dig in with my fork!


Monday 23rd of November 2009

Homemade marinara sauce sounds fantastic, would love to try it ! I am sure this tastes way better than those store bought sauces....

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