Pizza Sauce Vs Marinara: All Key Differences Between Them

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Pizza Sauce Vs Marinara Sauce, Which Sauce Is Right For You?

Pizza is one of the most popular foods in America. The sauce can make or break a pizza, but what exactly are the differences between the two? Marinara sauce is made with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil while pizza sauce has tomato paste as its base. Pizza sauce also has oregano and onion powder in it whereas marinara does not contain any spices. 

Do you know the difference between pizza sauce vs marinara? If not, you’re not alone. A lot of people don’t know the difference, or assume pizza sauce vs marinara are one and the same. But there is a big distinction between these two sauces, and it’s important to understand what sets them apart. 

The biggest difference between these sauces is that marinara contains less salt than pizza sauce which makes it taste fresher when served cold on pasta dishes.

Pizza sauce is a tomato-based condiment typically served on top of pizza. Marinara, also known as “Italian style” sauce, may be used to replace the traditional red pizza sauce. The difference between these two sauces are that pizza sauce typically has added ingredients such as olive oil and spices while marinara only contains tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper. 

In this blog post, we’ll be going over all of the different aspects that differentiate a good marinara from a tomato-based pizza sauce. You’ll find out what makes each one unique and see which is right for you! So you can make an informed decision when ordering your next pizza. 

What Is Pizza Sauce

Pizza was invented as a gift for King Umberto and Queen Margherita from a chef in Naples, Italy. It is well established that pizza sauce has been around for centuries.

As soon as someone put pureed tomatoes on a piece of bread, the inventors quickly came up with tomato-based sauces to slather their new food invention -the Pizza!- with.

Hence, Pizza Sauce was born and has since been a popular choice for many pizza lovers around the globe. But what exactly goes into this sauce?

Pizza Sauce’s ingredients are simple: Tomatoes, basil, olive oil and garlic. It is a basic sauce that typically consists of few ingredients. This is what makes it so popular, as it can be used to top a variety of different dishes.

Typically, Pizza Sauce contains a variety of seasonings such as onion powder, garlic powder and oregano. It also contains some type of oil such as olive oil or vegetable oil. The base is made up of tomato paste which gives the sauce its deep red color.

Lastly, it also has sugar and salt to enhance the flavors. This combination of ingredients creates a rich and flavorful sauce that pairs well with cheese and pepperoni on top of a crispy crust.

Today, when you buy “pizza sauce” at the supermarket it will typically contain that same simple mixture of tomatoes salt and herbs.

You can also add whatever ingredients to your pizza sauces if desired; whether some crushed red pepper for a little spice or garlic for extra flavor is added makes all the difference in taste bud satisfaction!

The pizza sauce battle has raged on for generations. From Barilla and Panzani’s traditional favourites of Basilico to Bolognese, Neapolitan or even a spicy Tomatina (tomato flavour), there is something perfect just waiting in your pantry!

With such a variety of pizzas and sauces, it is important to have the right one for your tastes. Barilla’s “Basilico” mix makes an excellent base with strong Italian flavours while Panzani has something specific just as good or better depending on preference – they both offer additional flavors like Bolognese sauce that can be added in at any time!

What Is Marinara Sauce?

The origin of the sauce can be dated back to Italy’s first tomato arrivals in Europe during the 16th century. The name “Marinara” sauce is derived from the Italian word for “sailor.” The story goes that this sauce was created by a female cook named Maria, who whipped up a quick meal for some hungry sailors. 

Since then, it has become well loved not just within their country but internationally as well especially by Americans who embrace this dish with open arms and an American twist on a classic recipe!

Marinara sauce has a long and rich history dating back to the 1700s. This sauce was originally meant to be eaten with seafood, but today it’s commonly served with pasta and pizza.

The ingredients in marinara sauce are: Tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. As you can see, the ingredients are very similar to those in pizza sauce. 

The ingredients in marinara sauce are very similar to pizza sauce, with a few exceptions. While both sauces typically have garlic, tomatoes and herbs, marinara also contains onions. It also has a little bit of red pepper flakes to give it a kick. 

