homemade marinara

I know jars of marinara are incredibly easy to always have on hand, but for some reason, I never do. Tomatoes, on the other hand, are always in my pantry, in just about every shape and form. Plus, there’s just something delicious about homemade marinara that you can’t capture in a jar. If I’m going to make a dish that takes a lot of work, like lasagna or eggplant parm, I want the sauce to be outstanding.

But who wants to make homemade tomato sauce and then slave over a lasagna? Lasagna’s enough work already!

So when I have a little extra time, I pull out all the tomato products I can find and make huge batches of marinara. Sometimes it chock full of veggies; sometimes it’s vodka sauce; sometimes it’s packed with basil.

But my all time favorite is fire-roasted tomato sauce.

homemade tomato sauce

The best part of making your own homemade marinara is that there really are no rules- start with any kind of tomatoes and just keep going from there. Just be sure to taste it before you pull it off the stove, so you can fix it if you need to.

fresh tomato sauce recipe

There’s nothing quite like fresh tomato sauce.

homemade marinara sauce

When I’m done with all the cooking, I let the sauce cool and pour it into giant freezer bags to save for later. The trick is letting the bags freeze flat to make for the most room in your freezer. I usually stick the bags on a cookie sheet and put that in the freezer since my freezer is often too packed to find a space big enough to lay the bags flat.

Here’s my basic starter recipe for fire roasted tomato sauce. Like I said, don’t be scared to toss in whatever you have- I promise you won’t mess it up.

Homemade Marinara: Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce

Homemade Marinara: Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 14oz cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 28 oz strained or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 T Italian seasoning
  • 1 T basil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper


  1. Saute onion and garlic in large pot over medium heat.
  2. When onions start to brown, add in remaining ingredients.
  3. Bring sauce to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.
  4. Let sauce simmer as long as you can, hopefully about an hour.
  5. Taste sauce- if it's too tart you can add a tiny bit of sugar.
  6. Serve hot or make a double {or quadruple} batch and store in freezer bags.