Simple & Delicious 5-Ingredient Marinara Sauce Recipe

Hectic weeknight’s are no match for our Easy 5-Ingredient homemade Marinara Sauce recipe! Forget cracking open processed jars of store bought marinara sauce when you are in a rush. In about the time it takes to boil water and cook a box of pasta you can make this from scratch marinara sauce recipe that tastes like it’s been slow simmering all afternoon! 

***This post was updated 3/6/2021 with new images, a pictorial slideshow, and updated nutritional information.***

A bowl of penne pasta topped with our homemade marinara sauce recipe and chopped fresh parsley

Here is basically all you need to know,  5 ingredients + 30 minutes = marinara sauce recipe perfection!

Make it, batch cook it, toss it with your favorite pasta, top your pizza, dunk your cheese sticks, or thin it with some broth and sip on it like soup! Anyway you serve this up it is sure to be a hit!

A bowl of pasta tossed with homemade marinara sauce and served with parsley and Parmesan

What is Marinara Sauce?

Marinara Sauce is a simple tomato sauce with only a handful ingredients.  It starts with tomatoes, then receives a flavor boost from aromatics and seasonings. 

This marinara sauce recipe is the perfect replacement for jarred pasta sauce wherever it is called for in your recipes. It is wonderful served as a dipping sauce and it is even tasty thinned with a bit of broth and served as a soup!

How do you make this marinara sauce recipe from scratch?

Gather the ingredients

You will need 1 (28-ounce) can of diced tomatoes, 1 onion peeled and sliced in half, 4 tablespoons of butter, 1/4 cup raw cashews, and 1 bouillon cube.

Start with a medium sized saucepan.

Place the diced tomatoes and their juices in the sauce pan.

Onion halves being nestled into a saucepan with diced tomatoes

Nestle in the onions…

No need to chop here, just peel and half the onions and nestle them cut side down into the tomatoes.

A saucepan filled with the ingredients to make the homemade marinara sauce recipe

Add everything else!

In no particular order, add the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper.

Place the saucepan over medium heat and cover. Cook for 25 minutes stirring 2-3 times.

A sauce pan of cooked marinara sauce next to a bowl with cooked red onion

Remove the onion halves.

You can discard the onion halves at this point if you want, their flavor is in the sauce itself. But, I like to let them cool slightly and chop them. Then I serve them at the table for anyone that wants to add them back into their sauce.

Blending the 5-ingredient marinara sauce recipe

Blend, blend, blend!

Blend the sauce until it is smooth and the cashews have completely incorporated into the sauce with no small bits remaining.

Marinara sauce being poured over cooked pasta

Pour the sauce over your favorite pasta!

That’s it!!! Dinner is served and you can top it any way your heart desires. Parmesan cheese, yes please! A little red pepper flake? Sign me up!!

A woman pouring raw cashews into a saucepan with marinara sauce ingredients.

How do you thicken marinara sauce?

Other marinara sauce recipes you may have tried might have seemed a bit thin in consistency, but this marinara sauce is luxuriously rich and velvety thanks to raw cashews!

I use raw cashews all the time in my kitchen in savory recipes like this one! Roasted cashews just simply will not work here, it is important to use raw cashews. The raw cashews absorb the liquids in the sauce and plump as they cook making them easy to blend to a silky smooth consistency.

If you can’t eat raw cashews or just don’t have them you can omit them and the result will be an equally delicious yet thinner marinara sauce. Or you can thicken this marinara sauce recipe by mixing in a slurry.

Ingredients to make 5-ingredient marinara sauce

You can also use a tapioca or arrowroot starch slurry in place of the cashews to thicken this marina sauce recipe.

Simply combine 1 tablespoon starch and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Stir until a smooth paste forms. This is your slurry.

Whisk the slurry into the hot marinara sauce during the last minute of the cook time and simmer for 1 minute. Don’t cook any longer as the starch may break down and the liquid will thin out again.