Olive oil is also an important ingredient in Marinara sauce, as it helps to deepen the flavor of the sauce. Finally, like pizza sauce, marinara also has sugar and added in to enhance the flavors. 

The original Italian recipe called “alla marinara” refers to a sauce containing tomatoes, basil, and oregano. However you can also cook different varieties of this dish with olives for added flavor or capers if that’s your preference. In some cases it even includes anchovies!

Marinara sauce is typically used as a dipping sauce for bread or other appetizers. It also works well with pasta dishes, seafood and chicken recipes. Some people even use this sauce to top their pizza, giving it that little extra kick!

What Is The Difference Between Pizza Sauce Vs Marinara Sauce


The first and most obvious difference between pizza sauce vs marinara is that pizza sauce contains additional ingredients such as olive oil, onion powder and oregano.

These spices give the sauce a slightly different flavor than marinara, which is more tart and acidic because it doesn’t have any added seasonings. 

Marinara sauce is made with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil while pizza sauce has tomato paste as its base. Pizza also has oregano and onion powder in it whereas marinara does not contain any spices.

The biggest difference between pizza sauce vs marinara sauce is that marinara contains less salt than pizza sauce which makes it taste fresher when served cold on pasta dishes.


Pizza sauce is also usually a bit thicker in consistency than marinara. This is because of the addition of tomato paste, which gives the sauce a more concentrated flavor.

Marinara sauce is typically made with whole peeled tomatoes, whereas pizza sauce is made with crushed tomatoes. Because of this, there is more liquid in pizza sauce which makes it thinner inconsistency.

One of the most notable differences between pizza sauce vs marinara sauce is how they are used.

Marinara sauce is typically served as a dipping sauce or appetizer, while pizza sauce is an ingredient in making pizzas. Pizza sauce is also most commonly used on pizzas, but you can use it to top pasta dishes, seafood and chicken recipes too!

Pizza sauce vs marinara both contain tomatoes and common herbs such as garlic, rosemary, thyme and oregano. They also have red pepper flakes for added spice to give the dish that extra kick!

However, pizza sauce contains more salt than marinara. Another key difference is sugar content: Pizza Sauce has more sugar than marina which allows it to cut through the strong flavors of cheese and meat found on top of a pizza pie! 


The flavors of pizza sauce vs marinara sauce vary depending on the ingredients used in each sauce.

If you are looking for a traditional marinara sauce, it will have a tart and acidic flavor because it doesn’t have any added seasonings. However, if you add spices to your marinara sauce such as onion powder or olives, it will give it a more flavorful taste.

Pizza sauce is also flavored with spices like oregano and onion powder, which give it a slightly different flavor than marinara. The addition of tomato paste makes the sauce thicker and more concentrated, allowing the flavors of the spices to stand out.

One thing to note is that not all pizzas are made with red sauce. There are pizzas that are made with white sauce, which is made with herbs, butter and cheese. White sauce covers the dough completely instead of having it placed in dollops like marinara.

It also makes sense why foodies would say “pizza sauce” because you could put other toppings on your pizza such as sausage or cheese; while marinara tends to be socially used for an appetizer or dipping sauce.

Each type of sauce will taste differently based on the ingredients used. Pizza sauce will have a more herbaceous flavor since it contains basil and oregano, while marinara will be more tart and acidic because of the red wine vinegar and onions added.

If you’re looking for a sweeter sauce, go with marinara; if you want a spicier sauce, opt for pizza sauce. Ultimately, the difference between the pizza sauce vs marinara is up to your preference!

Cooking process

Both pizza sauce vs marinara are made with tomatoes, garlic and basil. The main difference between the two is that marinara sauce uses whole peeled tomatoes while pizza sauce uses crushed tomatoes.

Crushed tomatoes are ground up which makes them thicker in consistency. This means that it will have a stronger concentration of flavor because there isn’t as much liquid in it compared to marinara.

