Fresh Marinara

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Fresh Marinara is the basis for so many awesome dishes – from pizza to Italian meatballs, to shrimp marinara.   It’s perfect for a dipping sauce for golden mozzarella sticks, as well.   When you make this, your house will smell like a cook’s home in Tuscany!

Make a big batch and freeze what you don’t use for quick and easy future use!

This sauce has been created in Italian (and beyond) kitchens literally for centuries.  And there’s good reason.  It’s that good!

Fresh homemade marina sauce in a jar

Use this marinara when you are making anH2FaL classic: Authentic Italian Meatballs recipe!

Mama Mia, is that good!

And we absolutely recommend going with certified San Marzano tomatoes.  They are canned at the peak of their season, and the flavor that these tomatoes possess is better than any other tomato we’ve ever tried.

Again, make sure the can say ‘Certified.’  Some brands will say they are San Marzano ‘style’, but not truly from San Marzano, which happens to be at the foot of Mount Vesuvius!

Italian meatballs recipe

Find the best ingredients, and you can’t go wrong with making the best Fresh Marinara you’ve ever tasted! Incredible!

We love everything about this marinara.  You can easily make a double batch and freeze it for future use.

We use this sauce in so many classic Italian dishes!

Fresh marinara ingredients

Now, let’s make this incredible Fresh Marina recipe!

And when you do make it, be sure to take a photograph of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @howtofeedaloon and hashtag @howtofeedaloon!

A jar of Fresh Marinara

Fresh Marinara

This recipe for Fresh Marinara is one I have been using for years. So flavorful, and perfect for all your Italian dishes!
4.72 from 7 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Italian
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Marinara, San Marzano
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 54kcal


  • 3 28 oz cans tomatoes whole, San Marzano are the best
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup garlic finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp basil fresh, chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley fresh, chopped
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper


  • Drain the tomatoes in a colander set in a large bowl for 5 minutes. Reserve the tomato liquid.
  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook it; stirring, for about 5 minutes, or until it is golden brown. It should turn golden brown, but don't let it burn!
  • Add the basil, parsley, salt, and pepper. Cook the mixture for 30 seconds.
  • Add just the tomatoes (not the juice...hold onto the juice). Break the tomatoes up with your hands as you add them to the pot.
  • Increase the heat to high, and cook them for 5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the reserved tomato liquid.
  • Increase the heat to high and bring the sauce to a boil.
  • Boil if for 12 minutes, until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom to prevent burning.
  • Turn off the heat and let rest for at least an hour.



Calories: 54kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 234mg | Potassium: 23mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 164IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!



  • 5 stars
    This sauce is absolutely divine! I’ve been searching for a long while for the perfect marinara and this is it!
    I love serving with penne and Italian sausage, penne and pancetta, spaghetti and meatballs. I add a teaspoon of fennel seeds and it is wonderful!
    Thank you for this fabulous recipe!

    • Hi Jan! Yay! We are thrilled you are happy with the marinara sauce recipe! We make a batch quite often and freeze in smaller portions. It’s so versatile and really elevates so many classic Italian dishes. Sounds like your dishes are AMAZING! And we LOVE the addition of fennel! One of our favorite seasonings! Thank you so much for sharing and for the GREAT review. That honestly means so much to us! xoxo Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    Popping in to testify! This marinara is perfection. Truly. Made it for the eggplant rollatini recipe. I’m a bolognese kinda gal, but this was…wow! The taste, the aroma. And all with such nominal work and ingredients. Can’t wait to make more.

    • Hi Kelly! We are so so happy you “popped” in! We are even happier that you had such great success with the marinara! Isn’t it the best? And really puts that eggplant rollatini over the top! Thanks so much for sharing and for the GREAT review. That means so much to us! Please stay in touch! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    This is a WOW! Absolutely delicious! Lived in Bella Napoli (Naples, Italy) for three years. Learned to truly appreciate Italian sauces (marinara, bolognese, amatriciana, puttanesca, etc.). This is a keeper, so easy to make, and brought me back to … Bella Napoli!!!

    • Hi Mark!! We are so so happy you loved the marinara! We make big batches of it and freeze it all the time! Anything we can do to bring you back to Bella Napoli is what we live for (and we’re jealous, too!). Thanks as always for sharing and for the great review. You know how much that means to us! Kris & Wesley

  • Hey Kris…this is a great recipe made even better by using a pressure cooker to cook the sauce. The recipe doesn’t change, but the flavor does. I did 30 minutes o low pressure….spectacular!

