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Horizontal image of a white shallow bowl of cooked spaghetti topped with marinara, on a brown wood table with tomatoes on the vine, a piece of baguette, a jar of sauce, and sprigs of basil and oregano, with a piece of burlap in the background.

Simple Marinara Sauce

  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 quart 1x


There’s no need to turn to bottled products when you can make the best simple marinara sauce at home. It’s an easy recipe, ready in 20 minutes.


  • 2 28-oz cans whole San Marzano tomatoes (or 3.5 lbs fresh)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh basil (or 1 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 tsp chopped fresh oregano (or 3/4 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Roughly chop the tomatoes, and reserve the juices.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or large frying pan with high walls over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic and salt. If you are using dried herbs, add them now as well. Stir with a wooden spoon until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add tomatoes with their juices, red pepper flakes, fresh basil, and oregano. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bringing canned ingredients to a boil and then reducing the temperature is recommended.
  5. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed before serving.
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Sauces
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: marinara, marinara sauce, tomato sauce, Italian, tomato