This quick and easy marinara sauce is a staple recipe that pairs perfectly with spaghetti, eggplant parmesan, baked ziti, pizza, and more! This marinara sauce takes 20 minutes to make on the stovetop. You need just 7 simple ingredients, including canned crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, and fresh herbs.

Turn this recipe into a CREAMY tomato sauce with Greek yogurt!

white bowl of marinara sauce with fresh basil leaves garnishing, on a white backdrop

Everyone needs a quick and easy marinara sauce recipe in their back pocket! I’ve been making this simple marinara sauce for years.

It’s so versatile – use it with all your favorite Italian recipes like lasagna, eggplant parmesan, baked ziti, margarita pizza, poached cod in tomato sauce, and more!

As a Registered Dietitian, I use a variety of healthy homemade sauces and dressings in my everyday cooking.

Making homemade sauces allows you to use high quality ingredients and minimize unhealthy additives, like excess added sugar or sodium.

This marinara sauce is super speedy and takes 20 minutes to prepare.

It cuts way back on prep time by utilizing canned crushed tomatoes. Cook your sauce on the stovetop in a saute pan or sauce pan and it is ready to go!

This recipe is vegan, gluten free, nut free, dairy free, and soy free. This sauce has no added sugar.

What is marinara sauce?

Marinara sauce is a tomato-based sauce that is a staple in Italian-American cuisine. In its simplest form, marinara sauce is made from tomatoes, garlic, onion, and herbs.

Marinara sauce is incredibly versatile. You can use it as a simple spaghetti sauce, but it’s also a component of several dishes like eggplant parmesan, lasagna, meatballs, pizza, or as a dipping sauce.

Are canned tomatoes healthy?

Absolutely! Canned tomatoes are equally as healthy as fresh tomatoes, and tomatoes are a super healthy food to include in your diet. One cup of tomatoes provides:

  • 2.2 grams of dietary fiber (8% of your daily needs)
  • 75.6 mg Vitamin A (8% of your daily needs)
  • 24.7 mg Vitamin C (27% of your daily needs)
  • 14.2 mcg Vitamin K (12% of your daily needs)
  • 0.11 mg copper (11% of your daily needs)

In addition to fiber and micronutrients, tomatoes contain lycopene (a form of Vitamin A) which is a powerful antioxidant. This compound has been linked to reduced risk of prostate cancer and supports heart health.

Canned tomatoes will have higher levels of lycopene than fresh tomatoes, since they have been cooked during processing.

marinara sauce ingredients on a light grey backdrop

Ingredients in simple marinara sauce

Here is everything you need to make this recipe:

  • Canned crushed tomatoes: some of my favorite brands that you can find in most grocery stores include Pastene, Cento, and San Marzano.
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Fresh basil
  • Fresh oregano
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Kitchen tools needed

To make marinara sauce, you need a can opener, a chef’s knife, a cutting board, a saute pan or sauce pan (either stainless steel or nonstick), and a mixing spoon.

How to make marinara sauce with canned tomatoes

This marinara sauce recipe is so easy! Here’s how to make it:

  • Prep all your ingredients: dice the onion, mince the garlic, and finely chop fresh herbs.
  • Heat olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan or sauce pan.
  • Cook garlic and onion in the olive oil for a few minutes, until fragrant.
  • Add canned crushed tomatoes and salt.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
  • Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occassionally.
  • During the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in the fresh herbs, and more salt to taste.

Optionally, if you prefer a very smooth sauce, you can add the sauce to a blender (or use an immersion blender) to blend until smooth. I rarely, if ever, blend my marinara sauce and think it is delicious as is!

How long does homemade marinara sauce last?

I recommend using this marinara sauce within one week of preparing it. Homemade sauce does not contain any preservatives that store bought sauce does, so it will not last as long. You should store this sauce in the refrigerator in an airtight container, like a tupperware or glass jar.

Can you freeze marinara sauce?

Yes! You can certainly freeze this sauce. Put the sauce in an airtight, freezer-safe container, such as a silicone baggie. If freezing in glass, leave an inch of room at the top in case the sauce expands as it freezes.

Bring sauce to room temperature so it is cooled completely before freezing. Freeze for up to three months.

To safely defrost, put the sauce in the fridge 24 hours before you plan to use it. You can then heat it up or use it in a recipe.

white bowl of marinara sauce with fresh basil leaves garnishing, on a white backdrop

What to make with marinara sauce

You can make so many delicious recipes with marinara sauce. From pasta to pizza, here are some ideas and favorite recipes that use marinara sauce:

Let me know if you love this post by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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white bowl of marinara sauce with fresh basil leaves garnishing, on a white backdrop

Simple 20-Minute Marinara Sauce with Canned Tomatoes

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  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: about 3.5 cups of sauce 1x
  • Category: sauces
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
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Description

This quick and easy marinara sauce is a staple recipe that pairs perfectly with spaghetti, eggplant parmesan, baked ziti, pizza, and more! This marinara sauce takes 20 minutes to make on the stovetop. You need just 7 simple ingredients, including canned crushed tomatoes, garlic, onion, and fresh herbs.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 23 tbsp olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of your pan)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried oregano)


Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan or sauce pan with a lid.
  2. Add the diced onion and minced garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and onion is translucent. 
    onion and garlic cooking in a dark nonstick pan
  3. Add the canned tomatoes and salt. Stir to combine.
    crushed tomatoes from a can in a dark nonstick pan
  4. Bring the tomatoes to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. In the last five minutes of cooking, stir in the chopped basil and oregano.
    marinara sauce in a dark nonstick pan with fresh herbs
  6. Taste before serving and add more salt if desired, to taste.

Notes

How long does homemade marinara sauce last?

I recommend using this marinara sauce within one week of preparing it. Homemade sauce does not contain any preservatives that store bought sauce does, so it will not last as long. You should store this sauce in the refrigerator in an airtight container, like a tupperware or glass jar.

Can you freeze marinara sauce?

Yes! You can certainly freeze this sauce. Put the sauce in an airtight, freezer-safe container, such as a silicone baggie. If freezing in glass, leave an inch of room at the top in case the sauce expands as it freezes.

Bring sauce to room temperature so it is cooled completely before freezing. Freeze for up to three months.

To safely defrost, put the sauce in the fridge 24 hours before you plan to use it. You can then heat it up or use it in a recipe.