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a large grey saucepan filled with tomato sauce topped with chopped parsley
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4.75 from 12 votes

Homemade Marinara Sauce

A quick-cooking marinara sauce full of flavors from garlic and onion, and San Marzano tomatoes. This sauce is wonderful to make in bulk and freeze extras for later.
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Keyword marinara, sauce, Vegetarian Pasta Sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 cups
Calories 110kcal
Author Eileen Kelly


  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon ground fennel
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 56 ounces San Marzano crushed tomatoes 28-ounce cans
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoon fresh basil or parsley, chopped optional garnish


  • In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, add olive oil. Stir in onion and carrots. Saute for about 3 minutes to begin to soften the vegetables.
  • Mix in the garlic, Italian seasoning, ground fennel, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir for about 1 minute to blend flavors.
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and bay leaf.
  • Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer about 20 minutes, stir occasionally.
  • Remove and discard the bay leaf.
  • If a smooth sauce is desired, use an immersion blender to puree the ingredients.
  • Taste for seasoning, reseason if needed. If desired, sprinkle with fresh basil or parsley. Serve over pasta, chicken, with meatballs, etc.


  • Note 1: Add the seasoning with the onions allows the dried seasoning to develop flavor.
    • Diced tomatoes can substitute a can of the crushed tomatoes. If you prefer a smooth sauce, puree the sauce. 
    • No Italian seasoning, use dried basil, oregano, and parsley, about ½ teaspoon of each. Again, if you only have one or two of these dried spices,  use them and adjust seasoning, to taste. 
    • If tomato paste is unavailable, add in some pasta water to your sauce for thickening.
    • A teaspoon of cornstarch and water can be used to thicken marinara. I make a triple batch and freeze the sauce in 1-quart freezer bags to use for the month.  Awesome meal prep to use in other meals like pasta, eggplant, and spaghetti squash.
  • Any nutritional data I provide is an approximation and actual dietary information can vary based on ingredients and proportion sizes.


Serving: 12servings | Calories: 110kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 566mg | Potassium: 863mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 2000IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 4mg