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Quart jar of homemade Italian marinara on a wood table.

Easy Authentic Marinara Sauce

  • Author: Nicole Gaffney (
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 pint 1x
  • Category: sauce
  • Method: simmered
  • Cuisine: Italian


This easy authentic Italian Marinara Sauce recipe is made from canned tomatoes and is a million times better than anything you can buy at the store! Toss it with pasta, use it for chicken or eggplant parmesan, use it to top your pizza or as a base for tomato soup!


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • 1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
  • pinch of sugar (optional)


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic along with a pinch of salt and red pepper flakes, then cook for about 2 minutes more. 
  2. Add the canned tomatoes, then use a wooden spoon to smash and break them into pieces. Add a bay leaf and tomato paste if using, along with about 1/2 – 1 cup of water, depending on the consistency of your tomatoes and how thick you want your sauce.
  3. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and a pinch of sugar if it tastes very acidic (the sugar will mellow the acid and balance the flavor, not make it sweet). 
  4. The sauce is ready to use! 

Keywords: easy, tomato, marinara, sauce, gravy, sugo, Italian, sicilian, canned tomatoes, authentic