Homemade Marinara

$3.79 recipe / $0.29 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.67 from 9 votes
Jump to RecipeStep by StepPrint Recipe

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

After being treated to a wonderful Italian dinner at a local restaurant last week, I was inspired to finally try to make my own marinara sauce. I’ll admit, usually I’m too lazy and I’d much rather just buy a jar (which isn’t that expensive to begin with, about $2 or $0.40 per serving), doctor it up and go with it. I’ve also been skeptical whether or not homemade sauce would actually be cheaper since you still have to buy cans or fresh tomatoes for the homemade… both of which can add up quickly. Well, the verdict is in! My sauce costs almost half as much per serving as the jarred kind and it’s scrumptious! It’s not quite the deep, intense, sweet sauce that I had at the restaurant but hey, I’m not Italian so all I can do try!

Homemade Marinara

Homemade Marinara Sauce in bowl with wooden spoon

Homemade Marinara

4.67 from 9 votes
You never knew that homemade marinara could be so easy and flavorful! Once you try this you'll never go back to the jar.
Servings 6 .5 cups
Prep 10 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
Total 1 hr 40 mins

Ingredients

  • 2 28oz. cans crushed tomatoes ($1.84)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.23)
  • 4 cloves garlic ($0.24)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil ($0.32)
  • 1 6oz. can tomato paste ($0.58)
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil ($0.15)
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano ($0.10)
  • 2 bay leaves ($0.10)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar ($0.03)
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar ($0.20)

Instructions 

  • Finely dice the onion and garlic. Cook in a large pot with 3 Tbsp of olive oil until very soft and slightly golden brown. I wanted to make a sweeter sauce which is why I let the onions and garlic caramelize a bit. If you don’t like sweet sauces, proceed to the next step before they get any color on them.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients (crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, bay leaves, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar) to the pot. Simmer on medium/low for one hour. Be careful of the splattering sauce! Leave a lid on the pot but slightly ajar to allow steam to escape but keep flying blobs of sauce from landing on your counter top.
  • Taste the sauce after a half hour or so and adjust spices and seasoning to your liking. The proportions listed above yield a slightly sweet and tangy sauce. If you like savory sauces, leave out the balsamic vinegar and reduce the sugar to 1 tsp. Some sugar is usually needed to balance the high acidity of the tomatoes.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5CupsCalories: 198.15kcalCarbohydrates: 31.8gProtein: 6.25gFat: 7.75gSodium: 513.72mgFiber: 7.23g
Have you tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!

STEP 1: Finely dice the onion and garlic. Cook in a large pot with 3 Tbsp of olive oil until very soft and slightly golden brown. I wanted to make a sweeter sauce which is why I let the onions and garlic caramelize a bit. If you don’t like sweet sauces, proceed to the next step before they get any color on them.

STEP 2: Add the rest of the ingredients (crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano, bay leaves, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar) to the pot. Simmer on medium/low for one hour. Be careful of the splattering sauce! Leave a lid on the pot but slightly ajar to allow steam to escape but keep flying blobs of sauce from landing on your counter top.

splattering sauce in pan on stove top with lid on

STEP 3: Taste the sauce after a half hour or so and adjust spices and seasoning to your liking. The proportions listed above yield a slightly sweet and tangy sauce. If you like savory sauces, leave out the balsamic vinegar and reduce the sugar to 1 tsp. Some sugar is usually needed to balance the high acidity of the tomatoes.

Homemade Marinara Sauce

NOTE: If you plan on freezing some of your sauce (I don’t know who can eat 6.5 cups of sauce within a week…) make sure to cool the sauce in the refrigerator first in a covered container. Once cool, transfer to heavy duty freezer bags and label. Marinara sauce freezes great and is super easy to take out and thaw whenever you need!

Share this recipe

Posted in: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. This is one recipe that I am rarely without, but I tend to make a big slow cooker batch of this once every several months and freeze them in ball glass jars. During busy weeknights, I defrost one jar of the marinara and use it to split 2-3 servings. Total game changer. Making it this week for a week of Italian dishes, super geeked. Thanks, Beth!

  2. After preparing the recipe “as is”, I still will admit I didn’t expect it to turn out as great as it did! Nothing about the ho-hum ingredient list suggests the rich flavour you end up with! A definite winner!!! Thanks Beth

  3. Very delicious and I have made several times. I appreciate how you break it down and simplify all your recipes. I have done this recipe in my slow cooker and on the stove top and it always turns out wonderfully! Thank you for sharing!!

