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Quick Marinara Sauce in bowl

Quick Marinara Sauce

Audrey Sommer
This quick marinara sauce is perfect when you want to make a quick Italian-inspired pasta dinner. It takes no longer than 15-20 minutes, and it tastes better than the jar! Made with canned tomato products, lots of garlic, honey, anchovy paste, and more, it won't disappoint you or your guests.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8


  • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. can diced or whole stewed plum tomatoes
  • ½ cup olive oil as needed
  • 6 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or more if needed
  • 1 tsp. anchovy paste
  • 1 tbs. onion powder optional
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbs. honey or sugar
  • ½ tbs. oregano
  • ½ tbs. fresh or dry basil optional
  • salt and pepper


  • Using a sauté pan, heat to medium-low heat. Add ¼ cup olive oil, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, oregano and basil into the pan. Then sauté for about a minute (you want red pepper flakes to sizzle—JUST A LITTLE BIT). You don’t want to burn the spices.
  • Then put in the garlic and sauté for a little while. Be sure not to burn the garlic. Very easy to do and will ruin your dish. After the garlic sizzles for about a minute, turn down the heat and let the aromatics infuse with the oil for 5-10 minutes.
  • Next add the honey, tomato paste, and the anchovy paste. Sauté for another minute and next add a little bit of the chicken broth. You can add the chicken broth earlier if you are afraid of burning the garlic if the pan gets too hot.
  • Continue stirring, then add stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce and the rest of the chicken broth. If you are using whole tomatoes (and not diced), then take a potato masher and mash the tomatoes gently in the pan.
  • The sauce mixture is still on medium heat. Let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes. Feel free to turn up the heat anytime during the cooking process if you feel the pan is not hot enough.
  • Make sure to taste test the sauce, so you are comfortable with how sweet, salty, and/or sour levels of the dish. For example, you can always add a little more honey if you feel the sauce is too sour from the tomatoes.
  • After the sauce simmers, turn off the heat, and then drizzle the top with olive oil and stir to combine.
  • Then toss with some freshly cooked pasta, and enjoy.


  • A helpful tip: If you get whole stewed tomatoes, it’s helpful to cut them with cooking scissors after putting them in the pan and mashing them with the potato masher. These days tomatoes can be on the tougher side, so you want to be able to have a “tender sauce”.
  • If you want the flavors to be more developed, infuse the oil with the spices at the beginning of the cooking process. Instead of drizzling 1/4 cup of oil into the sauce at the end, add 1/2 cup olive oil in step 1 with your spices, and let the oil and spices cook together on low-medium heat for 10 or more minutes. The spices will infuse with the oil, giving the marinara more depth of flavor.
Keyword easy, Homemade, Homemade Marinara Sauce, Marinara Recipe, quick, Quick Marinara Sauce, Red Pasta Sauce, Tomato-based sauce