Featured / Food / Sauces, Dressings + Spice Blends / Vegetarian

Quick and Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

Calling for just eight ingredients and 20 minutes of simmer time, this unfussy marinara is perfect for impromptu weeknight pasta. Or, use it as a dipping sauce!

Sauce pot of marinara garnished with fresh herbs and pepper flakes.

The simplicity is strong with this one. I’m talking eight unfussy ingredients and 30 minutes including prep and simmer time. I always thought that the best red sauces had to simmer all afternoon, but this marinara proves otherwise. It’s the perfect impromptu quick fix for weeknight pasta!

With the end of summer rolling out, we’re looking for ways to use up our summer bounty. In my garden, there’s always an abundance of zucchini and herbs. Since the Internet is thriving with zucchini recipes, I figured I’d take the road less travelled and offer up a solution for that boom of basil and oregano with this herbaceous marinara sauce.

One of the things I love most about a simple marinara is the flexibility. I made this particular batch to use as a dipper for zucchini fritters. The next day, we used some of it in the most uncomplicated yet satisfying pasta. It was then I knew that I had to share this good stuff with you.

Like any good tomato sauce, this one kicks things off with onions and garlic. Crushed tomatoes are then stirred into the pot along with fresh chopped oregano, basil, a bay leaf, salt, and a generous sprinkle of chili flakes. You can add more or less of the chili flakes depending on your preference for heat. But that’s all there is to it! Let it simmer for 20 minutes and enjoy.

This marinara pairs super well with turkey meatballs, meatball subs, and stuffed peppers!

Away from the table…

Christmas is already being shoved in our faces with the announcement of two festive-flavored colas: cinnamon and winter-spiced cranberry. I don’t drink soda often, but you can bet I’ll be trying that cinnamon shit at least once.

What are your thoughts on cell-cultured meat? AMPS Innovation is currently working on the framework for meat, poultry, and seafood that’s grown directly from animal cells, as opposed to it being harvested from the animals themselves. Science is wild, friends.

If your kids don’t want to eat their vegetables, just show them this article. A 17-year-old in the UK has developed blindness thanks to a diet of mostly fries, chips, and white bread. I don’t like to trash talk carbs, but dang. Eat some broccoli!

Bowl of penne tossed in marinara.

Two bowls of penne tossed in marinara.

If you try this recipe or create your own variation, let me know in the comments! I love connecting with you. Then snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme to be featured in our newsletter.

Sauce pot of marinara garnished with fresh herbs and pepper flakes.
Print Pin
5 from 8 votes

Quick and Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

Calling for just eight ingredients and 20 minutes of simmer time, this unfussy marinara is perfect for impromptu weeknight pasta. Or, use it as a dipping sauce!
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian, Vegetarian
Keyword Italian, Marinara, Sauce, vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Author Dana Sandonato


  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt, more to taste
  • 3 TBSP chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp chili flakes—or more, to increase heat to your preference


  • Heat olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for about a minute. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another few minutes, or until the onions are tender.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and increase the heat to medium-high to bring to a simmer. Add the salt and stir in the oregano, basil, bay leaf, and chili flakes. Simmer, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes.


  • […] I’m not quite sure where it came from, but I’ve been making batches of meatballs in marinara almost bi-weekly. I’ve made them for dinner guests. And for friends in need of an easy […]

  • Debra
    September 12, 2019 at 10:23 am

    5 stars
    This is so simple….and SO effective. So much better than store bought. I like to control the ingredients I use… the wholesome ingredient list. I will be using this on….EVERYTHING.

  • Marisa F. Stewart
    September 9, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    5 stars
    We love Marinara sauce but ours is one of those that take quite a while to really get the flavor. I’m dying to try out this recipe!! It would be great when we’re craving Marinara sauce to have one that is flavorful and fast.

  • Jenni LeBaron
    September 9, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    5 stars
    I love that you use chili flakes in your marinara for a spicy kick! This recipe looks lovely and I can’t wait to give it a try now that we’re finally experiencing some pre-fall weather! As always, I love your away from the table section. I know many people who would subside on carbs only given the chance!

  • Sean@Diversivore
    September 8, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    5 stars
    Well consider me intrigued. Like you, I tend to think that the best red sauces spend a long time in the stove top (and often a while in the fridge – why do so many sauces taste even better the next day?). So I’m pretty psyched to see how quick and easy (yet totally from-scratch!) this is. It might sound silly but I feel like you can SEE a good marinara sauce. You don’t even need to taste it to know it’s going to be awesome!

  • Tracy
    September 8, 2019 at 12:16 am

    5 stars
    Flexibility, simplicity, and in under 30 minutes? That’s a winner for sure. I love sauces like this – what a great base for a whole host of other delicious meals!

  • Sarah
    September 6, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    5 stars
    Yay for quick and easy! I love that this isn’t much harder than jarred sauce, but tastes so much better. What a perfect solution to all that basil that I let grow wild when I forgot about it (oops)! (Also, blond from a bad diet is INSANE TO THE MEMBRANE.. literally lol!)

  • Gloria
    September 6, 2019 at 3:07 pm

    5 stars
    OK….now you have me craving pasta. I will head to the market and grab some fresh tomatoes. This the perfect meal for today. It is cool and rainy. This for dinner with a nice glass of wine will be perfect….then curl up and watch a movie. Sounds like a great Friday night to me.

  • Carmy
    September 6, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    5 stars
    I love homemade marinara sauce – I find it so much easier than actually buying canned marinara since I can make as much or as little as I want and not have to awkwardly store 1/5 of a jar in the fridge “for later” lol. Also, you KNOW I’m game to try that cinnamon cola. I can’t believe CHRISTMAS is being announced already (and not something like pumpkin spice cola haha)


Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.