Red Wine Pasta Sauce

Red wine pasta sauce is full of robust flavors, making this sauce a meal in itself! This simple ingredient sauce will have you swearing off the canned stuff for good! Crushed tomatoes, Italian herbs, and a splash of red wine make this sauce an absolute hit!

Spaghetti pasta is topped with red wine pasta sauce to show it's thick texture and deep color.

If you love delicious pasta sauce recipes, check out my penne alla vodka sauce, authentic bolognese sauce, or this easy 5 minute marinara sauce.

What’s your favorite Sunday gravy? I like to switch it up, but I find myself making this red wine pasta sauce often. It’s like that old hoodie that is guaranteed to make you feel cozy and warm. The flavor of this sauce is bold, tangy, and so comforting!

This pasta sauce is super easy to make and is the perfect sauce for your Sunday pasta. It’s made with super simple ingredients, comes together in 30 minutes, and is packed with flavor.

Sauce is a personal thing. Every Nona makes it differently, but they will all tell you the same thing- the quality of the ingredients impacts the flavor- big time! No worries, I have all the tips and tricks for you to make this sauce perfecto!

Red wine pasta sauce ingredients include crushed tomatoes, onions, garlic, wine, and herbs.

Red wine sauce ingredients

  • Olive oil–  Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil, like California Olive Ranch.
  • Dry red wine– Use your favorite dry red wine for this recipe. You don’t need to buy a $40 dollar bottle of wine to make this sauce, I’ve used some less expensive wines that are rich and bold in flavor that are perfect!
  • Onion and garlic– Chop the onion and garlic finely. Pro tip: use a food processor to chop the mixture, it’ll save you time, energy, and tears!
  • Crushed tomatoes– Cento crushed tomatoes is my all time favorite brand to use for all my sauce recipes. It is a great quality brand and has a phenomenal texture and flavor.
  • Fresh herbs– Oregano and basil are common herbs to use in Italian cooking. These herbs accent the tomato flavor well!
  • Pasta– Use your favorite pasta shape for this recipe!

Chef’s tips

What kind of red wine is best for Red Wine Pasta Sauce?

Any dry red wine boasts bold flavors and peppery undertones. Here are some well loved cooking wines that pair well with tomatoes:

  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pinot Noir
  • Chianti
  • Zinfandel

Cut the acidity

Use 1 teaspoon of sugar, honey, or baking soda to cut the acidity in this pasta sauce. You won’t be able to taste these ingredients, but it will make this sauce a little kinder on sensitive bellies.

Save the pasta water

Here is my all time favorite tip- add pasta water to your sauce! The carby water adds a layer of flavor that is indescribably delicious! Add 1/2 – 1 cup of salted pasta water to your sauce before serving. Trust me, add the pasta water!

Make it your own

This sauce is super delicious, but you know I love giving you ideas to kick these recipes up a notch and tailor it to your taste. Here are my tried and true additions that really make this sauce extra special.

  • Hot Italian sausage– If you’d like to use Italian sausage, cook it in the same pot you are going to cook your sauce in. Once the sausage is cooked, remove the sausage from the pan, then sautè the onion, garlic, and fresh herbs in the grease. Once you add the wine and crushed tomatoes, add the sausage back to the pot to simmer. So delish!
  • Chicken bouillon– Add just 1-2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon to give your sauce an extra rich and delicious flavor. This is my favorite trick to bring all the savory flavors of the sauce together.
  • Roasted garlic– You can use roasted garlic instead of raw garlic for a more bold, rich flavor.
  • Pasta water– Always add pasta water to your sauce. Always. Thank me later!
Red wine sauce is simmered in a pot for 20 minutes to infuse the flavors.

How to make red wine pasta sauce

  1. Saute the onion, garlic, and herbs. Place a medium sized pot over medium heat. Once the pot is hot, add the olive oil. Add the chopped garlic, onion, whole basil leaves, and oregano. Sautè the mixture for 2 minutes.
  2. Add and reduce the wine. Pour the red wine into the pot and allow it to simmer and reduce by half for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the crushed tomatoes. Pour the crushed tomatoes into the pot, then reduce the sauce to a simmer. Allow the sauce to simmer for 20 minutes or more.
  4. Finish it off with pasta water. Add 1/2-1 cup of salted pasta water to the sauce, stir, then serve over your favorite pasta. Mangia!
A hand is twirling a fork in the spaghetti pasta to show how the sauce sticks to the pasta.

