How to make marinara sauce at home

marinara sauce

The recipe for marinara sauce is quite simple, and it is based on a combination of tomatoes with numerous spices and seasonings, which ultimately gives a surprisingly spicy, tangy and rich taste. The dressing is served hot or cold with many appetizers, side dishes and hot dishes.

History of the sauce

This tomato sauce comes from Italy, and in Italian, the word “marinara” means “sea sauce.”

It was first invented and actively prepared by cooks on long-distance ships at the beginning of the sixteenth century, when European countries had a rich harvest of tomatoes.

In simple words, this sea sauce gained popularity due to the fact that it had the ability to be stored for a long time during long ship voyages.

Now, in completely different conditions, marinara has not lost any of its popularity and is still widely used in many European dishes.


pizza with marinara sauce

Despite the fact that today there are a considerable number of variations in the preparation of this sauce, for many the only successful one is the standard and original version.

We invite you to familiarize yourself with the classic Italian marinara recipe, which can be easily repeated at home.


  • Tomatoes – 800 g;
  • Onion – 1 piece;
  • Garlic – 3-4 medium cloves;
  • Parsley, fresh basil – several bunches to taste;
  • Olive or other vegetable oil – 4 tbsp. l;
  • Granulated sugar – 1 tsp;
  • Pepper and salt to taste.

Step by step recipe:

  1. Peel the tomatoes by first pouring boiling water over them;
  2. Cut the tomatoes into small cubes;
  3. Peel and chop the onion;
  4. Peel and crush the garlic cloves with a knife, chop finely with a knife;
  5. Wash the herbs and chop finely;
  6. Fry half the chopped garlic in oil for 1 minute over medium heat, add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until the onion is soft;
  7. Add the tomatoes and simmer the mixture uncovered over low heat for about 20 minutes or until excess moisture has evaporated;
  8. Salt, pepper, add sugar and remaining garlic mixed with herbs to the sauce, mix everything.

With balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar

A somewhat non-standard version of the sauce that will appeal to lovers of spicy sourness.

Balsamic vinegar diversifies the taste of the dressing and gives it additional piquancy and aroma. The recipe is simple and looks like this:


  • Ripe fresh tomatoes – 1 kg;
  • Balsamic vinegar – 50 ml;
  • Fresh liquid honey without sugaring – 2 tbsp;
  • Bay leaf – 2 pieces;
  • White or red onion – 1 piece;
  • Vegetable oil – 80 ml;
  • Garlic – 3 medium sized cloves;
  • Fresh basil – medium bunch;
  • Dried Italian herbs – 1 tbsp;
  • Salt, black pepper – to taste.

Cooking process:

  1. Wash and peel the tomatoes, puree them using a blender, meat grinder or sieve;
  2. Peel and chop the onion and garlic;
  3. Fry the garlic in vegetable oil in a deep saucepan for 3 minutes;
  4. Remove the garlic from the container, replacing it with onion until it is translucent and lightly golden;
  5. Add tomato puree, stir, bring to a boil;
  6. Cook for another 5-6 minutes, turn off and set the sauce off the heat;
  7. Cool the mixture, strain through a sieve and return to the container;
  8. Continue cooking the sauce until it boils;
  9. Add balsamic vinegar, honey seasonings, mix everything thoroughly;
  10. Bring the mixture to a boil, turn off and add bay leaves;
  11. Cover the sauce with a lid, then open and remove the bay leaves.

Recipe for unripe tomatoes

Among the unusual recipes for marinara sauce, there is another method of preparation, which differs from others by adding unripe tomato fruits to the composition, which give the final preparation a touch of tartness and originality.


  • Unripe green tomatoes – 1.5 kg;
  • Onions – 2 pcs;
  • Carrots – one, medium size;
  • Garlic – 3 medium cloves;
  • Vegetable oil – 30 ml;
  • Sugar – 1 tablespoon;
  • Oregano, basil – 1 tsp each. Everyone;
  • Lemon juice – half of one fruit;
  • Salt, black pepper – to taste.

How to make marinara from unripe tomatoes:

  1. Wash and chop the tomatoes, then grate each piece until pureed. Dispose of the peel;
  2. Peel and chop the onion;
  3. Peel the garlic, pass through a special press;
  4. Grate the pre-peeled carrots on a coarse grater;
  5. Heat a deep frying pan with vegetable oil, add onions and carrots. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring regularly;
  6. Cool the vegetables, process in a blender until pureed;
  7. Place vegetable puree in a saucepan or saucepan, add tomatoes to it;
  8. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to a minimum at which the liquid will boil;
  9. Add sugar and stir the mixture until it is completely dissolved;
  10. Add salt to taste, squeeze in lemon juice, avoiding the seeds;
  11. Put herbs, pepper, garlic;
  12. Cook for about 10 minutes more, turn off the heat.

Serve it with spaghetti, buckwheat or regular mashed potatoes.

Quick option

spaghetti with marinara sauce

Experienced housewives have long come up with their own quick homemade sauce recipe, which will take much less time to prepare, but will be no less tasty and aromatic.


