Simple Instant Pot Marinara Sauce

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Busy weeknights call for a delicious Instant Pot Marinara Sauce made with fresh tomatoes and pantry staple ingredients. This quick made from scratch pasta sauce comes together in 35 minutes for a healthy sauce everyone will enjoy!

A bowl of marinara sauce with basil on top and a wooden spoon in front of the instant pot to the right.
Quick Marinara Sauce

Who knew making marinara sauce at home would make kids go crazy for dinner?

The first time I made marinara sauce at home, my kids got super excited and asked me if I got takeout from our favorite Italian restaurant.

The house smelled so good that the kids demanded an early dinner. 

Why you’ll love this marinara sauce recipe 

Our favorite store-bought pasta sauce is Rao’s marinara sauce. This is my humble attempt to recreate the delicious and authentic flavors of that sauce.

Beyond the incredible flavor, here are just a few more reasons to love this homemade pasta sauce!

  • Simple and easy to make – It comes together in 35 minutes with minimal hands-on time.
  • Naturally vegan and gluten-free 
  • Can be made in advance
  • Simple, pantry staple ingredients

How to make Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

Many of the ingredients found in this recipe are simple, pantry staple ingredients you probably already have on hand.

  • Onion, garlic, olive oil–  These fresh aromatics set the base for this easy to make marinara sauce.
  • Basil + oregano–  Fresh basil and dried oregano bring out fresh flavors in the sauce.
  • Tomatoes- I use fresh tomatoes on the vine for this recipe but you can use canned ones too such as these San Marzano tomatoes
Ingredients laid out for marinara sauce on a grey counter with the different ingredients labeled.
Ingredients for Classic Marinara Sauce

Directions

Saute onions, garlic and salt

  • Select ‘Saute‘ on the Instant Pot and set on ‘High‘.
  • Next, add the olive oil to the pot. When the oil heats through add onions, garlic, and salt. Mix well.
  • Cook until the onions soften and turn translucent about 6-8 minutes.
  • Add the basil, tomatoes, and oregano to the pot and mix well.

Pressure cook for 10 minutes

  • Next, deglaze the pot– scrape down the bottom of the pot to ensure nothing stuck to the bottom. Hit cancel and cover the pot with the lid. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
  • Once the cooking completes, immediately release the pressure by moving the steam valve to the venting position.
  • Then open the lid and stir the sauce.

Puree and store

  • With an immersion blender, coarsely puree the mixture. If you use a blender instead of an immersion blender, allow the marinara sauce 10 minutes to cool down before pureeing it.
  • If the sauce is too thin, sauté on medium heat for 5-10 minutes until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Allow sauce to cool completely before transferring to a glass jar or ziplock bags for storage. Store in the refrigerator for a week or in the freezer for a couple of months. 

Notes

  1. This marinara sauce has been made with tomatoes on the vine hence the orange color. Use fresh or canned San Marzano tomatoes to get the deep red colored sauce.
  2. You can use a vegetable chopper to quicken the chopping process for tomatoes.
  3. If your tomatoes are too tart use sugar to balance it out. I would start with a teaspoon of sugar and use it as needed. 
  4. No need to add water while making the sauce because if you are using tomatoes on the vine as I did, they’ll ooze out plenty of juice providing enough liquid for pressure cooking. 

Variations

  1. Make it creamy – Add heavy cream or to keep it vegan, use cashew paste. Soak 1/4 cup cashews in 1/2 cup hot water for 15 minutes and then puree it to a fine paste. 
  2. Add herbs – You can use parsley, thyme, or rosemary if you would like. I prefer the oregano + basil combination.
  3. Spicy marinara sauce – If you prefer it spicy, season it with crushed red peppers or black pepper.
An instant pot pressure cooker with a spoon and homemade marinara sauce.
Homemade marinara sauce

Questions about marinara sauce

Are marinara sauce and spaghetti sauce the same thing?

While the marinara sauce and spaghetti sauce often are used interchangeably, they are not the same.

One distinctive difference between the two sauces has to do with the use of meat.
Spaghetti sauce tends to have ground meat or sausage whereas marinara sauce doesn’t.

Another noticeable difference between the two sauces comes down to consistency. Marinara tends to be lighter and less thick than spaghetti sauce.

Spaghetti sauce uses more aromatics at the base with carrots, celery, and onion developing more complex flavors while cooking.  

Can you put the sauce in an Instant Pot?

Yes, but be careful. Once you have cooked a thick and flavorful pasta sauce you might be tempted to use the sauce for another recipe.

Tomato sauces tend to produce a ‘burn message’ when they cook in the instant pot because they stick to the steel pot. Some ways to avoid this include cooking with additional liquids or using a pot in pot method.

This is only necessary when using already made marinara sauce because it will cook out the liquid created during the initial cooking phase.

Check out this step by step recipe on how to make pasta with marinara sauce using an Instant Pot.

