Can I Use Pizza Sauce as Spaghetti Sauce?

Pizza Sauce as Spaghetti Sauce
Pizza Sauce as Spaghetti Sauce

Ever found yourself staring at a jar of pizza sauce, wondering if it could double as spaghetti sauce? You’re not alone! Many of us have been there, contemplating if we can make a quick swap to save a trip to the store. Understanding the nuances between these two sauces can help you make a delicious meal, whether you’re topping a pizza or tossing pasta.

What is Pizza Sauce?

Pizza sauce is typically a raw tomato sauce that’s seasoned and spread on pizza dough before baking. The main ingredients include tomatoes, garlic, onions, herbs like oregano and basil, and sometimes a bit of olive oil. The preparation is usually straightforward: blend the ingredients until smooth and use immediately, relying on the baking process to cook the sauce.

What is Spaghetti Sauce?

Spaghetti sauce, or marinara sauce, is a cooked tomato sauce often used in pasta dishes. It includes tomatoes, garlic, onions, and various herbs and spices. The sauce is simmered to develop its flavors, creating a rich and complex taste that complements pasta beautifully. Sometimes, it includes meat, vegetables, or wine to add depth.

Key Differences Between Pizza and Spaghetti Sauce


Pizza sauce is generally thicker and less watery than spaghetti sauce, designed to adhere to pizza dough without making it soggy. Spaghetti sauce, on the other hand, is thinner and more liquid, ensuring it coats the pasta evenly.

Flavor Profile

Pizza sauce is more concentrated and slightly sweet. Spaghetti sauce tends to be richer and more savory, often featuring additional layers of flavor from the cooking process.

Cooking Time

Pizza sauce is typically uncooked, relying on the oven’s heat to bring out its flavors. Spaghetti sauce is cooked for an extended time, letting the flavors blend thoroughly.

Can You Substitute Pizza Sauce for Spaghetti Sauce?

In a pinch, yes, you can substitute pizza sauce for spaghetti sauce. However, you might need to make some adjustments to get the flavor and consistency right. Pizza sauce can be a bit more intense and less sweet than traditional spaghetti sauce, so consider your taste preferences.

Modifying Pizza Sauce to Use as Spaghetti Sauce

To make pizza sauce work as spaghetti sauce, consider the following adjustments.

  1. Add water or both: To achieve the desired consistency, add water or broth to the pizza sauce.
  2. Include Herbs and Spices: Add extra herbs like basil, oregano, or thyme to enhance the flavor.
  3. Sweeten It Up: If the pizza sauce is too tangy, a small amount of sugar or grated carrot can balance it out.
  4. Simmer the Sauce: Cook the sauce on low heat for 15-20 minutes to blend the flavors and thicken it up.

Cooking Techniques for Best Results

When modifying pizza sauce, use these techniques to ensure a tasty spaghetti sauce:

  1. Simmer Slowly: Simmer the sauce gently to blend the flavors.
  2. Add Meat or Vegetables: Incorporate browned ground beef, sausage, or sautéed vegetables to add richness and texture.
  3. Taste and Adjust: Continuously taste the sauce and adjust seasoning as needed.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Over-seasoning: Pizza sauce can be heavily seasoned, so be cautious when adding more herbs and spices.
  2. Incorrect Texture: Make sure to achieve the right balance of thickness; too thick and it won’t coat the pasta properly, too thin and it will be watery.

Health Considerations

Nutritionally, pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce are quite similar, but there can be differences in sugar and sodium content. Homemade versions of both can be healthier, as you control the ingredients.

Taste Test: Pizza Sauce vs. Spaghetti Sauce

Personal experiences and blind taste tests can reveal whether the substitution works for you. Some might find the difference negligible, while others might prefer the traditional flavors of each sauce.

Popular Recipes Using Pizza Sauce as Spaghetti Sauce

Recipe 1: Quick and Easy Spaghetti

  1. Ingredients: Spaghetti, pizza sauce, olive oil, garlic, basil, Parmesan cheese.
  2. Instructions: Cook spaghetti, heat pizza sauce with a bit of olive oil and garlic, toss with pasta, garnish with basil and Parmesan.

Recipe 2: Meatball Marinara

  1. Ingredients: Ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, pizza sauce, spaghetti.
  2. Instructions: Form meatballs, brown in a pan, simmer in pizza sauce, serve over spaghetti.

Expert Opinions

Chefs and food bloggers have mixed feelings about this substitution. Some endorse it for convenience, while others recommend sticking to traditional recipes for authenticity.

Alternative Sauces for Spaghetti

  1. Marinara Sauce: A straightforward, versatile option.
  2. Alfredo Sauce: Creamy and rich, perfect for a change.
  3. Pesto: Fresh and herbaceous, great for a summer pasta dish.

While pizza sauce can be used as spaghetti sauce in a pinch, it’s best to modify it for the best results. Understanding the differences and making the right adjustments can lead to a delicious meal. Experiment and find what works for you!


  • Can you use pizza sauce on pasta?

Yes, but you might need to adjust the flavor and consistency to better suit pasta dishes.

  • Is pizza sauce healthier than spaghetti sauce?

Not necessarily; both can be similar in nutritional content, but it depends on the specific ingredients used.

  • How do you thicken pizza sauce for spaghetti?

Simmer it on low heat to reduce the water content or add a small amount of tomato paste.

  • What are some quick fixes for making pizza sauce taste more like spaghetti sauce?

Add herbs like basil and oregano, a bit of sugar to balance acidity, and simmer to blend flavors.

  • Can you use spaghetti sauce on pizza?

Yes, but it may be thinner and require a longer cooking time to avoid soggy crust.

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