The best homemade marinara sauce is cooked low and slow and prepared in a slow cooker. Just add all the ingredients, cover and wait while the ingredients transform into a tasty Marinara. The smaller 2-quart slow cooker is the best size for this small batch marinara sauce. If doubling the recipe use a larger slow cooker or crock pot.
The ingredients used in this marinara recipe are both pantry items and fresh with a long shelf life.
- Crushed Tomatoes: My go to are Pomi crushed Roma tomatoes.
- Olive Oil: Use a good quality Olive Oil, but you don't need to use a dipping quality.
- Onion: In this recipe I use a white onion, you can also use a brown of yellow onion. To add even more sweetness use a sweeter onion variety.
- Carrot: the carrot infuses a little natural sweetness. I don't ever put sugar in any of my sauces.
- Garlic: Fresh first, in a pinch you can use a tube garlic. I'm not a fan of jarred garlic.
- Red Pepper flakes: I like my marinara with a hint of heat, you can omit this ingredient.
- Dried basil: I get a deeper basil flavor with dried garlic and then add a fresh ripped basil after cooking as a tasty garnish.
See recipe card for quantities.
- Add the onion, garlic, and carrot to the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, dried basil, and red pepper flakes.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hour. About halfway through cooking open the lid and give the sauce a stir. Replace the lid and continue cooking.
The sauce is perfect to have handy for making a quick And Easy Mozzarella Chicken Parm Recipe for Two or as a base sauce for a classic Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (Pasta with Olives) or Sausage and Peppers.
- Tomatoes- If you can't find the Pomi brand tomatoes you can use any other crushed tomatoes, Glen Muir,Hunts, S & W are all good brands. The way I made this is Italy was using canned Whole tomatoes and then pressed them through a sieve. yes, it was time consuming but feels like a very authentic way to make the sauce.
- Garlic- I always use fresh garlic but in a pinch you can the tube variety. I generally don;t use the jarred garlic. To make this a true pantry meal you could also use a dehydrated garlic.
This marinara recipe is easy to adjust to your personal taste, most of the time I just throw in the ingredients without measuring. I like lots of garlic and prefer my marinara sauce on the spicy side.
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You only a few things to make this Marinara sauce.
- 2 quart slow cooker or larger if doubling the recipe. A basic slow cooker like this 2-quart Crockpot is basic with no bells and whistles and an inexpensive option. I own two of these.
- Good knife to chop the onions and garlic. I own several higher end knives however this Victronix Chefs Knife gets the most use and under $40.
- A simple cutting board. The Epicurean boards are sturdy and lightweight. Mine is well used and still going strong after many years.
Visit A Weekend Cooks Small Kitchen Store for great recommendations on the best products to use when cooking in your small kitchen and whipping up small-batch treats.
Marinara just get better the next day. Cover and store in the fridge for 2-3 days. The sauce can also be frozen.
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon grated carrots
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 (26-28 ounces) can Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Turn on the slow cooker and let preheat while gathering the ingredients.
- Dice the onions, mince the garlic and grate the carrot
- Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and grated carrot.
- Pour in the crushed tomatoes.
- Add the dried basil and red pepper flakes.
- Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: ½ cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 77Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 40mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g
The nutritional information provided here are estimates and are not calculated by a registered dietitian.
Can I make this sauce on the stove top?
Yes. Heat the olive olive in a large skillet or dutch oven. Saute the onion and carrot. Add in the remaining ingredients.Cook over low heat and slowly simmer for about one hour. Check frequently to avoid burning and cooking down the sauce to much. If sauce thickens to fast, add liquid and continue cooking. The beauty of the slow cooker is you can cook the Marinara low and slow to really develop all the flavors in the sauce.
See food safety guideline for cooking with slow cookers at at USDA.gov.