Small pot of marinara

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Intensity: Easy


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for heat)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, to balance acidity)
  • Fresh basil leaves, chopped (for garnish, optional)


  1. Sauté Aromatics:
    • In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened.
  2. Add Garlic:
    • Add the minced garlic to the saucepan and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant, being careful not to burn it.
  3. Add Tomatoes:
    • Pour in the can of diced tomatoes (with their juices) into the saucepan. Stir to combine with the onions and garlic.
  4. Season:
    • Add the dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme, red pepper flakes (if using), salt, and pepper to the saucepan. Stir to combine.
  5. Simmer:
    • Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer uncovered for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly.
  6. Adjust Seasoning:
    • Taste the marinara sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed. If the sauce is too acidic, you can add a teaspoon of sugar to balance the flavors.
  7. Finish and Serve:
    • Once the sauce has reached your desired consistency, remove it from the heat. If you prefer a smoother sauce, you can use an immersion blender to puree it until smooth.
    • Garnish the marinara sauce with freshly chopped basil leaves, if desired, before serving.
  8. Serve or Store:
    • Use the marinara sauce immediately as desired in pasta dishes, pizzas, or as a dipping sauce. Alternatively, let the sauce cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to one week.
  9. Enjoy:
    • Enjoy your quick and flavorful homemade marinara sauce, perfect for small batches and quick meals!

Note: This small batch marinara sauce is highly customizable. Feel free to adjust the herbs and spices to your liking, or add additional ingredients such as red wine, balsamic vinegar, or fresh parsley for extra flavor.

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