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.

Arrabbiata sauce is a spicy tomato sauce from Rome, Italy, and, like most things Italian, it is so simple. We’re talking weeknight dinner easy 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.

ingredients for the sauce.

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 you can use it to make eggs in purgatory, another spicy dish I love. There are all kinds of possibilities with this one, friends.

three photos showing how to make the sauce.

How to Make It

This sauce is easy to prep and ready to serve in about 30 minutes. Boil the pasta while you make the sauce for an easy dinner. You can also freeze the sauce to have on hand. Your future self will thank you!

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Arrabbiata Sauce

arrabbiata sauce.

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5 from 1 review

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

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.

overhead shot of the sauce in a pan.

Recipe Tips

When I’m crunched for time, I use frozen diced onion to save a little time. It’s one of my favorite prep shortcuts.

As far as canned tomatoes go, I love Muir Glen fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, but crushed San Marzano tomatoes are delicious, too.

The sauce will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days. Or, as I mentioned earlier, it freezes well for several months, too.

Storage Tips

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

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.

Freezer: Store the sauce in a freezer container, and it will keep for a few months.

the sauce being spooned over a bowl of pasta.

Different Ways to Serve It

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,


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This post has been updated from the archives. It was first published in August 2022.

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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