How to Make Homemade Marinara Sauce in 20 Minutes

How to Make Homemade Marinara Sauce in 20 Minutes

April 17, 2017   9 Comments

Do you know how to make homemade marinara sauce in 20 minutes? It is pretty easy but it does involve mincing garlic.

I have written about purchasing jarred tomato sauce – low sugar tomato sauce and best and worst pasta sauce. Honestly, if you can make your own you are going to be able to cut the sugar to almost nothing and have a fresher and more delicious product.

There are two important ingredients for this recipe that make it work. The first is San Marzano tomatoes. I know that these retail for $3 or more per can but they are so much better than regular canned tomatoes. Something about the soil of Mt. Vesuvius makes them taste very rich.

I found these at Costco but they are usually at the bottom of the shelf in the grocery store. Give them a try and tell me if you think they are worth it.

The other key ingredient is fresh basil. This time of year, I can buy a plant in the produce section of my store for $1.79. I keep this plant on my windowsill where I don’t forget to water it and add basil to all sorts of recipes throughout the summer until the plant dies. This is a very affordable way to use a great flavoring agent.

This recipe asks you to grate an onion which can be painful (as I found out). Go ahead and break out your food processor so the people in your family won’t wonder if you watched Titanic again. Use the food processor to mince the garlic and you have a win-win.

I like this sauce. It is fast, low in fat, sugar, and salt, and I can use it on zoodles, spaghetti, eggs, a sandwich, etc. It also freezes well so make a big batch!

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Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

Makes 4 cups

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
pinch crushed red pepper
1-28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes (whole or crushed)
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil to medium in a large saucepan. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper and sauté until softened about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Crush the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Cover the pot and simmer on low for 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Can be frozen and will store in the fridge for about a week.

For one cup = 153 calories, 4.5 g fat, 0.6 g saturated fat, 28.0 g carbohydrates, 0.8 g sugar, 6.1 g protein, 5.0 g fiber, 300 mg sodium, 4 SmartPts

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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Love your humor and your recipe,I will be trying it ASAP


on April 17, 2017

My husband said :no one would ever know I was Italian by my spaghetti sauce,,LOL",
I cannot make a sauce[gravy] to save my life.
So I am going to try this one for tonight and hope I can say HAH to him tonight...Lisa keep the recipes coming...

on April 17, 2017

Do you use fresh Bay leaves? I've only seen the dried ones that my mother taught me I need to remove before serving. If fresh, where do you find, and do you cut it up like Basil?

on April 17, 2017

Lisa! Your singing my song today :) Thass Amore! I use San Marzanos too, whole, which I blend myself, something about the ratio of tomato solids to juice is perfecto. Most times I start with lots of minced garlic, extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, a healthy pinch of dried oregano, quickly rubbed in my palm to release the flavor, a shake of red pepper flakes, then at the sound and scent of the sizzle, dump in tomatoes with just enough water to rinse can and blender [about half cup]. Before long the greatest aroma known to man overtakes the senses and I start humming songs like ''Hey mambo, mambo italiano''! I'll often double it to freeze a pint or 2. I don't always add onion but when I do, I chop it myself not wanting to wash my food processor for uno onion. Ciao Bella!

on April 17, 2017

@Colleen -I used a dry bay leaf. I found them in the spice section. I did use fresh basil. Thanks for your question!

on April 17, 2017

If you have a metallic taste to your sauce a pinch of baking soda will neutralize it instead of using sugar

on April 18, 2017

153 Cal.? Why So High?
1 Tblspn. Oil 120 Cal./4 = 30
1 28 Oz. Can Tomato 100 Cal./4 = 25
30+25 = 55.

on April 19, 2017

wow. This looks so delicious. I'll try do it. Thanks for sharing!

on April 21, 2017

Made this sauce. ( gravy in Philadelphia)
Delicious! I am not Italian and usually get the jarred stuff which is ok.
I added two things: chopped mushrooms for flavor and a pinch of sugar.
Would recommend this recipe to anyone.

on April 27, 2017

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