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Delicious Dips

Marinara Dipping Sauce

May 2, 2018 (Last Updated: August 6, 2022) by Chris Collins

This Marinara Dipping sauce is so incredibly simple to make. Use it for dipping breadsticks, calamari, fried cheese or even just plonk it on top of some garlic bread!

pot of sauce on wooden board with breadsticks blurred in the background

Homemade Marinara Dipping Sauce

Everybody needs one of these up their sleeves, in the most non-literal way. My love for breadsticks and marinara is how this recipe came about and since then the low has only grown. Side note – if you’re not dunking breadsticks into a marinara dip are you truly living your best life?

Here’s a quick look at what you’ll need:

  • Tomatoes – A can of chopped or skinned plum tomatoes (chopped in the can) will do the trick!
  • Onion & Garlic – Finely diced and lightly fried in oil.
  • Oregano & Basil – Both dried as you won’t need much.
  • Balsamic Vinegar – Balsamic vinegar and tomato is a match made in heaven! Adds a gorgeous punch of flavour.
  • Sugar – To balance out the tomatoes and vinegar.

dunking a breadstick in dip with more breadsticks blurred in the background

Tips for making Marinara Dip

1. Thickening

It’s important to simmer the sauce until it’s nice and thick, or at least until the tomatoes aren’t watery. This will ensure the flavours fully marry together and offer a better texture when serving. Because nobody likes watery dips 😳

2. Sugar

This is important to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes and vinegar, so don’t be scared to add a good few pinches. It’s what really makes the difference between marinara sauce and marinara dip. Dips tend to be slightly sweeter.

3. Quality Tomatoes

These are the star of the show so I recommend investing in a good quality can of tomatoes to allow them to shine!

close up shot of dunking fried cheese ball into pot of sauce

Marinara Dipping Sauce FAQ

Chunky versus smooth?

I tend to keep it chunky, just for a more rustic feel. However, you can blitz it until smooth if you wish!

Do I serve this hot or cold?

Either! I tend to serve it soon after it’s cooked, so room temp. But feel free to make in advance, cool, cover and store in the fridge until needed.

What can I do with leftovers?

Stirred through some pasta with copious amounts of parmesan of course!

What can I serve with this?

dunking halloumi fry into pot of sauce with more fries blurred in the background

If you like the sound of this dip then be sure to check out my Baked Feta (in marinara dip)!

For more easy and delicious dips check out these beauties too:

How to make Marinara Dipping Sauce (Full Recipe & Video)

pot of sauce on wooden board with breadsticks blurred in the background

Marinara Dipping Sauce

This Marinara Dipping sauce is so incredibly simple to make. Use it for dipping breadsticks, calamari, fried cheese or even just plonk it on top of some garlic bread!
5 from 9 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 4
Course: Appetizer / Dip / Starter
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Calories per serving: 36kcal
Cost per serving: £1 / $1


  • Small Pot
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Measuring Spoons

Ingredients (check list):

  • 1x 14oz/400g can of Quality Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1/4 medium Onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove of Garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar, or to taste
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Olive Oil, for frying
  • Chilli Flakes (optional)


  • Heat up a little oil in a suitably sized pot or pan, and fry your onions over medium heat until they just begin to brown. Add your garlic and fry for couple more minutes until it begins to brown.
  • Pour in your tomatoes, alongside a splash of water to swill out the can. Add balsamic vinegar and bring to a simmer.
  • Add in your basil, oregano, sugar, chilli flakes (optional) and salt & pepper (to taste) and stir to combine.
  • Simmer for a good 10-15 mins until the sauce has thickened and is no longer watery, stirring occasionally.

Quick 1 min demo!


a) Thickening - It's really important to make sure the sauce fully thickens before serving. I know it's tempting to serve as soon as it's hot, but to avoid serving a pot of watery dip, ensure you give it time to simmer. That will also give time for the flavours to develop.
b) Chunky or Smooth - Personally I love this dip chunky, but blitz it after it's cooked with a hand blender it you want it smooth!
c) Hot or cold - Delicious hot or cold! Store in the fridge in an air tight container for up to a couple of days.
d) Calories - based on a division of 6, using 1 tsp olive oil.

