Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.

Sicillian Marinara Sauce Recipe

This article may contain affiliate links which support this site at no cost to you.

A Sicillian marinara sauce recipe is the epitome of the saying that less is more. Crushed tomatoes, garlic and basil combine for a sauce that is delicious on spaghetti or in lasagna.  

Marinara Sauce Recipe | Growing Up Gabel @thegabels #recipes

This week’s Sunday Supper is all about sauce! I have been on a hunt for a good homemade marinara sauce for what seems like forever.  I’m pretty sure I’ve tried almost every recipe variation you can find on the internet and nothing turned out the way I wanted it to.  And then one day it occurred to me to ask an Italian mama to help me learn how to make “sauce” and she did! It tuns out that I was probably overdoing it and adding too much to what should be a very simple recipe.

This is a Sicillian marinara sauce because recipe it basically only uses tomatoes, garlic and basil.  Sicillians only add oregano if you want to turn the sauce in to pizza sauce. I generally start the sauce in the morning and let it simmer until lunch.  This is definitely one dish that gets better with time so make it a day ahead or even freeze it for later.

Serve the sauce with a side of garlic pull apart bread and a tossed salad with Italian dressing for a family meal. This marinara sauce recipe freezes well so make a big pot and save some for later.

Sicillian Marinara Sauce Recipe

Marinara Sauce Recipe
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours


  • 2 large cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cans tomato paste
  • 1 head of garlic, finely diced
  • Olive oil
  • Pinch of hot pepper flakes
  • 1-2 Tablespoons sugar
  • Dried or fresh basil


  1. Cover the bottom of a very large pot with a thin layer of olive oil. Heat over medium heat.
  2. Open all the cans of tomatoes.
  3. When oil is warmed, add garlic and saute for just a few minutes. Be careful NOT to burn it!
  4. Add all tomatoes. Fill each empty can of tomatoes with water and add to the pot. You will add 4 total - 2 from the crushed tomatoes and 2 from the paste.
  5. Raise heat to high.
  6. Add in hot pepper flakes, sugar and dried basil to taste. If using fresh, add at the very end of the cooking time.
  7. Bring sauce to a boil and then turn down heat. Simmer uncovered for at least 4 hours. Add water if the sauce gets too thick while simmering.


Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Sunday Supper crew’s sauce recipes!

Savory Sauces

Pasta Sauces and Pastas with Sauce

Entreés with Sauces

Sweet Sauces

Desserts with Sauces

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm EST. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here → >Sunday Supper Movement.

This article may contain affiliate links.

Share this article

What do you think?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Dale Kopchick
    July 14, 2020


    My (your) new Sunday Sauce is wonderful! Thanks again for your recipe update. BTW, I know that Sunday Sauce is typically loafed with sausage, pork and beef. Don’t care, your Sicilian is my new special sauce.


    • Dale Kopchick
      July 14, 2020

      Make that “loaded”, not “loafed”.


  • Dale
    July 7, 2020

    Question regarding your Sicilian marinara sauce recipe. The instructions say to simmer the sauce for four hours but they do not say if the pot should be covered, uncovered or partially covered. Please inform. I promise to try this recipe and comment. The recipe looks authentically Italian, a real keeper.

    Thank you,
    Dale Kopchick

    • Camille
      July 10, 2020

      Simmer it uncovered. You can add water (or wine!) as needed if it gets too thick, but I generally let it boil down.

    • Dale Kopchick
      July 11, 2020


      Thank you for responding and updating the recipe.
      Tomorrow is Sunday. Although this is not a Sunday sauce, I will make it tomorrow and I suspect it will become MY Sunday sauce.


  • Mary
    April 25, 2020

    Thank you so much for all the great recipes. I do have a question about the garlic. It says to use the whole head. Will this have a distinct garlic taste if I add the whole head?

    Thank You so much!


    • Camille
      April 26, 2020

      Yes, it is very strong! You can decrease the amount of the garlic to your preference.

  • Nancy
    October 24, 2013

    I’m loving all the delicious and simple pasta sauces this week! Your marinara sounds wonderful.

  • Alida
    October 24, 2013

    This is such a simple, perfect marinara sauce. And it would be wonderful with that garlic pull apart bread you suggest…yum!

  • Bea
    October 23, 2013

    Oh yes, this is the perfect marinara sauce 🙂 – Yum!!!!!

  • Tara
    October 21, 2013

    Nothing better than a good marinara sauce and I think you nailed it!!! So simple but you need the right ratio!

  • Sarah Reid, RHNC (
    October 21, 2013

    This sounds exactly like something my stepbrother would love… he adores spicy food

  • Kim
    October 21, 2013

    It’s also a Sicilian sauce because there’s sugar in it. That’s how my mom always said you can spot a Sicilian. Always listen to those Italian mamas; they know their stuff. 😉

  • Angie
    October 21, 2013

    Just want to dig right into that pasta! I’ve started making my own pasta sauce and I love this recipe as well!

  • Family Foodie
    October 20, 2013

    I am a firm believer of less is more. Your marinara sauce sounds delicious and full of flavor! It would be great on pasta and homemade pizzas!

  • Liz
    October 20, 2013

    So simple and yummy! My family would adore this pasta topper!

  • DB-The Foodie Stuntman
    October 20, 2013

    I wish I had an Italian mama to refer to. And yes, my experience with Italian food confirms your suspicions of less is more. Your marinara looks delicious. Thank you for participating this week.

  • Hezzi-D
    October 20, 2013

    I am all for simple and easy sauce recipes! I think simpler is better!

  • Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen (
    October 20, 2013

    I love the simplicity of this sauce. Just let those lovely flavors sing!!

  • Marie
    October 20, 2013

    One of my favorite sauces! It looks delicious!

  • Tammi
    October 20, 2013

    I love how easy this looks…..easy and delicious!! Thanks for sharing! Happy Sunday!

  • Jennifer
    October 20, 2013

    Yum!1 Your marinara sauce looks delish!!!!!!!!!

  • Wendy (The Weekend Gourmet)
    October 20, 2013

    Yes…simple is best! My pasta sauce this week has 7 ingredients and is so full of flavor. Doesn’t the house smell great when a good pasta sauce is simmering? Saving this one…

  • Megan
    October 20, 2013

    You know, I have never made a marinara sauce the same way twice. I am so looking forward to trying your version!

  • Shannon
    October 20, 2013

    Simple is best when it comes to tomato sauce in my book. This is a prefect sauce. Fresh, simple, perfect ingredients. Yum!!

  • Stacy
    October 20, 2013

    So often less is more. I need to get better at remembering that, Camille. Thanks for the reminder and this beautiful sauce.

  • Jackie
    September 14, 2013

    Hi Camille

    Do the garlic have to be diced or could I just use a garlic press for the garlic.

    • Camille
      September 14, 2013

      I use my garlic press! I love that thing!

  • Chaya
    May 13, 2013

    Hi Camille, nice to meet you. I enjoyed cooking from your blog. It worked out so well with me needing a marinara sauce and you supplying it. It was easy and good to eat. It was a pleasure making and eating it.