What Is The Difference Between Marinara And Pizza Sauce?

pizza sauce vs marinara

What is the difference between Marinara and Pizza sauce? Pizza sauce vs Marinara- is there any similarities between these two sauces? There are several people out there who are searching for answers to these questions online. If you are one of them, just keep on reading this article.

Why Is It Important To Know The Difference And Similarities?

If you enjoy cooking Italian dishes regularly, chances are that you may have run out of a particular sauce at some point. Maybe you were cooking one of your delicious pasta and it happens that you forgot to prepare some marinara sauce. Or you reach into the refrigerator for some pizza sauce to give your homemade pizza the final touch only to find out that all of your pizza sauce had been used up.

Don’t say that it won’t happen to you. Sometimes it happens so you need to be prepared for the worst.

It is, therefore, important to know the differences and similarities between these two sauces. This will help you know whether it is a good idea to use one as a substitute for the other.

Replacing Pizza Sauce With Marinara

For some people, they have no problem using one sauce as a substitute. They will tell you that after all both are Italian sauces and delicious. For others, especially those who have not done before, replacing pizza sauce with marinara or vice versa is something they will give a second thought.

Similarities Between Pizza Sauce vs Marinara

To help you make an informed decision whether to replace one sauce with the other, let’s first understand the similarities between the two sauces.

Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce

There are quite some similarities between these two sauces that makes people assume that they are the same.

For instance, they are both made from mainly tomatoes, require similar seasoning process and cooked in almost the same way.

Pizza Marinara

Marinara Sauce

Despite that the fact that pizza sauce and marinara requires roughly the same ingredients and requires a similar cooking process, these two have some notable differences which need to be taken into account.

Differences Between Pizza Sauce And Marinara

Before you decide to substitute one sauce with the other, just keep in mind that there are a number of differences between them. I have explained them in detail below.

1. Consistency

Marinara sauce is placed on top of pasta. So this sauce needs to be chunkier and thicker. On the other hand, pizza sauce is used as a layer between the pizza toppings and pizza crust. So this sauce needs to be a little runnier for easier spreading.

2. Strength

Marinara is not only thicker but also has a stronger flavor compared to pizza sauce. It is intended to enhance the taste of pasta. Pizza sauce, on the other hand, doesn’t need to have a stronger flavor. It tends to be salty.

3. Flavor

Ingredients for these two may be roughly similar but believe it or not, marinara sauce and pizza sauce have different tastes. Some of the ingredients in pizza sauce include tomatoes, salt, basil and some garlic but the sauce tastes mainly of tomatoes. On the other hand, marinara sauce is made of seasoning ingredients such as garlic, oregano and other aromatic herbs which give it a stronger taste.

4. Cooking Process

The cooking process of these two sauces does not differ greatly. Marinara is made from tomatoes which have been cooked beforehand. When it comes to preparing pizza sauce, its tomatoes are often raw.

Substituting The Two Sauces The Italian Way

If you want to substitute pizza sauce for marinara or vice versa, you first need to understand how they do it in Italy. In fact, in Italy, there is no fuzz about these two sauces. Ask anybody they will tell you that both are the same.

They normally create tomato sauce which they refer to as sugo. Other ingredients used to make this sauce and the preparation process varies between individuals.

In many homes and restaurants, you will find them preparing large quantities of sugo. If you request to be served your favorite pizza, the sugo will be used on the pizza as it is. You can also request them to dilute it a bit with pasta water.

If you order pasta, the cooks will add more extra spices to the sugo to make it thicker and give it its characteristic flavor.

So it is up to you to decide which way to go. You can opt to make marinara and pizza sauce separately or decide to go the Italian way.


Pizza sauce and marinara are different kinds of sauce that are ideal for different types of Italian cuisines. However, these two sauces have almost similar ingredients and can be used as a substitute for the other.

If you are a fan of homemade sauces, I recommend you make sugo instead of making pizza sauce or marinara. This will help you add extra ingredients to create the type of sauce to fit your needs.

If you prefer store bought ones, I recommend you buy high-quality tomato sauce and use it as sugo instead. This way you will save a lot of money you would have spent buying different sauces.

If you have additional information about these two sauces or want to share how you use these two sauces, feel free to leave your comment below. We’d love to hear what you have to say.

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