This easy homemade marinara sauce starts with Roma tomatoes, roasted with garlic, herbs and spices, then blended into a lovely sauce, perfect for freezing. No tomato peeling or canning required!
When I walked in the door recently with a 25 lb. box of roma tomatoes, my family thought I might just have lost my mind. As I slid the 5th and final batch of this Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce in to the oven, I thought, just for a moment, that they might just be right ;)
Seriously though, how could I resist?. My box of roma tomatoes was only $7.99. For 25 lbs! I’d be crazy NOT to buy them! So I knew a lot of marinara sauce was in my immediate future, destined for the freezer so I could have delicious, homemade sauce all winter long.
I won’t lie. It’s a wee bit of a process when you start with 25 lbs. of tomatoes. But you don’t have to go all in if you don’t want to. The recipe below is written for starting with 5 lbs. of roma (or plum) tomatoes and yields 4 cups of finished marinara sauce.
This sauce makes the process super simple – no tomato peeling needed and it freezes beautifully so no need to jar and process. Simply package it up in 1 or 2-cup portions in freezer bags (laid flat for efficient storage), pop in to the freezer and you are all set.
Despite my whining above, this marinara is actually quite quick and easy to make and uses basic pantry items. There’s not an awful lot of hands-on time. Simply slice the tomatoes in half and toss in the pan. Toss in the garlic. Add some seasoning and olive oil and pop in to a hot oven for an hour, stirring once half way through cooking. Below is a quick “before and after cooking” photo.
Not sure how to use all your marinara sauce? I’ve list 10 Great Uses for Your Homemade Marinara Sauce below the recipe!
Here are the simple ingredients you will need …
- Roma or plum tomatoes
- Garlic cloves
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Dried oregano leaves
- Dried basil leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
I like to make this marinara without adding butter or onion, as it keeps the sauce as basic as possible and I can always add those things to the dish I use the marinara in.
For an efficient way to make big batches, double the recipe and cook two pans at a time in the upper and lower third of your oven, rotating the pan position half way through cooking. Hopefully you have two large roasting pans to use (I sadly didn’t). If not, you can always do them one at a time.
You may find large pieces of tomato skin as you blend the sauce that you can remove if you like. I just leave them in and process them down to smaller sizes.
This sauce freezes beautifully. Simply portion into 1 or 2-cup freezer bags, seal and smooth flat, then freeze them all stacked up.
I noticed that each batch ended with a little bit more or less liquid left in the pan. If there was a lot, I scooped the tomatoes out of the pan with a slotted spoon, to leave most of it behind in the pan.
10 Great Uses For Your Homemade Marinara Sauce
- The obvious … for a quick dinner with any pasta. You don’t even need to thaw the marinara. Simply add frozen to a skillet and warm slowly over low heat, then add your cooked pasta. Add sauteed or roasted vegetables that need using up in your fridge for a heartier dish.
- Turn your basic marinara in to another sauce. Add cooked pancetta and chili flakes and make it Arrabbiata. Add butter and cream and make it a Pink Sauce. Add sauteed diced carrots, celery, onion and ground beef and make it a Quick Bolognese.
- Parmesan anything. As a topping for Chicken Parmesan or Eggplant Parmesan.
- As a filling for lasagna or a topping for meat or cheese filled cannelloni or pasta shells.
- Add some to any stew or ragout to give it an Italian spin.
- Use it as a pizza sauce!
- As a base for tomato or minestrone soup or other delicious soups.
- With eggs. Eggs in Purgatory or the Middle Eastern Shakshuka or to top a frittata or omelette.
- As a dip for cheese sticks or garlic bread.
- As a topping for meatballs subs.
- With fish or shrimp, like this Shrimp Marinara.
Get the Recipe: Roasted Tomato Marinara Sauce
- 5 lbs fresh roma or plum tomatoes
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 2 tsp dried basil leaves
- 1 tsp fine salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 425 F.Cut roma tomatoes in half lengthwise (no need to remove the stem bit). Place in a large roasting pan (mine is 11x16-inches and a couple of inches deep.) Scatter garlic over-top. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Toss with a large spoon to coat.
