Pizza Sauce vs Pasta Sauce


In this post we’ll compare and contrast pizza sauce vs pasta sauce and lay out their similarities, differences, as well as describe different ways each one can be used. Don’t forget to check out the related frequently asked questions too.

marinara sauce
tomato-based sauce

Pizza Sauce vs Pasta Sauce: What Is the Difference?

What’s the difference between pizza sauce and pasta sauce? The obvious thing that they have in common is both are made using a tomato base.

While pizza sauce generally has a thicker consistency which helps to prevent the pizza’s crust from turning soggy, tomato-based pasta sauce is generally thinner. 

We’ll go into all the details regarding their differences in the following paragraphs. 

What Is Pasta Sauce?

Pasta sauce is sauce that’s created to flavor pasta. It can be tomato based, cream based, along with other variety of flavors.

Pasta sauce can be served by being mixed into your noodles, served on top of your noodles, or served alongside your noodles.

Pasta sauce that’s made with a tomato base is made of crushed tomatoes, is thinner than pizza sauce meaning it has a greater water content.

It generally has salt, pepper, dried oregano, and tomato chunks. 

pasta sauce in a bowl with basil garnish
pasta sauce in a bowl with basil garnish

Uses for Pasta Sauce

There are many uses for pasta sauce in addition to the obvious use being to flavor pasta. Here are some ideas of uses for pasta sauce or what to do with leftover pasta sauce.

For pizza sauce
Eat on bagels or English muffins
Use in chili
Add to tomato-based soups such as minestrone
Seasoning in meatloaf
Flavoring for Spanish rice
As a condiment for meatball subs
Top cooked eggs
As a dip for garlic bread
…and more

What Is Pizza Sauce?

Pizza sauce is made for the purpose of adding to the top of a pizza. It’s made from plain tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes and tomato paste.

It’s thicker than pasta sauce and includes spices such as oregano, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, onion powder, and sugar.

pizza sauce
pizza sauce

Uses for Pizza Sauce

Pizza sauce, though technically designed for the top of a pizza, can be used for other purposes as well.  Here are some ideas of what to do with leftover pizza sauce. 

A substitute for pasta sauce
Dip for garlic bread or breadsticks
Use as a marinade for meat
Flavor salads as a dressing
Add to chili
Use as a flavoring for tomato-based soups
Create a base for sloppy joes
…and more

Pizza Sauce vs Spaghetti Sauce

What’s the difference between pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce? Spaghetti has higher water content and is thinner in consistency. It’s typically made of pureed tomatoes.

Pizza sauce tends to be thicker, and has more seasonings already added to the mix for flavor.

tomato sauce with cheese

Pizza Sauce vs Marinara

The main difference between pizza sauce and marinara are the seasonings used in each one.

While marinara includes just garlic, pizza sauce generally has more ingredients and spices such as garlic, basil, oregano, and sugar for added flavor.

What Is Marinara Sauce?

Marinara sauce traditionally consists of roasted garlic cloves blended into a smooth tomato sauce. It can be used for a variety of purposes including topping for pasta.

Pizza sauce in a jar
Pizza sauce in a jar

Pizza Sauce Recipe

Following are our step by step instructions to make a delicious homemade pizza sauce.


1 can fire roasted tomatoes
5 tbsp tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp chicken bouillon
¼ tsp sugar
¼ tsp pepper
Olive oil


Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté until translucent, about 1 minute.

Add garlic to blender, along with other ingredients. Blend until desired consistency is reached.

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or freeze.

What Can I Use Instead of Pizza Sauce?

From time to time, you might be out of pizza sauce and have a craving for pizza but don’t have time for a trip to the store.

If this is the case, there are a variety of options that can be used instead of pizza sauce in a pinch.

Here are some ideas: Alfredo sauce, buffalo sauce, ranch, ricotta cheese, pesto, garlic and olive oil, balsamic glaze, hummus.

Can I Substitute Spaghetti Sauce for Pizza Sauce?

Can you use pasta sauce for pizza? Yes, you can substitute spaghetti sauce for pizza sauce.

You’ll want to note that spaghetti sauce tends to have more water, so thickening it before adding it to your pizza crust can help to prevent a soggy crust.

For how to make pizza sauce with pasta sauce, add a can of tomato paste and mix well to thicken it.

You might also consider adding seasonings such as basil, oregano, garlic, Italian seasoning, or sugar to flavor it more closely to pizza sauce. 

tomato sauce
tomato sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

Following are frequently asked questions for the comparison of pizza sauce vs pasta sauce. If you have a question that’s not answered here, please feel free to drop it to us in the comments box below and we’ll be happy to answer it.

Can you substitute pasta sauce with pizza sauce?

Yes, it’s fine to use pizza sauce in place of pasta sauce. The flavor will be slightly different, mainly sweeter on most occasions.

What is the difference between pasta sauce and pizza sauce?

The main differences between pasta sauce and pizza sauce are consistency and the ingredients used to make the sauces. The consistency of pizza sauce tends to be thicker, and it also usually includes more seasonings.

What can be substituted for pizza sauce?

There are several substitutes for pizza sauce such as:

alfredo sauce
buffalo sauce
ricotta cheese
garlic and olive oil
balsamic glaze

The specific substitute you choose can vary based on your personal preference and the dish at hand.

What can I add to the marinara sauce?

Sometimes when using marinara sauce there might be a desire to doctor it up to add more flavoring and that’s just fine. Consider adding Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, garlic, or pepper flakes.

Is pizza sauce similar to tomato sauce?

Pizza sauce and tomato sauce are similar in that they both consist of a tomato base.

However, tomato paste is simply tomatoes that have been processed to create a thick paste. It doesn’t include seasoning.

Pizza sauce consists of tomatoes as well as herbs and seasonings to give it its unique flavor. And depending on the brand, it can also include a bit of sugar for a hint of sweetness.

Can I use Prego pasta sauce to make pizza?

Yes, pasta sauce can be used as a substitute for pizza sauce. Although pasta sauce tends to have more water content than pizza sauce, it still provides good flavor in a pinch. 

You might choose to add a small can of tomato paste to thicken the mix before adding it to your pizza. This will help to keep the crust from becoming soggy.

Can Ragu be used as pizza sauce?

Yes, any pasta sauce can potentially be used as a substitute for pizza sauce in a pinch.

However, pasta sauce tends to have more water included than pizza sauce.

To remedy this situation, you can add a small can of tomato paste to thicken it.

Can I use marinara instead of pizza sauce?

Yes, in a pinch marinara works well as a substitute for pizza sauce.  However, you might choose to doctor it up with a bit of garlic, basil, oregano, or Italian seasoning for added flavor.

Other Ideas:

red baron french bread pizza
French bread pizza
Pioneer Pizza Recipe. The BEST Fire Grilled Pizza
Pioneer pizza recipe
Pizza Bagles cover from the side
Pizza bagels air fryer

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pizza sauce vs pasta sauce pinterest pin
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Sarah is known for her extra fancy yeast breads, melt in your mouth pies, and everything salads. She has won awards as a home cook, and is passionate about helping others feel smarter in the kitchen. Sarah is the cooking genius of the sister duo.

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