15-Minute Hearty Marinara Sauce

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This Hearty Marinara Sauce only uses a few pantry staples, and it comes together in about the same amount of time it takes to cook a bag of pasta. It’s better (and cheaper) than anything you can find in a jar, and it is a great make-ahead to help you through the busiest weeknights.

A pan of hearty marinara sauce with a wooden spoon.

Marinara sauce is a classic for good reasons. It’s simple, versatile, and delicious. Its timeless appeal and wide range of uses have made it a staple for people around the world. You can use marinara sauce in so many ways, that you can eat it multiple times per week without getting bored! For some reason, I think many of us have been made to believe that making a good marinara sauce is a big ordeal, and it has to cook all day long, but that just isn’t the case. You can make a great marinara sauce in about 15 minutes, and you probably already have everything you need in your pantry.

A bowl of rigatoni tossed in marinara sauce

What you’ll need to make this Hearty Marinara Sauce

  • Canned tomatoes: Obviously, the higher the quality of your tomatoes, the better your sauce will taste. San Marzanos are great, but I often opt for regular whole tomatoes. Check the ingredients list to make sure the only ingredients are tomatoes (and maybe tomato juice). These ones tend to have the best flavor.
  • Garlic: I like a whopping 6-8 cloves per large can of tomatoes. I try to keep minced garlic on hand in my freezer for moments like these.
  • Olive oil: A good swig of olive oil is important here because it’ll help carry the flavor of the garlic throughout the sauce.
  • Salt: A key ingredient. Without salt, your tomato sauce will taste overly acidic and kinda bland.
  • OPTIONAL: Red pepper flakes and FRESH basil: These add a little more interest to the sauce, but it is totally great without them as well.

How to make it

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat, and add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using).
  2. While the garlic is gently warming up (keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t brown), pour the tomatoes into a medium-sized bowl, and squish them to your desired texture.
  3. Add the squished tomatoes to the garlic in the pan.
  4. Add the salt, and stir everything to combine.
  5. Turn the heat to medium-high. Once the tomato mixture starts to bubble, reduce the heat back down to medium-low, and allow the mixture to cook for 10 minutes. Now would be a good time to add fresh basil if you’re using it.
  6. Enjoy it right away, or store it for later. this amount of sauce will nicely cover 1 Lb of pasta.

How to store and reheat Marinara Sauce

To store this marinara sauce, let it cool completely and transfer it to an airtight container. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you want to store it for a longer period, you can freeze it. Place the sauce in freezer-safe containers or freezer bags, leaving some room for it to expand, and freeze for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to eat it, reheat the sauce on the stovetop or in the microwave. If using the stovetop, heat in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. If using the microwave, transfer the desired amount of sauce to a microwave-safe bowl, cover, and heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until hot.

Rigatoni tossed in marinara sauce with parmesan cheese

Frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes?

Yes, but the process will be different. For a delightful pasta recipe using fresh tomatoes, I recommend my Summer Spaghetti recipe.

Can I use dried basil instead of fresh basil?

I don’t really care what you do but if you use dried basil please don’t say it’s my recipe.

Can I make this sauce spicy?

Sure! If you like a spicy kick, you can add more red pepper flakes.

Can I make a larger batch of this sauce and freeze it?

Yes, you can double or triple the recipe to make a larger batch of sauce. Once cooled, transfer it to freezer-safe containers or bags and freeze for up to 3 months.

Can I customize this sauce by adding vegetables or meat?

Definitely! Feel free to add sautéed onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, or cooked ground meat to make the sauce even heartier and more flavorful.

Can I use this sauce for pizza?

Sure! This versatile marinara sauce works well as a pizza sauce. I love adding a bit of dried oregano if I’m using it for pizza.

Can I adjust the consistency of the sauce?

Yes, you can adjust the consistency by simmering the sauce for a longer time to reduce it or adding a little water or broth to thin it out.

Can I use this sauce for lasagna or baked pasta dishes?

Yes, this hearty marinara sauce works great in lasagna or any other baked pasta dishes.

A pan of hearty marinara sauce with a wooden spoon.

15-Minute Hearty Marinara Sauce

This Hearty Marinara Sauce only uses a few pantry staples, and you can make it in the same amount of time it takes to cook a bag of pasta.
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Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 134 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 sauté pan large

Ingredients
  

  • 796 grams tomatoes canned, whole
  • 6 cloves garlic or more, to taste
  • 1 tsp salt plus more to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 sprig fresh basil optional

Instructions
 

  • Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat, and add the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using).
  • While the garlic is gently warming up (keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t brown), pour the tomatoes into a medium-sized bowl, and squish them to your desired texture.
  • Add the squished tomatoes to the garlic in the pan.
  • Add the salt, and stir everything to combine.
  • Turn the heat to medium-high. Once the tomato mixture starts to bubble, reduce the heat back down to medium-low, and allow the mixture to cook for 10 minutes. Now would be a good time to add fresh basil if you’re using it.
  • Enjoy it right away, or store it for later. this amount of sauce is enough for 1 lb of pasta.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 134kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 4gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 855mgPotassium: 605mgFiber: 4gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 492IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 78mgIron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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