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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Recipe Rating


    1. Hi there, I’d like to try making this. Is it better to remove the skins off the garden tomatoes or just leave them on?

  1. 5 stars
    This was an EXCELLENT recipe for fresh marinara sauce!!! 5 stars and just so delicious! Thank you for sharing!

  2. 5 stars
    Used the last of my romas and fresh herbs from my summer garden. I was surprised how good it is, considering it is a very simple recipe. I also added a small yellow bell pepper (my last one, all the others are still on the plant, stubbornly remaining green), which gave it a rich taste after using my immersion blender. Great recipe!

    1. 5 stars
      Agreed ! I too added a bell pepper
      I roasted a red bell pepper and used fresh tomatoes and it tasted amazing ! Super simple and easy recipe to tweak here and there to your desired taste! Awesome recipe thank you !!

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe is unbelievably yummy over buttered pasta!! I used 12 med to large tomatoes so doubled the recipe. I will be using up all the tomatoes making this to put in jars for the Winter!

  4. 5 stars
    last night I prepared this dish according to your recommendations. The whole family was delighted and friends were asking for the recipe. We enjoyed this dish very much. Thank you very much! The recipe is great!

  5. 3 stars
    30 minutes yes. However, really watery. I reduced it for 3 hours and then it was fine. I also didn’t add balsamic, so basically my own recipe but with fresh tomatoes and herbs.

  6. 5 stars
    W!O!W!, this is the most incredible marinara sauce! I used 3 lbs. of beefsteak tomatoes from my garden (that was all that were ripe), and kept the amounts of the other ingredients the same as the recipe calls for, including a dash of cayenne pepper. For the herbs, I only had fresh basil, so I added a teaspoon each of dried parsley, oregano, thyme, and basil, and also threw in a sprig of the fresh basil.
    Since beefsteaks have such a high water content, I turned the heat to medium-high and stirred constantly for 30 minutes, which reduced the sauce to the perfect consistency.
    Both my husband and I loved it -- he raved about it all through dinner! This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  7. 5 stars
    Kim M. Ottawa

    Lovely sauce, I love how simple it is to get a batch together and how delicious it is. My only change is I leave out the sugar , the tomatoes are so fresh and sweet it’s not needed. Oh and I add 2 tablespoon of tomato paste to help consistency of the sauce. Super great sauce- thanks!!

  8. 4 stars
    The taste was great but I had to cook for 2 hours before the sauce was thickened and reduced. I also had to put it through a food mill because with the four lbs of tomatoes came 1/2 Cup of seeds (which my chickens loved!).

    And this recipe only makes 2 cups of sauce not 1 quart. Hope my comments are not construed as condescending, ugly, or rude comments. The end result was delicious and my truthful, actual experience following the recipe.

    1. Not ugly or rude at all! I appreciate you sharing your experience with this recipe. It makes sense that the amount of water/seeds in a particular batch of tomatoes could affect the outcome of the sauce. 🙂

      1. Should I seed the tomatoes first? I am using my home grown Roma tomatoes. I was going to put them in my food processor and not seed the tomatoes. But should I?

        1. I have never seeded my tomatoes when making this recipe. Furthermore, since Roma tomatoes aren't particularly "seed-y," I wouldn't think it's necessary.

      2. 4 stars
        I had a similar experience (with it taking a lot longer than 30 min - mine took 4.5 hours) I'm sure it's all about the type of tomatoes I used (Early Girls - as I had a ton of them) Had I used Romas, I'm sure it'd have been as described. The flavor is still wonderful! Thank you for the recipe - (re seeds: just zapped em with my submersion blender :D)

  9. I make marinara all the time. I do can it for future use. I add to hot quart jars, add about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and wipe clean with vinegar the hot lids. hand tighten the lids and then to a water bath. 45 min. Let cool completely. I'm still using some canned 2 years ago. I didn't put up for 350 lbs last years. that included stewed tomatoes, salsa and tomato sauce. it's just like fresh... but out the jar!
    I will be trying this as well!

    1. If seeds bother u just cut end where stem is off . Turn tomato over and squeeze into a strainer over a bowl. To catch juice.
      . Add juice back to tomatoes.

  10. 5 stars
    Excellent and so easy! I followed the recipe but my tomatoes were sweet so the only tweek was a lil more salt. Checking out more of your recipes nice. Thank you.

    1. Sure! Just keep in mind that dried spices are more potent than fresh, so you'll only need 1/3 as much. I would probably just add a bit at a time, to taste. 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! This was an amazing marinara, and allowed me to use up a nice bunch of my excess garden tomatoes. I did modify the recipe slightly. I actually started by putting all of my tomatoes (in 2 batches) into the blender and ground them up, which made the consistency smooth instead of chunky. I also prepped the basil and parsley ahead, by removing the stems before cooking and threw everything in together after the garlic was sauted. I also added dried oregano, Italian seasoning and grated Parmesan cheese. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thank you for sharing!

    1. 5 stars
      I was desperate to use up some of the tomatoes my family keeps bringing from their garden, not to mention the big basil plants my mom bought, and this recipe was perfect! I roasted the tomatoes & garlic in the oven for a bit first, but otherwise followed every step...I think it's the best sauce I've ever had! thank you so much!