Two Peas and Their Pod

Easy Marinara Sauce


Last week we were making baked pasta for dinner and Josh asked if he could get started on the sauce. I told him he could get out the ingredients, but I would make the sauce. I am the sauce maker in our house. I trust Josh with a lot of things, but not with my marinara sauce:)

Josh went to look the recipe up on Two Peas and Their Pod and couldn’t find it. I guess I’ve never posted my Easy Marinara recipe. Oops! I am so sorry I have been keeping my favorite marinara sauce a secret. I didn’t mean too!

Well, today the secret that wasn’t supposed to be a secret is out, I am sharing my recipe for Easy Marinara Sauce.


I make this recipe all of the time. It is a staple in our kitchen. It goes well with pasta, lasagna, polenta, chicken or eggplant parmesan, and anything else you can think of. It’s my favorite marinara sauce. And good news-it is easy to make!


Get out your aprons and let’s get to work. It’s going to get saucy in here!

The sauce is made up of basic ingredients-olive oil, onion, garlic, carrot, celery, tomatoes,crushed red pepper, and basil. A few of my special touches include a pinch of fennel seed. I learned this trick from my dad. Make sure you just add a pinch because a little fennel goes a long way. I also add in a bay leaf for flavor and a little sugar to cut the acidity in the tomatoes. Oh, and you have to use fresh basil. Fresh is always best.

I let the sauce simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes and that’s it! This sauce freezes well and I am sure it can be canned, but I am not a canner. It’s on my to do list, maybe this year will be the year!

So there you have it, my Easy Marinara Sauce recipe is no longer a secret. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Oh, and come back on Friday for the baked pasta recipe. You don’t want to miss this recipe! And don’t forget to enter our $200 Albion Fit Giveaway! 


Easy Marinara Sauce

Yield: About 4 cups sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

This is my favorite marinara sauce. We make it all of the time! It goes great with pasta, lasagna, polenta, and any other Italian dish you can think of!


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
Pinch of fennel seed
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 bay leaf
2-28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/3 cup freshly chopped basil


1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the carrots and celery. Saute until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add in the fennel seed, crushed red pepper, and bay leaf.

2. Stir in the tomatoes. Add the sugar, salt and pepper, and basil. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste the sauce and season with more salt and pepper, if necessary.

Note-I like to make big batches of this sauce and freeze it. You can also can this sauce. Serve with pasta, lasagna, polenta, chicken or eggplant parmesan, etc.

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93 Responses to “Easy Marinara Sauce”

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  1. Emily @ Life on Food — April 3, 2013 @ 5:55 am

    I love Marinara Sauce. The easier the better. I would have to freeze the extra right away though. The more available the more I add to my pasta.

  2. Erica — April 3, 2013 @ 7:48 am

    Forget the pasta! I want this sauce over veggies! Looks amazing! Book marked

  3. Martha — April 3, 2013 @ 8:33 am

    I do not like to use canned tomatoes. Do you think using fresh would have the same results? Would you change anything if using fresh tomatoes?

  4. Jersey Girl Cooks — April 3, 2013 @ 8:53 am

    I love the fennel seed addition. I definitely will be trying this one.

  5. Tieghan — April 3, 2013 @ 8:57 am

    I love that this uses canned tomatoes! So easy!

  6. Marian (Sweetopia) — April 3, 2013 @ 9:07 am

    Glad your secret is out! 😉 Can’t wait to make it!

  7. Julie @ Table for Two — April 3, 2013 @ 9:24 am

    You just can’t beat homemade marinara! I love your version of it and I’m so glad the secret is out :)

  8. Aimee @ Simple Bites — April 3, 2013 @ 9:32 am

    I can’t wait to share this with my readers. You’ve made a common classic look so beautiful! Fabulous recipe.

  9. Sommer@ASpicyPerspective — April 3, 2013 @ 9:37 am

    Simple Perfection!

