Spaghetti Arrabiata Recipe

This spaghetti Arrabiata recipe is as easy to make as it is delicious. San Marzano tomatoes cooked with dried chillies and garlic is the Italian perfection on a plate.

Spaghetti with spice arrabbiata sauce in a white bowl


If you haven’t tried to make pasta arrabiata at home yet, you are missing out. This Italian dish is packed with Mediterranean flavors and is ridiculously easy to make.

Pasta with arrabbiata sauce (or sugo all’arrabbiata in Italian) is a traditional spicy Italian dish that originated in Rome in 1950-60s. The word arrabbiata translated from Italian to English means “angry” which makes sense given how spicy this delicious tomato sauce is.

arrabbiata sauce served with spaghetti in a white bowl

Why make it

If you are still not sure whether you want to give this Italian dish a go, here you have 3 more fabulous reasons why you should definitely make this pasta recipe:

  1. It is super easy to make. 30 minutes from start to finish and you have an authentic Italian pasta dish for dinner. If you don’t have any cooking skills, you can still make it. And if you would like some more help, simply watch the step-by-step video in the recipe card below.
  2. Budget-friendly. It requires only 6 simple ingredients. Nothing fancy, just fresh good-quality food.
  3. Family-friendly. This pasta dish makes an excellent family dinner if you have older kids who enjoy spicy food.

Is arrabiata sauce gluten-free?

The arrabiata sauce is naturally gluten-free and if you choose gluten-free spaghetti to serve it with, you are good to go.

Ingredients for spaghetti arrabiata

Now that I have mentioned that this recipe requires 6 ingredients only, let’s have a look at what we will need to make this spicy, garlicky tomato sauce:

Ingredients to make spaghetti arrabbiata
  • Spaghetti. We love spaghetti with this spicy sauce, but you can choose any other variety you like, such as fusilli, tagliatelle or penne pasta. And of course don’t forget to choose gluten-free pasta if you are like me, following a gluten-free diet.
  • Tomatoes. I used peeled canned San Marzano tomatoes to make this sauce, but any canned tomatoes will work.
  • Fresh basil. This ingredient is essential as it gives this pasta dish a lot of flavor, so please do not substitute it with dried basil.
  • Garlic cloves. Fresh is the best and garlic powder won’t work, sorry!
  • Chillies. Arrabbiata is a spicy Italian sauce and there is no way to make it without using chillies. Look for large whole chillies at the supermarket.
  • Parmesan cheese or parmigiano reggiano. Apparently, in Italy, spaghetti with arrabbiata sauce is not served with parmesan cheese, but I am not quite sure it is true. I remember enjoying a lot of Parmigiano Reggiano with my pasta when I visited Italy in the past. So I guess it is up to you whether you want to serve it with or without Parmesan cheese. You know what I think about it, don’t you?
  • Sea salt and good quality fresh black pepper to season.
  • Olive oil. Last but not least, we will need some good-quality extra virgin olive oil. While 6 tablespoons might sound like a lot, do not fear, this is a kind of fat you want to incorporate into your diet. It is especially beneficial when paired with fresh tomatoes. Yes, the Mediterranean diet has its little delicious secrets.

See the recipe card below for the full ingredients list.

How to make spaghetti arrabiata

This classic Italian dish could be the simplest pasta recipe on my blog.

  • Start by boiling water in a large saucepan.
  • Heat some extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan or dutch oven.
  • Once the oil is hot, fry the garlic over medium heat until the garlic gets a nice golden color.
  • Add the dry chillies and fry them for a couple of minutes.
step by step photos on how to make spaghetti arrabbiata
  • Now add tomatoes along with tomato juice and cook them for about 20 minutes over low heat until the sauce has thickened. Stir occasionally.
tomato sauce in a frying pan
  • While the tomatoes are simmering away, cook the spaghetti according to the packaging instructions or until the pasta is al dente. By the way, al dente means, firm to bite. So please don’t overcook it.
  • Once the spaghetti is al dente, drain and transfer the cooked pasta back into the pot. Sprinkle some olive oil and add the fresh basil leaves. Mix everything well to combine.
  • Now transfer the pasta into the frying pan with the arrabiata pasta sauce. Keep the frying pan on low heat, and toss the spaghetti until every bit is covered with this delicious sauce.
step by step how to make spaghetti arrabbiata
  • Serve with some freshly grated parmesan cheese and some extra basil leaves. Enjoy!

