How I Made a Gallon of Homemade Marinara for $4.00

by Michael Nolan on 8 January 2013 · 4 comments

in Recipes

There is no denying that I am a big fan of all things tomato, so it should come as no surprise that I love homemade tomato sauces like marinara. While I have been making my own marinara for years, a recent trip to Costco gave me the chance to see just how cost effective my homemade marinara can be. In fact, one great find at the warehouse store has made it possible for me to make a gallon of marinara at home for right around $4.00!

The base of marinara is crushed tomatoes, and I came across a 105 ounce can of a popular name brand for just $2.99 while on my last shopping trip. Below you can see the ingredients I use for my basic marinara. With just these ingredients, a little olive oil to soften the onion and garlic, and an hour to simmer on the stove or in a slow cooker, you can have a gallon of the best marinara in town for less than the price of a quart of the so-called “gourmet” stuff at the store.

Homemade Marinara @ My Earth Garden

Michael's Basic Marinara
Michael shows you how to make a delicious basic marinara sauce from canned tomatoes.
  1. #10 can of Crushed Tomatoes (105 ounces)
  2. 2 large yellow onions, minced
  3. 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 1 Tablespoon sea salt
  5. 1 Tablespoon sugar
  6. 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  7. 1 Tablespoon coarse black pepper
  8. 2 Tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  1. In a large stock pot, sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir well while bringing to the boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour or until the flavors come together and the sauce thickens slightly.
  4. Taste the sauce at this point and adjust the seasonings to your individual taste.
  1. There will be a lot of leftovers here (unless you’re feeding a football team), so freeze the excess in quart size containers. It will last for at least 6 months without losing flavor or texture, perfect for a quick dinner anytime!
  2. Remember that this is the most basic recipe imaginable. From this base though, you can truly make it your own by adding anything you like from sweet or hot peppers to celery, even make it a chunky-style sauce by adding diced tomatoes and onions.
Michael Nolan's My Earth Garden
Homemade Marinara @ My Earth Garden

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Joseph Hodge January 14, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Even better than freezing would be to can the sauce. Lasts much longer.

Michael Nolan January 14, 2013 at 2:48 pm

I whole-heartedly agree, but in my house I’ll use a gallon in 2-3 weeks so the trouble of canning isn’t necessary. When I am harvesting tomatoes this summer though, there will be much canning!

Joan June 28, 2013 at 10:57 am

So if you’re using fresh tomatoes from the garden do you just cook them in a pot for a bit to get them to ‘stew’ stage? Also, do you know what spices added would make a good spaghetti sauce? I always use to use those spaghetti spice envelopes, and never get the flavor quite right. Thank you.

Michael Nolan September 11, 2013 at 10:53 am

You can use fresh tomatoes the same way. I’d recommend letting the lot cook down for an additional hour or so.

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