Marinara Sauce

Spice up your homemade marinara sauce with one of our delicious variations including creamy vodka and Puttanesca.

Marinara sauce in dish over rigatoni noodles
Photo: Adam Albright
Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
12 cups sauce


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 28 ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes, undrained and snipped*

  • 2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes

  • 2 teaspoon sugar (optional)

  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  1. In an 8-qt. Dutch oven heat oil over medium. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in remaining ingredients.

  2. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

  3. To serve, serve 1/2 cup sauce over every 1 to 2 cups hot cooked pasta.


Use a pair of kitchen shears to cut up the San Marzano tomatoes in the cans.

To serve over pasta

Use 1 1/2 to 2 oz. dried pasta per serving. Cook pasta according to package directions. Serve sauce over pasta.

To Store

Transfer sauce to an airtight container. Store in refrigerator up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Creamy Vodka

Prepare as directed, except stir in 1/4 cup vodka with the tomatoes in Step 1. Simmer as directed. Before serving or storing, stir in 3/4 cup heavy cream.

Per serving: 75 cal., 3 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 8 mg chol., 274 mg sodium, 9 g carb., 2 g fiber, 6 g sugars, 2 g pro. 14% Vitamin A, 16% Vitamin C, 5% calcium, 10% iron

Garden Vegetable

Prepare as directed, except increase olive oil to 2 Tbsp. Add 1 cup each chopped green bell pepper, quartered canned artichokes hearts, sliced fresh mushrooms, and chopped zucchini or eggplant with the onion in Step 1. Continue as directed.

Per serving: 54 cal., 1 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 295 mg sodium, 10 g carb., 2 g fiber, 6 g sugars, 2 g pro. 12% Vitamin A, 23% Vitamin C, 4% calcium, 10% iron

Marinara Sauce with Meatballs

Prepared as directed through Step 2. Meanwhile, for meatballs, preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl combine 2 eggs; 1/2 cup each fine dry bread crumbs and finely chopped onion; 1/4 cup each milk and chopped fresh parsley; 1 clove garlic, minced; 1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper; and 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper. Add 1 lb. each ground beef and bulk pork sausage; mix well. Shape mixture into 16 meatballs; place in a shallow baking pan. Bake 25 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through (160°F), turning occasionally. Use tongs to transfer meatballs to sauce.

Per 1 meatball: 168 cal., 12 g total fat (4 g sat. fat), 62 mg chol., 287 mg sodium, 4 g carb., 0 g fiber, 1 g sugars, 11 g pro. 3% Vitamin A, 2% Vitamin C, 2% calcium, 6% iron


Prepare as directed, except mash 3 or 4 anchovy fillets into onion mixture in Step 1; cook 30 seconds more. Stir 1/2 cup sliced pitted ripe olives and 2 Tbsp. drained capers into sauce. If desired, stir in 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley and 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper.

Per serving: 49 cal., 1 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 328 mg sodium, 9 g carb., 2 g fiber, 6 g sugars, 2 g pro. 12% Vitamin A, 16% Vitamin C, 5% calcium, 10% iron

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

44 Calories
1g Fat
9g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 24
Calories 44
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g 1%
Sodium 272mg 12%
Total Carbohydrate 9g 3%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 14.6mg 73%
Calcium 55mg 4%
Iron 1.7mg 9%
Potassium 207mg 4%
Folate, total 9.9mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.1mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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