Authentic Arrabiata Sauce Recipe + Video

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The Classic Arrabiata Sauce or Sugo all’arrabiata in Italian, made with sweet San Marzano tomatoes, lots of garlic and red pepper flakes. Literal translation “the angry sauce” because of the hotness from the red chili flakes. 

Red Bowl Of Spicy Arrabiata Sauce with Basil

How to make the best, authentic Arrabiata sauce at home, from scratch!

Though it might seem as a super simple recipe at first, in order for your sauce to turn out just right you must exercise patience. Cook it on low flame and stir gently every 10 minutes or so to make sure the sugars from the tomatoes don’t burn. Don’t rush it.

I have to say: the most important thing you can do when making Italian sauce, is to use imported certified San Marzano Tomatoes and fresh red pepper flakes with attitude!

The reason for this is simply because they are grown in the volcanic soils in the San Marzano region of Italy, so they will be extra sweet and flavorful, not acidic and watery. Once those cook down and thicken up, you will have a burst of sweet flavors in every bite.

The dry red pepper flakes is what makes the sauce spicy, so it is extra important to use a fresh good quality variety. To make it less spicy just use less red pepper flakes, but that’s pretty self explanatory right?! 😉

To naturally thicken your pomodoro sauce gently simmer it down until it reduces to your liking.

Arrabiata Sauce

What to Serve With

Wanna make a Marinara Sauce instead? No problemo!

Simply leave out the red pepper flakes from this recipe and there you have it. Simple as that. One sauce is spicy with attitude, the other one is not.

Arrabiata Sauce
4.94 from 15 votes

Arrabiata Sauce Recipe

The Classic Arrabiata Sauce or Sugo all'arrabiata, made with sweet San Marzano tomatoes, garlic and lots of red pepper flakes!
Print Recipe
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:1 hour
Total Time:1 hour 5 minutes



  • In a large heavy bottom cast iron pan heat up the olive oil and saute the onion with a pinch of sea salt until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and let it cook only for a few seconds until you can smell it and doesn’t get any color on it.
  • In a large bowl crush the tomatoes with your hands but leave a few smaller chunks in there. Transfer them to the pot with the onions and garlic and brig to a simmer. Add the bay leaf and partially cover with a lid. Allow the sauce to simmer away on low flame for about 1 hour until thick and concentrated in flavor. Make sure to stir often, every 10 minutes or so, making sure the sugars in the tomatoes do not burn.
  • Turn off the flame and season to your taste with the sea salt. Stir in the fresh basil leaves and finish it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Serve with pasta or meats or some fresh crusty bread.
  • Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Season with sea salt, you want this to taste like sea water. Cook the penne pasta or spaghetti until al dente, according to the directions on the package. Toss to coat well in the arrabiata sauce and serve with a drizzle of olive oil and extra red pepper flakes.



  • To keep the sauce as a rustic Marinara, simply leave out the red pepper flakes.


Serving: 2g | Calories: 159kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.9g | Protein: 1.6g | Fat: 14.3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 21.1g | Sodium: 162.4mg | Fiber: 1.8g | Sugar: 2.5g
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Arrabiata sauce, tomato sauce
Servings: 4
Calories: 159kcal
Author: Florentina

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  1. Question: I make the sauce the night before and then warm it up when I’m cooking the fish? Will it change the flavors…… Also, I’m feeding about 6 (give or take 1 person), should I double the recipe, how many bowls will it make? Thank you….

    1. Hey Renee, the sauce is enough to feed 6 people and can be made 3-4 days ahead and reheated, the flavor gets better overnight. It’s a great sauce, always nice to have more as you can freeze any leftovers fora rainy day ~ Florentina

  2. 5 stars
    Bang on.
    I make Arrabiata frequently and follow Vincenzo’s Plate on YT.
    I’ve always enjoyed it but thought that it was always missing the sautéed onions.

    I’ve followed your recipe and I was correct.
    The onions give it that subtle sweetness and the San Marzano tomatoes make the difference.

    Thank you. Your recipe has been bookmarked.

  3. 5 stars
    This sauce is THE BEST sauce I have ever made! Thank you for posting it.
    I added a teaspoon of fish sauce for its saltiness and umami savory-ness.
    This will be my go-to recipe for any pasta sauce in the future!
    Teri in Montana

  4. 5 stars
    Best arrabbiata sauce I ever made!!! So rich and thick! I wouldn’t change a thing! Molto beni! Grazzie e Ciao!

    Josie Ferro

  5. I’m looking forward to trying more Italian recipes, here in England that can weight will be 400g (280g contents), however the extra virgin olive oil 1/4 c I don’t understand?

  6. 5 stars
    Just gorgeous. Lipsmackingly good! I halved the recipe and wish I hadn’t because there’s nothing left over now. We even mopped up the last bit out of the pan with some crust bread. Thank you for the recipe!

  7. 5 stars
    This is now my “go to” recipe when I want to make an authentic Italian Marinara Sauce and/or Arrabiata sauce. The authentic San Marzano tomatoes make all the difference. Such a beautiful and delicious sauce. Freezes well so I always have some ready for pizza.

  8. 5 stars
    I have been making your Puttanesca sauce for months. I don’t know why, but have not tried any other recipes. I made this last night. Amazing! Both sauces are the closest I have come to what I tasted in my many trips to Italy. The key to great Italian cooking is authentic ingredients and timing. I have signed up for your emails now. Two no fail recipes and am looking forward to many others.

    Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful recipes with us!

  9. Long ago, I had Italian friends whose family from & in Italy use grated carrots to mellow the acid of the tomatoes and add a bit of ‘natural’ sweetness, which my wife scoffs-at since out Italian neighbors in Brooklyn didn’t teach her that way. Does anyone else use carrots? Have you used carrots? Thanks for the sharing of quality food.

    1. Hi Edd! Carrots are good to add sweetness If the tomatoes are acidic. However, If you use certified San Marzano tomatoes, the imported variety from Italy, then you won’t need any sugar nor carrots. These tomatoes are very sweet to begin with and as you simmer down the sauce the sugars will concentrate even more. You can always thin out the sauce with some reserve pasta waterIf you like, but you gotta cook it down first to get the best flavors. Hope that helps 🙂

  10. I made your sauce with the rustica pizza and wow! My family thinks I am the best cook. I love spoiling them (and me) with organic homemade deliciousness. I only use about 3/4 tsp of the hot pepper and it’s still delish. Most favorite!

  11. 4 stars
    Just one question, one 28 oz can of the whole tomatoes two? The 2oz x 28 in the list by the tomatoes is confusing me, lol

    1. Hi Marsha, you will need 2 X 28 oz cans San Marzano tomatoes. So a total of 56 oz. Sorry there was a glitch in the recipe plugin that was messing up the ingredient list. Should be all fixed now 🙂