The cooking process for pizza sauce vs marinara sauce is virtually the same. Both sauces are cooked in a pan on the stove until they thicken and reduce in volume.

This takes about 15-20 minutes, and during this time you can add any additional ingredients you like such as garlic, onions or peppers.

Once the sauce has thickened, it’s ready to be used on your favorite dish! Pizza sauce is most commonly used on pizzas, but it can also be used to top pasta dishes or chicken recipes. Marinara sauce is best served cold on pasta dishes or as a dipping sauce for appetizers.

Pizza Sauce Vs Marinara Sauce Are Different

Although pizza sauce vs marinara may seem like they’re both Italian based sauces, they do have different uses based on their flavors! Pizza sauce contains more salt than marinara because of the addition of tomato paste.

If you are looking for traditional red sauce for your pasta dishes, you should opt for marinara over pizza sauce. But if you are looking to make a pizza with your favorite toppings, then you will want to use pizza sauce instead!

Pizza sauce vs marinara are two different sauces often used in Italian cuisine. Pizza sauce is made with crushed tomatoes and has a thinner consistency than marinara. It is also flavored with spices like oregano and onion powder.

Marinara sauce is made with tomato paste, garlic, herbs, and olive oil. It has a thicker consistency than pizza sauce and is more tart and acidic in flavor.

Both sauces can be used on pasta dishes or pizzas. Pizza sauce is typically used on pizzas with meat toppings, while marinara is often used as a red sauce on Italian dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs.

However, both sauces can be used in other dishes such as chicken or shrimp pasta dishes. To make marinara sauce more versatile, add some tomato paste and let it cook down for about 10 minutes. This will deepen the flavor of your sauce and give it that extra something special.

In summary, what makes marinara sauce different from pizza sauce? As we’ve mentioned, there are only a few differences between the two:

  • Both are tomato based sauces
  • Pizza sauce has garlic, basil and herbs while Marinara has onions and red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil is important in marinara but not in pizza sauce
  • Marinara has onions while pizza sauce doesn’t
  • Marinara contains sugar and red pepper flakes while pizza sauce does not (except for Barilla’s deLorenzo sauce which is specifically made to be used as a sugar free pizza sauce)
  • Marinara contains oil while pizza sauce does not (except for Barilla’s deLorenzo sauce which is specifically made to be used as a sugar free pizza sauce)
  • Marinara is typically used as a dipping sauce or to top pasta or seafood dishes while pizza sauce is most commonly used on pizzas

It seems there are very minor differences and the difference in taste depends on preference, age and country. You can make your own decision but it seems like pizza sauce vs marinara are pretty similar!

When deciding which one is right for you it’s important to know exactly what each one tastes like and what you want your dish to taste like in the end. If you’re looking for a classic Italian flavor, go for Basilico. If you want something with a little more of a kick, Marinara is the sauce for you!

How To Use Pizza Sauce And Marinara

Both of these sauces work great on pasta dishes, pizza, and seafood. Marinara sauce is a great choice for those who want a traditional red sauce on their pasta dish. Pizza sauce will give your pasta that extra flavor boost with its herbs and spices.

For seafood, choose marinara to dip your shrimp or fish in before cooking or baking them. This will add some delicious flavor to your seafood dish.

When using either of these sauces, remember that a little bit goes a long way! Start by adding just a tablespoon or so to your dish and then taste as you go.

You can always add more if needed but it’s better to start with less and add more than to add too much at first and have to take it all back out.

No matter what your favorite Italian dish is, there’s a good chance that one of these sauces will work perfectly with it. Experiment a little and see which sauce you like best! You may find yourself using both interchangeably in your favorite dishes. Enjoy!

Which One Should You Use For Different Dishes

Pizza sauce vs marinara , the debate will last forever. So why don’t we get to know each one’s differences and see which one is better?

Italian food such as spaghetti, lasagna, and pizza are the most popular types of dishes to use both sauces with. Pizza sauce is usually recommended for items such as these to give them a little extra flavor without making it too spicy like some marinara sauces tend to do.

