Stove Top Marinara

My mom has been making this marinara sauce my whole life. When I moved out, I continued to make it, because it’s ridiculously easy – I have the recipe memorized – and because it tastes great, much better than any of the jars of sauce you buy at the store. My family likes it, too – in fact, my husband complains any time I try a different recipe!


What you need:

Stove top marinara

Stove top marinara


  • 1 lb. ground beef or 15-20 pre-baked meatballs, optional (one or the other, not both!)
  • 2 T. olive oil (if not using ground beef)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped, optional
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
  • 15 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 t. Italian seasoning, or to taste
  • 1/8 t. cayenne, optional


  • Dutch oven
  • wooden spoon
  • cutting board and knife


Time: About an hour (mostly hands-off).

Freezeable: Yes.

Serves: 10-12.

Multiplying the recipe: Yes – the only consideration is the size of your Dutch oven.

Stove Top Marinara:

Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. If using the ground beef, place it in the pan and cook, crumbling, until browned on the outside. Drain off most of the fat, leaving the beef in the pan. If using the meatballs, bake them. If not using the ground beef, add the oil to the pan.

Add the onion, pepper, celery, and zucchini, if using, and saute 5-10 minutes, until the onion is translucent and the veggies are softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.

Add all of the tomatoes and seasonings, bring to a boil, put the lid on and lower the temperature to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Add the meatballs when they are finishing baking, if using.

Stove top marinara

Stove top marinara