Store-bought marinara doesn't hold a candle to Homemade Instant Pot Marinara and with the Instant Pot's help, making your own is a breeze. Make it with meat or omit for a vegetarian sauce – your choice!
I can't look at a bottle of marinara without memories of eating it by the spoonfuls when I was pregnant with my twin boys. I don't know what nutrient I was lacking, but I simply couldn't get enough of it.
Even when I'm not pregnant, I LOVE a good tomato sauce. I'll eat a bowlful of it with my breadsticks and my pasta bowls are 20% pasta to 80% sauce.
While I have a couple of store-bought brands that I'm happy with, you just can't beat the taste of homemade. Deep, rich tomato flavor with just the right amount of herb-y punch; I'll put it on everything.
Luckily for all you Instant Pot owners out there, you can achieve this slow-cooked flavor in minutes!
This is my little sister's recipe and together we have tweaked it again and again, and it's finally ready to come into all your homes and make good use of all your garden tomatoes. Prepare to never look at the bottled version the same again.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE FRESH TOMATO MARINARA SAUCE
- Because it TASTES fresh. Like you just picked a juicy tomato from your garden and took a big bite
- You get to control the flavors. Leave it simple with minimal herbs or load it up with basil, oregano, parsley, etc
- No added sugar! So many store-bought versions contain added sugar. If you're using good tomatoes, there's just no need for that
- Fresh, hot marinara right out of the pot. It's glorious
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT EASY MARINARA SAUCE
- Brown the meat, then set it aside
- Chop of your veggies – coarse, quick chops here, nothing fancy
- Add all your veggies and seasonings to the pot; pressure cook it up!
- Remove the lid and relish in the amazing smell (important step here)
- Blend it up
- Add your sausage back in and you are done!
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
TIPS FOR MAKING FLAVORFUL MARINARA SAUCE WITH FRESH TOMATOES
- Instead of using plain ground meat, amp up the flavor right from the get go with Italian Sausage. It makes a HUGE difference. I like to use the turkey sausage that is packaged with 4 or 5 sausages in casings. Just slice the casing and squeeze out the meat. I use a package of both sweet and spicy Italian for a nice, mellow kick.
- FYI: This sauce is still amazing if you'd like to omit the sausage which I often do
- Use Flavorful Tomatoes
- Prime time for tomatoes is summer/early fall. In the off-season, cherry tomatoes or even canned San Marzano whole tomatoes may be a good substitute
- Use a Variety of Tomatoes
- Romas are the most common for sauce tomato because they contain the least amount of seeds and water, however, they aren't the most flavorful. I prefer to use 1/3 – 1/2 romas and then add a mish-mash of other varieties. Cherry, Heirloom, Better Boy, Early Girl, Celebrity . . . so many choices and all will bring a delicious element of their own
- Layer Methodically
- Thick tomato sauces tend to burn if they are in direct contact with the bottom of the pot. For this recipe, I stack the vegetables that will release the most liquid first and add the sauces on top. This is important so be sure and follow the recipe exactly.
Read more about The Best Tomatoes for Making Tomato Sauce if you're interested
HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER TOMATO SAUCE
Tomato sauce freezes wonderfully. This recipe makes a big batch so I end up freezing a lot of it.
- Make sure tomato sauce is chilled or at least room temperature
- Label bags with “Tomato Sauce” and date
- Fill freezer-safe ziplock bags with sauce. I usually do 2 – 4 cups per bag. A typical store-bought bottle of spaghetti sauce contains about 3 cups.
- Tip: Use this handy Jokari Baggy Holder to hold the bag open while you pour in your sauce. I love this gadget! It takes up very little space and is the perfect extra set of hands.
- Lay flat on a sheet pan to freeze. This makes it easier to store in the freezer and quicker to thaw later.
Your sauce will be good for at least 3 months.
