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Homemade marinara sauce in a black skillet.

Easy Marinara Sauce

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 cups 1x
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Italian


This easy marinara sauce is fresh, flavourful and so easy to make. Enjoy it served over your favourite pasta or used on homemade pizza.


  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (use water or broth for oil-free)
  • 1 cup finely diced yellow onion, about 1 medium-sized onion
  • 5 average-sized cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil or 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, for spicy marinara)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or coconut sugar (optional but helps balance acidity)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat for 6-7 minutes until soft and fragrant.
  3. Add the entire can of crushed tomatoes, rinsing the can with 1/2 cup of water and pouring that in as well.
  4. Add the oregano, dried basil (if using fresh basil, see step 6) salt, pepper and if using, red pepper flakes.
  5. Reduce heat to low and lightly simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. For thicker sauce, simmer up to 40 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency. You can also thin with a little water if it’s too thick.
  6. If using fresh basil, stir it in now. Taste and adjust flavour, adding salt and pepper if needed and stir in the sweetener, if using. 
  7. Serve right away or store in a sealed container for up to 5 days in the fridge or freezer for up to 2 months.


You can use diced or whole tomatoes instead of crushed. If using whole, smash with a masher or wooden spoon after they’ve cooked for a while. If you prefer a smooth sauce, pulse a few times with an immersion blender or add to a blender and blitz a few times.

Good quality tomatoes make a big difference in this recipe. I recommend San Marzano or other Italian tomatoes or Muir Glen organic tomatoes for the best results.

Keywords: best, easy, homemade, sugar-free, oil-free