Slow-cook Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

If you have tomatoes still ripening away in your garden (or magical access to a bucket full of fresh ones nearby) you should make this. Make THIS. MAKE THIS.

I can’t reiterate it enough, but truly, when winter comes around, you won’t be sorry you took away one summer Sunday afternoon of your life to cook sauce. If you’re into the whole canning process—which sadly, even after writing about it in last year’s marinara post, I have yet to learn—now’s the time to put those wonderful skills to use. Otherwise, make some room in the freezer. Which is what I did, after cutting up a solar system full of tomatoes and doubling my original recipe.

I froze sauce last year, and every time I pulled a batch out, my life became instantly and magically brighter. Even in the darkness of early winter evenings. Seriously. Warm summer sauce on a fork full of linguine when there’s snow outside your window—well, I’ll let you describe that experience for yourself once you pop your own taste of September out of the freezer…in January.

Below, you’ll find the same recipe I posted last summer. However, I doubles the amounts simply to make it more convenient for those with the intentions of freezing/canning. If you’re interested in just making a dinner portion for six, refer to my original post.

Slow-cook Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce


  • -5 cups onion (2 jumbo onions), diced
  • -9-11 cloves garlic, minced
  • -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • -40 medium tomatoes, (20-22 cups)
  • -1 packed cup fresh basil, chopped
  • -2 Tbsp. fresh thyme
  • -1/2 cup fresh oregano
  • -4 tsp. salt
  • -1 tsp. pepper


  1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium high. Add onions, stir, and then add garlic. Saute over medium heat until translucent.
  2. Meanwhile, dice tomatoes. Add to pot, discarding extra juice and seeds that flow out of tomatoes and onto the cutting board. Bring up to temperature, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir in salt, pepper, and herbs.
  3. Let simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours, or until sauce reaches desired consistency. Adjust seasonings, to taste.

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  • Reply
    September 15, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Ahhhh :D. It does look delicious – what a great colour!

  • Reply
    September 15, 2012 at 7:31 am

    This look delightful!
    We’d always used homemade marinara sauce, but this would be a fun new recipe to try!


  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    September 15, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Now that I have a slow cooker, I can make amazing recipes like this!!! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Grace Dickinson
      September 15, 2012 at 8:38 am

      Awesome! A slow cooker is still something I don’t have. I’d love to try one out, and I bet it’d be perfect for this!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2012 at 8:16 am

    A great version… and very versatile 🙂

  • Reply
    This Week's Menu - Gamerwife
    September 24, 2012 at 9:09 am

    […] Turkey Meatballs with Homemade Marinara and […]

  • Reply
    October 4, 2012 at 4:40 am

    I will try this sauce tonight. But I wanted to add some turmeric powder. Would that be okay? 🙂

  • Reply
    Pasta Puttanesca « Food-Fitness-FreshAir
    January 8, 2013 at 11:20 am

    […] I’m sharing my recipe with you here. It’s simple to make and much quicker than your standard simmer-all-day marinara sauce. When you’re looking for a weeknight dinner, I suggest you try tackling your fear of anchovies […]

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