Simple Marinara Sauce

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 ;).

Canned pum tomatoes in a bowl

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 also 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! 

Marinara sauce

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.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Homemade, Sauce
Author: Kelli


  • 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.

Add a comment


  • Hayley AvatarHayley5 years ago

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

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast5 years ago

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

  • Brynn at The Domestic Dietitian AvatarBrynn at The Domestic Dietitian5 years ago

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

    • The Healthy Toast AvatarThe Healthy Toast5 years ago

      Totally agree Brynn! Hope you give it a try!

  • Donna VB AvatarDonna VB5 years ago

    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

  • About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    I’m Kelli MS, RD, and my mission is to prove that eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Follow along to learn more about food and cooking, with an emphasis on breakfast and sweet treats!

    About Kelli McGrane Headshot

    Welcome to The Healthy Toast!

    Here you’ll find realistic healthy recipes designed by a registered dietitian with your busy lifestyle in mind.

    Whether you’re a busy professional or new mom, the goal of The Healthy Toast is to provide you with the recipes and nutrition info you need to live your healthiest life, even when life gets crazy. As I’m a firm believer in a whole-foods, non-diet approach, I hope my website shows that good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. 

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