Instant Pot Marinara Sauce

Cooked spaghetti topped with red marinara sauce and parsley

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.

Cooked spaghetti topped with red marinara sauce and parsley

Why Plum Tomatoes?

Plum tomatoes are a variety of tomato that is actually bred specifically for making tomato sauce and other tomato products.

They have an oval plum-like shape, so 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 arrabbiata style sauce, and leave it out if you don’t like spice!

You can also use red pepper flakes substitute or any other spices you like.

How to Serve?

Serve it over pasta, spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.

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)

Instant Pot Meatloaf

Instant Pot Lasagna

Sauce Recipes

Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce

Instant Pot Tomato Sauce

Instant Pot Arrabbiata Sauce

Instant Pot Tabasco Sauce

Popeyes Sweet Heat Sauce

Cooked spaghetti topped with red marinara sauce and parsley

Instant Pot Marinara Sauce

This richly flavorsome marinara sauce is much better than any store-bought sauce.
4.65 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: carrot, marinara sauce, plum tomatoes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Corrie


  • 800 g crushed plum tomatoes fresh or canned
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 medium carrot cut into large pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped
  • 3 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon 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, red pepper flakes, and broth.
  • 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.


Calories: 43kcal Carbohydrates: 5g Protein: 1g Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 2g Sodium: 166mg Potassium: 65mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 3g Vitamin A: 1870IU Vitamin C: 3mg Calcium: 15mg Iron: 1mg
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10 thoughts on “Instant Pot Marinara Sauce

  1. Mine came out like water 🙁
    Used tomatoes from my garden, really wish I had taken the skins off. Did I miss that step of the recipe? Tips to thicken?

    1. I'm sorry to hear that, this totally depends on the quality of the tomatoes used, and some varieties are better for sauce-making than others. Canned plum tomatoes are your best bet because they are actually peeled and they are always canned at peak freshness. You don't have to peel the tomatoes but it will make for a smoother sauce. I don't know if it will taste good to thicken it, but you can use the tomato liquid in places where you would use water, like in soups or braising liquids, to add extra flavor.

    1. It will last about 4 days in the fridge or you can freeze it for 3 months or even longer in some cases. I am not sure if I would recommend canning this recipe, it may not be acidic enough to be safe for processing.

    1. Oh, sorry about that! It should be added with the tomatoes and other veg before pressure cooking. I will update the recipe.

  2. Great recipe! Tried it for the first time today and it came out great. And I even ate the carrot. It's nice and soft by the time you're done and they have a slight tomato taste.

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