Can I turn pizza sauce into marinara sauce?

In this article, we will answer the question: “Can I turn pizza sauce into marinara sauce?” and discuss how you can turn pizza sauce into marinara sauce. 

Can I turn pizza sauce into marinara sauce?

Yes, you can turn pizza sauce into marinara sauce. Marinara sauce and pizza sauce both contain tomatoes, have a high acidity, and are staples of Italian cuisine, but they are distinct sauces with distinctive textures.

Marinara sauce, often known as red sauce, is made with tomatoes as the primary component. It usually has oregano, garlic cloves, fresh basil leaves, olive oil, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and tomato paste in it.

Pizza sauce, on the other hand, is any form of sauce that goes on top of a pizza, usually a tomato sauce with a fairly loose consistency.

Despite sharing a common foundation ingredient (fresh or canned tomatoes), the two sauces are significantly distinct and serve different purposes. That being said, pizza sauce can be used as a base to make marinara.

Pizza sauce may be used for marinara sauce since the components are similar: tomatoes, herbs and spices. However, there are variations between pizza sauce and marinara sauce, so you must make some adjustments if you want to utilise pizza sauce in all of your pasta dishes.

How can you turn pizza sauce into marinara sauce?

Here are some ways in which you can turn pizza sauce into marinara sauce. 

People frequently mix marinara and pizza sauce by adding pasta water or seasonings to a basic tomato sauce. To make marinara, thicken the sauce on the burner and add herbs like oregano, minced garlic, Italian spice, and basil to give it additional flavour.

Due to the difference in components between the two sauces, additional materials must be added to pizza sauce to get the same flavour as pasta sauce. First, taste your pizza sauce to determine what it needs – it may be rather bland, as the toppings are what make a pizza interesting.

If you’re using a simple pizza sauce, sauté some garlic and onions first, then add some fresh herbs to give the sauce some zing.

However, if you choose a tasty pizza sauce, you won’t need to add much to it. In fact, some pizza sauces are so sweet that you’ll want to dial it back with crushed or diced tomatoes.

Turning pizza sauce into marinara sauce

You may make homemade marinara with pizza sauce as both  pizza sauce and marinara sauce are made from tomatoes.

Pizza sauce is normally uncooked and unseasoned, whereas marinara sauce is already cooked and spiced. That’s why to make marinara sauce with it, you must heat the pizza sauce and add other components.

Marinara sauce is always ready prepared, most often long-simmered, and just has to be heated and poured over cooked pasta to complete a meal. Slow simmering imparts a more flavourful and powerful taste to marinara sauce than in pizza sauce.

The difference in preparation means a marinara sauce produced from pizza sauce needs to take longer to cook. Simmer it for about 10 minutes to achieve a richer tomato flavour.

Since pizza sauce is smoother, you will need to adjust the liquid to get the proper marinara sauce consistency. The ideal option is to add a jar or can of crushed tomatoes, however water, red wine or bouillon could also be used.

What are the different ways to use marinara sauce?

Here are the different ways and recipes to use marinara sauce in creamy tomato soup, meatballs in marinara, ratatouille, pizza, mozzarella sticks and afritada, or simply enjoy your marinara sauce over spaghetti.

What are some tips when turning pizza sauce into marinara sauce? 

Here are some tips to remember when turning pizza sauce into marinara sauce. 

  • Marinara sauce is chunkier than pizza sauce because it must cover pasta. Pizza sauce is a looser purée than marinara that may be readily smeared over pizza crust.
  • You can prepare a rich marinara sauce with whole tomatoes and a looser pizza sauce using crushed tomatoes.
  • Since it contains more ingredients, marinara has a more nuanced flavour than pizza sauce.
  • Marinara sauce must be cooked on the stove to thicken and enhance the flavours and some recipes include tomato paste as a thickener.

Other FAQs about marinara sauce which you may be interested in

Is marinara sauce the same as pizza sauce?

Is marinara sauce the same as Napolitana?

Final Thoughts 

You can turn pizza sauce into marinara sauce. However, because the two sauces differ in ingredients and texture, and since pizza sauce is uncooked, you should make alterations and modifications to achieve a perfect marinara.


In this article, we have answered the question: “Can I turn pizza sauce into marinara sauce?” and discussed how you can turn pizza sauce into marinara sauce. 


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.