What do you use the marinara sauce for?

Once you make a delicious and easy batch of Instant Pot marinara sauce you won’t be able to stop!

Here are a few ideas for recipes to try with your homemade marinara sauce.
– Marinara sauce with meatballs
– Dip cheese sticks into your sauce
– Use the sauce to make a fresh pizza
– Start your morning with a spicy shakshuka using your marinara sauce

For other delicious ideas on using your fresh marinara sauce check out these 32 recipes from Taste from Home that start with a jar of marinara sauce. 

Two jars of marinara sauce in front of the instant pot and two tomatoes on the vine.
Classic Marinara Sauce

Other delicious pasta recipes

From breakfast to sides to dinner you can make these delicious pasta dishes for any meal of the day!

  1. Chicken Spinach Pasta– This Chicken Spinach Pasta is effortless to make and you can dish up this quick and satisfying supper in about 30 minutes.
  2. Easy Pad Thai– Forget about takeout, learn how to make this easy and flavorful Pad Thai recipe at home in just 30 minutes!
  3. Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese– Impress your guests with this creamy pasta recipe that is quick, easy and has a secret ingredient to amp things up. 
  4. One-Pot Creamy Curry Pasta with Shrimp– One-pot creamy curry pasta with shrimp is a perfect marriage of Indian flavors with Italian produce.
A black bowl on a grey counter with a colorful napkin to the left and marinara sauce with basil leaves in the bowl.

Instant Pot Marinara Sauce

4.5 from 2 votes
Make this naturally Instant Pot Marinara Sauce using pantry staple ingredients for the perfect weeknight pasta dinner!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Pressure building time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 10 cups
Diet : Vegan
Course : Basics
Method: Instant Pot
Cuisine : Italian

Ingredients
  

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 sprigs basil leaves, ~15-16 leaves
  • 3.5 lbs medium-sized tomatoes, chopped, ~20 tomatoes or 2 -28 oz cans
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, chopped
  • pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Select the Instant Pot 'Saute' mode and set it on 'High'
  • Add oil and once it heats up add onions, garlic, and salt. Mix well.
  • Continue to cook until the onions soften and turn translucent (~6-8 minutes).
  • Add in basil along with tomatoes and oregano. Mix well.
  • Deglaze the pot – scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure there is nothing stuck. Hit cancel and cover the lid. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
  • Once the cooking cycle is complete, release the pressure immediately by moving the steam valve to the venting position.
  • Open the lid and give the sauce a quick stir.
  • Use an immersion blender to coarsely puree the mixture. If using a blender, allow the marinara sauce to cool down for at least 10 minutes before pureeing it.
  • If the sauce is too thin for your liking, saute it on medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the desired consistency is achieved.
  • Let it cool completely before transferring the sauce into a glass jar or ziplock bags. Store in the refrigerator for a week or store it in the freezer for a couple of months.

Notes

  1. I have used tomatoes on the vine for this recipe but you can use canned ones too such as these San Marzano tomatoes
  2. You can use a vegetable chopper to fasten the chopping process for tomatoes.
  3. If your tomatoes are too tart use sugar to balance it out. I would start with a teaspoon of sugar and use it as needed. 
  4. No need to add water while making the sauce because if you are using tomatoes on the vine like I did, they’ll ooze out plenty of juice providing enough liquid for pressure cooking. 
Variations
  1. Make it creamy – Add heavy cream or to keep it vegan, use cashew paste. Soak 1/4 cup cashews in 1/2 cup hot water for 15 minutes and then puree it to a fine paste. 
  2. Add herbs – You can use parsley, thyme, or rosemary if you would like. I prefer the oregano + basil combination.
How to store marinara sauce
This sauce stores well in the refrigerator for about a week and lasts for a couple of months in the refrigerator.
  • Refrigerator – Store it using leftover marinara sauce bottles which hold about 3 cups or use any airtight containers to store them. 
  • Freezer – Freeze the rest using these freezer-safe pyrex containers which are perfect for the job. To use, thaw the glass containers in the refrigerator overnight. 
I hate throwing away Ziploc bags after one use and that is why I prefer using glass containers. I like this storage set in particular because it has 8 containers in 2-cup and 1-cup sizes. 
Note: When using glass containers to freeze the sauce follow the guidelines below.
  1. Don’t fill it to the brim, leave about an inch – that will give some room for the masala to expand.
  2. Always thaw the glass container in the refrigerator overnight before use. 
Read this: How to prevent the glass from breaking in the freezer.

Pantry EssentialsGetting the right tools for your kitchen makes cooking more enjoyable and less frustrating. Here’s a list of kitchen essentials I own and recommend.

Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 86kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 2gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 358mgPotassium: 409mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 1350IUVitamin C: 23mgCalcium: 28mgIron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

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Keyword : Best, Classic, easy, Simple

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