This easy marinara sauce dip is rich in flavor and quick to make with a few simple ingredients. With very little preparation and some time to simmer this recipe is a keeper.
This Marinara sauce dip is super easy to make. Use it for dipping bread and cheese sticks, breaded chicken tenders, or slather it over the top of garlic bread.
Cost To Make
Estimated cost = $2.55 or $0.21 as serve
Why You'll Love This Recipe:
- Quick and easy to make and with simple ingredients, this homemade marinara dipping sauce is budget-friendly.
- The recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to feed a crowd.
- This oil-reduced recipe uses two teaspoons of oil, unlike other recipes that can use up to four tablespoons (¼ cup), making it a healthier option.
- This tomato dipping sauce is a naturally gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian recipe.
Ingredients In This Recipe
The printable recipe further down the page has the complete list of ingredients, including quantities and step-by-step instructions.
Olive oil - we like to use extra virgin olive oil, but you could also use vegetable oil.
Tomatoes - use a can of diced tomatoes if you have them. If you don't, you can use a can of whole tomatoes and crush the whole tomatoes into smaller pieces as the sauce cooks.
Onion and garlic - always add a nice flavor to any dish.
Sugar - to enhance the flavors and balance out the acidity of the tomatoes.
Use white granulated sugar or organic beet sugar because these won't alter the color of the sauce.
If you choose to use brown sugar or palm sugar, be aware that these can turn the sauce a muddy color depending on how much you add to the sauce.
Dried herbs - dried basil and oregano, but you can also use a dried Italian seasoning mix.
Use your taste to determine the amount of dried herbs you add to the sauce because the flavor intensity of dried herbs will vary depending on the age and how it is stored.
Start by adding 1 – 2 teaspoons, taste the sauce, and add more if needed.
Chili - is optional. You could use red pepper flakes or fresh red chilies like we did.
Salt and freshly ground pepper - add these for flavor and add these to taste.
Step By Step Instructions
Step 1 - Heat the oil in a small pot, then add the onion and fry over medium/high heat for 3- 5 minutes or until they become soft and translucent. Then add the garlic and fry for another minute.
Step 2 - Add all the remaining ingredients except the salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Step 3 - Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered with a lid, for about 30 – 40 minutes or until it has a thick creamy consistency.
Stir the sauce occasionally as it cooks, and taste the sauce from time to time, adding more dried herbs if required.
At the end of cooking, season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper because if you add the salt at the start, there is a risk that the sauce can end up too salty due to evaporation.
Step 4 - Don't like it chunky - not everyone loves a chunky sauce, and if you like yours smooth, process the sauce in a blender until you get the consistency you like.
Make it thick - by simmering the sauce until it becomes thick and turns a rich red color, this will enhance the flavors in the sauce, and it won't look and taste watery.
Sugar - Tomatoes are naturally acidic, and mixing in a small amount of sugar will reduce the acidity and enhance the tomato flavor.
How much sugar you add to the sauce will come down to personal taste and the acidity of the tomatoes.
So add a good pinch or two of sugar, then taste the sauce and add more until you get it to your liking.
Made it too thick - thin it down with some water and taste, and adjust the seasonings if needed.
This dipping sauce recipe makes about 2 ½ cups of sauce or around 600 grams (2.16 ounces) - which is about 12 x 50 grams (1.7 ounces) serves.
Calories Per Serve
Each serving is about 24 calories.
This homemade marinara sauce is not only good as a dip. Use it as a pasta sauce, as a tomato sauce for pizza, use it in lasagna, cook meatballs in it, or use it for chicken parmesan.
Passata - If you want a smooth dipping sauce and don't have a blender, use smooth passata sauce, finely mince the onion and grate the garlic before cooking to get a smoothish dipping sauce.
Refrigeration - If not serving straight away, allow the sauce to cool, transfer it to an air-tight container, and store it in the refrigerator until needed. It will keep well for about 4-5 days in the fridge.
Freezing - This sauce freezes well and will keep for 3-4 months in the freezer. To freeze, place the sauce in a freezer-safe container or zip lock bag with the air squeezed.
Frequently Asked Questions
The marinara dipping sauce can be served hot or at room temperature.
I do hope that you try this recipe for Marinara Sauce Dip. If you do, please come back and leave a comment below because I would love to know how you went.
Marinara Sauce Dip
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 200 grams (7 ounces / 1 large) onion finely diced
- 4-6 garlic cloves diced or grated
- 2 x 400 grams (14 ounces) canned diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons dried basil leaves or more if needed
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or more if needed
- 1 - 2 teaspoons white sugar or to taste
- 1 - 3 small red chilies finely sliced optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fry until soft and translucent, about 3- 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and fry for one more minute.
- Add the canned tomatoes and their juice, dried basil leaves, dried oregano sugar, and chilies (if using), and stir together. Turn the heat to high and bring the sauce to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low, put cover the pot with a lid, and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes, or until the sauce has a thick creamy consistency.
- Season with salt and pepper, and add more dried herbs and sugar if necessary.