Instead of buying your usual glass jar from the local supermarket, whip up a fresh batch of homemade Marinara Sauce instead! This red sauce is vibrant not only in color, but in its incredibly robust, bold, and mouthwatering flavor. Perfect for tossing with spaghetti or dunking a garlic stick into, this sauce always has a place at my dinner table!

A serving of spaghetti is topped with marinara sauce and fresh herbs.

Marinara Sauce

There are a few little secrets I toss into my marinara sauce that make it the mouthwatering masterpiece that it is. For starters, I’ve of course got the three ingredients that no Italian recipe would be complete without – olive oil, garlic, and onions. I’ve got more classic additions like dried oregano and salt and pepper, of course, to bring out the best in my tomatoes as well.

With that being said, my two secret ingredients for making the BEST marinara sauce are… drum roll please… red wine and fish sauce. I know what you may be thinking – what is fish sauce doing in an Italian recipe? While it’s typically reserved for my more Asian-inspired dishes, fish sauce adds a level of depth to the marinara by giving it a subtle sweetness and a note of umami flavor. It gives it a certain WOW factor that just can’t be beat or duplicated!

The red wine contributes to that depth in flavor that really checks all the right boxes. If you’ve got the perfect Cabernet or Pinot Grigio that’s not too sweet or too bitter, a hearty splash of it in your marinara sauce is pretty life changing. Also, using red wine in your marinara sauce just means that your spaghetti will pair even more perfectly with a tall glass of vino rosso!

A large pot filled with red marinara sauce is being mixed with a wooden spoon.

How to Make It

Heat the oil. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot over med-high heat. 

Sauté the onions and garlic. Add the onions to the oil and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. 

Add the herbs and vino. Stir in the oregano and then add the wine. 

Stir in more ingredients. Cook until reduced by half. Add the sugar, fish sauce, tomato puree and crushed tomatoes. 

Season. Stir the mixture until well combined and then add the salt and pepper. 

Simmer. Turn the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

A white plate is topped with a serving of spaghetti and marinara sauce.

Ingredients Notes

  • Use fresh garlic! While it’s easy to scoop pre-minced garlic out of a jar or squeeze garlic paste from a tube, nothing is ever quite as flavorful as real, fresh garlic. It’s so very worth the peeling and mincing!
  • To add spice to your marinara sauce, toss some crushed red pepper flakes into the pan with the olive oil, garlic, and onions. The heat from the pepper flakes will seep into the oil and permeate throughout the sauce. Just be careful, as a little goes a long way.
  • If you really don’t want to use fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce also gets the job done.
  • Plain crushed tomatoes are perfectly fine, but fire roasted are even better. They lend a deliciously roasted flavor to the sauce.

Storing Homemade Marinara Sauce

In an airtight container in the fridge, your homemade marinara sauce will stay fresh for up to 5 days. This is an excellent make ahead recipe when you know you’ll be making a dish that calls for some good red sauce!

Also, when you do scoop out your sauce from that airtight container, make sure your spoon is nice and clean. Any new bacteria that’s introduced to the sauce will cause it to spoil at a fast rate.

A fork is placed on a plate next to a serving of spaghetti.

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A large pot filled with red marinara sauce is being mixed with a wooden spoon.

Get the Recipe: Marinara Sauce

Simple and perfect Homemade Marinara Sauce is easy to make in just minutes. The best pasta sauce recipe ever.
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large vidalia onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1 28 ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 28 ounce can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

Equipment

  • saucepan

Instructions 

  • Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven or stock pot over med-high heat. Add the onions to the oil and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
  • Stir in the oregano and then add the wine. Cook until reduced by half and then add the sugar, fish sauce, tomato puree and crushed tomatoes.
  • Stir the mixture until well combined and then add the salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Notes

Marinara sauce can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat in a saucepan over low heat until warmed through.
To freeze marinara sauce, transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
Serving: 0g, Calories: 95kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 3g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 492mg, Potassium: 576mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 505IU, Vitamin C: 15mg, Calcium: 52mg, Iron: 2mg