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Best Classic Marinara Sauce

Whether you call it marinara or red gravy, it's no doubt it is one of the best dishes to make homemade. Your pasta is begging for this classic marinara sauce.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 15 mins
Course: Condiment
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: classic marinara recipe, classic marinara sauce, homemade marinara
Servings: 12 servings


  • 1 medium white or yellow onion diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 - 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes always use organic, and BPA free lined cans if possible
  • 1/2 cup red wine like merlot
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt or sea salt.
  • 1/2 tsp sugar or more to taste this is optional depending on how tart your tomatoes taste
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil chopped into small pieces


  • In a large skillet or dutch oven, place olive oil and onions over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook until onions are translucent in color. Be careful not to burn and stir frequently.
  • Stir in red wine.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes. Add about a Tbsp of water to each can and swish around to get all the tomatoes out.
  • Stir in the salt, pepper, sugar, and chopped basil.
  • Cover with the lid tilted a little and cook on the lowest temperature for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, stirring every 15-20 minutes to ensure nothing is sticking.
  • After 3 1/2 hours taste it and re-season if needed. The tomatoes will take on a deep sweet flavor. You can judge at this point if you think it needs to go longer.
  • Serve over pasta or use in your favorite Italian dish!
  • Store sauce in air tight container in the refrigerator for about 3 days or store properly in the freezer for 4 or 5 months.
  • Goes perfect with Crusty Artisan BreadĀ !


*The iron skillet was used for picture taking purposes. An enamel-coated iron skillet or dutch oven is ideal for making theĀ sauce. Plain iron skillets will leach out the iron taste from the acidity in the tomatoes and give it an off-taste. Nonstick skillets are toxic and also leach toxins from the acidity of tomatoes.
* Different brand tomatoes have different tastes and tartness so you may need to adjust salt/sugar.
*This sauce takes TIME to develop the flavor. Make sure to make it when you don't have to skimp on the time!