Five Ingredient Spicy Marinara Sauce

Spicy Marinara Sauce
 Jarred marinara sauce is packed full of unnecessary sodium, preservatives, and sometimes as much sugar as a can of soda. Making your own spicy marinara sauce at home is easy, delicious, and can be accomplished with just five ingredients.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Spicy Marinara Sauce Ingredients: 

1. 4 large red tomatoes
2. 2 cloves of fresh garlic
3. 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons of dried oregano)
4. 1/2 of a large sweet onion
5. 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (depending on how spicy you prefer)
2 tablespoons of olive oil (any type will do, doesn’t need to be extra virgin)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper (I recommend using a pepper grinder.)


Raw Ingredients

Spicy Marinara Sauce Instructions: 

STEP 1: Get out all of your tools and prepare all of your ingredients.

Like most things in life, cooking is easier when you are prepared in advance. First get out all of the tools you will need for the recipe: a large nonstick pan, a small paring knife, a large sharp knife, a surface for cutting (such as a cutting board), a slotted spoon, the blender, a tablespoon, and a teaspoon.

Next, prepare all of the ingredients and have them ready on the counter in front of you.

A quick note. Regardless of how thoroughly the Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” show has brainwashed you, don’t stress over perfect knife cuts for the produce! We are going to throw the marinara sauce in the blender at the end anyway, so no one is going to know how uniform your cuts were. Just chop it up into reasonably small pieces and be done with it!

Tomatoes – Use the small paring knife to core the tomatoes and then use the large, sharp knife to dice them. Keep all of the seeds and juice, too. Your going to be cooking these down, so the tomato slices don’t have to be perfect. But if you want further instructions for dicing tomatoes, check out this link: How to Dice a Tomato
Minced garlic and sliced onion ready to go in the pan.

Onions and Garlic for spicy marinara sauce
Minced garlic and sliced onion ready to go into the pan.

Garlic – Peel and mince both cloves of garlic. Not confident in your garlic mincing abilities? Check out this video: How to Peel & Mince Garlic

Onion – Slice the onion in half from end to end and set half aside for storing for another recipe. Then peel and slice the other half. Need to brush up on cutting an onion? Check out this resource: How to Thinly Slice an Onion. 

Oregano – De-stem and mince the oregano. Not sure how to work with oregano? Check out this video: How to Chop & Mince Oregano

STEP 2: Cook down the produce. 

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the large nonstick pan over medium-high heat.

Single Onion
Check to see if the pan is heated by just adding one sliver of
onion to the pan and listening for the sizzle.

Helpful Tip! After the oil is heated you can check to see if it is hot enough by adding just one small sliver of onion to the pan. If it starts to sizzle and little bubbles surround the sliver of onion, then you are good to go.

2. Once the oil is heated, add the sliced onions to the pan. Sprinkle the 1/2 tsp of salt over the onions and stir with the slotted spoon. Allow the onions to cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but still opaque.

3. Pour a second tablespoon of oil into the pan and then add the minced garlic. Saute the garlic for about 1 minute, using the slotted spoon to push it around in the oil. Keep it moving around the pan so it doesn’t burn!

4. Add the tomatoes (including any and all seeds and juice), the 2 tablespoons of minced oregano (or 2 teaspoons of dried oregano), the 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper, and the 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (depending on how spicy you want it – you can always add more but you can’t take it back out!) Stir to incorporate.

5. Bring the pan to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer (usually medium-low will do it). The liquid should have little bubbles, not huge, splattery ones. (Note to self: I’m not sure if splattery is a word.) Still not sure what I mean by simmer? Check out this brief article: What’s the difference between boil and simmer?  Allow the marinara sauce to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.

spicy marinara sauce starting to cook
Simmer all of the spicy marinara sauce ingredients for 15 minutes.

STEP 3: Smash the tomatoes with a large slotted spoon.

Now that the tomatoes have been softened by simmering for the last 15 minutes, use the back of the slotted spoon to smash them down into a more smooth looking marinara sauce. Continue simmering the pan while smashing the tomatoes with the slotted spoon for 5 minutes.

spicy marinara sauce Smashed with Spoon
This is what your spicy marinara sauce should look like after 5 minutes of spoon smashing.

You’re almost finished now! One last step until spicy marinara sauce perfection!

STEP 4: Toss it into the blender and puree until smooth.

OK! Now for the last step! You know that blender that you mostly only use for making protein shakes and frozen margaritas??? Well… we are going to use it to finish your spicy marinara sauce!

spicy marinara sauce after blender
This is what the finished spicy marinara sauce should look like after you puree it in the blender.

Carefully pour the marinara sauce into the blender. Put the lid on and use a folded up dish towel to hold the lid in place (this will protect you from giving yourself marinara-induced second degree burns should it happen to splatter out of the top).

Puree for a few seconds (probably about 20 or so) until you are satisfied that you have a smooth sauce. Carefully remove the lid and pour the marinara sauce out into a bowl. Taste the sauce and add any additional salt and black pepper to your preference.

Nice job! You’re finished! The Five Ingredient Spicy Marinara Sauce is now ready to eat! Serve it over pasta, sausage & peppers, or any other dish in which you might typically use the jarred stuff. You can use this spicy marinara sauce in any number of applications and freeze whatever you don’t use for a later date! 

Final spicy marinara sauce Dish
Five Ingredient Spicy Marinara Sauce with Angel Hair Pasta, Sauteed Shrimp, Basil and Shaved Parmesan Cheese

I hope you enjoy this Five Ingredient Spicy Marinara Sauce recipe!

Did you give this recipe a try? How did it turn out? How did you serve the sauce? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. Hi Lauren,
    Glad I found your blog. I’m going to give this a try! Will let you know how it turned out at Yoga.

    1. Awesome, Judy! Can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

Tell me what you think!