This easy five-minute marinara sauce is made with vine-ripened crushed tomatoes, basil, garlic, and onion to deliver the best tasting pasta sauce ever!
The best homemade marinara sauce
Like most Italian mommas, I spontaneously combust when dinner is not on the table at precisely 5 P.M. It’s deeply ingrained in me and sometimes I get to cookin’ as soon as I get the kiddies off the bus in the afternoon.
This easy marinara sauce is the perfect dinner because it’s loaded with flavor, uses pantry staples, and no one will ever be able to tell it took you all of five minutes effort! I mean… the pasta takes longer to cook than the sauce takes!
Crushed tomatoes have the perfect consistency for a pasta sauce, it sticks to the noodles perfectly and the texture is on point! It’s not a chunky sauce, but it’s a far cry from the liquidy canned pasta sauce.
This marinara sauce from scratch will save you time (and sanity) in the kitchen, and I have a sneaking suspicion you just might swear off canned pasta sauce for good!
If your anything like me, I like my pasta swimming in Sunday gravy! The more sauce, the better! This recipe makes about 13 servings of sauce, which is so cost-effective!
Making one batch can definitely feed a family for two separate dinners. I’ll get into the details on how to store this sauce for later meals, but knowing this batch makes so much sauce makes my life easier!
Anyway, enough talk about it, let’s get to making this easy marinara sauce!
Marinara sauce ingredients
I’m about to blow your mind with how simple this ingredient list is! There are so few yet easy ingredients that make this marinara sauce delicious!
- Crushed tomatoes- My all-time favorite brand of crushed tomatoes is Cento. This brand has the perfect texture, flavor, and acidity. Getting a good brand of canned crushed tomatoes is super important because not all tomatoes (or brands) are created equal, and since this is the base of the sauce, you want high-quality flavor.
- Seasoning– Garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and a pinch of sugar to cut the acidity is all you need for a flavorful and robust marinara sauce.
Make it your own
You can add all sorts of different ingredients to adjust the flavor of your sauce. A traditional marinara sauce is as simple as tomatoes, basil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. However, adding extras can really bring out some delicious flavors!
Here are a few of my favorite additions to a classic marinara sauce!
- Herbs- You can add fresh or dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, marjoram ( a classic Italian ingredient), or parsley are all great additions to this classic marinara sauce.
- Spicy- You can add a whole chile or more red pepper flakes to make this sauce a little spicy. Since I serve this to my whole family including two toddlers, I add just a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce to give it flavor without the heat, then add more red pepper flakes on top of my pasta to get the heat I want without affecting the whole pot of sauce.
- Buttery- Adding butter to the marinara sauce will add a little something something, it creates a beautiful sheen in the sauce and adds an indulgent flavor.
- Creamy- If you like more of a rose sauce, you can add 1/2 cup of heavy cream to your sauce for a more creamy texture.
- Texture- You can make this sauce thinner or thicker depending on a few steps. If you’d like a thinner sauce, you can add 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water to the sauce. You can also use an emersion blender to thin the sauce out. If you like a thicker sauce, you can let the sauce simmer for longer to help the liquids evaporate.
Simmer if you have the time
If you have some time on your hands, I’m going to teach you how to elevate this sauce the way I would on a Sunday afternoon.
I like to simmer my pasta sauces for a couple of hours, and this marinara is no different. You can certainly crack open the can, add the spices, simmer for a few minutes and eat right away- and it’s still delicious…. BUT.. simmering for a few hours will give the sauce a different consistency.
Why add pasta water to pasta sauce
If you have time, let the sauce simmer for an hour or two before you cook the pasta. Boil the pasta in generously salted water. I’m not talking a pinch, I mean a heaping tablespoon full.
Once the pasta is done boiling, reserve a cup of the pasta water. Add 1/4 cup of water at a time to the sauce, making sure to stir and incorporate the water into the sauce before adding more.
This will help thin out the homemade marinara sauce after it has simmered and evaporated some of its liquid. The pasta water adds a layer of salt, flavor that will really elevate the sauce.
Not only does pasta water add a starchy, salty flavor to the sauce, but there is also a legit reason to add it. The starch in the water will help the sauce and pasta bond and stick together better in your bowl.
How to make easy marinara sauce in 5 minutes
- Combine the ingredients in a saucepan. Pour the crushed tomatoes in the saucepan over medium heat, then stir in the basil, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, sugar, and red pepper flakes.
- Simmer the marinara sauce. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer for at least 5 minutes.
- Serve. Cook the pasta of your choice, then serve with your new favorite homemade marinara sauce!
How to store homemade marinara sauce
How long does marinara sauce last in the fridge
Homemade marinara sauce can last in the fridge for 3-4 days. Since this sauce has an acidic tomato base, it’s best to refrigerate the marinara sauce in a glass container with a lid. This sauce will likely stain plastic Tupperware.
How long does marinara sauce last in the freezer
Homemade marinara sauce can stay good for 4-6 months in the freezer for the best quality and flavor.
I always freeze my sauces in glass containers to make sure I get the best flavor. Plastic containers not only get stained too easily with tomato-based products, but they can leach chemicals into your food when exposed to extreme temperatures like in the freezer.
If you would like to freeze your homemade marinara sauce, place the sauce in the fridge first. Once the sauce cools completely, pour the sauce into jars, then place it in the freezer.
Don’t place hot sauce in an airtight container directly in the freezer. This will result in the glass container exploding in your freezer, leaving you with a saucy mess… ask me how I know.
What to serve with marinara sauce and pasta
- Oven roasted asparagus is such an easy side dish that is healthy, delicious, and fast cooking.
- These White Wine and Lemon Roasted Artichoke Halves are packed with flavor and nutrition. With complimenting hints of white wine and lemon, with lemon zest, the artichokes are juicy and delicious!
- Oven roasted vegetables are always my go-to! This guide breaks down how to perfectly roast any kind of veggie!
- Olive and herb focaccia is made quicker than the traditional recipe with a few easy adjustments. This Italian bread is full of fresh herbs, cured olives, and tons of flavor!
- End dinner off on a sweet note with these fudgy cast iron brownies!
Easy Five Minute Marinara Sauce
- 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- Combine the ingredients in a saucepan. Pour the crushed tomatoes in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the basil, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes.
- Simmer the sauce. Allow the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes or up to 2 hours. Serve with the pasta of your choice or store for later. Mangia!
Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.
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