Home Recipes Fra Diavolo Sauce (Spicy Tomato Sauce Recipe)

Fra Diavolo Sauce (Spicy Tomato Sauce Recipe)

Are you looking for a delicious, easy-to-make sauce to jazz up your dishes? Look no further than yummy Fra Diavolo sauce

It’s a wonderful option that offers heat and loads of taste without being overpowering. 

Fra Diavlo Sauce with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Pasta
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Some recipes call for both shrimp and scallops. This one, though, sticks strictly to shrimp.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t still incredible and full of umami goodness. 

Its versatile nature makes it the perfect accompaniment for any pasta you have on hand. It’s also simple to prepare.

So why not try this timeless classic? Read on to learn how you can whip up Fra Diavolo sauce today!

Fra Diavolo Sauce 

Despite its devilish name, Fra Diavolo sauce is one of my all-time favorite Italian sauces.

Its name literally translates to “Brother Devil,” alluding to its spicy nature. 

Some versions of the sauce are hotter than others. Many even utilized chopped chiles in their ingredients list. 

For this one, you stick simply to crushed red pepper flakes. They add plenty of heat, though.

In essence, this is a spicy tomato sauce with lots of succulent shrimp. 

You can use it on linguine, as we’ll do in this recipe, or something else.

It tastes great on spaghetti, fettuccine, or even your favorite cut of baked fish.

Best of all, you should be able to pull it together with only about 15 minutes of hands-on time.

Fra Diavlo Sauce Ingredients - Olive Oil, Garlic Cloves, Tomatoes, Salt, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Shrimp and Parsley


Here’s what you need to make this drool-worthy, seafood-infused sauce:

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  • Olive oil. For cooking the garlic and sauteeing the shrimp. 
  • Garlic cloves. For that bold, earthy, garlicky flavor.
  • Tomatoes. You can use fresh tomatoes for this ingredient, but I never do. Canned tomatoes work just fine. Be sure you have three cups worth and that they are whole, peeled, and crushed. Do not drain them.
  • Salt. A flavor enhancer.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes. For heat and flavor. 
  • Shrimp. You’ll need 16 ounces of raw, deveined shrimp. That’s where the umami flavor comes in. Plus, it makes the sauce heartier and more filling. 
  • Parsley. Stick to fresh parsley. It will give you the best flavor. 

That’s all you’ll need to make the sauce itself. However, this recipe also calls for a 16-ounce package of linguine pasta.

If you prefer, you could substitute your own favorite pasta instead.

Bowl of Homemade Fra Diavlo Sauce with Tomatoes and Pasta

How to Make Fra Diavolo Sauce 

Here are the steps for making Fra Diavolo sauce: 

1. Make the tomato sauce mixture. Start by heating the oil and garlic. Listen for the garlic to start sizzling. Once it does, you add and season the tomatoes.

Pour the tomatoes into the oil and garlic mixture. Then, season them with salt and red pepper flakes.

Let the mixture simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Be sure to stir it occasionally.

2. Boil the pasta. While the tomato sauce mixture is simmering, boil the pasta.

You need a large pot full of lightly salted water. Bring it to a boil, then add the linguine noodles. 

Cook the pasta until it reaches an al dente consistency. It should take about 8 to 10 minutes. Then, drain the pasta and set it aside. 

3. Saute the shrimp. In a separate skillet, add the last of the oil. Then, stirring continually, saute the shrimp over high heat for approximately 2 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when it’s nice and pink. 

4. Combine the two sauce mixtures. Add the shrimp mixture to the tomato sauce mixture. Then, add your freshly chopped parsley and continue to cook for another 3 or 4 minutes. 

5. Serve, sauce, and enjoy. Once the sauce mixture starts to bubble, remove it from the heat. Transfer the cooked noodles to individual serving plates. Then, top the noodles with the sauce. 

Add any toppings you might want to add. (Parmesan, green onions, etc.) Then, enjoy your Fra Diavolo pasta! 

*Note: For the complete step-by-step recipe with ingredients, see below. 

Homemade Fra Diavlo Sauce with Tomatoes, Parsley and Pasta

Tips and Variations 

Here are a few tips and variations to keep in mind when making this decadent pasta dish: 

  • Make the sauce a day ahead of time. Save the noodles and shrimp for right before you want to eat them. But make the sauce the day before and refrigerate it overnight. Doing so gives all the flavors time to meld together into something incredible. 
  • Reserve some of your pasta water. You may not need it. However, it’s an excellent way to thin your sauce if it is too thick. 
  • Don’t overcook your shrimp. Remember, you’ll only need a couple of minutes to cook the shrimp. Anything more than that, and it gets rubbery and tasteless. 
  • Vary the seafood. You don’t have to make this recipe solely with shrimp. As I mentioned, many Fra Diavolo sauces use scallops, as well. You could also try it with lobster, crab, or fish filets.  
  • Add freshly diced peppers for more heat. Red pepper flakes add flavor and spice, but fresh peppers add even more of both. 
  • Don’t rinse your pasta after draining it. Not rinsing allows some of the starch to cling to the noodles. That will make your sauce thicker and better. 
  • Substitute roasted garlic for fresh garlic. Doing so will give the sauce an even more robust, garlicky flavor. 

Once you master this recipe, you’ll probably find even more variations to suit your tastes. 

How to Store 

If you have leftovers, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for 6 months. Here’s how: 

  • Storage: Transfer the leftovers to an air-tight, lidded container. Stick them near the front of the fridge for up to 3 days. 
  • Freezing: Again, transfer the leftovers to an airtight, freezer-safe container. Add a date to the container and freeze them for up to 6 months. 

Both methods work best if you store the pasta and sauce separately.

In the case of freezing, freeze only the sauce, and make fresh noodles when you serve it. Noodles don’t hold up well in the freezer. 

Additionally, don’t freeze the sauce if you used previously frozen shrimp. You should freeze only fresh shrimp in this sauce. 

When you want to reheat it, do so on the stove over medium heat.

You can heat the sauce straight from the refrigerator. If you freeze it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight first. 

You can also use the microwave to reheat it, but it might affect the shrimp’s texture. 

Fra Diavolo Sauce (Spicy Tomato Sauce Recipe)



Prep time


Cooking time





This classic Fra Diavlo sauce simply can’t be topped! Made with garlic, tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and shrimp, this spicy dish is sure to please.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 3 cups whole peeled tomatoes with liquid, chopped

  • 1 -1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 (16-ounce) package linguine pasta

  • 16 ounces small shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley


  • Add 2 tablespoons of oil and the garlic to a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the garlic begins sizzling.
  • Add the tomatoes, salt, and red pepper flakes. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While that mixture is cooking, fill a large pot with water. Lightly salt it and bring it to a boil. Add the linguine and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. (The pasta should be al dente, not fully cooked.) Drain the pasta and set aside.
  • Add the last 2 tablespoons of oil to a second large skillet or saucepan. Heat over high heat, then add the shrimp. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. The shrimp should be pink when it’s ready.
  • Once the tomato sauce mixture is ready, add the shrimp to it. Then, add the parsley, and stir until everything is mixed. Continue cooking the sauce for about 3 to 4 minutes or until it begins bubbling.
  • Remove from heat. Transfer the linguine to individual serving platters. Then, pour the sauce mixture over the noodles. Add any desired toppings, and enjoy!
Fra Diavolo Sauce

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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