I never thought I would be the type of person that would make my own Marinara sauce, but it’s one of those things that once you start, you can’t go back. This is the best homemade marinara sauce I’ve ever had and not because it’s got a ton of secret ingredients, but because it’s SO SIMPLE.
Kevin had been talking about wanting to learn how to make pasta constantly. So a couple years ago I got him a pasta making class for Christmas to get it out of his system. About half way through the class I looked over at him and said “we’re not leaving here without a pasta maker are we?” He gave me a mischievously knowing smile and I knew he was hooked. That day we walked away with more than just a pasta maker, we had an entire folder full of different pasta and sauce recipes including a basic marinara sauce.
Our recipe may have changed over the years, but the memory of that first class lives on strong with us. We’ve also learned that once you start making your own sauce, you literally can’t go back. Store bought sauces just can’t live up to the natural deliciousness of a homemade marinara. Whether you are just making this sauce for a special occasion or making a ton to have on hand, you won’t regret giving this recipe a try.
We make this sauce in huge batches to then can and store for months, but trust me, this stuff goes fast!
Not all tomatoes are created equally. For this recipe, we highly recommend using San Marzano tomatoes. More specifically, our favorite kind is the whole Cento San Marzano tomatoes. We’ve tried other brands and the sauce just comes out a little flat. Not a requirement, but take that for what it’s worth.
Red Pepper Chili Flakes
I know 1.5 tsp doesn’t seem like a lot, but be careful with red pepper chili flakes. The oil in the peppers will release overtime and your sauce will continue to get spicier as it sits. If your sauce is just for one dish, go ahead and spice it to taste. If your are making a big batch, a little goes a long way. Be conservative, you can always add more when you reheat it.
I get it, sugar in tomato sauce sounds weird, but go ahead and give it a taste it without it before you decide. Just a little bit of sugar completely cuts the acidity and rounds out the flavor. Add a bit at a time until you get to your desired taste.
Try the best homemade marinara sauce recipe below!
The Best Homemade Marinara Sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 8 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 cans (28oz) San Marzano whole tomatoes (we use Cento)
- S&P to taste
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1.5 tsp dried thyme (or a few sprigs of fresh thyme)
- 1.5 tsp red pepper chili flakes
- 1 tsp sugar (add more as needed after tasting)
- Start by dicing your onions into small pieces. Over medium heat, add a little bit of olive oil into a large pot followed by your onions.
- Once the onions have begun to sweat, add your minced garlic, salt & pepper.
- While the onions continue to cook, start prepping your san marzano tomatoes by dumping into a large bowl. Using your hands gently crush the tomatoes until all the tomatoes the consistency looks like a puree.
- Add your tomatoes to the pot and don't forget to add a little water to your cans to help get all of that tomato goodness out. Allow to simmer for an hour.
- Once the sauce has slightly reduced, add your italian seasoning, thyme and red pepper flakes and allow to cook further. The longer it simmers, the better it will be
- After a little while longer, you can go ahead and add some sugar. This will cut the acidity and create nice balance.
- Add this sauce to any pasta dish, use as a dipping sauce or even use it with you eggs for breakfast!
We can’t wait for you to give our sauce a try! Once you go homemade, you won’t go back. Let us know what you think and how you served it in the comments below!