Pizza Sauce Vs Pasta Sauce | Is There A Difference?

Italian cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world, loved for its diverse flavors and simplicity.

Taking the top spot in one of the world’s most favorite Italian foods are pizza and pasta. When it comes to these two dishes, we always think about the most common thing about them – the tomato sauce.

Pizza and pasta dishes typically use a red tomato sauce base. You might wonder if the sauces are different or can be interchangeable. Pizza sauce and pasta sauce are, in fact, similar in many ways.

However, there are key differences that you need to know before trying to use pasta sauce on pizza and pizza sauce on pasta.

In this article, we explore what makes pizza sauce and pasta sauce different in terms of cooking style, taste, texture, and ingredients. Moreover, you will learn which sauce is the best substitute for a pizza sauce.

In summary, the article covers the following questions:

  • What Is Pizza Sauce?
  • What Is Pasta Sauce?
  • Pizza Sauce Vs Pasta Sauce
  • What Is A Substitute For Pizza Sauce?
  • What Is A Substitute For Pasta Sauce?

What Is Pizza Sauce?


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Pizza sauce is usually a red tomato-based sauce made from uncooked pureed tomatoes and tomato paste.

The pizza flavor is enhanced with the sauce’s herbs and seasonings, such as Italian seasoning, garlic, olive oil, oregano, and basil. It is tangy and peppery in taste, but it can also be made sweet and spicy.

It is an essential topping for any pizza style that acts as the base and prevents the crust from being too soggy from meat and not-meat toppings.

Not adding the pizza sauce makes a huge difference in flavor and texture.

Aside from red tomato sauce, other types of pizza sauce are white Alfredo sauce, BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce, pesto sauce, and ranch dressing.

What Is Pasta Sauce?

Generally, pasta sauce is a tomato-based sauce that is slow-simmered and cooked before adding to the noodles.

It defines the overall flavor of the pasta dish since pasta noodles tend to have a standard taste.

Fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and fresh basil are some of the most common ingredients of pasta sauce.

It also comes in different varieties, such as marinara, Alfredo sauce, spaghetti bolognese, Pomodoro, pesto, and carbonara.

The sauce has a velvety or chunky texture, depending on the type.

Moreover, it has an acidic sweetness to it and cooked sauce usually has a richer and deeper flavor.

Pizza Sauce Vs Pasta Sauce

Let’s take a closer look at the main differences between pizza sauce and pasta sauce.

The table below shows a quick comparison of the sauce’s cooking method, taste, texture, ingredients, and types.

Knowing the main contrasts between the two can help determine if the two sauces can be interchangeable for both dishes.

Table of Comparison of Pizza Sauce Vs Pasta Sauce

Tomato Sauce Cooking Method Taste Texture Ingredients Types
Pizza Sauce Placed on the crust uncooked Has a raw, sweet, and tangy flavor Has a thicker consistency to prevent the crust from being soggy Uses pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, garlic, olive oil, oregano, and basil
  • White sauce-based
  • Tomato sauce-based
  • Sweet pizza sauce
  • Pepper sauce
  • Pesto sauce
  • BBQ sauce
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Ranch sauce
  • Romesco sauce
  • Sundried tomato sauce
Pasta Sauce Slow-simmered and cooked first before placing on the noodles Has a sweet and rich flavor It is more watery and thinner Typically uses fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and fresh basil
  • Marinara sauce
  • Alfredo sauce
  • Spaghetti Bolognese sauce
  • Pesto sauce
  • Carbonara sauce
  • Arrabbiata sauce
  • Puttanesca sauce
  • Pomodoro sauce

What Is A Substitute For Pizza Sauce?

Can I Use Pasta Sauce For Pizza?

Yes! It is possible to use pasta sauce for pizza. However, you need to do some tweaks to make it more suitable for pizza crust and toppings.

If you have no choice but to use pasta sauce for your pizza, follow these tips to make it more like a pizza sauce base.

  1. Remove the excess liquid from the pasta sauce. The watery aspect of the pasta sauce will only make your pizza crust soggy.
  2. You can also blend the pasta sauce in a blender or food processor to get a thicker consistency and remove the chunky parts.
  3. Get a thicker texture by heating it on medium fire while mixing it continuously.
  4. Lastly, adjust the flavor by adding the necessary herbs and seasonings like salt, sugar, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and other spices. Adjust the seasonings according to your liking.

Can You Use Marinara Sauce For Pizza?

Yes, you can. Marinara sauce also has the same ingredients as traditional tomato-based pizza sauce.

However, marinara sauce is generally thinner than pizza sauce and has a different flavor because of its onions and bay leaf.

Moreover, you may need to add tomato paste to make it thicker and more suitable for the crust.

Can You Use Spaghetti Sauce For Pizza?

The difference between spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce is that spaghetti sauce basically has meat such as ground beef.

Since the sauce is already cooked, take note the sauce will be cooked twice when used as the pizza sauce. This affects the quality and flavor of the cooked pizza.

Moreover, it has a thinner consistency, so you will need to add more tomato paste as well to make it thicker.

The ground beef will also affect the pizza’s overall flavor. If you don’t mind the beef flavor and can adjust the consistency with tomato paste, you can use spaghetti sauce as the base sauce of a pizza.

What Is A Substitute For Pasta Sauce?

Can I Use Pizza Sauce For Pasta?

Yes, you can use pizza sauce as your pasta base. However, it may not give the best taste for pasta.

The pizza sauce flavor is more concentrated and acidic because of the pureed tomatoes and tomato paste.

To improve the flavor and consistency suitable for a pasta dish, follow these tips:

  1. Add more water to thin it out.
  2. Sauteé some onions in olive oil and combine it with the sauce.
  3. Add a bit of sugar to counter the acidity.
  4. Adjust the seasoning by sprinkling with more herbs and spices.

Can I Use Alfredo Pizza Sauce For Pasta?

Generally, Alfredo pizza sauce has the same ingredients as the typical pasta sauce.

They are both creamy and buttery, topped with Parmesan cheese. However, Alfredo pizza sauce may be thicker and may not run down smoothly on pasta noodles.

You can make it thinner for noodles with more milk and cream and adjust the herbs and spices.

The Verdict

The bottom line, you can use pasta sauce as your pizza base, as long as you adjust the consistency by adding tomato paste.

Remember, it is important to make it thicker since a watery consistency will make the crust soggy.

Moreover, you may have to adjust the flavor by seasoning it with appropriate herbs and spices.

Have you tried using pasta sauce for pizza? How did it turn out when you used it?

Share your experience and recommendations below by commenting in the comments section.

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