Sauces and Seasonings

Simple Marinara Sauce

Forget pre-made marinara sauce and make your own in just 30 minutes. Not only does homemade sauce taste richer (and have way less sugar and salt), but it can be made using staple pantry ingredients.

Since starting this blog, one of my goals has been to come up with simple homemade marinara sauce that doesn’t take all day to make. It’s taken me over a year, but I think I finally got the sauce just right! I still want to make a great sauce using fresh tomatoes (likely one in the crockpot) soon, but what I love about this sauce is you don’t need to go to the store to make it. Perfect for surprise dinner guests, sudden pasta cravings, or simple laziness. No judgement here ;).

The biggest critic is Bry, whose mom makes the best sauce. Hers is incredibly rich in flavor, thanks to using meat, fresh tomatoes, and allowing it to simmer all day. Seriously addicting. This is not that kind of sauce. This is a simple sauce, that is still impressive enough to elevate chicken parm, turkey meatballs, or standard spaghetti. And I’m happy to announce that it soared past his expectations! I also made this sauce for my parents one night with a lighter version of chicken parm and they too loved it.

If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m starting to transition into fall mode with pumpkin, pasta, and casseroles (I cannot wait to start makings soups again!). My wardrobe is also ready for fall, after a shopping trip with my mom a few weeks ago. I’m awful at shopping but my mom always seems to know exactly what will look good and how to put together the perfect outfit. So now all I need is cooler weather to show the new sweaters off with!

Here’s a toast to no more canned pasta sauces! 

Simple Marinara Sauce

Print Recipe
Cooking Time: 30-60 min


  • 1 28-oz cans whole, peeled tomatoes
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp Italian seasoning
  • ½ - 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Optional pinch red pepper flakes



Pour can of peeled tomatoes (with juices) into a medium-sized bowl. With your hands (or a fork) crush tomatoes. Pour 1 cup of water into empty tomato can, swish around to get the remaining tomato juice, and set aside.


In a large skillet (not a pot!) over medium heat, add olive oil. Once oil is hot, add garlic and cook until garlic starts to sizzle.


Add tomatoes, reserved water, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes. Bring to a low simmer (you may need to reduce heat to medium-low). Allow to simmer at least 30 minutes – the oil on top should be orange and the sauce should be slightly thick. Stir and taste to adjust seasonings periodically. For a thicker sauce, continue to gently simmer for another 15-20 minutes.


Serve immediately or rapidly cool to room temperature and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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  • Reply
    Donna VB
    September 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Great and simple very clever Nonnie would have been proud. The reason for the sauce duration in the Ruggeri and vitiello family was to boil out the acidity. In the olden days our Nonnie use to use spoiled tomatoes that were high in acid. But what they did was to take a hard boiled egg peel it and sit it in with the sauce. The egg is not only efffective for longevity but also for short cooking times. It acts as a sponge and extracts the acid. The olive oil was always the secret. The purest the bestest.

    Love you mom DVB

  • Reply
    Brynn at The Domestic Dietitian
    September 20, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Nothing beats homemade sauce and this recipe looks and sounds fantastic!

    • Reply
      The Healthy Toast
      September 21, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      Totally agree Brynn! Hope you give it a try!

  • Reply
    September 20, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    Love the simplicity of this homemade marinara sauce. It looks delicious!

    • Reply
      The Healthy Toast
      September 21, 2017 at 9:19 pm

      Thanks Hayley! The simplicity makes it a no-brainer for skipping the jarred stuff 😉 Hope you give it a try!

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