Marinara can also be used in many Italian dishes and there’s an ongoing debate over which pasta sauce is best for certain foods; though it seems marinara generally wins out when choosing between them.  

Some people choose one or the other depending on mood that day or what they have in their pantry. The main difference between the two is that pizza sauce has a good amount of spices to it. It’s full of herbs and garlic, which gives it a better flavor for pizza and other Italian foods such as pastas.

Mariana sauce generally doesn’t have any additional flavors besides tomatoes and basil, so if you’re going to use marinara, try adding some extra spices or vegetables like mushrooms or onions for added flavor.

Pizza Sauce vs Marinara: Which is Better for Pizza? 

The debate over which sauce is better for pizza will never end, since both pizza sauce vs marinara have their pros and cons. One of the first things to consider when deciding which one you should use on your homemade pizzas is what type of crust you’re going to make: thin and crispy or thick and fluffy.

For thicker crust pizzas go with marinara since its heavy consistency will seep into each layer to hold all that cheesy goodness in place. Pizza sauce works best on thinner crusts because it’s lighter making sure nothing spills off while being cooked at high temperatures.

Some people prefer using one or the other depending on whether they want a chunky or smooth base sauce for their pizza.

If you like finely chopped toppings on your pizza, marinara will be a better choice since it has large chunks of tomatoes. Pizza sauce tends to be smoother and more greasy than marinara which can hold its own against bigger chunky toppings without making the pizza soggy.

Pizza Sauce vs Marinara: Which One for Pasta?

When deciding between pizza sauce or marinara for pasta there are a few things to consider before choosing one over the other.

The first thing you should think about is what type of flavor you’re looking for: spicy and tangy like some red pizzas have, or smooth and savory like some marinara sauces tend to be.

If you want something along the lines of an arrabiata sauce, marinara may be the way to go since it can hold bigger chunks of vegetables without getting soggy.

Pizza sauce is more popular when penne or fettuccine are being served because it has a smoother consistency which works well with these types of pasta.

Pizza Sauce vs Marinara: Which Sauce Is Right For You?

Now that you know the difference between pizza sauce vs marinara sauce, it’s time to decide which one is right for you.

If you’re looking for a rich and flavorful sauce that pairs well with cheese and pepperoni, then pizza sauce is the right choice for you. If you’re looking for a light and refreshing sauce with a slightly spicy kick, then marinara sauce is the better option.

Both sauces are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes, so the final decision is up to you!

Pizza Sauce vs Marinara: Appetizers and Side Dishes

When you’re out at your favorite Italian restaurant and choose something like fried mozzarella sticks, sometimes dipping sauces will come with them.

If you’re used to using marinara for dipping then pizza sauce will probably taste pretty weird and vice versa. Even if you aren’t used to eating appetizers with either one they both taste great so feel free to experiment!

Sauces such as these are perfect for dipping a big plate of cheesy garlic bread, but when it comes to your typical green salad going with marinara would be the best choice.

Pizza sauce has a little more kick to it making it great for Italian style salads topped with things like pepperoni and roasted vegetables.

Pizza Sauce vs Marinara: Which One Canned?

It’s true that both pizza sauce vs marinara can be found in cans so there’s no definite way to tell which one you should go for right away. If you have access to either one at a supermarket then choosing will mainly come down to preference.

However, if you’re unable to find either one don’t worry because they’re incredibly easy to make from scratch!

How To Make Pizza Sauce And Marinara

Now that you understand the difference between pizza sauce vs marinara sauce, it’s time to put them to good use! Here are some recipes that will show you how to cook with each type of sauce:

Pizza Sauce Recipe


  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

2. In a small bowl, combine crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, oregano, onion powder and salt and pepper. Spread mixture over the pizza crust.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

4. Remove from oven and top with your favorite pizza toppings.

5. Bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes or until toppings are cooked to your liking.

Marinara Sauce Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until both are translucent. Stir in tomato paste and water, and bring to a boil.