  • Hi Kris, and Loon!
    My family is Irish and Italian. Grew up in Rhodesia Island and had tons of great home made Italian dishes, still good today. But your Marinara looks wonderful, I’ll fix a batch. How much sauce is in a single recipe? I want to cook more than one recipe so I can freeze some in Quart freezer bags.
    Thanks, Tom

    • Hi Tom! It makes about 1 quart. We often double it and freeze it in several freezer bags. Hope this helps and please let us know if you make the marinara and what you think! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • Just made this, doubled your recepie, taste delicious, the only thing is that it has a acidity flavor, how can I correct it. Thank you!!!!

    • Sorry for the delayed response, Cristina! If you’re tasting some acidity, it’s most likely from the tomatoes. That actually will lessen as the marinara rests. If you still feel like it’s a little acidic, add a tsp or tbsp of sugar. That should help! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    This marinara is incredibly easy and tasty! The garlic was so fragrant I was crying (tears of joy!)!! I agree about the San Marzano tomatoes!
    It is melding on the stove currently!! Can’t wait for dinner tonight!!
    Thanks for sharing your recipes!

  • I plan to make this sauce tomorrow. It sounds delicious! Do you think the addition of fennel seeds would be okay? We happen to love fennel. If you could please advise that would be great.
    Thank you.


    • Hi Jan! So sorry for the delayed response! Yes! We LOVE the addition of fennel. I would recommend starting with a small amount first, maybe 1/2 tsp, then let it simmer some, do a taste test, and then add more if desired. We love fennel so much, too, but a little does go a long way. Hope this helps and please let us know how it turns out!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

    • So true, Bob!!! We go through this stuff like crazy. So good in so many recipes or on its own. Thank you so much for the 5 star review!! We truly appreciate that!!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 3 stars
    Hi! Been making my own sauce since I got married at 16….long time ago! ….and although I’m sure your marinara is wonderful, I have never known anyone….even among all my (italian) family who browns the garlic. It has always been to sauté until soft and fragrant. Really does make a difference. Please know that I’m enjoying reading your recipes and look forward to trying very many! Thank you for allowing me my input.

    • Hi Kim, I wish we could give you some good tips here, but honestly, we usually triple a batch and then freeze 2/3 in freezer-ready containers (Tupperware). We go through this marinara almost weekly!! Canning sounds great though (we could then sell it!!). Let us know if you make it and how it turns out, especially if you can it!! Best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    This is such a great and easy marinade! I’ve made it today to use in your eggplant parmesan tomorrow! Thank you!

  • Hi Kris! I’m so excited to make your marinara sauce, especially to go into your Baked Ziti recipe! My question is, how much does this marinara recipe yield? I’m planning to make more than one Ziti recipe (one to serve, one to freeze & give as a gift w/ cooking directions) so I don’t know how many marinara sauce recipes this will yield. Thank you!

    • Hi Carla!

      That all sounds wonderful! You’re going to be up to your ears Ziti! (which isn’t a bad thing, at all!). I would make two batches of the marinara. One batch makes about 10 cups, but I like to be pretty liberal when adding the marinara to the ziti, so if you’re doing three batches of ziti, you’ll need two rounds of the marinara. Sounds so great! Let us know how it all works out!! And let us know if you have any other questions. Best, Kris & Wesley

  • Thank You!! I’ve been looking for a homemade marinara sauce. Every time I’ve found a recipe that uses marinara the instructions have said to buy it. Arghhh. I can’t wait to try this one. So glad I found you guys today!

    • Hi Cindi!

      Great question, and we’ve updated the post to reflect this. I love breaking the tomatoes up by hand as I add them to the pot. I’ve always heard this is the best way to break up your tomatoes (as opposed to cutting them with a knife or food processor), and after all the years, I have to agree. Also, the tomatoes really start to break down as they coo. Thanks again, and let us know how it turns out! Kris & Wesley

    • I have not made this but trust your recipes. I have about 25 tomatoes that I just harvested. I would like to make this sauce and freeze it. Any suggestion would be appreciated. I know they are not Marzano tomatoes I will take that chance. Since they are not available in my area in can. Will skin be an issue. I am not going to remove.

      • Hi there! No, you won’t have an issue with leaving the skins on. Rather than cooking them whole, I would give them a rough chop and then follow the recipe as written. It may take the sauce a little longer to simmer on the stove for the tomatoes to break down. We like to purée the sauce at the end, either with an immersion blender or in your food processor, for a nice smooth sauce. But, chunky is good, too!! Let us know how it turns out! Nothing better than homegrown tomatoes!! Best, Kris & Wesley

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