Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce (Easy & Vegan)

By Jessica Hylton - - Updated

Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce is about to be your new favourite tomato sauce! It has only 8 ingredients, so much incredible depth in flavour and is so versatile! 

Spicy arrabbiata sauce in a bowl being stirred.

Arrabbiata. Arrabbiata. *tries again* Arrabbiata Sauce! Despite the fact that I’m still struggling to pronounce this sauce properly, I can’t stop saying it. If you’ve never heard of Arrabbiata Sauce you’re in for a treat. I’m talking possibly best tomato sauce of your life treat.

If you’ve heard the story of me going to Italy already, bear with me. I’ve been to Italy twice now, and I loved it both times. It’s as if you’ve never tasted tomatoes like you’ve tasted them in Italy. On pizza, in pasta, as a dip – tomato rules.
This sauce is no exception and the second I found out about it I knew I had to give it a try. Although I’m an avid lover of marinara sauce, sometimes I like something with more depth. More layers of flavour. More spice! That’s where Arrabbiata Sauce steps in. 
Top down shot of spicy arrabbiata sauce in a glass.
Arrabbiata means “angry”, which speaks to the spice of this sauce. Traditionally it’s made with dried chilli peppers. For the sake of ease and the fact that our dried chilli peppers were just finished, I used fresh red pepper flakes. I’ve scoured the traditional Italian sites and this was an accepted and suitable replacement.
Apart from the pepper flakes, I tried to keep everything else as traditional as possible, and based the technique loosely off of my homemade tomato sauce. So what’s the main difference between Arrabbiata sauce and marinara sauce? To me – it’s the spiciness, the depth and the cooking techniques. Otherwise you could easily use Arrabbiata sauce anywhere you would usually use marinara sauce.
This sauce is very very easy to make. First, to pull out flavour and extra spice, I used a technique I’ve seen Gav do quite a few times. I sautéed the red pepper flakes in the oil. Not only does it pull out all the flavours, it creates a beautiful red oil that I want to use in SO many dishes now! Add in the seasonings then sauté. Then the tomatoes and the simmering takes care of the rest for you. That’s it, then you eat! 
Side shot of spicy arrabbiata sauce in a glass with basil leaves around it.
What you get is Arrabbiata Sauce. Delightfully spicy (you could reduce the red pepper flakes a bit if you want only mildly spicy), divinely delicious and so versatile. One of the things that I love about this sauce is that after you make it, you can use it so many ways.
We used the sauce as a dip for our Arancini. Gav made a bolognese with it and his homemade walnut meat that I couldn’t stop eating. We’re definitely putting it all over pasta. This recipe makes a lot, but we’ve already gone through over half of it in a few days. 
Overhead shot of spicy arrabbiata sauce in a red pot, with basil leaves on the side.
I hope you try this sauce and enjoy it, friends! 
Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce is about to be your new favourite tomato sauce! It has only 8 ingredients, so much incredible depth in flavour and is so versatile!  via https://jessicainthekitchen.com
Spicy arrabbiata sauce in a red pot, being stirred.

Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce (Easy & Vegan)

Spicy Arrabbiata Sauce is about to be your new favourite tomato sauce! It has only 8 ingredients, so much incredible depth in flavour and is so versatile! 
by: Jessica in the Kitchen
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 48 minutes
Total Time 58 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Course Jams, Sauces, Dips & Spreads
Cuisine Italian
  • 1 tablespoon oil of choice
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper chilli flakes
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2-28 ounce cans of whole tomatoes
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • sea salt to taste*
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped or julienned


  • In a pan over medium high heat, heat the oil.
  • Add in the red pepper chilli flakes and cook through for about 3 minutes, swirling in the oil, checking to ensure they don't burn. The flakes should be sizzling.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add in the garlic and the onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant.
  • Add in the entire two cans of tomatoes. Stir everything together. Cover the pot for about 10 minutes to break down the tomatoes slightly.
  • Remove cover and using your wooden spoon or spatula, kind of chop up the tomatoes. I loved mine chunkier but you could even taste an immersion blender to the mix at the end. Stir the tomato mixture and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring infrequently.
  • After 30 minutes, season to taste with salt and add the black pepper and stir again. Remove from heat and fold in the chopped basil. Allow to cool slightly then serve and enjoy!
*I say sea salt to taste because some cans of tomatoes including salt. I added 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to my entire pot, but add based on your tomatoes and taste.
* You know I usually always recommend fresh tomatoes but canned tomatoes are more traditional here. It will work with fresh tomatoes though, but you may need to cook it for about 15 minutes longer for an added depth of flavour! I would just remove the skins first.


Calories: 75kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 146mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 647IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 1mg
by Jessica

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Recipe Rating


  1. Steph says:

    Any thoughts on how to make this in an Instant Pot? I’ve looked through multiple recipes but I like yours the best, but I’m itching to use my new Instant Pot!!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Hi Steph! We haven’t actually tried using it in an insta pot so we won’t be able to give advice on that. When we do I will come back to this comment. Thank you so much for reading and liking this recipe!

  2. Gina says:

    5 stars
    Made this today for a simple pasta dish, and it was delicious! I slightly upped the pepper flakes to a full tablespoon, and added a teaspoon of two of sugar (which might or might not be blasphemous, but I always find helps cut the acid a bit). Such an easy, healthy pantry recipe – thank you!

    • Gavin | Jessica in the Kitchen says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words! *whispers* the sugar addition is fine by me. We’re just happy that you enjoyed it. Thank you again!

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