Did I promise too much? Let me know in the comments below if you tried this recipe.

What tomatoes to use

Just a quick word about tomatoes. As I mentioned above I used canned tomatoes to make this arrabiata sauce.

If you have time and want to make something truly amazing, you can use fresh tomatoes instead. Head over to PASTA MELANZANE – PASTA WITH EGGPLANT AND TOMATO to see how to de-skin tomatoes and prepare them for the sauce.

If you opt for the tinned variety like I did, make sure to choose the best quality you can find. The Italian tomatoes that are grown in Campagna and Puglia are known for being grown outside and ripened in the sun which of course results in beautiful full flavor.

And please look for a BPA-free tin variety if you can.

How to serve spaghetti arrabiata

Italian pasta dishes, like this spaghetti all’ arrabiata are complete meals on their own. But if you would like to add something else, try to serve it with

  1. Salad: A simple green salad with fresh tomatoes and cucumber will add a refreshing contrast to the spicy pasta.
  2. Grilled vegetables: try it with grilled zucchini slices, Mediterranean eggplant or crispy sweet potato slices.
  3. Make chicken arrabiata. Add some homemade meatballs to the arrabiata sauce for a protein-rich and hearty meal.

You can also serve this spicy dish with zucchini spaghetti to make your meal low-carb.

Spaghetti arrabbiata on a fork

Here are more Italian pasta recipes for you to try:



How to store spaghetti arrabiata

The best way to store this meal is by refrigerating the arrabbiata sauce without pasta. Once the sauce has cooled down, transfer it into a glass jar or an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Now, all you have to do is to cook fresh pasta and you have a perfect dinner in no time.

If you have pasta leftovers, you still can refrigerate it for 2-3 days and reheat it in a frying pan. Just add a splash of water to the pasta.

I can’t find whole dried chillies, what do I do?

If you can find whole dry chillies, you can use dry red pepper flakes instead

Spaghetti arrabbiata in a white bowl

Spaghetti Arrabiata Recipe & Video

Elena Elliott
This spaghetti arrabiata is full of Mediterranean flavours. Spicyness from dry chilies, sweetness from tomatoes and saltiness from freshly grated Parmesan cheese. A pasta night was never better.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people


  • 400 grams spaghetti Gluten-free if needed
  • 2 tins Italian whole tomatoes choose BPA-free variety and organic if possible
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic cut in half
  • 4 large whole dried red chillies
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil leaves picked


  • In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
  • Once oil is hot, add the garlic cloves and let them fry until they turned light brown. Stir constantly.
  • Add the whole chillies and stir so that he chillies are covered with oil.
  • Add the tomatoes along with the juice and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  • Mix the pasta sauce, breaking up the tomatoes and chillies as you go.
  • Cook for aproximatelly 30 minutes on low heat until the sauce has thickened. Stir frequently.
  • Season with salt amd pepper.
  • While the sauce is simmering, cook the spaghetti in a large sauce pan according to the instructions or until the pasta is al dente.
  • Drain the pasta and return it back to the saucepan.
  • Drizzle the spaghetti with the remailning 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add the basil leaves. Mix to combine.
  • Add the pasta to the tomato sauce and toss the spaghetti until evey bit is covered with the sauce.
  • Serve in a bowl with fresh grated parmesan and some extra basil leaves.


Keyword arrabbiata, Spaghetti
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. 5 stars
    Yum, I love how easy this was to make and full of flavor! Since my child liked it too, it will definitely be in the dinner rotation.

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