Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes is a delicious, homemade pasta sauce is bursting with ripe, juicy tomatoes, savory garlic, and fresh herbs…but the best part is that it’s ready in 30 minutes!

30-Minute Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes, with text overlay.


Happy Friday, friends! I'm back today with another fabulous recipe that's amazingly full of flavor for being so quick and easy to throw together. And conveniently enough, this 30-minute Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes can actually be used as an ingredient in the 30-Minute Skillet Lasagna that I posted last week!

In many ways, I am sad to see summer go. I've been spoiled all season long by fresh produce from my in-laws' garden, roadside stands, and farmers markets, from zucchini to yellow squash to cucumbers to peaches.

But my favorite fresh summer produce of all, hands-down, would be tomatoes. Whether I'm enjoying caprese salads, thick-sliced tomato sandwiches, Marinated Tomatoes, or refreshing Gazpacho alllll summer long, I am addicted to tomatoes, I tell ya.

Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes served over pasta with basil garnish.

At the height of tomato season this year, there were times that we had almost more tomatoes than we could eat, if you can imagine such a thing. So rather than just enjoying them in their raw glory as we typically do, I began incorporating them as roasted tomato side dishes and started making my own marinara sauce. And TA-DAAAA...that would be the recipe I'm sharing today!

30-Minute Marinara

If you've been visiting Five Heart Home for any length of time -- or heck, even if this is your first visit (welcome!) and you've done little more than read the tagline at the top of my site -- you already know that I'm all about quick and easy recipes. In fact, I somehow (unintentionally) manage to work that phrase into just about every post...not because I'm trying to, but because it's true! If a recipe is not quick and easy, odds are that my three young children won't afford me the time (or the energy) to make it.

So this 30-Minute Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes is not your Italian grandmother's slow-cooked-all-day, secret family recipe marinara.

Rather, as the name implies, it starts with fresh tomatoes and it's done in about half an hour.

Now I ask can you beat that?!

4-photo collage of steps to make Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes.

How to Make It

If you've made homemade marinara sauce before, you know that it typically involves blanching and peeling tomatoes and slowly simmering them for hours to develop a deep, rich, mellow flavor. Well, this is not that marinara sauce. For one thing, let's just be honest here...I am too lazy to blanch and peel tomatoes. And that's okay, because I don't at all mind little bits of tomato skin in my sauce. In fact, I enjoy a marinara with a bit of texture, and this one has that.

My method for making this sauce is to cut my tomatoes into chunks and then squeeze them with my hands into a big pot to break them up into little bits. This can be a messy process, so if you would rather give your tomato chunks a few pulses in the food processor to achieve the same effect, I would completely understand.


In addition to fresh tomatoes, this recipe features olive oil, garlic, fresh herbs, and a bit of seasoning/flavor-balancing thanks to salt, pepper, sugar, and balsamic vinegar.

That's it!

Simple ingredients...simple, fresh-tasting, flavorful marinara.

Jar of finished sauce.

Fresh Herb Shortcut

I'm all about shortcuts, and if you are, too, I've got one more for ya.

When making this marinara, I toss a big bunch of fresh herbs directly into the sauce, stems and all. All that's required is to give them a quick chopping required. During the simmering process, the leaves will fall away and it's easy to pick out the stems after everything is finished cooking.

How to Puree

After the sauce has cooked down for 30 minutes, I like to give it a quick whirl with my immersion blender so that it's slightly pureed but still has texture.

If you don't have an immersion blender, you could also pulse it a few times in the food processor...just be sure to let it cool down a good bit before doing so!

And if you prefer a chunky marinara, simply leave your sauce as-is.

Subbing Canned Tomatoes

If you get a hankering for this quick marinara after tomato season is over, feel free to simply use canned, preferably high-quality tomatoes (like San Marzano). Four pounds of fresh tomatoes is approximately equal to 2 (28-ounce) cans or 4 (14.5-ounce) cans.

Look for tomatoes canned in their own juices without the addition of garlic, herbs, or extra seasonings.

Canned whole tomatoes will need to be cut/mashed up as directed in this recipe; canned diced tomatoes may be used as-is.

And finally, if using canned tomatoes, drain and reserve the juice, only adding to the marinara sauce if more liquid is required.

Plate of pasta topped with Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes.

Whether you make it with fresh tomatoes or canned, in July or February, this quick and easy Marinara Sauce is perfect over pasta or incorporated into any recipe that calls for marinara, from Slow Cooker Meatball Subs to Zucchini Marinara to Baked Tortellini anything in between.

It's a great beginner recipe for someone who's never made homemade marinara sauce before, but it's so delicious that you'll revisit it time and time again.

Enjoy, y'all!