Whether you consider yourself a DIY – er in the kitchen or not, trust me when I say you need to make this at least once! The deep, rich flavors are unreal and will make you feel like a famous Italian Chef in your kitchen.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MARINARA SAUCE, TOMATO SAUCE, AND SPAGHETTI SAUCE
Traditionally marinara sauce is a tomato sauce with very few ingredients, ie tomato, onion, garlic. Spaghetti sauce tends to contain more ingredients such as meat or other vegetables. Tomato sauce is a cooked puree of unseasoned tomatoes, sometimes seasoned with other vegetables and spices.
However, these names and definitions tend to vary from one site to the next. One person’s spaghetti sauce is another person’s marinara, so be flexible and do your homework as you search for what you need.
RECIPES TO USE YOUR INSTANT POT MARINARA SAUCE
Did I mention you can use this sauce to make a super quick dinner of One Pot Spaghetti, over Poached Eggs and toast, atop Cheesy Stuffed Meatloaf, in a Spaghetti Squash Boat, or on your Pizza Mac and Cheese? Reasons 86 -89 why you need to rock this out.
- Make it meat-free. Leave out the sausage and add extras seasonings to taste if needed
- Use it as pizza sauce which works well with or without the sausage
- Make it Mexican for enchiladas or shredded meat by adding a jalapeno and cilantro
- Make it smoky by adding canned chipotle peppers and smoked paprika. Also really good with shredded meat
- Make it chunky! Blend the sauce only until it reaches your desired texture, or blend the sauce until smooth and stir in a large can of diced tomatoes.
OTHER INSTANT POT PASTA RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- How to Cook the Perfect Pasta in the Instant Pot
- Classic Italian Pasta Salad
- Pressure Cooker Mac and Cheese
- Pressure Cooker Cauliflower Fettuccine Alfredo
- All our Instant Pot Pasta Recipes
TOOLS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT FRESH TOMATO MARINARA SAUCEPrint
Instant Pot Fresh Tomato Marinara Sauce
Rich, luscious marinara sauce made with fresh tomatoes in minutes with the help of your pressure cooker
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 90 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Italian
- 20 oz Italian Turkey Sausage – Spicy, Sweet, or a combination of both (see note)
- 2 1/2 quarts (about 10 cups) coarsely chopped fresh tomatoes (see note)
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 –3 red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
- 8 oz can tomato sauce
- 6 oz can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 – 1 teaspoon fennel seed (see note)
- Using the saute function on high, brown sausage meat until cooked through. Spoon meat onto a plate, leaving juices in the pot, and set aside.
- Pour meat juices into a measuring cup (I use a fat separator), then add only 1/4 cup of it back into the pot.
- To the pot add the remaining ingredients, making sure the tomato paste is on top of the tomatoes; don't stir. If using a 6 quart pressure cooker, press tomatoes down. It's okay if the pot is full, but you don't want them smashing into the lid.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use a natural release.
- In batches, transfer the sauce to a high-speed blender. Carefully pulse a few times then blend until smooth. This can also be done directly in the pot with an immersion blender.
- Taste and add more salt if desired. I typically add an extra teaspoon or two.
- Return sauce to the pot and stir in reserved sausage.
- Optional: if a thicker sauce is desired, use the saute function to simmer until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Serve hot over pasta or let it cool then store covered in the refrigerator.
- Leftovers can be portioned into freezer safe ziplock bags and placed in the freezer for 5 months or so.
- I prefer to buy the turkey sausage that comes in a casing. Just slit the casing and squeeze out the meat to brown it
- Use a combination of roma tomatoes and a variety of others. Romas have less liquid while other tomatoes will give a greater depth of flavor
- Be sure and use a full natural release. The pot will be full and you don't want hot tomato sauce shooting through the valve
- A full teaspoon of fennel seed gives a lovely licorice back note that I love! If you aren't a fan either omit or decrease to 1/2 teaspoon
Keywords: instant pot recipes, homemade marinara sauce, easy dinner recipes