Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe

Marinara is an Italian origin tomato sauce, with distinctive flavour and taste. It was invented in the 16th century by the mariner cooks (hence the name) and it's become popular all around the world. The basic ingredients are tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and basil, but the traditional recipe may slightly vary according to different regions and each chef's taste. It is successfully mixed with pasta, pizza, rice, seafood etc. and it's absolutely lovely. I fell in love with this sauce a few weeks ago when I went to Venice and since then I've cooked it seven times already. I'm also keeping some in the freezer, as all of us enjoy it so much.

A big plus is that you can either store some in the freezer, or pour it in jars while it's still hot and can it. Keep it in the pantry, it will turn out to be very useful. Its taste feels so complete and the tomatoes make it so sugary and aromatic that one could also spread it on plain bread :) I've never thought I could ever eat plain pasta with just tomato sauce - well, this is our favourite now.

From my experience, the quality of the olive oil and, of course, the tomatoes are the most important. The safest way is using high-quality canned tomatoes - diced or crushed. If you happen to have fresh meaty tomatoes, use them instead. I noticed that when I have fresh tomatoes, it takes a bit longer for the sauce to simmer. Also, it's better to cut the tomatoes in bigger pieces, for a chunkier marinara.

I've seen that chefs like to customize the traditional recipe, add little secrets to make it better and more special than others. A more experienced chef would say 'MY marinara' and there are so many variations. This marinara recipe is one of the most simple and traditional ones, so don't hesitate to try it out.


Extravirgin olive oil
100 ml
high-quality one
White onion
1 piece
Garlic cloves
5 pieces
1 piece
1 bunch
1 tsp
1 tsp
Herbes de Provence
1 tsp
or a mix of Italian herbs
Canned chopped tomatoes, 300g
450 g
Tomatoes sauce
450 g
or tomato passata, canned or fresh

Step by step

Step 1

Prepare all the ingredients for the sauce. 

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 1
Step 2

You can see here the 2 types of tomato sauce - diced and crushed. Ideally, you use both of them. 

You can also use one type, if you don't have them both. 

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 2
Step 3

Finely chop the onion, the garlic and the basil.

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 3
Step 4

To cook the sauce, you need a deep skillit or pot. 

Pour in the olive oil, enough to completely cover the bottom. 


Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 4
Step 5

Heat the oil over medium heat, add onion and cook until soft, 3-4 minutes. 

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 5
Step 6

Stir in garlic and cook for 1 more minute.

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 6
Step 7

Pour in tomatoes, salt and sugar, stir well. 

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 7
Step 8

Simmer for 25-35 minutes, over low heat, mixing from time to time.

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 8
Step 9

It's very important that the sauce has enough time to simmer, this way the tomatoes will get sweeter and the acidity will be reduced. 

Taste the sauce from time to time after the first 15-20 minutes and you will see the difference. 


Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 9
Step 10

Add garlic and dried herbs about 5-10 minutes before the sauce is ready.

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 10
Step 11

Let simmer for 5-10 minutes over low heat, taste and adjust with salt, if needed. 

The mixture shouldn't be too liquid and not too thick either. 

It's supposed to look like in this picture. 

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 11
Step 12

You can pour it while hot in clean jars, fasten tightly with a lid and keep it in the pantry. This way, you have it anytime for pizza, pasta or other dishes. 

Or, when it's cool, you can freeze it in small containers, like in the picture. 

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 12
Step 13

The ideal combination would be this freshly made marinara with your favourite pasta. The best option for this would be, of course, hard wheat pasta, cooked al dente. 

Add pasta in the sauce and mix thoroughly. 

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 13
Step 14

Serve with grated parmesan on top and enjoy. 

Optionally, you can save 1-2 spoonfuls of extra sauce for before you spread parmesan on top.

Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 14
Step 15

This sauce is super tasty, great even to store some in your pantry or in the freezer, like a skilled chef would do. 


Classic Marinara Sauce Recipe - Step 15
Quantity: 1 kg
Prep time: 45 min
Difficulty: easy
Ready in: 30 min
Publish date:
Collections: Sauces, Sauces, doughs...

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