Home Chef’s Guide to Canning Marinara Sauce

Jarred marinara sauce
Canning marinara sauce can be done in a pressure canner or in a boiling water bath canner. Ladle cooked marinara sauce into hot, sterilized canning jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Wipe the rims, and cover them with lids and screw bands. Process pints and quart jars for 25-45 minutes.

Also known as pasta sauce, tomato sauce, or spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce is a tomato-based Italian condiment made with natural herbs and spices that is perfect for home canning.

What are the Best Tomatoes for Canning Marinara Sauce?

Roma tomatoes and Marzano are best for making canned marinara sauce due to their thin flesh. If you can’t find these types, garden variety tomatoes also work well.

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marinara sauce in a jar

Water-Bath Canning Marinara Sauce Recipe

  • Author: Regie
  • Total Time: 4 hours


This homemade marinara sauce is not only healthy but has a robust flavor that rivals store-bought sauces and is easy to make!


  • 25 pounds plum tomatoes, cored and halved lengthwise
  • 1 ½ tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 3 large bay leaves
  • 2 quarts water, or as needed
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 10 teaspoons salt
  • 1 ⅞ cups bottled lemon juice


  1. Wash, rinse, and inspect 10 quart-sized canning jars. Ensure they are free from nicks and imperfections and the rings have no visible rust.
  2. Combine whole tomatoes, oregano, honey, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, and bay leaves in a large stockpot. Add water to cover the ingredients and stir.
  3. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Remove the lid, reduce the heat, and let the mixture simmer for 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves, stir again and adjust the seasoning to suit your taste.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a separate large skillet over moderately high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute them for 10 minutes till soft, then remove from heat.
  6. Puree your mixture to separate the juice, pulp, skin, and seeds using a food mill or immersion blender.
  7. Add the pulp and juice to your stockpot again, plus the sautéed onions and garlic. Cook and stir constantly over medium heat to prevent scorching. Wait for your sauce to thicken, and reduce by half. It should take 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  8. In the meantime, boil your canning jars upside down for 10 minutes to fully sterilize them. Remove your canning jars from the simmering water and place them on a clean towel.
  9. Add 1 tablespoon salt and 3 tablespoons of store-bought lemon juice into each jar.
  10. Ladle marinara sauce into the hot jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Wipe any residual moisture from the jar rims, cover with lids, and apply screw bands until fingertip tight.
  11. Fill the water canner halfway with water. Place the jar rack inside and bring water to a boil. Place the jars into the canner using jar tongs, leaving 2 inches of space between the jars. Cover with boiling water to a level of 1 inch above the top of the jars.
  12. Process the sealed jars in vigorously boiling water for 45 minutes.
  13. After processing, remove the jars with a jar lifter and place them 1-2 inches apart on a towel-covered counter and allow them to cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
  14. Remove the screw bands and test the seals by pressing the lids with your finger (sealed jars will not indent). Label the sealed jars and store them in a cool, dry place.
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Canning Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup
  • Calories: 44kcal
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Sodium: 325mg
  • Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 7g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 1g

How to Pressure Can Marinara Sauce

Once your homemade marinara sauce is ready for canning, follow these steps to pressure can it:

  1. Ladle hot marinara sauce into hot, sanitized ½-liter pints or 1-liter quart jars, leaving 1-inch headspace.
  2. Use paper towels or a kitchen towel to wipe the jar rims clean.
  3. Place lids on each jar and add screw bands. Tighten until fingertip tight.
  4. Place the jars into a prepared pressure canner that has 2-4 inches of boiling water in it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your pressure canner.
  5. Close the lid of the canner and let the canner vent steam for 10 minutes. Allow the pressure to build to the correct level and then process pint jars for 20 minutes and quart jars for 25 minutes per the tables below:

Canning marinara sauce in a weighted gauge pressure canner:

Altitude0-1,000ft1,000ft +

Canning marinara sauce in a dial-gauge pressure canner:

  1. Once the processing time is done, turn the heat off and give the canner time to cool down. Do not open the lid before the pressure returns to zero.
  2. Remove the jars carefully with a jar lifter and allow them to sit undisturbed on a towel-lined countertop for 24 hours at room temperature.
  3. Remove the screw bands and inspect the seals. Any lids that pop back after pressing with your finger show the absence of a vacuum seal.
  4. Label all sealed jars and store them in a cool, dry place.
Canned marinara sauce jars cooling
Canned marinara sauce

Does Marinara Sauce Need to Be Pressure Canned?

No. Marinara sauce can be canned in a water bath canner or a pressure canner.

Most tomatoes are considered acidic foods as they have a pH of 4.6. However, some tomato varieties have lower acidity and should be acidified by adding citric acid or bottled lemon juice before processing.

Are There Other Ingredients in Marinara Sauce?

The ingredients for making a classic canned marinara sauce include:

  • Black pepper or red pepper
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Garlic cloves
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • Onions
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Tomatoes
Table with tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and garlic.
Marinara sauce ingredients

What is the Shelf Life of Marinara Sauce?

Marinara sauce is shelf-stable if properly stored in a cool, dry place. Per the USDA, the shelf life of unopened canned marinara sauce is 18 months.

If you have an opened jar of marinara, refrigerate it and use it within 3-4 days.

How to Properly Store Canned Marinara

The best method for storing canned marinara sauce is by keeping your sealed jars in a cool, dark, dry place. Avoid moisture and sunlight, as these can cause the sauce to spoil.


Growing up as a farm girl, Regie assisted her grandparents in canning sheep meat and helped her mother sell canned carrots. This grew her passion for canning from a young age. As a writer, she uses her canning experience to give creative, practical ideas for preserving different foods to canning enthusiasts.

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