Stir in sugar, basil, salt, and pepper. Lower heat to a simmer, and allow sauce to cook for approximately 20 minutes or until it thickens slightly.

2. Serve over cooked pasta of your choice with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

3. This sauce can be frozen into ice cubes and stored in freezer ziploc bags for future use!

Tip: If you’re freezing marinara sauce as an ice cube, omit the sugar as it will make the sauce sweeter when thawed.

Now that you know what pizza sauce vs marinara is and how to make each one, it’s time to choose which one you’ll fall in love with! We hope this article has been helpful and we look forward to seeing more yummy recipes soon!

A Little Trick To Making Your Marinara Sauce More Delicious

So it looks like there’s no doubt that marinara sauce is most commonly used as the red sauce on Italian dishes such as spaghetti and meatballs, but what would happen if we wanted to take our delicious red pasta sauce and put it somewhere else?

You have probably heard whispers of people trying out their tomato sauces in other forms besides simply Italian cuisine. And now they’re wondering how to up their game with this wonderful staple in their recipe collection! What about using pizza sauce on chicken?

How about a white sauce pasta dish with shrimp and spinach to make it healthier? Suddenly, that jar of marinara seems so limiting. Fear not, dear foodie, for there is a way to make your sauce more versatile without having to start from scratch every time!

Simply add some tomato paste to your marinara sauce and let it cook down for about 10 minutes. This will help to deepen the flavor of your sauce and give it that extra something special you might be looking for. Suddenly, all of your dishes are becoming possibilities!

How To Freeze Your Own Bounty Of Marinara Sauce Or Pizza Sauce

We all know how yummy pasta dishes are! But what happens when we run out of sauce?

This can be a problem for those nights when we don’t feel like cooking anything but still want that tasty spaghetti or lasagna! There’s a simple solution to this problem: make your own sauce and freeze it for later.

Making Your Own Sauce Is Easy

If you find yourself doing this often, try making double batches when you have a chance in order to save on time in the future.

Just cook down some onions and garlic before adding any kind of meat such as beef, pork, or turkey. Add in a can of crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and some herbs such as basil, parsley, and oregano.

Let this all simmer for around 45 minutes to an hour before blitzing it in a food processor or blender. You can also leave it a little chunky if you like your sauce that way.

When it comes to pizza sauce, you’ll need some additional ingredients such as sugar, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Start by heating up the oil in a pan over medium heat before adding the garlic and onion.

Cook these until they’re translucent before stirring in the tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Bring this mixture to a boil before reducing the heat and simmering for 30 minutes. Stir in the sugar, salt, and pepper to taste. Add little red pepper flakes if you want them to be a bit spicier.

Once both sauces are finished, let them cool before freezing. This way, you’ll always have some on hand for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking or just want something different.

Now that you know the difference between pizza sauce and marinara sauce, you can use whichever one you like best for your favorite Italian dishes!

Both pizza sauce vs marinara sauce can be made at home and frozen in separate freezer bags or containers that will last up to three months.

You can even get out your ice cream scoop to make smaller portions, which will help if you decide one isn’t enough for the night. A great way to add flavor is by making meatballs ahead of time and freezing them with your sauce.

The main difference between the two is that pizza sauce has a good amount of spices to it, while marinara sauce generally doesn’t have any. As long as you’re aware of this, you can choose the sauce that will work best for your dish.

Now you know how to make your own sauce, so there’s no need to feel limited the next time you want to cook up some Italian food! Whether it’s pizza or pasta night, you’ll be able to make a delicious and homemade meal that everyone will love.

Enjoy making your own sauces and let us know what recipes you used them in! Marinara is great with shrimp, while pizza sauce can add a delicious kick to chicken dishes. Get creative and have fun with it!


Can these two sauces be used interchangeably?

Unfortunately, NO. Even though pizza sauce and marinara sauce are both tomato sauces, they have different flavors to them that make each one more suitable for certain dishes.