  10. Britney Mills — April 3, 2013 @ 9:39 am

    Thanks for this! I’m always looking for a good marinara recipe so I don’t have to buy the gross bottled kind from the store. Looks delicious!

  11. Beverly — April 3, 2013 @ 9:41 am

    Thanks for sharing this…we are having it tonight!

  12. Jenna — April 3, 2013 @ 9:44 am

    Yum! This looks full of flavor!

  13. Heather Christo — April 3, 2013 @ 9:53 am

    simple, fresh and beautiful, and something my family uses every week. Great recipe!

  14. Jenny Flake — April 3, 2013 @ 10:06 am

    Love this! A must know how!

  15. Bev @ Bev Cooks — April 3, 2013 @ 10:12 am

    Just give me a funnel.

  16. Gaby — April 3, 2013 @ 10:31 am

    we make homemade marinara too! It’s the best to freeze and take out when you’re in a pinch for dinner

  17. marla — April 3, 2013 @ 11:09 am

    This marinara sauce can be used on everything!!!

  18. Oh yeah, I love homemade marinara sauce!

  19. This sauce looks so healthy and delicious! I will have to make lots of it and freeze it for future recipes! Looking forward to your baked pasta recipe! I just LOVE baked pasta! I am pinning this to my MomHomeGuide Pinterest recipe board!

  20. Looks SO delicious, Maria! I bet it would be as tasty on pasta as it would be mixed into mussels. Great recipe, gotta try it!

  21. marcie@flavorthemoments — April 3, 2013 @ 12:13 pm

    This sauce looks fresh and delicious. There are a million great ways to use it too!

  22. Kevin @ Closet Cooking — April 3, 2013 @ 12:18 pm

    Homemade marinara is a staple in my kitchen and it is so easy to make ! I like the use of the fennel seeds in this one!

  23. Always good to have an easy marinara sauce recipe on hand! Thank you!

  24. Kiran @ — April 3, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

    Absolutely love a good and delish homemade marinara sauce!

  25. I have been making a lot of recipes with marinara sauce lately, and none of mine are as good as this looks! I cant wait to try this one 😀

  26. This looks so fresh and flavorful – love it!

  27. Abby — April 3, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

    This looks delicious – I can’t wait to give it a try!

  28. Jamie — April 3, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

    I love homemade marinara! So much better than the store versions and so easy to make!

  29. Karly — April 3, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

    Love this! It looks so fresh and tasty!

  30. Joanne — April 3, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

    I don’t let anyone mess with my tomato sauce either so I totally understand! our sauces are actually SUPER similar!

  31. This looks so delicious and your pictures are beautiful!

  32. gina @ skinnytaste — April 3, 2013 @ 3:47 pm

    Looks beautiful, I always have a jar of homemade marinara sauce on hand!

  33. Lana @ Never Enough Thyme — April 3, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

    All cooks should have a great, basic marinara sauce recipe. And this one is really fantastic! It’s very similar to the one I use. Love that little pinch of fennel seed in there!

  34. Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts — April 3, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

    This sounds like a great way to use my put up crushed tomatoes. I’m glad to know it freezes well–thanks!

  35. Cassie | Bake Your Day — April 3, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

    I love simple sauces. This looks great, Maria!

  36. Diana @ Eating Made Easy — April 3, 2013 @ 6:30 pm

    Perfect timing! I’m making homemade mozzarella sticks and I needed a good marinara dipping sauce. Thank you!

  37. Fresh and bright and delicious – looks fabulous, Maria!

  38. Erin {Lemon Sugar} — April 3, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

    Gorgeous pictures!!

  39. Everyone needs a quick sauce recipe! This looks great. I like that there isn’t a too much sugar, I’m not a fan of sweet marinara sauce!

  40. Megan {Country Cleaver} — April 3, 2013 @ 11:44 pm

    This looks so fragrant and gorgeous. Thanks for posting it. I don’t know how many more nights I can stand the jarred crud from the store.

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