- Place in preheated oven for 60-70 minutes, stirring well half way through cooking. The mixture shouldn't dry out completely and some of the tomato skins will char slightly. Stirring well half way through ensures that nothing gets too dark. Allow to cool.
- Remove tomatoes from pan (if there is a lot of liquid in the pan, use a slotted spoon to remove, leaving most of the liquid behind). Blend in a food processor or use immersion blender to create a sauce with your desired chunkiness level. If I'm making a large batch, I tend to do a few smooth and leave a few chunkier.
Wow, what an incredible sauce that made. I will never make marinara any other way from now on. I could just eat spoonfuls of that by itself. Thanks so much for sharing and I really think adding the balsamic vinegar makes a huge difference in flavor.
I’m so glad to hear, Teresa! I love have packets of this in the freezer. A little taste of Summer all Winter long :) Thanks so much.
Amazing recipe! Thank you for posting it. I used the tomatoes you suggested plus beef steak that I grew. I did have to roast it longer because of the beefsteak tomatoes. When the juice at the bottom of the pan became about 1/4 of an inch thick I turned the oven down to 350 for about 20 minutes with the tomatoes still in it. I let it rest a bit then put the roasted goodness in my food mill with it’s fine grill. What I ended up with was seedless and skinless delicious marinara. I will NEVER make marinara any other way! The seeds and skin ended up in the compost. As an extra bonus my house smelled so good as it was roasting and there was no standing over a stove to stir.😊👍
What do you do with the liquid left in the pan after youve roasted the tomatoes?
Hi Barb, I don’t generally have a ton of liquid when using roma tomatoes (regular tomatoes would produce more liquid). That said, when you blend the tomatoes with an immersion blender or similar, the liquid incorporates with the tomatoes. If it seems like there is too much liquid, simply spoon off and discard a bit before blending.
I made this today and it is so yummy! I cooked italian sausage with onions and yellow peppers. My only thing is what type of pasta? I have spaghetti., noodles or penne pasta, decisions, decisions
So glad to hear, Judith :) Thanks so much!
Could this be made from frozen tomatoes? We grow our own and freeze them to process later 😊.
Also, can it be run through a food mill to remove seeds or would that change it significantly?
Hi Meg, I think you could probably roast the frozen tomatoes (from frozen or thawed) in the same way that the fresh tomatoes are roasted. As for running them through a mill, again, you could probably do that and then roast in a big pan, stirring often. You wouldn’t have to do the blending part at the end, obviously. If you try it, let me know how it works out.
This is a fantastic recipe! I use San Marzano tomatoes & with these few ingredients the sauce tastes amazing— no need to add anything else. I’ll be getting as many freezer bags in the freezer as I can. So easy & so tasty!
So glad to hear, Jill :) You will love having it in your freezer all Winter long! Thanks so much.
Can I use fresh basil and oregano? Maybe add them when blending vs. when roasting?
Hi Donna and yes, you can certainly use fresh herbs, though I would add when blending, as you suggest. Fresh herbs can burn in the oven and introduce a bitter flavour. Basil will also turn black when it gets warm, so if you want to keep the bright green colour in your sauce, add the basil once the sauce cools. Enjoy!
This is an amazing recipe. So easy and out of this world delicious. Thank you for sharing!
So glad you are enjoying it, Leslie :) Thanks so much!
I just made this sauce. It is very good. I used the 5lb tomatoes recipe plus I added 1 medium onion. I am canning my sauce. The 5lbs made 3 pints. I will be making more as soon as I have more tomatoes.
So glad to hear, Teri! You’ll be all set for the winter. Thanks :)
I haven’t tried this recipe yet. My freezer is small. Can I can this recipe? I have plenty of jars.
