Easy Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

Easy Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce is a fresh and tasty homemade marinara that takes minutes to put together with minimal ingredients.  It’s so easy, you never need to buy it again!

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To me, a good pasta sauce is worth it’s weight in gold….liquid gold.   Maybe that’s why I have gaggles of recipes here on the blog for pasta sauces, whether it be pesto or tomato-based.  It’s so important to have the ingredients to make a good pasta sauce in minutes, because we all know pasta is one of the quickest meals to get on the table fast.  And pasta typically pleases everyone and almost always leaves you with leftovers, which gives you the next night off. 🙂

The one kind of tomato sauce that I didn’t have here before today is straight up marinara with no bells and whistles.  It doesn’t need any bells and whistles, because this one is made from San Marzano crushed tomatoes — the best tasting canned tomatoes ever.  And lots of fresh basil.  I don’t know about you, but fresh basil just makes me happy, and makes this sauce ooze with fresh appeal.   If you don’t happen to have fresh basil, by all means use dried.

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The only prep this Easy Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce needs is chopping one onion and mincing a few garlic cloves.  Cook the onion and garlic, dump in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, and fresh basil, and let it simmer it uncovered for about 30 minutes.

Be sure and sweat out your onions and garlic at a lower temperature and keep an eye on them.  If you cook them too fast, they’ll just burn and remain crunchy.  The burnt flavor will make your sauce bitter, and there’s nothing worse than crunchy onions in marinara is there?  Bleh.

I added 1/4 cup olive oil to this sauce to give it a smoothness and some body.  If you want to keep it lower fat, omit all but one tablespoon for sautéing the onion and garlic.

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If you like your marinara a little chunkier, leave just as is like I did.  If you want it smooth and refined, process it in a blender or food processor until it’s the consistency that you want.  It’s your marinara after all, so you get to taylor it just the way you want it. 🙂

With this recipe, you can make your own marinara sauce in less time that it takes to go to the store and buy it.  Plus, you know every ingredient that’s in it, and you can pronounce them all.  And you made it for a fraction of the price.

The best part about this marinara sauce is you can use it anywhere — pasta, sandwiches, and even pizza! With this trusty recipe, store bought marinara may just be a thing of the past for you — and rightly so.  This sauce tastes a whole lot better than the jarred stuff and it’s as easy to make as it is to twist off the lid of one of those jars.  Those lids can be pretty tough to open, ya know. 😉

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Easy Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Easy Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce is a fresh and tasty sauce that takes minutes to make with minimal ingredients. You'll never need store bought marinara again!
Serves: About 3 cups
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil*
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium low heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened and translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, tomato paste, sugar, salt, and pepper, to taste. Stir to combine and simmer uncovered over low heat for 20-30 minutes. The longer the sauce simmers, the more flavorful it will be.
  3. Serve with pasta, on sandwiches, or pizza, and enjoy!
*I used ¼ cup of olive oil to give the sauce a smoother consistency and some body. You can certainly omit it if you want to make it lower fat, and use just 1 tablespoon to sauté the onion and garlic.
*1 tablespoon dried basil may be substituted for the fresh basil.
*The sugar is added to tame the acidity of the tomatoes.
If you like your marinara sauce very smooth, process it in the food processor or blender until it's the desired consistency.
Recipe by Flavor the Moments.