How to Make the Best Marinara Sauce


How to Make the Best Marinara Sauce

If you’ve been to Italy or you’ve been welcomed into the home of a loving Italian grandmother, then you know that there is nothing like fresh, homemade marinara sauce.
This ubiquitous vibrant and zesty sauce is perfect for everything and is an Italian staple, and for good reason. Not only is it perfect for everything from pizza to cannelloni, but it’s also packed full of nutrients thanks to ingredients like tomato and basil.
There’s a lot of debate in the food community about how to come about the greatest marinara sauce. Everyone’s claiming that their method is the all-time best.
We’ve searched high and low for all of the highest ranked methods and recipes, and rendered it down to this one recipe for you.
The secret? It seems that everyone, including the legendary queen of Italian cuisine Lidia Bastianich, uses canned tomatoes. But not just any kind of canned plum tomatoes. Specifically, San Marzano tomatoes, which are the most similar to the ripe tomatoes you can get in Mount Vesuvius.
Here’s how you can make the best marinara sauce.

Best Marinara Sauce
Makes: about 3 1/2 cups

  • 1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and slivered (not minced)
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 large fresh basil sprig, more to taste
  • Pepper


  1. Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush tomatoes with hands.
  2. In skillet over medium heat, heat the good quality olive oil. When it is hot, add garlic. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add the tomatoes once garlic sizzles. Add water to tomato can to get all tomato juices out, and add tomato water to pan, as well as the crushed tomatoes.
  4. Add red pepper flakes and salt. Stir.
  5. Place basil sprig, including stem, on the surface of the sauce. Once it wilts, submerge into sauce, and simmer sauce until thickened. Oil on surface should be a deep orange hue, roughly 15 minutes.


  • Do not cook for longer than 25 minutes
  • Discard the basil sprig before serving
  • Do not scoop into pasta; toss with pasta in a warm pan
  • Adding onions, carrots, and celery is okay, but it would not be what traditional marinara is
  • Use a skillet, not a saucepan or pot
  • Use high quality everything, including garlic (make sure that it is firm and white)
  • Use dried whole chilli if available; discard before using the sauce

As traditional marinara sauce showcases very few ingredients, it’s of the utmost importance that you have the freshest and finest products.
With an Urban Cultivator Residential unit, you can grow fresh basil quickly for the tastiest marinara you’ll ever try.
Do you have any tips on how to make marinara sauce? What do you use marinara on? Let us know in the comments section!