Becky Luigart-Stayner; Cindy Barr
About 12 cups (serving size: 1/2 cup)

Rely on a large Dutch oven or stockpot because this recipe makes enough marinara sauce for several meals. Cook at a low simmer--just a few bubbles every few seconds will yield the deepest taste.

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add sugar and next 7 ingredients (through fennel seeds); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in vinegar; cook 30 seconds. Add broth and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 55 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally.

Step 2

To store in the freezer: Ladle room-temperature or chilled sauce into plastic containers or zip-top plastic bags. Seal and freeze for up to four months. Consider freezing the sauce in one-cup increments (two servings' worth). That way, you can pull out exactly as much as you want for future meals.

Step 3

To thaw sauce: Try one of three methods.

Step 4

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Step 5

Place frozen blocks in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a low simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Step 6

Place frozen blocks in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave at HIGH one minute at a time, stirring after each increment until thawed.

Step 7

To boost taste: Long stints in the freezer can dull the taste of tomatoes. To perk up thawed sauce, add one-half teaspoon finely grated lemon rind or one teaspoon balsamic vinegar while reheating.

Ratings & Reviews


January 30, 2017
I have made this several times now.  Today I used my slow cooker on low for 3 hours.  Very good flavors and you can adjust the seasonings a bit to your own taste.  I have added red wine in the past in place of the stock.  Make on the weekend nd you can use in a variety of ways throughout the week - over pasta, as pizza sauce, casseroles, chicken parmesan, have even used for a shepherds pie recipe.  Very versatile. 

great sauce

November 17, 2016
I'm not a giant marinara fan because it's often too bland and/or sweet for my taste.  But I really like this one and would like to keep some in the freezer to use instead of store-bought marinara.  I omitted the sugar and fennel seeds.  Used 1 can chicken broth.  Added ground red pepper, which gave a slight spicy kick.  It made 7-8 cups.


January 03, 2016
I accidentally used beef instead of chicken broth. I also blended it with my immersion blender. Great sauce! 

Delicious Marinara!

July 04, 2015
I made this tonight to try with my first time attempt at spiralizer zucchini pasta. The marinara was wonderful!  I included all ingredients except the sugar.  One reason I make my own sauce is because the store-bought stuff has too much sugar.  We did not miss the sugar at all.  My only complaint is that there is not enough!  I will make another batch this weekend to get my daughter through the week.  Yum!  The balsamic vinegar is the secret ingredient in this recipe which really develops the flavors.


March 15, 2015
This is my go to recipe for marinara sauce since I discovered it 8 years ago. It is especially good when made with fresh Roma tomatoes. I like a thicker sauce so I add a can of tomato paste. Makes a great lasagna sauce too.

kml2000ga's Review

January 24, 2015
I love this recipe. I make it and keep some in the freezer. I love the addition of the balsamic vinegar. I will brown meat and let it simmer in this for spaghetti, have used it for eggplant, and for just veggies and pasta. Yummmmm!

angieandphil's Review

September 02, 2014
This was very good and was so easy. I didn't change anything.

mommyofpinky's Review

July 15, 2014

Bevmknight's Review

February 16, 2014
Easy and delicious.

lauriebidaho's Review

January 01, 2014
This is the best marinara sauce, and I am telling you the secret is the crushed fennel seeds! I prefer thick sauces, so I do not add sugar or broth. Easy to adjust accordingly for fresh tomatoes in the summer!