20-Minute Homemade Marinara Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Homemade marinara sauce is so easy to make, and way more tasty than store-bought alternatives. Ready in 20 minutes, it’s made with basic pantry ingredients and is great to have on hand to add to your favourite pasta or pizza recipes. Great for canning and freezing!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
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Mar 21, 2023 (Last updated Mar 13, 2024) by Hannah Sunderani

20-Minute Homemade Marinara Sauce

This homemade version can be whipped up with just 6 simple ingredients, all of which you likely already have on hand. If you just checked the kitchen cupboards and discovered you’re fresh out of your favourite jarred marinara sauce, don’t worry! Skip that extra trip to the grocery store this week and cook your own recipe from scratch in just minutes!

homemade marinara sauce recipe in a saucepan on a cutting board

This Homemade Marinara Sauce is…

  • My go-to recipe when were out of jarred sauce
  • A family-favourite
  • Freezer friendly
  • Versatile
  • Made from basic pantry ingredients
  • Vegan
  • Affordable
  • Newbie Cook Approved
all of the ingredients required to make this recipe on a wood cutting board

Ingredient Notes 

  • Extra virgin olive oil – I highly recommend using a quality cold-pressed olive oil. A good oil will not only make a huge difference in the flavour and texture of the marinara, but will allow you to reap all the amazing health benefits olive oil has to offer. If interested, check out this article: 12 Surprising Health Benefits of Olive Oil.
  • Onion and garlic – Using fresh will give your homemade marinara sauce a restaurant-quality flavour and aroma. I used 2 small yellow onions, but if your onions are larger, you may only need 1!
  • Chili flakes (red pepper flakes) – This ingredient is optional, but will add a little kick to the sauce. Adjust to your own personal spice preference.
  • Whole tomatoes – To make this homemade marinara sauce as quick and simple as possible, I used canned whole tomatoes. It’s something I’m more likely to have on hand than a lot of fresh tomatoes and significantly cuts down on the prep work.
  • Fresh basil – A sprig of fresh herbs adds a final freshness and hint of sweetness that rounds out this savoury, classic marinara sauce.

How to Make Homemade Marinara Sauce

The first step in making your own homemade marinara sauce is heating olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. It’s important to heat the oil before adding the aromatics to allow the oil to allow the aromatics to release their flavour.

Once hot, add in the diced onion and finely chopped garlic and cook, stirring often until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat just slightly, and finish seasoning with the salt, oregano, and chili flakes. Cook for another 2 minutes or so, then remove from the heat to prevent the aromatics from burning.

Next, transfer this oil-spice mixture to a high-speed blender and add in the canned tomatoes. Blend on high until the tomatoes are smooth and no large chunks remain. In my Vitamix, this typically takes about 30 seconds, but don’t be afraid to blend longer if you feel it needs it.

Once smooth and velvety, transfer the marinara sauce back to the original pot and place over medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer, then add the fresh basil in and stir to combine.

Finally, taste and add additional salt, if desired!

Join me on my YouTube Channel, where I teach you just how easy it is to make this Marinara Sauce recipe!

Serving Suggestions 

The sky is the limit when it comes to serving this homemade sauce. It can be used as a pasta sauce or pizza sauce, or baked in your favorite Italian-inspired casserole. It’s also the perfect dipping sauce for Focaccia Bread or Vegan Garlic Bread.

To inspire you, I’ve rounded up a few of my plant-based recipes featuring marinara sauce. Simply swap out the jar of tomato sauce or tin with this homemade marinara sauce recipe and enjoy!

Storage Tips

This marinara recipe can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To store, allow the sauce to cool completely to room temperature. Then, transfer it to an airtight container such as a glass mason jar and seal tightly.

If freezing in glass, ensure that the jar is not filled past the “freeze line”. Liquids expand in the freezer and if the jar is filled too high it can cause too much pressure to build inside the glass, causing it to crack.

When ready to reheat, transfer the desired amount of marinara sauce to a pot over medium-low heat and bring to a slight simmer again. Once warmed through, enjoy as desired.

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between marinara sauce and ragu?

Both of these Italian sauces are similar in that they are tomato based and often served with pasta, but they are typically prepared differently. Marinara sauce is naturally plant-based and made from fresh tomatoes. Ragu on the other hand is traditionally prepared with meats like ground beef, pork, and veal.

How do you crush canned tomatoes for sauce?

The fastest, easiest way to do this is using a high-speed blender. If you don’t have a blender, you can also use a food processor. This won’t make your marinara perfectly smooth, but it is the next best option!

How many servings does this marinara sauce make?

As written, this sauce makes about 3 1/2 cups of sauce and can feed about 4 people. Feel free to adjust the recipe as needed to make more or less!

Expert Tips

  • Don’t burn the garlic! Once you add the onions and garlic to the warm oil, it is important to stir frequently to prevent the garlic from sticking and burning. Don’t walk away from the stove during this step – it can burn quickly and ruin the flavour of your tomato sauce.
  • Use salt-free canned tomatoes. This will allow you to control the level of sodium in your homemade pasta sauce and allow you to season to taste. If you are only able to find salted canned tomatoes at your grocery store, you may need less than the suggested salt measurement.

More Homemade Sauces and Dips You May Enjoy:

homemade marinara sauce with basil on top sitting on a cutting board

I hope you love this homemade marinara sauce as much as I do! If you do make this recipe, please let me know in the comments below what you think! I truly love hearing from you, and I’m always here to answer any questions you might have. 

And of course, tag me on Instagram with your pictures using the hashtag #twospoons. Nothing makes me happier than to see your recreations. 


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20-Minute Homemade Marinara Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Homemade marinara sauce is so easy to make, and way more tasty than store-bought alternatives. Ready in 20 minutes, it’s made with basic pantry ingredients and is great to have on hand to add to your favourite pasta or pizza recipes. Great for canning and freezing!
homemade marinara sauce recipe in a saucepan on a cutting board
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Serves 3.5 cups


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions (small) peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt more to taste
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • pinch chili flakes
  • 28 ounce canned whole tomatoes (796 mL)
  • 1 fresh basil sprig finely chopped


  • Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat slightly, add the salt, oregano, and chilli flakes and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Transfer the oil-spice mixture to a blender with the canned tomatoes. Blend on high until the tomatoes are smooth and no large chunks remaining, about 30 seconds.
  • Pour the contents of the blender back into the original pot. Move the pot back onto the element on med-low heat to simmer. Add the chopped basil and stir to combine throughout the sauce (or add the basil directly to the blender and pulse a few times, until chopped). Taste and add more salt if desired.

Watch The Video


1. This sauce can be customized based on your taste. If you like a garlicky sauce, add a few more cloves, if you like more spice, make your pinch of red pepper flakes a little bigger. Taste and add more sea salt and oregano as desired.
3. Nutrition information is for the entire recipe (3.5 cups of marinara sauce). The sauce typically feeds 4 people.



Calories: 243kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Sodium: 991mg | Potassium: 505mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 275IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 3mg

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See more step-by-step instructions by visiting the recipe story here!

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  1. I love this recipe! Very simple, and super delicious. It’s a hit every time. And I can use this sauce for literally anything, even as a dip for idlis.