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Home ยป Pizza Sauce Vs Marinara Sauce

Pizza Sauce Vs Marinara Sauce

The main difference between pizza sauce and marinara sauce all comes down to what they are used for–marinara is used primarily for pasta dishes. They are both tomato-based and can often be almost the exact same recipe, especially if you are using a cooked sauce for your pizza sauce. 

So, can you use pasta sauce for pizza? Technically, yes–in a pinch. But because marinara is used for pasta, it might be much thinner than pizza sauce.

There are cooking and preparation methods used specifically to thicken pizza sauce to retain the integrity of the crust, and any recipe for pizza dough will emphasize the importance of a crispy pizza. The more water content the sauce has, the more likely it will make a pizza crust soggy. 

A collage with two photos showing marinara sauce and pizza sauce.

Marinara vs. Pizza Sauce: A Recipe Rivalry of Sauces

Let’s settle the score once and for all. It’s like the culinary version of a sibling rivalry, where both come from the same family but couldn’t be more different if they tried. 

Marinara, with its rich, simmered-for-hours flavor, packed with herbs and a chunky texture, is the sophisticated sibling who thrives in the spotlight of a pasta dish.

Pizza sauce, on the other hand, is the laid-back one, preferring a simple mix of ingredients and a no-cook approach to perfectly complement a doughy canvas. 

Sure, they might share the same tomato DNA, but when it comes to crowning your carbs, the devil’s in the details—or, in this case, the seasoning and preparation. So, grab a spoon, and let’s dig into what makes each sauce hold its own.

The Ingredients Behind Marinara Sauce 

Marinara sauce isn’t just pizza sauce’s less famous cousin. It’s got its own thing going on, and it’s pretty impressive. Marinara packs a flavor punch with a mix of herbs, spices, and sometimes even veggies that have had a chance to hang out together on the stove for a good long while. 

This slow simmer isn’t just for kicks; it’s what turns a bunch of ingredients into that rich, layered taste we all crave.

And then there’s the texture. Marinara isn’t smooth and boring; it goes for chunky and interesting. Why? Because when it’s draped over pasta, it’s not just a sauce; it’s part of the main event. Those little bits and pieces in the sauce? They’re there to make every bite count.

Marinara: Not Just a Pasta Sauce

Think marinara sauce is just for spaghetti night? Think again. This sauce is like the Swiss Army knife of the kitchen. Need a dip for those garlic knots? Marinara’s got you covered. Looking for something to smother on a meatball sub? Look no further. It’s versatile, it’s tasty, and it’s ready to step up your meal game in ways you haven’t even thought of yet. 

Marinara sauce doesn’t just stick to pasta; it’s out there making all sorts of dishes more delicious.

How To Use Marinara as Pizza Sauce

If you’re in a bind, there are a few things you can do to make a pasta sauce function like pizza sauce. The most important thing is to strain the sauce–remove as much liquid as possible! 

Next, it’s important to have a smooth sauce for pizza, so you may want to blend it a few times. You might not need to add any additional seasonings, but this is a personal preference. If you want it even thicker, you can try adding some tomato paste after it’s been blended thoroughly. 

Pot of pureed sauce

The Difference with Pizza Sauce

Pizza sauce doesn’t need to have complex flavors, as it is one of many components and flavor profiles among the various layers of a pizza. Many pizza chefs advocate for keeping sauce simple, fresh, and bright, which is why uncooked sauce is preferred by many for Neapolitan or thin crust pizza. 

Pizza sauce can have as few ingredients as just tomatoes, salt, pepper, and basil. For classic pizzas, the most important thing is that the sauce doesn’t doesn’t compromise the crust. 

There are pizza sauces that are cooked to be much more like marinara sauce, as these kinds of pizzas (such as Detroit- or Chicago-style) have a specific emphasis on the sauce.

Here, the sauce plays a starring role, so it makes sense that it would be prepared with more consideration. It’s important to note that these pizzas also use a much denser, chewier, and gluten-heavy crust, which can handle a larger amount of sauce without going soggy. 

Remember–not all tomato sauces are interchangeable, even though they sometimes seem practically the same. The same common ingredients can have a completely different result depending on preparation and cooking methods!

Pizza dough with sauce on top.

Closing the Lid on the Sauce Debate: Pizza vs Marinara

So, what have we learned in this saucy showdown? While marinara and pizza sauce might share the same tomato roots, they march to the beat of their own drums, each bringing something uniquely delicious to the table.

Marinara is the rich, herb-infused sauce that likes to take its time simmering to perfection, ready to hug your pasta with its chunky goodness. Pizza sauce, on the flip side, is all about keeping it simple, fresh, and ready to mingle with your dough and toppings without making a soggy mess.

The next time you’re staring down a jar of marinara or a can of pizza sauce, remember: it’s not just about what’s inside; it’s about what you’re pairing it with. And, if you decide to cross the streams and use marinara on your pizza, now you know how to do it without causing a catastrophe.

Whether you’re a pizza lover or a pasta enthusiast, the key takeaway is to appreciate these sauces for their differences and use them to elevate your meals. After all, in the grand scheme of things, it’s all about experimenting, having fun, and, of course, enjoying some darn good food along the way. Here’s to the sauce that makes our favorite dishes shine.

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