Marinara sauce

Marinara Sauce
Marinara sauce is often associated with Italian cuisine, although it is not a traditional Italian sauce. It is believed to have originated in Naples, Italy, and is a staple of Neapolitan cuisine and the Italian-American diet.
In Italy, people love the taste of marinara so much that this term is used not only for sauce but also for pizza.
Marinara sauce is one of the most popular sauces for two big reasons; it's a simple sauce to make and it can be served with anything from pasta, lasagna, meatballs, and parmigiana, to pizza.
Marinara sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for several months. It can be reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 cups


  • 2 cans whole tomatoes (400g each)
  • 1 chilli (dried) (or a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 5 cloves garlic (finely minced)
  • 1 onion (finely diced)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)


  • Using a saucepan, mix the tomatoes, chilli, oregano, garlic cloves, onion and olive oil, and gently break the tomatoes apart with the spoon.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Once it's simmered a few minutes, reduce the heat to a slow, steady simmer for 30-35 minutes – stirring occasionally.
  • Season with salt to taste as it simmers.
  • Serve warm as a dip or a sauce. The sauce can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 days.


Is marinara sauce keto?

Yes, as this recipe uses no added sugar, it is low carb enough to be classed as keto.

Is marinara sauce vegetarian?

Yes, this recipe contains no animal products, but sometimes in a restaurant the sauce is used in a meat dish, or contains some stock.

Is marinara sauce healthy?

Most tomato-based sauces are low in saturated fat, cholesterol-free and packed with lycopene, an antioxidant that’s been linked to protection from prostate cancer.

Is marinara sauce the same as passata?

No, a marinara sauce is a little thicker, as a passata contained pureed tomatoes, rather than the whole tomatoes in this recipe – the marinara sauce will have a more chunky, rustic texture.

Is marinara sauce spicy?

Slightly spicy as some chilli flakes are added, but you could omit these if sensitive, or use more if you want more heat.

The earliest reference to tomato sauce is from a 1692 Italian cookbook. It is thought that marinara is named after Italian sailors, or marinai after they helped bring tomatoes back from the Americas.