This homemade Marinara Dipping Sauce pairs perfectly with all your favorite appetizers. It’s fast and easy, made with just 5 pantry ingredients and ready in minutes! Perfect for mozzarella sticks, pizza bites, zucchini fries, crispy artichokes, breadsticks, and more!

For a long time now, I have sought the perfect dipping sauce for things like pizza bites, and pizza sticks. Marinara sauce is usually geared towards pasta, and such recipes often start off with sautéing diced onions and garlic and adding diced tomatoes and fresh herbs and simmering until thickened.

While suitable on pasta, it’s all wrong for dipping appetizers. I’ve been seeking something with a smooth texture and bold (but not overpowering flavors).

The punchline? My perfect homemade Marinara Sauce takes almost no time at all and is only five ingredients!

Mozzarella sticks being dipped in marinara sauce.

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Making Marinara Dipping Sauce

I think the most important part of the dipping sauce is to start with a good brand of tomato sauce. If you buy generic tomato sauce, the force may not be with you and I cannot say whether your sauce will be perfect and delicious.

As far as flavoring the sauce, I use a technique I learned from Chef Anne Burrell on the Food Network. She loves to flavor her olive oil with ingredients by sautéing them and then discarding them (i.e., “Thank you for coming to the party, clove of garlic!”).

That’s what I do here so I get the delicious flavor of fresh garlic without all the chunks. Then, I simply stir in some dried herbs and a bit of salt (omit the salt at your pleasure) and a short simmer later, the sauce is perfect. Smooth and delicious and everything I’ve always dreamed of in a dipping sauce.

Four steps of cooking marinara sauce.

Deep-Frying Tips

In case you happen to be serving your Homemade Marinara Sauce with deep-fried bites of deliciousness, here are a few tips to make that whole process easier.

  • You don’t need a deep-fryer. Any pot will do.
  • If you want to use less oil, choose a smaller pot. The bottom will fill faster, obviously, and you’ll have a deep enough amount in no time.
  • If you want fewer splatters, choose a taller pot. The taller the pot, the more likely it is that splatters will hit the walls of the pot and stay inside. Those splatter screens? I haven’t had much luck with them. If you have had a good experience, please leave me a note in the comments with your preferred brand. Thanks!
  • Keep your oil at a consistent temperature. This is true whether you use a traditional deep fryer or just a pot on the stove. I love the ChefAlarm by Thermoworks. They gave me one to try out, pictured below, and it works like a charm. You just attached the probe to the side of the pan, and the unit sits waaaaay outside the splatter zone. Brilliant.
Marinara dipping sauce with mozzarella sticks in a red basket.

Marinara Dipping Sauce

This homemade Marinara Dipping Sauce pairs perfectly with all your favorite appetizers. It's fast and easy, made with just 5 pantry ingredients and ready in minutes! Perfect for mozzarella sticks, pizza bites, zucchini fries, crispy artichokes, breadsticks, and more!
4.96 from 24 votes
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Servings 2 cups
Course Main Course, Pantry
Cuisine American, Italian
Calories 71

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce high-quality
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt

Instructions 

  • Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add garlic cloves and sauté until browned, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove garlic and discard.
  • Stir in tomato sauce, basil, oregano, and salt. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until flavors have blended, about 10 minutes. Keep warm over low-heat until serving time, or cool completely and store covered in the refrigerator.

Recipe Video

Nutrition

Calories: 71kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 295mgPotassium: 33mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 13IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg
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Meggan Hill

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Comments

  1. It was so good 👍 just had to add some tomato sauce and some Italian seasoning to make it the way I wanted it. Thanks so much for sharing this delish recipe 😋5 stars

  2. It is really good I hade it with mozzarella sticks and I was in love I highly recommend this recipe

  3. My sister and I made this marinara sauce recipe today for our mozzarella sticks. It was good! It was a bit salty, so we had to add a little bit of garlic powder and sugar to get rid of the salty flavor. But overall, it was good! My family loved it! It was gone.4 stars

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