I do NOT recommend a using a cornstarch slurry because the acid in the tomatoes will cause the cornstarch to lose some of its effectiveness as a thickener. However, if that is what you have on hand it will work in a pinch too. You may just need to adjust the measurements.

A little boy in a sleeveless black t-shirt that says "Old Soul" is sitting at table. He is using a fork to dig into a small jar that is layered with pasta sauce, mozzarella balls, and gluten free pasta

Here are some ways to use leftover marinara sauce….

  • Easy Gluten Free Pasta Snack Jars
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mix 1 cup marinara sauce with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of your favorite broth to make a soup.
  • Substitute half of the water the next time you make rice for this marinara sauce. The result is a delicious Mexican inspired red rice that you can serve with tacos or enchiladas.
A bowl is piled high with pasta tossed in a red homemade marinara sauce. The pasta is topped with shredded Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. There is also a small bowl of sauce on the table and a glass of red wine.

If you like easy weeknight meals you are in the right place!

We are all about getting a delicious dinner on the table that makes everyone happy, FAST! Check out a few more of our favorite weeknight warrior recipes below.

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This 2-ingredient wonder of a recipe combines the pantry power of red enchilada sauce with the efficiency of cooking in the Instant Pot. Get ready to meet your new go-to weeknight dinner recipe!

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Supreme Veggie Pizza Pasta

This gluten free Supreme Veggie Pizza Pasta has all the flavors that I love in a great slice of vegetarian pizza, but instead of it all being served on top of a crust, I pile my favorite toppings on top of bowls of pizza sauce drenched pasta! 

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If you’ve tried this Easy 5-Ingredient Marinara Recipe, I would be so grateful if you would rate it. Let me know what you think in the comments below. I just love hearing from you, and your reviews and comments really help others that visit This Mess is Ours!

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A bowl of penne pasta that has been tossed with homemade marinara sauce recipe

5-Ingredient Marinara Sauce Recipe

  • Author: This Mess is Ours
  • Prep Time: 2 min
  • Cook Time: 25 min
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: serves 5 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Don’t forget to rate the recipe, and let me know what you think about this 5-Ingredient Marinara Sauce Recipe in the comments below. I just love hearing from you. Your reviews/comments really help other people that visit This Mess is Ours!


Ingredients

Scale

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 red onion, halved and peeled 

4 tablespoons butter, divided into quarters 

1 bouillon cube, we use vegan “beef” flavored, but any will work

1/4 cup soaked, drained raw cashews, optional. *** See note***

coarse kosher salt and pepper to taste


Instructions

In a medium sized saucepan with a tight fitting lid combine the tomatoes, butter, bouillon cube, cashews, and the onion halves cut side down. Season well with salt and pepper. Place the lid on the pan and turn to medium heat for 10 minutes. Stir, replace the lid and cook for another 10 minutes. Stir, replace the lid and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before removing the onion halves, discard or chop and serve as a side,  then blend the sauce with either a high speed blender or an immersion blender. 

Serve over pasta or however you would typically use jarred tomato sauce. 


Notes

Raw cashews: These are used to thicken the sauce when you blend it. If you don’t have them or have an allergy it is ok to not use them. Simply omit them all together. The sauce will be thinner, but will still be delicious.

Raw cashew substitute: You can use a tapioca or arrowroot starch slurry in place of the cashews to thicken the sauce. Simply combine 1 tablespoon starch and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl. Stir until a smooth paste forms. This is your slurry.

Whisk the slurry into the hot marinara sauce during the last minute of the cook time and simmer for 1 minute. Don’t cook any longer as the starch may break down and the liquid will thin out again.

 

Keywords: marinara sauce, marinara sauce recipe, easy marinara sauce recipe, 5 ingredient marinara

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What are the health benefits of cashews?

Cashews are filled with protein, fiber, and healthy unsaturated fats. They also have high amounts of necessary minerals like copper, manganese, and magnesium which promote bone health. These nutrients serve to improve bone health, regulate blood sugar, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Click here for more information on the health benefits of cashews.

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