Arrabbiata Sauce

If you’re looking to expand your pasta sauce recipe collection, there’s no better one to add than Arrabbiata Sauce, a spicy tomato sauce. It’s simple, ready in 30 minutes, and you can use it in all kinds of ways. Toss it with pasta, dip breadsticks in it, or use it to make lasagna and other favorite pasta dishes.

arrabbiata sauce.

What is Arrabbiata Sauce?

It’s a spicy tomato sauce from Rome, Italy, and, like most things Italian, it is so simple. We’re talking weeknight dinner simple with just a handful of ingredients and a quick simmer.

Arrabbiata means “angry” in Italian and, in this case, refers to the kick of spice in the sauce. I love that you can adjust the heat level from merely miffed to raging mad by changing the amount of red chili flakes. A fun dinner game might be adjusting the heat level to passively communicate to your dinner companions exactly how your day went. Just an idea!

So, feel free to amp up or tamp down the heat but don’t limit yourself to serving it with pasta. It also makes a great bread dip or use it to make eggs in purgatory, another angry dish I love. There are all kinds of possibilities with this one, friends, and I think you’ll love it.

overhead shot of the sauce in a pan.


  • Olive oil
  • Diced yellow onion
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Minced garlic
  • Fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • Roughly chopped fresh basil leaves

A note about tomatoes: I love Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes, but another great choice is crushed San Marzano tomatoes.

ingredients for the sauce.

How to Make It

Cook the onion and red pepper flakes in olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.

Add the garlic and cook it in the oil for about a minute and then add the crushed tomatoes. Stir and bring the sauce to a simmer.

Cover the pan and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes. Take off the lid, stir in the basil, and simmer the sauce for about five minutes with the lid off.

Serve it or save it for later!

three photos showing how to make the sauce.

Other Ways to Use It

the sauce being spooned over a bowl of pasta.

Storage Tips

Leftovers: If you have leftovers, the sauce will keep for up to five days in the refrigerator.

Make-Ahead: If you want to make a batch to have on hand, allow the sauce to cool to room temperature before storing it in the fridge.

Freezing Tips: Store the sauce in a freezer-container and it will keep in the freezer for a couple of months.

bread being dipped in the sauce.

I hope you give this one a try soon! If anger were a flavor, it would be this spicy arrabbiata sauce. Enjoy!

Happy sauce making,

arrabbiata sauce in a pan with a wooden spoon.

More Easy Sauce Recipes

📣 Do you love this recipe? I would love to know! Leave a comment below the recipe along with your recipe star rating.


Arrabbiata Sauce

arrabbiata sauce.

Arrabbiata sauce is a simple spicy Italian sauce that’s so easy to make. You only need a handful of ingredients and it’s ready to serve in about 30 minutes. Toss it with pasta or use it as a dipping sauce for garlic bread or breaded cheese sticks

  • Author: April Anderson
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion (from about 1/2 an onion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (about three to four large cloves)
  • 1 (28-oz) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes. Sauté the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes or until they soften.
  2. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or so. Once the garlic is fragrant, add the crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Cover the pan and bring it to a simmer. Simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes and then remove the lid. Give the sauce a stir and add the basil. Stir and simmer the sauce, uncovered, for five minutes or so more.
  3. Serve the sauce right away or allow it to cool to room temperature and store it in the refrigerator for later.


Red pepper flakes: Heat tolerance levels vary and so you may want to adjust the amount of spice. While the sauce is simmering, give it a taste – if you think it needs more heat, add more red pepper flakes. 

Salt: I don’t think this sauce needs added salt, especially if you’re serving it with pasta cooked in salted water. That said, be sure to give it a taste while it simmers, and add salt if you think it needs it. I would start with a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon and go from there.

Storage: If you want to store the sauce in the fridge, let it cool to room temperature before storing it in a container. It will keep for three to five days. You can also freeze it for a couple of months.


  • Calories: 174
  • Sugar: 10.5g
  • Sodium: 371.4mg
  • Fat: 11.2g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.6g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 9g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 19.1mg
  • Fiber: 4.6g
  • Protein: 4g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg

Keywords: arrabbiata sauce, spicy tomato sauce, spicy pasta sauce

Do you love this recipe? Don’t forget to leave a comment and your recipe star rating!

The nutrition is an estimate only. It was calculated using Nutrifox, an online nutrition calculator.

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One Comment

  1. Not sure what is better … how easy this is to make or the flavor. Thank you for yet another delicious and easy recipe.

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