Pizza sauce is spicy and sweet while marinara is basic and simple. If you want to be able to swap them out without ruining your meal, try making a half batch of each and freezing them together instead!

How do you make pizza sauce with marinara?

If you’ve already made your marinara sauce and want to switch it up, just add some Italian herbs to the mix. Oregano, basil, rosemary, or thyme will all work well with this dish. You can also use a bit of balsamic vinegar for an extra kick!

Can these two sauces be frozen together?

Yes! If you’re someone who likes making double batches in order to save time and money down the road, then freezing both pizza and marinara sauce in separate containers is ideal.

Just remember that when you’re ready to use them again, thaw your sauce in the refrigerator overnight before microwaving it on high for 30 seconds.

Can Marinara sauce be used for pizza?

Yes, you can use marinara sauce as the base for your pizza sauce. Just make sure to add some spices to it before using it so that it has that characteristic flavor. You could also add a little tomato paste if the sauce seems too thin.

Pizza or pasta night is always a good idea, and with these easy-to-follow recipes, you’ll be able to make a homemade meal that everyone will love.

Whether you’re a novice cook or have been cooking for years, these dishes are simple enough for anyone to make. So get in the kitchen and start cooking!

What is the difference between spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce?

The main difference between spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce is that spaghetti sauce is generally a red sauce made with tomatoes, while pizza sauce has a thicker consistency and contains Italian spices.

As a result, spaghetti sauce is more commonly used for pasta dishes, while pizza sauce is perfect for pizzas, calzones, and strombolis.

How long will these sauces last in the freezer?

Both of these sauces will last up to three months in the freezer. Just make sure to label them so you know what they are when you go to use them again!

What are some good recipes to use these sauces in?

Some recipes that work well with both pizza sauce vs marinara are chicken parmesan, lasagna, and stuffed shells. If you’re looking for something a little different, why not try making shrimp scampi or a margherita pizza? The possibilities are endless!

Making your own sauces is a great way to add some extra flavor to your Italian dishes. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also a lot cheaper than buying them from the store.


Pizza sauce is a tomato based sauce that typically contains oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. It should not have chunks of tomatoes or other vegetables in it. Marinara sauce is made with crushed fresh tomatoes seasoned with herbs like basil, thyme and rosemary.

The two sauces are similar but different enough to be used for different dishes so make sure you know which one suits your dish best before cooking up dinner! What do you think the difference between pizza sauce vs marinara?

You may have noticed that there are two different types of pizza sauce. The difference between the sauces is in how much tomato paste they contain, which determines what type of dish you should use them for.

For dishes where a light flavor is desired, such as spaghetti or lasagna, marinara sauce will work best because it’s less intense than traditional pizza sauce. On the other hand, if you want to build up more flavors on your pasta with heavy garlic and spice notes for example, then go ahead and opt for using thick-style pizza sauce instead!

Both can be used interchangeably depending on personal preference or recipe requirements so don’t worry about having an extra jar lying around after cooking something incompatible with its contents – just switch out the sauces to get the perfect meal every time.

As you can see, both types of sauce are delicious and versatile. While there is no right or wrong answer to what kind of pizza sauce should be used, it’s good to know the difference so that you’re prepared for different cooking occasions.

Keep this information handy in your kitchen as a reference guide next time you cook up some Italian food! Which type do you prefer? Let us know! We love hearing customer feedback about our blog posts – we hope this was helpful for any pasta lovers out there looking for new ideas on how they can make their sauces work best with various dishes.

We would love to hear from you about any variations or additions that worked well in the comment section at the end of this post – what are some other recipes that use these sauces? What dishes do they work best with? As always, thanks for reading!

Related Article: Homemade Pizza Calories And Nutrition.




I’m the content manager for, and I love writing about kitchen appliances. I’m passionate about cooking at home, and I’m extremely excited about modern kitchen appliances. I like to analyze markets and products, and then turn them into informative blogs for anyone who wants to cook at home quickly. Thanks for reading!