Hi Sandra, I can’t give canning advice, as I haven’t tried it myself and I am not a certified master canner. I suggest seeking out tomato sauce canning advice online from a reliable source.
I love this recipe. So easy and I was able to remove the skins as they were slipping off as I was removing them from the pan. So easy to make and very tasty. Thank you.
So glad to hear, Diana :) Thanks so much!
Why not add onion to this, I did not think of it in time for my first batch?
Hi Sue, I like to keep the sauce as simple as possible, as I never know what I will use it for. I may not want onion in the dish I will use it in, and I know I can always saute onion easily later on for specific dishes where I do want it.
I picked all the tomatoes from my Roma tomato plant and made this sauce. It is so delicious. We enjoyed it so much.
Thank you Jennifer,
So glad to hear, Josephine! Thanks so much :)
This recipe makes the best marinara I have ever had! I am a gardener and have an abundance of several types of tomatoes so I used them all in this recipe. I love this sauce so much I have used it in my home grown eggplant parmesan and have frozen eight two-cup batches. I even have some in the oven right now. Just wanted you to know it’s a big hit in my house. Thank you!
So glad you are enjoying it, Erin :) Thanks so much!
Great flavour and texture. A taste of summer is now in the freezer for a cold winter night.
So glad to hear! I have a freezer full myself. It seems like a lot of work at the time, but it is so lovely to just grab a package all winter long :) Thanks!
There’s nothing better than a classic, homemade marinara! Your sauce looks absolutely mouthwatering!
Thanks so much, Laura :)
That. Photo. Oh my, that stopped me in my tracks! I mean that is the essence of summer tomatoes cooked down into sauce perfection. And yes! You had to bring all of the those gorgeous tomatoes home for that price. Loving this gorgeous sauce!
Thanks so much, Cathy. Those tomatoes made a beautiful, rich sauce!
Wow, 25 pounds of tomatoes?! You definitely made good use of them with this amazing looking sauce!
Thanks Sara and yes, it was a day’s work, but I’ll be thankful for it in January :)
If this sauce is crowding your cupboards Jennifer, feel free to unload some of it on me!!
I certainly have a lot of it, for sure :)
Omg I love love love the looks of this marinara. I’m sure the roasting makes this taste so wonderful. Great post!
Thanks so much, Sarah. And yes, it’s amazing what roasting does to a tomato :)
$7.99. For 25 lbs of roma tomatoes?! Pssh I would have bought that box too! That is SUCH a great deal! And this marinara is SUCH a FABULOUS way to use all those tomatoes! This marinara looks amazing, Jennifer! I could literally eat this by the spoonful! LOVE that you roasted the tomatoes! Cheers!
Thanks Cheyanne. Roasting is so easy and it really makes for a rich, tomato taste. Brings the best out of all those tomatoes :)
This sauce looks amazing! So jam packed with flavour!
Thanks Katrina :)
I love the way you think, Jennifer. No jars and stuff for me either. Definitely no tomato peeling! This is the perfect recipe and will somehow find the time to do this soon because there’s nothing better than homemade sauce in the winter months. Beautiful!
Thanks Robyn and yes, I’m not a fan of the canning this and the peeling thing, now that I think of it ;) Sometimes I’ll do those things if I need to, but if there’s a way not to do it, I’ll find it!
I love this recipe. Roasted tomatoes make a great sauce.
Thanks so much, Gerlinde :)
Perfect way to use up all those gorgeous summer tomatoes Jennifer! Looks delicious!
Thanks Mary Ann :)
I made homemade marinara the other day but wasn’t thrilled with the results. We have such a mis-match of tomatoes this year and I needed a way to use some of them up. I had mostly Roma tomatoes but even so, the color was orange instead of red – I should try your recipe next time. Love the addition of the balsamic. I don’t think you’re crazy – what a wonderful deal!
Thanks Tricia and yes, the romas make the most beautiful sauce, I think. Lovely colour and great rich flavour.