How to make a large batch of red wine pasta sauce

If you like to make large batches of sauce so you can freeze it, I’ve got you covered!

What you need:

  • All the listed ingredients
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce (not pasta sauce)
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste

Follow the instructions the same way. When you add the crushed tomatoes to the pot, add the tomato sauce and paste. Simmer the sauce, add the pasta water, then serve or allow it to cool to freeze for later!

Red wine sauce is covering spaghetti and is topped with parmesan cheese and basil.

How to store and reheat red wine pasta sauce

In the fridge

Place the pasta sauce in an airtight container in the fridge and store it for up to 5 days. Since this is a red sauce, it can easily stain plastic storage, so I recommend storing it in a glass container.

In the freezer

Place the sauce in the fridge until it is cool. Once the pasta sauce is cold, pour the sauce into individual airtight containers and place it in the freezer. Allowing the sauce to cool before placing it in the fridge ensures you will not have any exploding glass bottles in your freezer.

To reheat

You can reheat this sauce in the microwave or on the stove top. Place the sauce in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until it is heated through. To reheat the sauce on the stove top, place it in a pot over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes, or until hot.

What to serve with red wine pasta sauce

Red wine pasta sauce is placed on top of the spaghetti pasta and is plated in a red bowl.

More Sea Salt Savorings Italian classics

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Red wine pasta sauce is placed on top of the spaghetti pasta and is plated in a red bowl.

Red Wine Pasta Sauce

Sea Salt Savorings
Red wine pasta sauce is full of robust flavors, making this sauce a meal in itself!  This simple ingredient sauce will have you swearing off the canned stuff for good!  Crushed tomatoes, Italian herbs, and a splash of red wine make this sauce an absolute hit!
4.79 from 146 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 277 kcal


  • Cutting Board
  • Sharp knife
  • Medium sized pot
  • Spatula


  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil whole leaves left on stem, or 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • 1 lb pasta


  • Sautè the onion, garlic, and herbs. Place a medium sized pot over medium heat. Once the pot is hot, add the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, basil leaves (leave them whole), and oregano. Sautè the mixture for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add and reduce the wine. Pour the red wine into the pot and allow it to reduce by half, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer. Pour the crushed tomatoes and red pepper flakes into the pot. Stir the mixture and reduce it to a simmer. Add the sugar. Allow the sauce to simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  • Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of generously salted (about 1 tbsp of salt) water to a roaring boil. Cook the pasta to al dente according to package instructions. Save 1 cup of the pasta water.
  • Add the pasta water. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the sauce. Add up to 1 cup, until desired consistency is reached.
  • Serve. Toss the pasta in the red wine sauce, then serve with your favorite toppings like parmesan cheese or more fresh basil. Mangia!


Calories: 277kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 8gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 6mgPotassium: 142mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 58IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition values are estimates, for exact values consult a nutritionist.

Tried this recipe?Mention @seasaltsavorings or tag us #seasaltsavorings!

4.79 from 146 votes (129 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. The only thing different I would try to do is have my own home grown tomatoes products, but this looks wonderful!

    1. Hi Donna, I am making from fresh, home grown tomatoes. We will see, I am hoping it is going to be awesome.

  2. This is the ONLY red wine pasta sauce recipe i will use! Easy, and absolutely delicious!

    1. sherry brubaker says:

      So glad it’s a new family favorite!

  3. Stacy gomes says:

    I’m making this tonight with tomatoes I cashed from my garden I’m also adding Osso Bucco! Wish me luck! Thank you for this recipe

    1. sherry brubaker says:

      I am so excited to hear that! I can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

  4. 5 stars
    Such an easy, perfect meal! I love this sauce and the flexibility to add different types of wine. I love having this recipe to rely on!!

  5. 5 stars
    I love the addition of wine to this sauce. It makes it so rich and delicious!

    1. sherry brubaker says:

      Super savory!

  6. 5 stars
    Seriously, never buying the canned stuff again! This sauce is EVERYTHING!

    1. sherry brubaker says:

      YAY! Sayonara, canned sauce!

  7. 5 stars
    Made this for the family and it was a hit!

  8. 5 stars
    This look so delicious and tasty! I can’t wait to give this a try!

    1. sherry brubaker says:

      I hope you enjoy!

