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Marinara sauce in pot.

Simple Marinara Sauce Recipe

An absolutely delicious recipe for a Simple Marinara Sauce that works perfectly with pasta, lasagna, stuffed peppers, pizza, and more! It's easy to make and layered with flavor using just a few simple ingredients.
Author: Kim @ DancesWithKnives
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course: Main Course, Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan
Servings: 6


  • ¼ cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ small onion, diced (about ⅔ cup)
  • 1 carrot, diced (about ½ cup)
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 fresh basil leaves
  • Salt to taste (I used ½ tsp)
  • Pinch of sugar if needed


  • Place the olive oil, onions, and garlic in a deep pot with a pinch of salt. Now, turn the heat on to medium high and cook until the onions are translucent, which takes about 2-3 minutes. By starting out with a cold pot you are able to infuse the oil with the flavor through sweating rather than burning the garlic and onions by using too high of a heat.
  • Next, add the carrots with another pinch of salt. Then cook for 3-5 minutes more until the carrots are soft.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, and basil leaves to the pot. Then simmer with the lid cracked for about 45 minutes to an hour until the sauce thickens up a bit.
  • Next, remove the bay leaf and place the sauce into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Then pulse the sauce until you reach your desired consistency. I like it to be a tad bit chunky in texture. But this is completely up to you.
  • Now, put the sauce back into the pot. If the sauce is still too thin simmer for a few more minutes with the lid off.
  • Finally, taste the sauce. If it is too acidic add a pinch of sugar and if it is too bland add more salt. Add the salt a little at a time. You want the salt to bring out the flavors, but not take over. If you do add too much salt just add a little more tomato product and/or olive oil.
  • This recipe makes about 24oz of sauce, which is enough for a pound of pasta. Leftover sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months when stored in an airtight container.


Calories: 95kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.9g | Protein: 0.8g | Fat: 8.4g | Saturated Fat: 1.2g | Sodium: 261mg | Potassium: 42mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2.8g | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword marinara sauce, red sauce, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce
Tried this recipe?Mention me on Instagram @dances_with_knives and add the hashtag #danceswithknives! Would love to see your yummy creations!