More Fresh Tomato Recipes

30-Minute Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes over plate of pasta.

Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes

This savory, homemade Marinara Sauce with Fresh Tomatoes is bursting with ripe, juicy tomatoes, savory garlic, and fresh herbs...but the best part is that it only takes 30 minutes to make!
Course: Pantry Staples
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 servings (Approximately 1 quart)
Calories: 129kcal
Print Pin Rate


  • 4 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch fresh herbs, such as basil, or a combo of basil, parsley, oregano, and/or thyme
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
  • Additional fresh chopped herbs, to taste (optional)


  • Cut tomatoes into chunks. Using your hands, squeeze them into bits over a large, deep bowl or pot, including juices. (Alternatively, you may pulse them a few times in a food processor.) Set aside.
  • In a large pot set over low heat, sauté minced garlic in olive oil until softened and fragrant. Add tomatoes and juices to pot, place fresh herb bunch on top, raise heat to medium, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • When sauce has thickened and reduced, remove herb stems. Stir in sugar, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings. If desired, add crushed red pepper flakes and additional fresh chopped herbs. Use an immersion blender or food mill to slightly puree sauce. (Or you may allow sauce to cool and pulse it in batches in a food processor. Do not over-process...a bit of texture should remain.) Serve warm or allow to slightly cool and store in a container or jar in the refrigerator for up to a week.



  • If fresh tomatoes are out of season, you may substitute high-quality canned tomatoes (canned in their own juices without the addition of garlic, herbs, or extra seasonings, such as San Marzano). Canned whole tomatoes need to be cut/mashed up as directed in this recipe; canned diced tomatoes may be used as-is. If using canned tomatoes, drain and reserve the juice, only adding to the marinara sauce if more liquid is required.
  • The amount of sugar, salt, pepper, and balsamic required will depend on the sweetness and acidity of the tomatoes you use. Start with the directed amounts of seasonings and add more as needed. For this particular batch of marinara, I ended up increasing the amounts to 1 ½ tablespoons sugar and ¾ teaspoon salt.


Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 314mg | Potassium: 1087mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 3800IU | Vitamin C: 63.4mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1.3mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

Adapted from Food52.
Recipe originally posted at Love Grows Wild on July 27, 2014, and published here on August 28, 2014.

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4.91 from 98 votes (52 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe. It worked really well. Fresh tomatoes make the sauce so much more delicious! I like your tip about cooking the tomatoes with the intact fresh herbs on top for easy removal and great flavour. Thanks!

  2. 5 stars
    Made it this evening and was a great success with my husband! I used Heirloom tomatoes and it was great. I made no changes to the recipe. Served it over no yoke egg noodles, tossed with little olive oil, 1/2 fresh tomato chopped in small cubes, and fresh basil. Very light and delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    This was so delicious and flavorful with my fresh ripe tomatoes. I made a double batch and I am going to freeze it for meals this winter.

      1. Hi Lisa! Just under the recipe title, in small print, there's a "Yield," but I know it can be hard to spot! 🙂 This recipe makes about 1 quart. Hope you enjoy it!

  4. 4 stars
    i’ve made this recipe twice and both times after simmering for 30 minutes the sauce seemed quite thin. The first time I simmered it with the lid on as instructed. The second time I simmered it with the lid off to allow the vapor and liquid to evaporate. I’ve never made marinara before, but this seems quite easy. I am making mine to freeze to eat for later.

  5. 4 stars
    I made this recipe with just a teaspoon and a half of sugar and it is sweet. I then chopped about a cup of onion and sauteed it and added it to the sauce. I let is simmer another half hour. Next time I will eliminate the sugar completely. It will be fine with my stuffed peppers and I would make it again. Next time I will include the onions in the initial saute with the garlic.

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe is delicious!! Neighbors just gave me a bowl of fresh picked tomatoes and fresh basil. So, how do I stop tasting it will a spoon every 5 minutes?! LOL! It's that good. And, I love that you can make it quick! Many thanks!!

  7. 2 stars
    I was happy to find a recipe for tomatoes without all the fuss so tried this recipe. I was very disappointed with all the crunchy pieces even though I used a food processor and immersion blender as described. It also turned out quite sweet. Unfortunately for me it was a waste of of my treasured home grown tomatoes.

    1. I'm so sorry to hear that, Janice. Your experience is not typical of the comments that this recipe generally receives, and I hate that your tomatoes were wasted. 🙁 I wonder if the variety of tomato (perhaps with thicker/tougher skins) could have contributed to the "crunchy pieces" in your sauce? Usually, a food processor or immersion blender would have no problem with those. I'm honestly perplexed.

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe turned out so well with the fresh tomatoes I had on hand. It was a definite hit with my whole family! Thank you!