Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

This homemade marinara sauce is filled with plenty of garlic and parmesan for great flavor in every bite!

I take my spaghetti very seriously. Maybe it’s my Italian relatives who taught me to respect my pasta, or maybe it’s a serious childhood obsession with a meal that offered up a chance to get completely messy without consequence or scolding. But either way, spaghetti is a very serious affair around here.

Homemade Marinara Sauce is ladled over spaghetti in a white bowl, ready to eat.

I’ve been on the hunt for absolute perfection in a spaghetti or marinara sauce recipe for several years now. A good, clean, homemade spaghetti sauce or marinara that clings to the pasta just enough, but not too much, has an explosion of flavor with every bite and just makes you want to wrap yourself up in a big red, saucy noodle and snuggle. Okay… maybe that was a bit much. But you get my point… right?

Somebody suggested that I roast my tomatoes and garlic before making my sauce and I just about kicked myself for not thinking of it to begin with. So in the oven they went until the tomatoes were wilted and the garlic cloves were popping out of their thin-skinned wrapper, and from there they went in to the processor with the other ingredients.

Now, you know I would not be sharing this recipe with you if it wasn’t good. In fact, my family raved about it. My husband went so far as to say that it was something you’d get in a top-quality restaurant. I don’t know about all that, but it was good. I’ll say that much.

Sadly, it’s still not what I’m going for in a sauce. So the quest continues. But in the mean time, I think you’ll enjoy this one. It’s very kiddo friendly too. Mini Chef scarfed it down without a word (which is his highest praise).

I hope you enjoy it too.

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Homemade Marinara Sauce

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Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 43kcal


  • Blender


  • 1 medium head of garlic
  • 2 lb. fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth (no sugar added, low sodium is best - Can sub veggie broth for vegetarian)
  • 1 tsp. dry basil
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh is best)
  • salt to taste


  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Cut the top off your garlic head so that the cloves are all exposed, and spray with a light coat of olive oil to prevent burning.
  • Clean your tomatoes as usual and cut in half.
  • Spray a cookie sheet with a light coat of olive oil and place the garlic and tomatoes on the tray.
  • Bake for about 30-45 minutes or until the garlic heads start to pop out of the head.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • Transfer to a food processor, add all other ingredients and blend until smooth.


Please note that the nutrition data given here is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 43kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 162mg | Potassium: 317mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 980IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 64mg | Iron: 1mg

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  1. Sounds yummy! I just printed it out and will be trying it out with my new pasta machine tonight. Here’s my tweak on your recipe: grape tomatoes rather than whole. At this time of year the whole tomatoes in the grocery store taste like cardboard hence the substitution. And, since I’m in love with fresh basil and keep a pot growing on the windowsill, I’ll use that instead. Mangia!

    1. Anonymous says:

      Betz – Fabulous! Let me know how you like it!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Stephanie – Me too!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hilliary – It is! I agree!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Jasher – Yes. When the garlic is done roasting, allow it to cool and then squeeze the garlic out of the skins like toothpaste.

  5. Anonymous says:

    SS – It would definitely be yummy over spaghetti squash!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Andrea – No, your tomatoes were probably juicier than mine. I’ll adjust the recipe accordingly. So sorry! You can always roast more tomatoes and garlic to add to it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Carrie – I found that spraying a pan is best with this recipe. But you could certainly try it with parchment!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I hope you enjoy it!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Marcella – yes, that might work. You could also use a little cornstarch or tapioca starch to help thicken it.

  10. Sbroverman says:

    I made this sauce tonight with meatballs, but left out the chicken stock. It was delicious!!!

  11. graciouspantry says:

    Vitabread – Wonderful! I hope you enjoy it!

  12. I made this tonight with rice angel hair and it was fabulous! It was a tad runny but I think I added to much veggie broth in my vitamix! I will adjust next time. I will definitely make this again and again! Thank you:-)

    1. graciouspantry says:

      Awesome! Glad you enjoyed it!

  13. I will most definitely use this recipe to do clean eating chicken parmesan.  I can’t wait!  When I started eating healthy I really hated that I would have to give up one of my absolute favorite dishes.  I am so excited that I can enjoy it again!

  14. How long can this sauce be stored?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      About a week, give or take, unless you freeze it.

  15. As much as I love dairy, dairy doesn’t love me and my complexion. If I were to add a little nutritional yeast to this, is it still clean?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Halley – You know, I haven’t really looked into nutritional yeast. I should though, because I eat it.

  16. I think that n.y. would be okay. Plus, it’s loaded with B vitamins.

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Halley – I’m not sure how the flavor would turn out, so maybe take a small portion and test it first.