  9. 5 stars
    WOW. So simple, fast, but incredibly tasty. Gosh, just the smell of this was incredible. I love that you can make this with the things you already have on hand. I am so impressed with this sauce it totally stole the show ( I forgot to eat the meatballs I made to go with my pasta).

    I didn’t have crushed tomatoes and instead had to improvise with the canned tomatoes I had on hand which was half a cup of tomato purée, a can of diced tomatoes (that I tried to mash a bit in the pan), and a single can of plain tomato sauce. Turned out perfect – I don’t think there’s anyway this recipe could turn out less than amazing. I used a cheap Shiraz from Aldi and it worked beautifully.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe, I’m planning on making a double batch tomorrow and I’ve sent this recipe to everyone I know they enjoys cooking

    1. sherry brubaker says:

      Wow, I cannot thank you enough for this comment! This truly made my day, thank you! I am so happy you enjoyed the simplicity of this red wine sauce, it is one of my personal favorites!

  10. Olivia W. says:

    5 stars
    Hi! This sauce is amazing. I’ve made a version of this at least 10 times in the last year since I found it. I am wondering, though, about another recipe I had seen – it was very similar to this, but involved italian sausage in the sauce, as well as honey (instead of sugar) and tomato paste… and perhaps even a bouillon cube…? I might not have all of that right. But I *know* I used the recipe from your site, and now the link (from Pinterest) takes me to this (non-meat) red wine sauce. Do you have a link you can give me to that other recipe please?? I am try to remember it, but want to make sure I had it just right! It’s a family favorite, and everyone I’ve made it for just says it’s amazing too. 🙂

    1. sherry brubaker says:

      Hello! I am so glad you enjoy this recipe! I did update the recipe to make it a bit more authentic and simplistic. My old recipe included 1 lb of hot Italian sausage, 1 tbsp of honey, and 1 tsp of chicken bouillon.

      Cook the sausage in the same pan as you will make the sauce, leaving all the grease in it. Add the honey instead of the sugar, and add the chicken bouillon as well. I hope you enjoy!

  11. Can it also be done in a slow cooker and for how long and what size crock pot?

    1. Seasalt Savorings says:

      Yes, you can definitely prepare this red wine pasta sauce in a slow cooker. The advantage of using a slow cooker is that it can bring out the flavors more profoundly as it simmers the sauce over a longer period of time. This method also allows for a more hands-off approach. Here’s some tips to help cooking in a slow cooker:

      1. Saute onions, garlic, and herbs on the stovetop before adding to the slow cooker for enhanced flavor.
      2. Add the sauteed mixture along with wine, crushed tomatoes, and sugar into the slow cooker.
      3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
      4. Cook pasta separately and reserve pasta water. Add it into the slow cooker during the last half hour of cooking to achieve desired consistency.
      5. Stir occasionally if possible, and check for flavor and thickness, adjusting as needed.

  12. This sounds delicious. I need to make a batch big enough for about 50 to 60 people. I see it states to add 1 15 oz can tomato sauce (not pasta sauce) and tomato paste. Is that for each time you double it? So if I made this 6 times bigger would it be 6 15 oz cans tomato sauce?

    1. Sea Salt Savorings says:

      Hey there! Absolutely, scaling up recipes for a large crowd can indeed be a bit challenging.

      To ensure you have enough to go around when scaling the recipe by six times, it’s indeed a good strategy to also multiply the 15 oz can of tomato sauce and the 6 oz can of tomato paste – not just for freezing but to adequately extend the volume of the sauce to cater to 50-60 people while maintaining a rich and hearty flavor.

      However, to maintain the delightful flavor balance in the original recipe, I would suggest starting with 3 cans of the 15 oz tomato sauce and 3 cans of the 6 oz tomato paste. This should not only provide a substantial base for your sauce but also retain the rich and deep flavors that are the hallmark of this recipe.

      Feel free to adjust according to your taste preference, and if you find it necessary, add in the remaining cans to reach your desired consistency and flavor depth. This approach gives you more control over the taste and consistency as you scale up.

      Best of luck, and I’m sure your gathering will be a hit with this delightful dish! Let me know how it turns out 🙂

  13. 5 stars
    This pasta sauce is delicious and I shall make all times I prepare Spaghetti! Thank you Sea Salt Savorings!

  14. Rebecca Fouts says:

    5 stars
    This was wonderful. I doubled it and added fresh tomatoes. Added fresh Rosemary from my garden. It has the perfect heat to it too.