  4. Beth, the detailed instructions are not showing up on this recipe. I can only see Step 3.

    1. Very strange! Thank you for letting me know. I don’t know what happened there, but I’ll go see if I can recover that data from the archives. :)

  5. Could i replace the sugar with some natural honey? Im trying to cut back on sugar.

      1. My mother always added finely shredded carrots instead of sugar or honey. They add sweetness and sneak in more veggies. I didn’t know until I was an adult!

        1. I love that! I actually have a version where I add a few different shredded vegetables and it is SO GOOD. Your mother is one smart lady. :)

  6. This sauce was AMAZING! I went with the slightly sweet version and used it in your eggplant parm recipe. I had some leftover that went well with meatballs (also your recipe) and made a english muffin pizza one night too! Sometimes tomato sauce bothers me, too acidic I think, but this sweeter version really worked for me. Thanks!

  7. This recipe looks great, and I’m planning on trying it for a large family get together here in the next few weeks. I just noticed one issue with your recipe scaler (which is such a great idea!) When you change the number of servings, the scaler doesn’t seem to know how to separate the quantity and the ounces that you have listed. For example, your “2 28oz cans of tomatoes” in this recipes becomes “60 oz. cans of tomatoes” if you scale the recipe up to 12. I know you’re busy, and I very much appreciate what you do; I just thought you might want to be made aware of this glitch.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out! Each recipe needed a little tweaking when we switched to this new recipe plugin, but it looks like this one didn’t quite get fixed. I think it works good now, though! When you scale up it should just scale the number of cans and not the total number of ounces. :)

  8. For a person starting out with cooking, I had to buy the spices. I’m not sure how long it’s been since this was updated but it cost quiet a bit to buy basil, oregano, and bay leaves. Plus it cost $1.36 per 28 oz. can. :( rather than listing the price for 1 tbs, because obviously you can’t buy just 1 tbs, it would be more helpful to see what I would really be spending if I had to buy each ingredient.

    1. But most people don’t buy a brand new package of every single ingredient every time it’s used and I don’t like to consider an ingredient free if it’s already in my kitchen. So, I consider the cost of the amount used whether I had to buy it new that time or if I already had some on hand. This is the method that is used in the food service industry to track cost and profit and I find it most helpful in my own kitchen as well.

    2. I am not sure where you live but if your grocery store has a Hispanic section spices are much cheaper there. They are also fresher. A bottle of oregano that is twice the size of McCormick is $1.99. Hope this helps.

    1. Boooo! How can you love something you haven’t tried? You only commented to promote your own blog.

    1. I haven’t tried to make a sauce like this in my Instant Pot yet, so I’m not sure. :)

    2. Did you ever make this in a pressure cooker? Do you have any advice for timing? I think this would make well in it, but I prefer having guidance in my cooking.

      1. I did some searching, and saw some people struggled with making marinara on high pressure (sometimes it was just thick enough to burn trying to get to pressure), and since it just needed some time to meld, I decided to put it on low pressure for 15 minutes and let it natural pressure release, to minimize the opportunity for splattering. It seems to have worked really well. I’m going to make the roasted vegetable ziti recipe on here with it in a day or two, and I put the rest of the sauce in the freezer to pull out as needed.

        1. Awesome! Thanks for following up with how it worked out for you. I know that will help a lot of people. :)

  9. Nothing like having this sauce handy. Try freezing in ice trays and then storing the cubes in zipped locked bags. That way you can pull out enough for one or more and not have to worry about extra that won’t be used.

  10. This recipe sounds amazing! With the tomatoes, is that 2 28oz cans or 2 cans of 28oz each? I’m assuming it’s the latter!

      1. Sorry, but this left me more confused… Is it 56 oz total or 28 oz total?

        “2 28oz cans” would be 56 oz, but “2 cans equaling 28oz altogether” would be, well… 28oz.

        Thanks, can’t wait to try this!

  11. This is actually a great recipe that I now use as part of my standard weekly meals. It freezes well, it’s easy to make, and it’s tasty.

    I use 2 cans of diced tomatoes and one large can of crushed tomatoes because I like the sauce chunky.

    I also add a little more brown sugar because I like my sauces sweet, but this recipe by itself is great.

  12. I quite liked this but I think the full-on sugar and balsamic the recipe calls for were too much for my 4yo daughter. I think next time I’ll try your savory version.