Marinara Sauce

Classic Marinara Sauce


It’s a great idea to have a classic marinara sauce recipe on hand that’s not only delicious but simple to whip up for those times that we just want to dip or drizzle such foods as mozzarella cheese sticks, bread sticks, chicken parmesan sandwiches, tortellini, or even pretzels.  I don’t use this as a spaghetti sauce ~ I have a different recipe for that. For us, this is strictly a dipping/drizzling sauce {slightly adapted from this recipe} and it’s so, so much better than a jar of marinara from the grocery store. It’s a perfect meld of all of the flavors without any of them standing out on their own.

Marinara Sauce

Yield: About 6 cups of sauce

Marinara Sauce


  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil {or 4-6 fresh basil leaves}
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter, optional


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat until hot.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Add the celery, carrot, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until all of the vegetables are barely soft, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, and bay leaves and simmer, covered, on low heat for 1 hour or until thick and the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove the bay leaves. Stir in the brown sugar and butter. {The butter softens the acidic taste of the tomatoes and gives it a smooth creaminess.}
  6. Blend the sauce in a blender or food processor until it's smooth.


If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into plastic freezer bags. It will freeze well for up to 6 months.


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2 Responses to Marinara Sauce

  1. Liz August 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

    There is no mention of crushed tomatoes int he ingredient list above ??? how many cans, how much could u use fresh tomatoes ???

    • Lori August 13, 2013 at 6:00 pm #

      Oh my gosh!!! How could I have overlooked the most important ingredient? Thanks, Liz, for bringing it to my attention. I’ve updated it so it should be good to go. And yes, you sure can use fresh tomatoes when you have them. 🙂

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