How to Make Authentic Italian Marinara

Forget everything you know about spaghetti sauce. That canned stuff you’ve been buying in the store? It’s not even close to authentic. The real stuff—the stuff your Italian grandmother really wants you to have is surprisingly easy to make and tastes incredible.

Traditionally known in Italy as “gravy” this basic recipe make enough to make and freeze, having it on hand and use over pasta, on pizza, or to make lasagna. It’s so versatile! You’re going to love having it in your freezer!

  • To freeze:  Make a batch, allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer 1-2 cups into freezer-safe bags, seal tightly. Stack flat in freezer. Use within 3 months.
    How to Make Authentic Italian Marinara

Authentic Italian Marinara Sauce

  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 240
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 30


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • ½ large white onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup dried oregano
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 5 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes


In a very large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and bay leaves. Cook another minute or so, until the spices become fragrant. Add balsamic vinegar to the pot. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until the vinegar is reduced in half. Add tomatoes one can at a time. Cover and simmer for 4 hours, or transfer to a slow cooker and cook on love for 4-6 hours. To freeze: Allow marinara to cool completely before transferring to freezer bags. Properly concealed in an airtight bag, this recipe will last in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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Here's an authentic Italian Marinara, just like the "gravy" your Italian Grandmother Used to Make!

Posted in Side Dishes, Main Dishes, Recipes, Dinner by Goodcook staff |