Homemade Arrabbiata Sauce Recipe

Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce is easy to make with just a few, quality ingredients! Make this pasta as spicy as you like, or keep it mild for the kids!

We love making classic pasta dishes at home! Be sure and try our delicious Penne Vodka recipe that’s so easy your kids can make it! Also check our this drool-worthy Pasta Carbonara for Sunday dinner or a date night at home!

penne in a bowl with homemade arrabbiata sauce

What Is Arrabbiata Sauce?

Arrabbiata sauce is an easy to make, spicy red sauce made from tomatoes, garlic and chili peppers. Arrabbiata means angry in Italian, so you can make the sauce for this Penne Arrabbiata as “angry” or as mild as you like.

If you don’t have dried chilis you can use crushed red pepper flakes like we use in this Penne Arrabbiata recipe.

Also, most of the recipes that we looked at called for whole tomatoes that you break down or crush with your hands or a spoon, you can go that route or just use canned crushed tomatoes.

There’s not going to be much of a flavor difference, it’s more of a texture thing. Using whole tomatoes that you crush will yield a chunkier sauce and canned crushed tomatoes will yield a smoother sauce.

So it’s up to you which route you take!

pot with spoon in arrabbiata sauce

Classic Arrabbiata Sauce Ingredients

Of course there are many variations to arrabbiata sauce, just like the few we mentioned above. You could add cream to arrabbiata sauce, peas, bacon, or other meats like sausage.

Basically you can make arrabbiata sauce as a base, eat as is or enjoy with other add ins!

  • Whole or Crushed Tomatoes: As we mentioned before, whole tomatoes are the more classic route for making arrabbiata sauce, but if canned crushed tomatoes are what you have on hand, that’s going to work fine!
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic only please! When you have a recipe with just a few ingredients like this one, you want to make sure they are all the best quality.
  • Onion: Sweet, yellow onions add tons of flavor to this spicy sauce.
  • Crushed Red Pepper Flakes: Start with a teaspoon and then add more if you like it spicy. We usually make this with 2 teaspoons because our kids don’t mind a little heat, but you can always add more you can’t take it away.
ingredients for making arrabbiata sauce

How To Make Arrabbiata Sauce

This simple pasta sauce starts by cooking onions down in olive oil and butter and then adding garlic and the crushed red pepper flakes to toast in the oil.

Next pour in the tomatoes and seasonings and then let simmer for 30 minutes.

That’s all folks, this homemade arrabbiata sauce can’t get much easier! Simmering the sauce for at least 30 minutes will help to blend the flavors together, so if you have the extra time don’t skip this step!

Toss the sauce with cooked penne pasta and shreds of fresh basil for garnish. Add grated or shredded parmesan cheese on top and dinner is served.

What Is The Best Pasta To Serve With Arrabbiata Sauce?

We like serving penne with our arrabbiata sauce but you can obviously use any pasta shape you have. Any short tube pasta like penne is great, even long noodles like spaghetti will work.

Penne Arrabbiata is a classic pasta dish, so we tend to stick to penne. But if you’re out, no need to run to the store, this sauce is so versatile it’ll really work with anything.

You can also use this sauce for more than just pasta. Spoon it over grilled chicken or use it as a dipping sauce for mozzarella sticks or these Parmesan Chicken Wings!

white plate with penne and homemade pasta sauce

How To Store and Reheat Leftover Sauce

Store this pasta sauce in a container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. After that this sauce can be easily frozen for a few months in either the same container or a sealable freezer bag, squeezed flat with most of the air out.

Reheating this sauce is as easy as gently warming it up in a pot on the stove or microwaving it (stirring often) until warmed through.

Do make this sauce in large batches if you’re planning on a day in the kitchen! It’s so easy to make you might as well double the recipe and freeze some sauce for another meal!

fork with bite of penne and parmesan cheese

What To Serve With Penne Arrabbiata

Serve this spicy pasta recipe with with a couple of sides to make a complete dinner!

Pasta with Homemade Arrabbiata Sauce in a white bowl with basil

Arrabbiata Sauce

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 38 minutes
  • Total Time: 43 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

When you make Arrabbiata Sauce at home you can control the heat! Make this delicious, simple pasta sauce as spicy or as mild as you like!



  • 1/3 cup diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 13 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you want the sauce)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil for garnish
  • Pasta of choice for serving


  1. Add the butter and oil to a dutch oven or medium sized pot. Cook the onions over medium heat until softened and slightly browned, about 7-8 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir to combine with the onions. Carefully pour the tomato sauce into the pot and stir.
  3. Season the sauce with the oregano, salt and pepper. Stir in the water and then partially cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Garnish with fresh parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes more than enough for 1 pound of cooked pasta.

Store: Store leftover pasta sauce in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Alternately, you can freeze this sauce for up to 6 months.

  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

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