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Homemade marinara sauce

Homemade marinara sauce. So easy, delicious and customizable with different herbs!

Homemade marinara sauce in a stock pot

Contrary to what I made it sound like before, my grandma does send me recipes!

Lots of good ones and not enough time to make 'em all. I just had to make this one for marinara sauce though – if I'm remembering the story correctly, this is a recipe from a friend of hers that gives homemade batches of these out as holiday gifts. Now THAT is a good friend!

You can make a big batch of this and freeze some, or just eat it on everything for a week (which is what I did).

Pizzas, spaghetti, spaghetti squash, ziti – lots of marinara was cooked and devoured in my kitchen. When it was all gone I ACTUALLY FROWNED at the empty pot. True story.

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Homemade marinara sauce in a stock pot.

Oregano and basil are the spices used here, but you can adjust to your tastes.

Start with 1 teaspoon of each if using dried, 1 tablespoon if using fresh. (Conversion for fresh to dried is about 3x. The more you know.)

Add more as necessary. I added more oregano because I had that fresh, and I also like oregano. But if you're one of those crazies who doesn't like oregano, don't add as much (or at all!).

I'm typing oregano so many times it's starting to look weird. Oregano.

I'm thinking you could add other veggies in here too (maybe mushrooms?) but start with this as a base and go from there.

It's pretty simple – sauté the onion, celery and garlic, add crushed tomato, spices and a tiny bit of sugar and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

My grandma's tried it with fresh tomatoes and it just doesn't turn out the same. Maybe one day I'll figure out the trick.

I used an immersion blender to get rid of most the lumps, but you could leave it chunky if you like it that way.

Big spoonful of homemade marinara sauce

Yield: 6 cups

Homemade marinara sauce

Homemade marinara sauce. So easy, delicious and customizable, you won't want to buy store brand ever again!

Homemade marinara sauce. So easy, delicious and customizable, you won't want to buy store brand ever again!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans (28-oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, *
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil, *
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Add olive oil to large pot and saute chopped onion, celery and garlic on medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add crushed tomatoes, spices, and 1 Tablespoon of the sugar.
  3. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Taste test and if necessary add more spices to taste (and/or the remaining tablespoon of sugar).
  5. Use an immersion blender if smoother consistency is desired.
  6. Serve on pasta, pizza, etc.


Can use fresh herbs in place of dried. Typically 1 teaspoon of dried equals 3 teaspoons (or 1 tablespoon) of fresh herbs. Oregano and basil are suggestions, you can substitute other italian spices as you like. Option to add other vegetables (like mushrooms!) while you saute onion.

*Nutrition information is for 1 cup of marinara sauce.

Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 57Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 69mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g

Nutrition information is calculated automatically by an online tool at Nutritionix. It is not always accurate. Please use your own tools to check if you rely on this information.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see! Tag @trialandeater on Instagram and hashtag it #trialandeater .

Homemade marinara sauce. So easy, delicious and customizable, you won't want to buy store brand ever again!


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Sunday 28th of July 2019

Would this sauce benefit from cooking in a slow cooker?


Thursday 15th of November 2018

I made this recipe exactly as is... and it was amazing!! I made it specifically for dipping homemade calzones. We all snarfed it down and enjoyed every bite! I think the calzones (though they were very yummy) were just a means to get the sauce in our mouths! Thank you... making a big batch today to have some to freeze.


Saturday 17th of November 2018

What a compliment! Thanks for sharing and I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe :)


Sunday 2nd of September 2018

Can you use a regular blender?


Sunday 2nd of September 2018

Sure but just be careful with hot liquids!

Karen @ Seasonal Cravings

Wednesday 6th of December 2017

We eat marinara sauce all the time and I never make it homemade. What is wrong with me? This looks so good and I can't wait to try it out!


Thursday 7th of December 2017

There's nothing wrong with you! It does take extra planning but I love that you can customize it to your own flavor profile based on what you're going to use it on. It also makes the kitchen smell pretty good while it's simmering :)

Shadi Hasanzadenemati

Wednesday 6th of December 2017

There is something about homemade sauces that make me very happy! The aroma and flavor is always better! Your marinara looks delish, can't wait to try!