Homemade Spaghetti Sauce will always make your Lasagna, spaghetti, Italian meatballs, and pizza taste so much better. Spaghetti sauce, also known as marinara sauce, is a perfect tomato sauce for many classic Italian dinners. It is an easy 1-pot sauce made with crushed tomatoes, onion, carrots, garlic, and herbs.
Homemade sauce is the best pairing for meatballs, lasagna, stuffed shells, or to just for dipping some bread sticks.
Nothing makes Chicken Parmesan, Lasagna, or Italian Meatballs better than using homemade spaghetti sauce.
Spaghetti sauce goes by many names here, in the states. I’ve heard it referred to as tomato sauce, pasta sauce, and of course Marinara sauce. No matter what name you call it, Marinara sauce is a classic sauce that everyone knows and loves.
This basic sauce is very easy to make and easy to modify. Depending on the recipe that you plan to use it in, you can add different flavors to it.
Try adding some extra cheeses, like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Asiago, Pecorino, and/or Fontina.
To make an easy Bolognese sauce, cook ground beef until browned, add this spaghetti sauce to cooked ground beef, and simmer for a few minutes.
Bring an amazing garlic flavor to your sauce by roasting a clove of garlic first and then adding it to the spaghetti sauce.
And of course, for everyone who likes some heat in their food, you can make this sauce spicy. Add crushed red pepper flakes and/or some dried chili pepper. Adjust the amount to your own spice tolerance.
This Marinara sauce is a little faster and easier to make since it uses canned tomatoes. If you choose to make marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes, please refer to this recipe.
Taste is slightly different when using canned tomatoes or fresh tomatoes. Marinara sauce with fresh tomatoes is lighter in taste and texture, and a bit more acidic. When using canned tomatoes, the taste is denser, thicker, and many would find it more familiar and comforting.
HOW TO MAKE SPAGHETTI SAUCE:
Homemade spaghetti sauce is extremely easy. The hardest part will be for you to wait while it cooks.
Begin by chopping onions and carrots, peeling garlic, and mince basil. Don’t worry about the exact size of the cut since the sauce will be blended.
Preheat a 3-quart pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Add onions and carrots and saute for a few minutes until onion begin to soften.
Smash garlic and add it to the pot. Saute until fragrant and add the entire can of tomatoes. Add bay leaves, oregano, sugar, half the basil, and salt. Stir well, cover with a lid but leave a crack for steam to escape.
Cook for about 20 minutes and add remaining basil leaves. Stir and cook for another 20 minutes or so.
Before blending the sauce, make sure to remove the bay leaves.
Blend sauce in the blender until smooth. Make sure to open the little tab so the steam can escape while blending.
Can I Make It Ahead Of Time?
Absolutely! If you’re planning of making lasagna, manicotti, or any other dishes that take a little while to make, you can easily make the sauce ahead of time. Prepare the sauce as directed, cool it down, and store in a glass jar with an air-tight lid, in the refrigerator.
HOW TO STORE SPAGHETTI SAUCE:
If not using the sauce right away, it’s best to get it cool quickly and get it in the refrigerator. Read cooling tips below, in the freezing section.
Store sauce in a glass jar (or two jars) with a lid for 4-7 days. Keep it in the refrigerator.
Food spoils faster when bacteria is introduced. To lower chances of bacteria getting in, do not put spoons or anything else in when getting sauce out, but pour some out instead. Keep the lid on and open the jar as little as possible.
It’s better to divide the sauce among two jars so that the same jar is not opened several times for different recipes.
This recipe makes about 4.5-5 cups. It will be enough for 9×13 lasagna with a little leftover.
If you want to use part of the sauce right away but not all of it, you can always freeze it.
CAN SPAGHETTI SAUCE BE FROZEN?
Yes, absolutely! I often make an extra batch and freeze it portioned into separate bags.
Cook the sauce according to the recipe. Before freezing, it’s best to cool the sauce as quickly as possible. The faster it cools and freezes, the less chance for developing bacteria and subsequently, longer shelf life.
The best way to cool the sauce is to place them into a larger container filled with ice. To help it cool faster and evenly, make sure to stir it from time to time as it cools.
Once it’s cooled, you can divide sauce among two or more zip-lock freezer bags. Get all the air out and close completely. Label the bag with date and name.
Place the bags flat on a cutting board and place it in the freezer. Cutting board will help keep bags flat and straight as the sauce freezes.
Once sauce it frozen, you can remove the cutting board and stack the bags.
You can find more freezing tips HERE.
MORE RECIPES TO TRY:
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- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large Vidalia onion
- 10 oz carrots (2 medium carrots)
- 1 oz garlic cloves (5-6 large garlic cloves)
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp white granulated sugar a little more if needed to taste
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt to taste
- Chop onions and carrots, peel garlic, and mince basil. (Don’t worry about the exact size of the cut since the sauce will be blended.)
- Preheat a 3-quart Dutch oven over medium heat and add olive oil.
- Add onions and carrots to the pot. Saute for a few minutes until onion begins to soften.
- Smash garlic and add it to the pot. Saute until fragrant and add tomatoes.
- Add bay leaves, oregano, sugar, and salt. Stir well, cover with a lid but leave a crack for steam to escape.
- Cook for about 20 minutes and add minced basil leaves. Stir and cook for another 20 minutes or so.
- Before blending the sauce, make sure to remove the bay leaves.
- Blend sauce in the blender until smooth. Make sure to open the little tab so the steam can escape while blending. (Be careful, you are dealing with scalding-hot sauce.)
- If not using right away, keep in the refrigerator, in a glass jar with a lid for 4-7 days.
- (Check the post for storing and freezing instructions.)
Originally Published on Will Cook For Smiles on October 26, 2018. Updated May 19, 2020.
This is the best sauce! I use it with sweet italian sausage for spaghetti, and my grandkids love it as the sauce on their pizza.
Jeanette Smith says
This sauce tasted great but looked more like a rosee sauce for me. Not sure why it wasn’t a darker red color. Delicious just the same!
Traci Kenworth says
Minus the onions, my family will LOVE this!
Awesome! I am so glad everyone liked it! 🙂
I’ve enjoyed making this recipe, I’ve made the substitution of carrots for zucchini as I cant eat carrots. Doubled the recipe & cant wait to enjoy, also didnt have bay leaves. Thanks for sharing your recipes and tastes with us
Thanks, Shirleen! So glad your like it!
This didn’t turn out for me
Can you tell me what was wrong that didn’t come out as you expected? I will try to help you figure it out 🙂
Larry Gaines says
Lyuba you look totally beautiful and you make me Smile. Love your recipes
Larry Gaines says
This sauce sounds real great. I am going to try making in the Instant Pot also. Can this sauce be frozen?
Yes, this recipe can absolutely be frozen. There are instructions for freezing it right in the post. I hope you like it and everything you will make with it!