Skip to Content

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

Making homemade Marinara sauce from garden fresh tomatoes, home dried tomatoes and home grown herbs produces a healthy, thick, organic sauce of amazing Italian flavor. It makes an excellent base or accent for many many recipes! and it freezes well for up to a year.

If you’re a gardener, this Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce is a great way to use up your garden harvest, or even your frozen produce.

Easy Marinara Saucehomemade Marinara Sauce With Balsamic Vinegar And Sun Dried Tomatoes Is Full Of Delicious Flavor And Easy To Freeze And Can. #Tomato #Tomatosauce #Sauce #Homemadesauces #Marinara #Marinarasauce #Foodpreservation #Gardenharvest #Recipe #Garden #Peppers #Herbs

What is the difference between Spaghetti sauce and Marinara sauce?

Spaghetti sauces are usually made with extra add in ingredients like meat, cheeses, onions etc. They are hearty and dense with a more robust flavor that most Marinara sauces. A traditional Marinara sauce is made with fewer ingredients and is much thinner in consistency as they are used for a dipping sauce more often.

You can deepen the flavor of a Marinara sauce without compromising the traditional consistency and texture by adding in certain additional ingredients that will be blended into a very fine puree. Spaghetti sauces are usually chunky in texture with certain ingredients left whole or partial.

How so you thicken Marinara Sauce?

Marinara sauce can be thickened a number of ways. One of the best ways to thicken a Marinara sauce is by simply cooking it longer. The longer it cooks the more water reduces out of the sauce. Certain ingredients can also be added into the sauce to thicken it. A few popular add ins are cornstarch, a flour roux, and adding in a small amount of pasta water to the sauce.

Whatever method you choose, make sure you simmer the sauce longer. Stir the sauce constantly while it is simmering and thickening to prevent it from burning and sticking to the pot. Once the sauce is thickened it can be removed from heat.

How do you make Marinara Sauce more flavorful?

Herbs can be added into marinara sauce to make it even more flavorful. Other options are adding in fresh garlic, red pepper flakes, red wine, cream, butter, or some grated parmesan cheese. Continue tasting the marinara sauce while adding in the flavor additions. Simmer an extra 5-10 minutes until the flavor has been enhanced.

Why is my Marinara Sauce bitter?

Bitter tomato sauce, marinara sauce, or spaghetti sauce all stem from the same common problem, tomato acidity as tomatoes are very acidic. They can quickly overpower a sauce in taste and bitterness. This is why most store bought tomato sauces contain added sugar. Sugar is the best way to quickly cancel out the acidic taste of the tomatoes. Add a teaspoon full of sugar at a time to the sauce. Let it simmer, and continue tasting until the bitterness is removed.

Homegrown Organic Tomatoes
Homegrown Organic Arbason tomatoes

Can you overcook Marinara Sauce?

Marinara sauce can be overcooked which will result in a very acidic tone to the sauce. Also, when tomatoes are simmered for too long, the sugars in them can begin to break down. This will cause the sauce to have a bitter and burnt taste. To avoid over simmering marinara sauce, closely follow the recommended cook times and temperature.

Can you add milk to Marinara Sauce?

Milk or heavy cream can be added to marinara sauce and is often done to achieve a thicker and creamier sauce. Milk or cream should only be added a tablespoon at a time. Stir in the milk when adding it to the sauce.

For a Vegan Marinara sauce, you can add coconut milk to the marinara sauce. Let the sauce cook down until it is a thin sauce consistency. Open a can of coconut milk and pour it into the sauce. Stir constantly until the coconut milk is fully combined into the sauce.

Tips for how to make the best Marinara Sauce

Use a good variety of garden paste type tomatoes, roasting peppers and fresh herbs in this sauce.

This tomato sauce has a slight bit of heat from the peppers, and a rich, deep tomato flavor. The roasting peppers, sun dried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar give this sauce incredible flavor boost!

Homemade Sun Dried Tomatoes and balsamic vinegar are the secret ingredients in this recipe. The body and flavor they add is what makes this a flavorful, rich, thick sauce.

Red Flame Peppers
Our flame Red Flame Peppers are about a four on the hotness scale

If you’re not making your own homemade sun dried tomatoes Costco has sun dried tomatoes at a reasonable price. Dried tomatoes are sweet and full of deep herb flavor. They also add a beautiful amount of texture that enriches sauces.

Homemade Sun Dried Tomatoes
Homemade Sun Dried Tomatoes add flavor and thickness to this sauce.

Get the best organic, vine ripened tomatoes you can find, or preferably, grow your own.

Try you local farmers market or local organic CSA farm if you do not garden. The quality and flavor of your sauce will reflect your ingredients every time.

We grew these Arbasons so that is the variety we are using for this sauce. If you have Romas or other paste type tomatoes they will make a thicker fuller sauce with less cooking to reduce the sauce down.

Balsamic vinegar is a healthy flavor booster you will want to use. That extra bit of rich piquant blends beautifully into the sauce.

