If you haven’t tried it yet, let me be the first to tell you: this creamy marinara recipe is a game-changer.

Originating from southern Italy, this recipe blends the classic flavors of traditional marinara with a rich and creamy twist that is sure to have you reaching for seconds (or thirds!).

Creamy Marinara and Chicken Recipe

Have you ever tasted a creamy marinara so delicious that it left you speechless?

If not, then you need to try the southern Italian version of this dish that simply oozes with flavor.

I stumbled upon this recipe, but boy was I glad I did! I’ll admit, I was surprised by how delicious this dish was when I first tried it – I had never thought to add cream to marinara sauce before. But believe me, the result is nothing short of amazing.

Imagine a warm, tangy tomato sauce that is perfectly balanced with the silky smoothness of cream. Pair it with some freshly cooked pasta and you’ll have a dish that will take your taste buds on a trip they won’t soon forget. Trust me, this creamy marinara will leave you craving more often!

How to Make Creamy Marinara Sauce for a Mouth-watering Pasta Dish

Ingredients You Need:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, diced*
  • 1 can of crushed tomatoes (28 oz)*
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream

* Notes: In case you are interested, here are a few of my preferences. First, red onions, but use your favorite. My favorite tomatoes are fire-roasted. They didn’t have the large size can at my local grocery, so I used two 14.5 oz cans. I also prefer half and half instead of heavy cream, but mostly because I always have plenty on hand for my morning coffee.

Cooking Instructions:

Step 1: Prep

Make sure you have all the ingredients on hand and prepped before you start cooking.

Step 2: Start Cooking

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and onion, cook until fragrant, for about 1 minute.

Next, add the can of crushed tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir everything together well and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Add the Cream

Once the tomato sauce has cooked for 10 minutes, pour in the heavy cream (or half and half) and stir everything together. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened up a bit.

Step 4: The Chicken

Chicken breast is a great source of protein to pair with Creamy Marinara Sauce. (See other protein options below.)

The best way to cook chicken breast for this dish is to pan-sear it.

Start by seasoning the chicken breasts with some salt and pepper.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil or butter. Once hot, add the chicken breasts and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. You may want to use a meat thermometer to be sure. It should read around 165°F.

Note: Don’t have a meat thermometer? With a utensil, give the chicken a gentle press on the thickest part of the breast. If it feels firm and the meat is no longer pink on the inside, it’s most likely done. A more sure-fire way to tell is to slice into the thickest part of the breast and check if the juices run clear.

Once cooked, remove from the pan and let it rest for a few minutes before serving with the Creamy Marinara Sauce.

Step 5: Pasta

Any type of pasta works well in this dish. Choose your favorite and cook according to package instructions. (Or make your own! Here’s how.)

I served mine with spaghetti noodles. I have a bit of a trick I use that works perfectly every time. Bring the salted* water to a boil, add the noodles, turn the stove off and move the pot off the burner. Put a lid on the pot, set your timer for 18 minutes, then strain. That’s all there is to it!

*Adding salt to the water not only enhances the flavor of the pasta, it also helps to infuse it with salt from the very start of the cooking process. This way, your pasta will be seasoned all the way through, instead of only on the surface.

Plus, salt also raises the boiling point of water, which can help your pasta cook more evenly and effectively.

Btw, this tidbit is from my new FAQ page offering a bunch of helpful tips and FAQs!

Step 6: Serve

Your Creamy Marinara Sauce is now ready! Serve it with your favorite pasta and enjoy a delicious meal. You can also add some grated Parmesan cheese on top if you’d like.


Protein: If you want to include protein, pair the Creamy Marinara Sauce with some grilled chicken or Italian sausage. You can also add some cooked shrimp or pan-seared scallops for an even more flavorful dish. For a vegetarian option, try adding some crumbled tofu or chickpeas to the sauce for added protein and texture.

Tomatoes: The difference between a can of regular diced tomatoes and fire roasted tomatoes is the flavor.

  • A can of regular tomatoes has a milder flavor, while a can of fire roasted tomatoes has been charred over an open flame or grilled, giving it a smoky, caramelized flavor.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes also tend to have more intense flavor than regular diced tomatoes due to their intense cooking process.

Therefore, if you’re looking for a more robust and smoky flavor in your marinara sauce, opt for fire roasted tomatoes!

Herbs and Spices: If you’d like to switch up the flavors of your Creamy Marinara Sauce, there are other herbs that can be used in addition to the dried basil and oregano.

  • For a more Italian-style sauce, try adding some chopped fresh parsley or thyme.
  • For a Mediterranean flavor, add some dried rosemary, marjoram, or sage.
  • And if you want a bit of heat, throw in some crushed red pepper flakes or freshly minced chili peppers.

Other Options:

  • Customize the sauce by adding your favorite vegetables, like mushrooms or bell peppers.
  • To make the dish vegan, replace the heavy cream with coconut cream.
  • For a slightly healthier and lighter version, use half-n-half or cream cheese instead of heavy cream.

Store any leftovers

If you find yourself with extra sauce, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months.


  • Customize the sauce by adding your favorite vegetables, like mushrooms or bell peppers.
  • To make the dish vegan, replace the heavy cream with coconut cream.
  • For a slightly healthier and lighter version, use half-n-half or cream cheese instead of heavy cream.

Pasta dishes are a staple in Italian cuisine, and there’s nothing like a flavorful sauce to take your pasta to the next level. If you’re looking for a new pasta dish to add to your repertoire, you’ll love this recipe for creamy marinara sauce.

The combination of tangy tomato sauce and smooth cream results in a mouth-watering taste that’s hard to resist. This recipe is easy to make and requires minimum ingredients, making it perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a special weekend meal.

So, put on an apron, grab a pot, and get ready to impress your taste buds!