  • Fresh tomatoes – 4-5 medium pieces;
  • Carrots – 1 piece;
  • Onion – 1 small”
  • Garlic – 1-2 cloves;
  • Olive oil for frying;
  • Parsley or other favorite greens;
  • Dried basil – 2 tsp;
  • Salt pepper.

How to make the sauce:

  1. Chop the garlic and onion, grate the carrots;
  2. Fry the onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes, add the carrots for another 5 minutes;
  3. Chop the tomatoes, pass through a sieve without peeling;
  4. Chop fresh herbs;
  5. Add tomatoes with parsley and other herbs to the frying pan, salt and pepper;
  6. Cook for about 30 minutes over low heat, add clean water if necessary.

This option is perfect as pizza sauce or spaghetti.

From canned tomatoes

In less than an hour, you can prepare another version of Italian sauce using tomatoes from a can.

The advantage of the recipe is its versatility for any season, because you don’t have to wait for the harvest of fresh tomatoes, just open the canned food!

Sauce composition:

  • Olive oil for frying;
  • Canned tomatoes – 3 cans of 800 g each;
  • Onion – 1/4 head;
  • Thyme – 3 sprigs;
  • Fresh basil – a couple of bunches;
  • Coarse salt, pepper.

Cooking steps:

  1. Heat olive oil, fry onion and garlic in it until translucent and golden brown;
  2. Add tomatoes in their own juice from cans, thyme, basil. Mix;
  3. Reduce heat, cook for about half an hour without a lid;
  4. Add salt and pepper.

It turns out much tastier if you cook with tomatoes in their own juice.

Recipe for the winter

When making pickles for the winter, you can stock up on a few jars of exquisite Italian sauce. Let’s talk about how to make marinara sauce for the winter.

Ingredients for preparation:

  • Red fresh tomatoes – 1 kg;
  • Onion – 2 heads;
  • Garlic – 4 cloves;
  • Oregano, thyme dry – 1 tsp each;
  • Fresh basil, parsley – a couple of bunches;
  • Vinegar – 50 ml;
  • Sugar – 2 h. l.;
  • Sunflower oil – 50 ml;
  • Bay leaf – 2 pcs.;
  • Sol – 2 h. l.;
  • Black or red pepper – optional to taste.

So, the stages of preparing the sauce as a winter preparation look like this:

  1. Remove the skins from the tomatoes by pouring boiling water over them;
  2. Crush the tomato pulp, removing any remaining skin and seeds;
  3. Place the tomato puree over low heat until it boils;
  4. At this time, chop the onion and fry it in oil until slightly translucent;
  5. Add garlic to the onion, leave for 2 minutes, remove from heat;
  6. Mix the onion-garlic mixture with the tomato puree, cook for half an hour without a lid;
  7. Add dry herbs, pepper, make hot sauce if desired, add chili;
  8. Place bay leaves, add chopped basil;
  9. Add salt, sugar, leave to cook for another half hour until it becomes thick sour cream;
  10. Take out bay leaves, add vinegar in the specified amount;
  11. Pour the mixture into sterile jars, screw on the lids, cool and store in a dry place.

This marinara sauce, stored in jars for the winter, can be stored for several years without fear of spoiling. You can use the sauce immediately without adding vinegar at the end.

Where to add and what to serve with

chicken with marinara sauce

Marinara sauce, prepared at home using one of these recipes, can be used in many hot dishes. We list the most successful combinations:

  • Pasta. Moreover, variations of pasta in this case can be very different from classic pasta to tagliatelle nests or full-fledged lasagne on special sheets. It is better to pour marinara over the dish at the last moment in a frying pan or personally for each individual in a portioned plate;
  • Chicken, turkey; Light poultry pairs well with this spicy tomato sauce as a main course for dinner;
  • Hot meat dishes. Meat goulash, minced meatballs, stuffed peppers or cabbage rolls – all this will taste even more interesting if you add a little marinara on top;
  • Dishes baked in the oven. Numerous vegetable and meat casseroles, pies, country-style baked potatoes, homemade homemade sausages from the oven are also perfectly seasoned with marinara;
  • Pizza. Many people are accustomed to lubricating the dough base with store-bought ketchup, but if you try to use marinara instead, you will no longer want to go back to sauce from a tube;
  • Fish, seafood. Mussels with mozzarella cheese are often prepared in this tomato dressing, as well as assorted seafood: squid, octopus, shrimp. Marinara also goes well with white fish;
  • With appetizers as dipping sauce. When cold, the dressing goes great with nacho corn chips, toasted pita bread, bread, croutons or fries.

What to replace

The answer to the question of what can replace marinara in the absence of this sauce can only be given with context. It matters what dish the sauce is for and what ingredients it contains:

  • For hot chicken dishes, such as lasagna, you can use canned tomatoes in a jar;
  • For pastas, pizzas, macaroni, tomato paste or Krasnodar sauce;
  • You can add tomato sauce or puree to gazpacho soup.

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