Your Private Notes:


Nutrition Facts
Marinara Dipping Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 36 Calories from Fat 13
% Daily Value*
Fat 1.4g2%
Saturated Fat 0.197g1%
Trans Fat 0.001g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.225g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.864g
Sodium 117mg5%
Potassium 214mg6%
Carbohydrates 5.74g2%
Fiber 2.1g8%
Sugar 4.01g4%
Protein 0.97g2%
Vitamin A 411IU8%
Vitamin C 13.3mg16%
Calcium 42mg4%
Iron 0.77mg4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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If you loved this Homemade Marinara Dip recipe then be sure to pin it for later! Already made it or got a question? Give me a shout in the comments and pick up your free ecookbook along the way!





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Recipe Rating


  • Reply
    November 21, 2022 at 11:32 am

    5 stars
    Wow I’m gonna try this sauce for breakfast it’s so simple to make

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 21, 2022 at 2:02 pm

      Hope it goes down well! 🙂

  • Reply
    Andrew Spasiki
    November 10, 2022 at 4:10 am

    Swoon-worthy sauce! I was a bit rushed so I didn’t chop as finely or simmer as slowly as I should have. No problem however: a quick swirl with the immersion blender and the sauce was just the right consistency for dipping. Thanks for the wonderful recipe.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 10, 2022 at 10:37 am

      So happy to hear this went down well, Andrew! Thanks so much for the review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Melanie K
    October 3, 2022 at 2:38 pm

    5 stars
    Made it last night for dipping pepperoni rolls. Great small batch recipe.

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 3, 2022 at 7:14 pm

      Great to hear, Melanie! Thanks for the review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    April 4, 2022 at 2:24 pm

    5 stars
    Really good! I followed the recipe exactly to serve with calamari and will definitely make it again.I had about a cup left over and used it as a base with olive oil, garlic and cherry peppers. Once it was all heated through I added scallops and shrimp and served it as a side with a Rib Eye. My husband was very happy!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 5, 2022 at 1:44 pm

      Great to hear it went down well, Marlene! Thanks for popping back for a review! C.

  • Reply
    October 18, 2020 at 2:33 am

    5 stars
    yummy, love ❤️ it

  • Reply
    October 18, 2020 at 2:25 am

    5 stars
    it is gr8 and yummy

  • Reply
    May 3, 2018 at 4:00 am

    5 stars
    On board with all of it – pinch of sugar is a must 🙂 Now I’m waiting for those crispy halloumi fries – way to throw in a teaser!

    • Reply
      May 3, 2018 at 10:58 pm

      Haha, recipe coming reaaaaal soon!!!

  • Reply
    Haley D Williams
    May 3, 2018 at 3:39 am

    5 stars
    Marinara sauce can be hard to master but you appear to have done it! The marinara sauce is so important when it comes to a dipping sauce! Cannot wait to try it!

    • Reply
      May 3, 2018 at 10:58 pm

      Thanks, Hayley! Enjoy 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa Bryan
    May 3, 2018 at 3:08 am

    5 stars
    Love this! And homemade marinara sauce always has so much more flavor than anything store bought.

    • Reply
      May 3, 2018 at 10:58 pm

      I so agree with you, Lisa!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica Levinson
    May 3, 2018 at 2:53 am

    Love how easy it is to make this marinara! Perfect for dipping, on pasta, or pizza! So versatile!

    • Reply
      May 3, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      Yep, sure is easy! 🙂

  • Reply
    May 3, 2018 at 12:39 am

    5 stars
    I love how this is so simple to make and so versatile! It looks very tasty!

    • Reply
      May 3, 2018 at 10:57 pm

      Super versatile! Thanks Hope 🙂