There’s nothing better than a homemade pasta sauce recipe! Here are the top ideas to make your dinners taste better.
Purchased marinara is good and all, but it can’t hold a candle to the real thing. That’s right, a homemade pasta sauce recipe cooked with love is the best meal around. You may not always have time for a homemade sauce, but often cooking from scratch is easier than you think. Here are our top homemade pasta sauces to make when you need inspiration! With these these sauce recipes to your arsenal, there’s nothing you can’t do.
And now…the top homemade pasta sauce recipes!
This easy tomato sauce recipe is our kitchen staple: it comes out velvety and tangy, bright from the tomatoes and smooth from the olive oil. Based on an Italian grandmother’s recipe, this one uses simple ingredients to make culinary magic. Swirl it into pasta, spread it on pizza, or use it as a marinara dipping sauce and you’ll swoon over the flavor.
Need a great Italian pasta sauce? Try Arrabiata Sauce! This spicy, garlicky tomato sauce is an Italian favorite for good reason: the simple flavors make any pasta taste incredible. When it comes to tomato sauce, this is most often the one we reach for. Make arrabiata sauce at home and you can customize the heat level to taste.
Here’s a quick and simple pasta recipe that’s the perfect shortcut for weeknights! Mixing ricotta cheese with olive oil, Parmesan and a little pasta water makes a makeshift white sauce that’s ideal for coating on long noodles (who knew!). This quick weeknight trick has become a staple over here: the zing of the lemon zest makes it absolutely irresistible not to keep slurping down noodles.
Here’s an Italian staple recipe that every home cook should know: Pomodoro Sauce! This classic Italian sauce is pure in its simplicity: simmering tomatoes and a few aromatic vegetables make a straightforward yet nuanced flavor. It takes a little time to simmer, but it’s well worth it for the ease of this recipe: and the bold flavor!
Here’s a delicious homemade pasta sauce everyone should know how to make: cream sauce! This luscious sauce is perfect for pasta and is ready in 10 minutes. It’s so simple to whip up by making a roux, a skill all cooks should have in their back pocket. Even better: you don’t have to use cream! Milk is all you need for this garlic cream sauce, then add just a small sprinkle of Parmesan cheese at the end.
Here’s a genius kitchen move: 5-minute pesto cream sauce! Did you know you can simmer pesto with cream and it thickens into a sauce? Just throw these two ingredients into a pan and voila! You’ve got a beautiful, bright green sauce that’s full of savory, herby flavor.
Total time: 5 minutes
Need a great homemade tomato sauce for pasta? Try this Tomato Basil Sauce, a rustic sauce that’s bold on tomato flavor: in 20 minutes! Some tomato sauce recipes bubble for an hour or more, but this one’s quick to whip up. It works with 8 ounces pasta, so it’s great for a fast weeknight dinner with a few easy sides: or double for a crowd!
Adding wine to a pasta sauce makes it taste like it’s from at a fancy restaurant…but it’s easy to make at home! The flavor tangy from the wine and savory from the Parmesan cheese. Our favorite way to serve this is with pasta: it’s a simple light sauce that takes only 15 minutes to put together.
Looking for a great tomato sauce? Here’s your recipe: this Tomato Cream Sauce! Rich heavy cream is the ideal pairing with tangy, acidic tomatoes. The way the cream rounds out the flavor and texture is simply stunning. It’s similar to an Italian vodka sauce, but a lot less work.
When it comes to homemade pasta sauces...this one is king. It's tangy, super flavorful, and also takes about minutes to make. Meet our new best ever easy marinara sauce! It’s heavy on the tangy sweet tomato flavor, a little garlicky, and perfect for spaghetti or any noodle you choose.
Total time: 17 minutes
Here’s a lusciously creamy pasta that will become the meal of your dreams. It’s rich and silky, with just the right balance of sharp citrus from loads of lemon zest. Don’t consider this a health food or even a healthy spin: it’s here for when you need a properly indulgent bit of pasta.
Looking for a simple pasta sauce that packs a big flavor punch? Try this Garlic Butter Sauce! It’s easy to whip up with only a handful of ingredients, but man is it irresistible. It’s also great for customizing based on the veggies you have on hand.
This homemade pasta sauce has a secret: it's plant-based! This vegan alfredo sauce recipe is the perfect example. It’s creamy and luscious, yet full of nutrient-rich cauliflower and protein-packed cashews. It couldn't be more lusciously creamy.
Total time: 25 minutes
The secret to Italian grandmother style vodka sauce? Simmer the pasta sauce. For 1 hour! You won’t see a lot of 1 hour simmers over here, since we’re all about fast and easy dinner recipes. But even more than fast and easy, we’re obsessed with flavor. Our best vodka sauce is so full of flavor, it’s worth every second of that simmer.
Last up in our top homemade pasta sauces: ever wanted a healthy version of a white pasta cheese sauce? Meet the answer: creamy cauliflower sauce! This sauce is like a healthy alfredo sauce, but unlike the traditional version, you’ll feel light and vibrant afterwards. It's lusciously creamy, with garlic and Parmesan cheese.
More pasta recipes
There are so many delicious ways to make sauces from scratch! Here are a few tasty pasta recipes to try, some of them showcasing the sauces above:
- Try Easy Tortelloni or Cheese Tortellini in Creamy Marinara
- Go big with Burrata Pasta with Tomato Basil Sauce or Pesto Cavatappi
- Opt for Mushroom Pasta with Parmesan or Roasted Eggplant Pasta
- Add shrimp for Cajun Shrimp Pasta or Creamy Shrimp Pasta
- Grab Homemade Mac and Cheese or Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
- Bake up a pan of Baked Rigatoni
Want more? Head to 18 Types of Pasta to learn more about pasta shapes and how to use them in your cooking.
Easy Pasta Sauce
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 3 cups 1x
This homemade tomato sauce recipe has simple ingredients that make big flavor! Here’s how to make this Italian staple.
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes, San Marzano or best quality
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 6 large basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan. Add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 5 minutes, until softened and fragrant. Add the tomatoes and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often.
- Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the salt, sugar, oregano and basil and blend until combined.
- Return to the saucepan and simmer partially covered until thickened to the desired consistency, 15 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust salt as desired. (Variations: Stir in red pepper flakes, a splash of cream, grated Parmesan cheese, or a splash of balsamic vinegar if desired.)
- Serve 2 cups tomato sauce with 8 ounces pasta, and top with Parmesan cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese, and/or red pepper flakes. Sauce stores refrigerated for 5 days or frozen for 3 months.
- Category: Sauce
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian inspired
- Diet: Vegetarian
Keywords: Pasta sauce recipe, Pasta sauces, Homemade pasta sauce
Let us know if you have any questions!