Does marinara sauce have meat in it?

In this article, we will answer the question, “Does marinara sauce have meat in it?” while also discussing the common ingredients and uses of marinara sauce. We will also mention other sauces that contain meat.

Does marinara sauce have meat in it?

Marinara sauce does not contain any meat and is meant to be a type of tomato sauce that has a thinner consistency than other tomato-based sauces. This is because it was largely meant to be a dipping sauce and not a pasta sauce.

What is Marinara sauce?

Marinara sauce is an Italian-American tomato sauce, with the original Italian version used for seafood. The word ‘marinara’ comes from ‘mariner’s’, giving an idea of how fishermen used this sauce for their freshly-caught fish. 

The Italian way of preparing Marinara sauce includes minimal ingredients and the texture is kept thin and smooth, as is usually done with condiments.

The American adaptation is slightly different from its Italian counterpart and is considered to be one of the most simple sauces in Italian cuisine. The Americans enjoy using Marinara sauce in pasta, so naturally they adjusted the recipe to have a few more ingredients and a thicker consistency to allow the pasta to grip the sauce.

Marinara sauce uses basic ingredients such as:

  • Tomato paste
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Basil

For Italian cooking, it is kept liquidy by adding a little water at the end if the sauce has thickened due to slow cooking. Marinara sauce is also vegan and vegetarian friendly because it does not contain meat, bone broth, or cheese. 

For a good Marinara sauce recipe, click here.

Which sauces contain meat?

Spaghetti sauce, also known as Ragu, and bolognese sauce are Italian tomato sauces that are known to contain meat. These sauces are thicker, richer, and give more depth to whatever dish they are added to. 

Generally, Spaghetti sauce is prepared with ground beef, but other types of meat such as chicken, lamb, or duck can also be used. Bolognese sauce is known to contain both meat and varying types of cheese, depending on what it is being used for.

Which dishes can be made with Marinara sauce?

Here is a table showing the types of dishes that can be made with Marinara sauce. It also explains how Marinara sauce will affect the type of dish you are making.

Type of dish

Effect of Marinara sauce
Pizzais Easy to spread, and will give a mild savory flavor while not overpowering the other toppings
PastaWill give a uniform coating to the pasta, while also providing the signature red color
Lasagnais Good for adding flavor, but might not help the lasagna retain its shape
Ratatouille Helps give a crunchy texture on the top while keeping the bottom part moist and soft
HamburgersCan be evenly spread on the insides of the bun, and perfectly suited because it does not contain meat or cheese, which are separate ingredients in hamburgers

Can Marinara sauce be eaten cold?

Marinara sauce is very commonly used as a dipping sauce for fried finger foods like french fries, potato veggies, mozzarella sticks and much more. This sauce is also widely available in stores in ready made and jarred form. 

It is safe to eat Marinara sauce straight from the jar as it is already cooked before being packaged. If you are serving it as a condiment, or adding it to hot and freshly boiled pasta, there is no need to preheat it as it will warm up on its own when combined with the pasta.

However, if you are using jarred sauce that has been opened and then refrigerated for a few days, it is better to heat it up to 145 degrees to kill off any potential bacteria that may have begun to form.

Other FAQs about Sauces that you may be interested in.

Does soy sauce contain alcohol?

Does soy sauce have to be refrigerated?

Does tomato puree thicken sauce?

How can I thicken sauce without cornstarch?


We hope this article helped determine if there is meat in Marinara sauce, and also what marinara sauce can be used for. Happy cooking!