This quick and easy Instant Pot Marinara Sauce recipe is big on flavor with garlic and oregano! It will have you wondering, why use store-bought sauce when you can make it yourself?
This delicious and simple tomato sauce is perfect for busy nights, but you’ll still get the satisfaction of a homecooked meal.
Why Plum Tomatoes?
Plum tomatoes are a variety of tomato that is actually bred specifically for making tomato sauce and other tomato products. Because of their slightly oblong shape, they have a higher percentage of solid mass vs. liquidy seedy insides.
Plum tomatoes are also known as Roma tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes, which are probably the most prized for sauce making, are a specific type of plum tomato that come from the San Marzano region of Italy.
What are the Carrots There For?
If you don’t read the whole recipe first, you might be tempted to dice the carrot and mix it throughout the sauce. But if you read the entire recipe, you’ll see that I actually advise you to remove the carrots at the end.
This is why I specify to leave them in large pieces. You could even add the carrot whole so it’s easier to find and remove.
The reason for adding the carrots is that they add a subtle sweetness to offset the acidity of the tomatoes. If you prefer, you can finely chop up the carrots and leave them in the sauce. Although not as traditional, it adds nutritional value and some texture.
Sugar in Tomato Sauce!?
Adding a little sugar helps to achieve the same results as the carrots—the sweetness neutralizes the acidity of the tomatoes in this Instant Pot Marinara Sauce.
I know adding sugar is not traditional in Italy, but it helps the balance it out and I think it tastes great. If you don’t want to add it, it is completely optional.
Can I Freeze the Sauce?
Yes! You can freeze this sauce and keep it for up to 3 months.
Don’t hesitate to double the recipe, so you will always have some on hand.
Should I Use Fresh or Dried Spices?
You can use either for this recipe. I find that dried spices tend to hold up better and cooking in a pressure cooker really infuses the flavor well.
I did call for fresh basil, because I love the fresh aroma it adds. But if you want, you can substitute dried basil. If using dried basil, use about 1 tablespoon.
Another option is to use an Italian seasoning blend instead of buying individual spices. Use about 1.5 tablespoons.
The red pepper flakes are also optional. Use more if you like a spicy arrabiata style sauce, and leave it out if you don’t like spice!
How to Serve?
It can also be used in many Instant Pot recipes that call for marinara or tomato sauce! Some examples:
Instant Pot Stuffed Shells (one-pot meal)
- 800 g crushed plum tomatoes fresh or canned
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 medium carrot cut into large pieces
- 4 garlic cloves chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh basil
- 1 tbsp virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- Add oil to instant pot and select “Saute”.
- Add onion and garlic and cook for a 2 minutes till soft.
- Add carrots, tomatoes, basil, thyme, oregano and red pepper flakes.
- Close the lid and cook at high pressure for 30 minutes.
- When cooking time ends, wait for a natural pressure release.
- Open the lid and and remove the carrots.
- Stir in salt, pepper and sugar.
- Serve or keep for later.