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Quick and Easy Tomato Carrot Marinara Sauce (Instant Pot Pressure Cooker)

This 5-ingredient made-from-scratch tomato carrot marinara sauce comes together almost as fast you can boil pasta water. A carrot in the mix elevates this marinara above and beyond ordinary tomato sauce. No supermarket bottled tomato sauce even comes close–homemade marinara sauce for the win!

farfalle pasta with sauce in dish

Using ingredients a cook typically keeps on hand–onions, carrots, canned diced tomatoes and a sprinkling or dried basil and oregano–this is an easy recipe to add to your kitchen repertoire.

Take advantage of the speedy pressure cooker and your tomato sauce with the surprise ingredient will be not only easy, but quick too!

Click here to save this Tomato Marinara Sauce with Carrots on Pinterest!

** I wanted a homemade tomato sauce for tonight’s lasagna and remembered this recipe. It needed an update, so that’s what I did today. Now into the kitchen to make the lasagna in time for dinner!

Ingredients for Quick and Easy Tomato Carrot Marinara Sauce | Letty's Kitchen

How to make tomato carrot marinara sauce:

Time needed: 30 minutes

Marinara sauce is super quick when made in the Instant Pot or stovetop pressure cooker.

  1. Right in the pressure cooker, sauté the carrots at the same time you cook the onions and garlic in olive oil.

  2. When the carrots are very soft and the onion translucent, add the tomatoes and and dried herbs.

  3. Lock your pressure cooker lid in place and cook 10 minutes.

  4. Puree it all into a silky vibrant sauce. For extra velvety feel, you can stir in a tablespoon of butter at the very end. Totally optional. To keep this sauce vegan, simply skip the butter.

Tomato Carrot Marinara Sauce in bowl, overhead shot with immersion blender

About marinara sauce:

Marinara sauce originates in the southern Italian port city of Naples. The name comes from the word mariner–fisherman in Italian. Minutes after the husband docked his boat, a mariner’s wife put the pasta water on to boil and quickly cooked up a garden-fresh tomato sauce–marinara!

There are probably as many interpretations of marinara as there are fisherman’s wives. One cook might keep their sauce chunky with tomato, another might blend it smooth like this one. You’ll find marinara recipes with or without onions, many with fresh herbs, and some enriched with more than a small amount of butter.

Start looking around and you’ll find more recipes with carrots in marinara sauce–carrots take away the acidity of the tomatoes by adding a subtle sweetness. In this marinara sauce from New York Times, the carrots and tomatoes are left chunky.

Here’s a recipe for a tomato-less marinara sauce with carrots and beets. Good for anti-inflammatory diets.

Hello timesaving devices!

  • Besides the fast-cook pressure cooker, you save even more time when you use an immersion blender to puree the sauce. Once you take off the lid, stick the hand blender right in the pressure cooker pot and whir until your sauce is smooth.
  • Cooked in the pressure cooker and pureed using an immersion blender, you can make marinara sauce in 30 minutes. That’s from pulling out a knife and cutting board to spooning the sauce over your favorite pasta!

To quick-release pressure:

  • For the Instant Pot, once the 10 minutes are up, carefully turn the dial to Vent. cover with a towel so the steam doesn’t make a mess.
  • If using a stovetop pressure cooker, quick-release by running the pressure cooker under cold water.

How to make tomato carrot marinara sauce without a pressure cooker:

Sauté the carrots, onions, and garlic, add the tomatoes, salt and herbs, cover and cook over medium low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, or until until the carrots soften. Puree until smooth in a blender or with an immersion blender wand right into the pot.

No immersion blender?

Puree the cooked ingredients in 2 batches. (If you puree too much hot liquid in a blender can make a hot mess of your kitchen!)

To make marinara sauce using fresh tomatoes:

  • Keeping it quick and easy, this recipe calls for canned tomatoes. If you want to use fresh tomatoes, use the same weight, just under 2 pounds of tomatoes. You’ll need to peel them first before cooking the sauce.
  • One time in the summer, when I had a lot of fresh tomatoes, I ran the cooked sauce through my Foley food mill to separate out the skins. You could say food mills are the original blenders!

Tomato Carrot Marinara Sauce recipe notes:

  • This recipe makes plenty for one night’s pasta dinner, with enough left for another meal. This sauce freezes beautifully so you can make it ahead and freeze it, or save any you don’t use right away for later.
  • Choose a pasta that easily catches the smooth marinara in its twists, ridges and folds. Farfalle with its bowtie or butterfly shape is my choice. Orecciette is another fun pasta shape. The “little ears” catch sauce easily. Say it like oh-reck-ET-tay.
  • This marinara is great as pizza sauce. Try stirring some marinara sauce into minestrone soup for a tasty flavor bump!
  • Cut grilled cheese sandwiches in quarters and use this sauce as a dip! Delicious!

More pressure cooker recipes to make:

Soups for sure. I can hardly make soup without a pressure cooker. 😉

Risotto. Truth be told, I’ve never cooked risotto without a pressure cooker! Maybe that’s why I love to make risotto.

Ditch the can! Beans from scratch always taste better than canned beans and cooking beans is easy in a pressure cooker.

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This is an update of the tomato carrot marinara sauce recipe I published here in February of 2017!

7 comments

  • Theresa

    Good morning Letty,

    I have an electric pressure cooker. How long would cook this for? Reply · 21 February, 2017

  • I’ve only made marinara a couple times and this post just reminded me I need to make it more often! It truly is simple to prepare and I love that you can make it in bulk and freeze it for later uses. Digging the idea of a pureed marinara as well! So tasty, healthy, and brilliant! Reply · 27 February, 2017

  • Tristi

    This is the recipe I’m choosing to go into my recipe book. I just ate some spaghetti with this sauce, mmmm. Reply · 30 September, 2022

  • Jackie

    Hi Letty, this sauce sounds amazing! I have a question: is there enough liquid in the tomatoes to make sure it doesn’t burn in the InstantPot? My sister was pressure cooking tomato marinara sauce once in her I.P. And it gave her the “burn” signal… Reply · 22 March, 2023

    • Jackie, I’ve made this marinara sauce in both a pressure cooker and Instant Pot. In 10 minutes under pressure the sauce won’t burn. I wonder how long your sister was cooking her marinara. Reply · 23 March, 2023

  • Judi G.

    Sounds yummy! I’ll be making it soon. Reply · 23 March, 2023

    • Thank you Judi! Let me know how it comes out for you. Reply · 23 March, 2023

4.47 from 15 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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