Easy Marinara Sauce
We loved this homemade marinara sauce over our pasta.

Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

This recipe is a good candidate for pressure canning. We are referring you to the National Center for Home Food Preservation Tomato Sauce Canning Instructions. It has all you need to know about canning tomato sauce.

Homemade Marinara Sauce
Add Beef and spicy sausage to flavor and enhance the flavor of this delicious, long simmered sauce.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled as needed to use up your produce and can or freeze as much as you want. Just keep the proportions equal to the small batch recipe we’re giving you here.

How to make a simple Marinara Sauce

  • Put all of the ingredients into your pot, simmer on low until it makes a very soft mushy mess and reduces the liquid down to concentrate the flavors and build the sauce. This will take some time.
  • A long low simmer over several hours will truly concentrate the flavors and build the sauce. If you don’t have that much time you can rush it for a weeknight meal. Just add canned tomato paste to thicken it quick.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  • When the sauce is finished; run it through a food mill. or use an immersion blender to blend the sauce to a smooth, creamy texture.
  • Be careful with the peppers as they can add quite a bit of heat. Remove the seeds if you don’t want a spicy Marinara sauce

The Food Mill will separate out the tomato skins and fresh herb pieces and sticks to produce a beautiful, thick, smooth sauce.

NOTE: We use the sun dried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar to wake up the flavors in this sauce without sugar and salt, so we don’t call for these in the recipe. If the sauce tastes a bit flat to you try adding  a small amount of sugar and salt 1 tsp at a time. Then adjust to your taste preference.

To Freeze Homemade Marinara Sauce

Once the sauce has fully cooled ladle into ziplock freezer bags and be sure to remove all excess air. Label the bags with the recipe name and date, storing them on a flat surface in your freezer.

This sauce will keep frozen for up to 1 year without compromising the flavor or consistency of the sauce. When you are ready to use, remove from your freezer and allow to thaw on your counter or in the fridge until fully thawed. Warm on the stovetop and use for your desired recipe.

Your Printable Recipe Card:

Easy Marinara Sauce
Yield: 4 Cups

Homemade Marinara Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

An easy harvest recipe. Make this marinara sauce and use it immediately. This sauce is suitable for freezing and canning.


  • 8 large ripe tomatoes
  • 2 peppers
  • 1 Cup dried Italian style tomatoes (or sun-dried tomatoes, drain the oil first)
  • 1 tsp. salt, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Herbs may be fresh or dried
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon Basil


  1. Place all the ingredients into a 4 quart pan on set on low heat. 
  2. Cook until the tomatoes break down into mush and the other ingredients are dissolved into the mess. (about 1 hour)
  3. Run the whole contents of the pot through a food mill to remove the skins and make a thick sauce texture.
  4. You can also use an immersion blender of food processor to blend the sauce
  5. serve immediately or store in the fridge up to a week. This recipe freezes well in vacuum pack or ziplock freezer bags.


This recipe does not contain canning instructions since the safety recommendations continue to change and I no longer can. Can this recipe according to The National Center For Home Preservation canning instructions.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 102Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 0mgSodium 605mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 6gSugar 13gProtein 4g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Follow Us:

We enjoy meeting you on our social networks. Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram . Tag us with your pictures of our recipes and comment on how it went for you. We would love to see what you do with them.

We often like, comment and share your posts of our recipes on our daily Instagram stories.

Ask questions and rate the recipe in the comments section below. Please share what you did with this recipe. We are always looking for more and better ways to make homemade food. Other cooks love your ideas!

Recent Posts:

The Best Homemade Marinara Sauce-Pin Image
Healthy, easy to make and packed with delicious flavor. Our marinara sauce comes together quickly and freezes well.


Tuesday 11th of September 2018

Love the addition of dried tomatoes - I bet that really enhances the tomato flavor!


Tuesday 11th of September 2018

It does enhance the flavor and gives the sauce a natural full bodied tomato flavor and a thicker texture. Love those sun dried tomatoes in there!


Tuesday 11th of September 2018

I can't wait to try this recipe we have tomatoes coming in from the garden along with home dried tomatoes too. This looks so good. Yum!


Tuesday 11th of September 2018

Thank you Shelly. I hope you enjoy this recipe like we do. It's a keeper for sure!

My Favorite Homemade Salsa for Canning - Made Easy! - Simplify, Live, Love

Tuesday 11th of September 2018

[…] Marina Sauce for Freezing or Canning from Homemade Food Junkie […]


Tuesday 11th of September 2018

My husband is half Italian and every year I tell him we need to make homemade Marinara. Your recipe looks delicious. Maybe I'll have to do this without him. Thanks for all the great information.


Tuesday 11th of September 2018

Your Welcome Patti, Enjoy!

Homemade Applesauce - No Added Sugar and So Easy to Make

Tuesday 11th of September 2018

[…] Homemade Marinara Sauce @ Homemade Food Junkie […]

Skip to Recipe