Kitchen Tips

How to make your own marinara sauce

Marinara sauce is an Italian essential. Made with tomatoes, onions, garlic and herbs, it’s perfect for bulk cooking and can be bottled or frozen. Here's how to make your own.

By Sophie Gray

How to make your own marinara sauce

Prep + cook time: 2 hours 30 mins
Makes: 2.2 litres, approx.
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1½ tbsp garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 kg ripe tomatoes, rinsed, cored and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup basil leaves, torn
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • **salt and pepper to taste
  1. Gently cook the celery, onion and garlic in the oil in a stockpot until soft. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar and herbs and simmer, stirring frequently, for 90 mins, or to your desired thickness. Blend or process and return to pan.
  2. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bottle while piping hot in hot sterilised jars (see below), leaving 1cm at the top. Run a long bladed knife down the inner sides of the jar to release air bubbles and seal with hot sterilised lids. Store the bottles out of direct sunlight.
To sterilise lids and jars
Preheat oven to 120°C. Place clean jars in oven for 15 minutes. Boil lids in a pan of simmering water for 10 minutes. Use tongs to handle hot jars and seals.

Important safety note

If home bottling, do NOT use low acid tomatoes (such as yellow tomatoes, Roma and some cherry variants) or add low acid ingredients such as mushrooms, courgettes or other vegetables. A PH of 4.6 or lower is required to prevent botulism. Commercially manufactured sauces are bottled at higher temperatures than can be achieved at home and acidity regulators are added to maintain their safety.
This first appeared in Food magazine.
Follow Food on Facebook, Instagram and sign up to their e-newsletter.