Easy Marinara Sauce

A simple and Easy Marinara Sauce made with good quality San Marzano canned tomatoes.

Marinara Sauce 2

Canned tomatoes make a delicious Easy Marinara Sauce. The key to making this super easy tomato sauce is good quality San Marzano tomatoes as well as the best and freshest onions, celery, carrots and garlic. You will be rewarded with the most sensational aromas and intense flavors of a great simple sauce.

Basil is one of my absolute favorite herb and I love to use both the dry and fresh basil in my tomato sauce. The dried variety is great for a long simmering pasta sauce as it has time to infuse the dish with its sweet scent. When I have an abundance of fresh basil I will add a couple of springs during the simmering time then fish it out and finish the sauce with an additional layer of shredded basil just before serving.

This recipe is so versatile, one I turn to when making my Chicken Parmesan with Kale or serving it alongside my Arancini. It is also my go to recipe for simmering melt in your mouth meatballs.

Let’s Get started with Easy Marinara Sauce


  • 1/4   cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2      medium carrots. peeled and diced
  • 2      celery stalks, diced
  • 2      medium onions, peeled and diced
  • 4      garlic cloves, minced
  • 2      28 ounces canned San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
  • 1      tablespoon dry basil
  • 2      springs of fresh basil (intact on the branch) plus an additional
  •         1/2 cup shredded basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2    tsp freshly ground black pepper

Pour the olive oil in a sauce pot and stir in the chopped carrots, celery, onions and minced garlic. Add a pinch or two of salt and pepper.


Cook for about 8 minutes or just until the vegetables soften and the onions are translucent. (Taking the time to sauté the onions until they are translucent ensures a sauce full of flavor.)


Pour in the crushed tomatoes. Fill the tomato cans with 3/4 full of water, give it a good swirl to release any tomato bits resting at the bottom of the can and add this to the pot.

Stir in the dry basil and the 2 basil sprigs, salt and pepper. Turn up the heat, cover and bring your sauce up to a boil, stirring and checking frequently. Once you have an active boil, reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer covered for 1 hour stirring occasionally.

Marinara 2

At this point the sauce should have thickened and reduced by a quarter. If not, simply remove the lid, turn up the heat a little and let it cook for a half hour longer. When it becomes concentrated enough, you will know it is ready. Just before serving fish out the two sprigs of basil and add in the additional 1/2 cup shredded basil. Taste the sauce and add more salt if needed.

Penne Marinara

This marinara sauce can be served with any pasta of your choice. After draining the cooked pasta, I prefer to coat it with a ladle or two of tomato sauce, stir well and then plate and add additional sauce with a generous sprinkle of Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese. 🙂

It would also be wonderful over gnocchi or use it in your favorite baked pasta dishes.

Marinara Sauce

Add a pinch or two of hot chili flakes while it is simmering and use it as a spicy dipping sauce for deep fried calamari.

Marinara Sauce 1

This recipe makes enough to fill 2 mason jars. It can be refrigerated it for up to 5 days or can be frozen for later use.

Buon Appetito!


  1. These pictures are gorgeous !!!!

  2. I looooove trying new tomato sauces and the extra vegetables in this one are winners, in my opinion!

  3. Totally trying this!! Thank you!

  4. Hi Marisa – thanks for dropping by My Yellow Farmhouse today! I’m so glad that I found your recipe for a good – and easy – marinara sauce. I’m ‘pinning’ it for sure!!

  5. Forgot to say – I LOVE your presentation and your photos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Pingback: Arancini, Italian Rice Balls - Marisa's Italian Kitchen