Instant Pot Marinara Sauce tastes tastes rich and robust like it has been simmering all day but is ready in about an hour in the Instant Pot pressure cooker.
I love the taste of homemade Marinara Sauce! It is rich, garlicky, and so flavorful with all the Italian herbs and seasonings. However, I often don’t have all day to wait for the sauce to simmer for hours to get that delicious flavor!
Enter the Instant Pot! It is fabulous for speeding up the cooking process but maintaining rich flavors. My Instant Pot Recipe Collection reflects my love of this pressure cooker.
By pressure cooking the marinara sauce in the Instant Pot, the marinara sauce cooks much faster yet develops that same rich flavor in only about an hour.
It tastes fabulous on spaghetti, meatballs, like my Baked Italian Meatballs, or Porcupine Meatballs, or in my Lasagna Soup or Tortellini Lasagna, or topping the Best Chicken Parmesan, or even as a dipping sauce for Toasted Spinach Pesto Ravioli.
Furthermore, it has no preservatives and is basically all vegetables and seasonings. So it is a sauce that everyone, including vegans can enjoy.
What Do I Need To Make Instant Pot Marinara Sauce?
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- 6-quart Instant Pot Duo60 from Amazon.com (affiliate link) – I use the 6-Quart Instant Pot Duo for my recipes. However, they have many models of Instant Pot, including in a 3-quart size, or an 8-quart size.
- Chef’s Knife from Amazon.com (affiliate link)
- Immersion Blender – (Amazon Affiliate Link) You will need this to blend the sauce in the Instant Pot after cooking. You could also pour the marinara sauce in a blender or food processor, but I like the Immersion Blender best. It is the easiest option.
- Oil. You just need a little oil to sauté the onions and garlic.
- Tomatoes. I have written the recipe for canned tomatoes since that is what most readers will have on hand year round. However, if you have fresh tomatoes, by all means use them as they will add the freshest flavor.
- Onion. I chopped up a white onion. However, you could use a yellow onion, sweet onion, or Vidalia onion, whatever you have on hand.
- Garlic. I recommend using fresh garlic for the most flavorful sauce.
- Liquid. For the Instant Pot, you need a thin liquid to pour on the bottom of the pot. You could use water, broth (vegetable or chicken), or red wine as your thin liquid.
- Herbs and Seasonings. Dried oregano, thyme. I like to use fresh basil but you could use dried basil if you have that on hand. Also, If you have the herb blend called Italian Seasoning, then you could use that as well. If you like a little spicy heat, then add a little crushed red pepper.
- Sugar (Optional). To cut the acidity in the recipe, you can add a little sugar in the sauce after pressure cooking and before blending with the immersion blender.
How To Make Instant Pot Marinara Sauce
- Sauté the Onions and Garlic.
- Using the Saute function, add oil and cook the onion until soft and then add the garlic for about a minute.
- Deglaze the pot.
- Add a 1/2 cup of thin liquid (water, broth, red wine) to deglaze the pot and prevent the onions and garlic from sticking to the bottom of the pot. This will help prevent getting the burn message.
- Add the Tomatoes and seasoning.
- Add the diced tomatoes (either can or fresh) and then add the salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, basil, and crushed red pepper (if desired.)
- Pressure Cook.
- Pressure Cook for 25 minutes with high pressure.
- Natural Release.
- Allow for a natural release for 15 minutes. This means that you do nothing for 15 minutes.
- Add Sugar.
- If you would like to cut the acidity of the sauce, add a tablespoon of sugar after pressure cooking and the natural release.
- Blend the Sauce.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce.
- Thicken The Sauce.
- If you would like a thicker sauce, use the SAUTE function to heat the sauce for 5 or 10 minutes.
For more detailed ingredients with specified amounts of each ingredient and more detailed instructions, scroll down to the bottom of the post, just before the comments, to the printable recipe card.
- Avoid the Instant Pot Burn Message!
- Always deglaze the pan by adding a little liquid and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to keep ingredients from burning on the bottom of the pot.
- Add the liquid, such as water, broth, or wine BEFORE adding the tomatoes and seasonings. Having a think liquid on the bottom of the pot helps to prevent getting the burn message.
- Add the tomatoes and seasonings last! This is to keep the tomatoes and herbs and seasonings off the bottom of the pot to prevent them from burning. The tomatoes are thick and acidic and can cause the burn message.
- DO NOT STIR!! If you don’t stir, you can to keep the tomatoes and seasonings off the bottom of the pot to avoid them from burning.
- Use quality ingredients.
- If you have fresh tomatoes, then by all means use them. See the printable recipe card below for the correct amount of fresh tomatoes to equal the same amount. However, I have written the recipe primarily for canned tomatoes since that is what most people will have on hand year-round.
- Fresh garlic makes a difference.
- For the liquid, if you use vegetable broth or chicken broth, I recommend using a low-sodium broth so that the sauce is not too salty and you have more control over how much salt goes into the sauce.
- If you use red wine, use a red wine that you like. If you don’t like red wine, then don’t use it. However, if you are going to use a red wine, I recommend using a red wine that you actually like to drink and not a cooking wine that is only used for cooking. You will get a better flavor using a drinking red wine that you like.
- Make The Recipe In Advance
- Yes, you can make this marinara sauce in advance and in this case, I actually recommend that you do that. You don’t have to, but you will be happy if you do. Why? It is because if you allow the sauce to sit for hours, or overnight, it allows the flavors to develop even more to provide a more rich, robust, and flavorful marinara sauce.
- Add A Little Sugar
- To cut the acidity, add a little sugar, about a tablespoon, to the marinara sauce after it pressure cooks and before you blend it with the immersion blender. This is optional, but some people prefer to offset the acidity of the tomatoes and the sugar does that.
- Customize The Texture Of the Sauce
- You control the texture of the sauce meaning how chunky or how smooth the sauce is by how long you blend it. If you want the sauce to be a little chunky, just blend a short time, pulse it, so you can check the chunkiness of the sauce periodically. If you like it thinner, then blend it a little longer until the sauce is smooth and not chunky.
- Adjust The Thickness Of the Sauce
- The pressure cooker requires a minimum amount of liquid to come up to pressure. However, this can sometimes make the sauce a little on the thinner side. If you would like to thicken the sauce after pressure cooking and blending with the Immersion blender, then select the SAUTE button and sauté for 5 or 10 minutes or until the sauce is your desired thickness.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I Freeze Marinara Sauce?
- Yes! You can freeze it for up to 3 months when it is stored in a freezer safe, airtight container.
- How Do I Store Marinara Sauce?
- Store the sauce in an airtight, freezer safe container.
- How Do I reheat Marinara Sauce?
- Pour the marinara sauce into a saucepan and heat the sauce over medium heat until hot and it reaches 165 degrees F.
Serve marinara sauce on top of spaghetti with some parmesan or mozzarella cheese. Serve with meatballs, in lasagna, as a dipping sauce, or on top of pizza!
Go ahead and give this recipe a try. You will be glad you did. If you try it, be sure to rate it and leave a comment to let us know how you like it.
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Instant Pot Marinara Sauce
- Immersion Blender
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or water or red wine)
- 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (or whole tomatoes) (see note for fresh)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (divided)
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional - see note below)
- 1 tablespoon sugar (OPTIONAL - add AFTER pressure cooking)
- Press SAUTE on the High setting, and when the display says "Hot" Add 2 tablespoons oil to the inner liner pot of the Instant Pot. When the oil is hot, add the chopped onion and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until the onions are softened. Add in the minced garlic and stir for 1 minute.
- Pour in 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth (or red wine or water) and deglaze the pot by using a large wooden spoon and scraping any bits of onion or garlic off the bottom of the pan.
- Add two 28-ounce cans of diced tomatoes (or whole tomatoes), and DO NOT STIR!!! (Stirring could cause you to get a "Burn" message.)
- Add salt, pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme, and 2 tablespoons of fresh basil.
- Press CANCEL. Place the lid on the pot and turn the pressure release valve to the SEALING position. Select PRESSURE COOK (or MANUAL depending on model) and HIGH PRESSURE and adjust the +/- button to set the time for 25 minutes. (The Instant Pot will display "On" and will take 10 - 15 minutes to come up to pressure.) When the Instant Pot has reached full pressure, it will beep and start counting down the time from 25 minutes.
- After the Instant Pot has finished 25 minutes of pressure cooking, allow it to release pressure naturally. It will likely take 15 minutes. (This means you do nothing for 15 minutes.) After 15 minutes, if the pin has not dropped, carefully move the pressure release valve to the VENTING position to release the rest of the pressure.
- After the Instant Pot has fully released pressure and the floating pin has dropped, then carefully open the lid. Add a tablespoon of sugar. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce for a minute or two. (NOTE: The longer you blend the more smooth the sauce will be. The shorter time you blend, the more chunky it will be.)
- If you would like to thicken the sauce, select the SAUTE function on HIGH to heat the sauce for about 5 minutes or until it has thickened.
- Add remaining chopped basil before serving.
Sounds delicious. I dislike using my Instant Pot, so I’m sure it turn out super yummy when made on the stove in my Dutch Oven, or in a Slow Cooker.
Yes, this can be made on the stove as well. It will be delicious either way.
Very easy to make. Followed recipe as written. Found it to be a bit spicy. Definitely added the sugar and sautéed for 5 minutes to thicken sauce. I used whole canned tomatoes.
Debra Kawaller says
I tried this again and found it still too spicy. Most recipes only use 1 teaspoon of oregano.I also never saw a sauce recipe using thyme. Perhaps this was a typographical error saying 1 tablespoon of oregano ? It also was very watery and I had to sauté an additional 5 minutes. Instructions for using Instant pot was very good.
Thanks for trying the recipe. For Instant Pot Recipes, I usually double the amount of spices I would use for stovetop recipes to get the same flavor. However, everyone’s taste buds are different, and please adjust the spices to your personal preference. For the moisture, in the future you can leave out the 1/2 cup of broth, or, as you did, sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Thanks for the feedback.