Despite their shared ingredients, there is definitely a distinct difference between pasta sauce and pizza sauce.
In contrast to pasta sauce, which is made by simmering diced tomatoes with aromatics like garlic and herbs, pizza sauce is formed by pureeing raw tomatoes.
So, if your kitchen is out of pizza sauce can you use pasta sauce as a substitute on your homemade pizza?
The truth is that yes, in a pinch you can use pasta sauce as pizza sauce, but you really shouldn’t make a habit of it because the sauce is often what makes a great pizza.
Pizza Sauce Characteristics
Unlike pasta sauce, pizza sauce is often created with a thicker consistency due to the use of pureed tomatoes and tomato paste.
The sauce’s increased thickness keeps the pizza’s crust from becoming too soggy during baking.
In addition to the fats and oils found in pizza cheeses, a tangier flavor profile is achieved with the addition of sugar and spices such oregano, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, onion powder, and sugar.
A thin layer of pizza sauce is then applied to the pizza dough before it, along with the dough and toppings, is baked.
The consistency of pizza sauce is also crucial; it should be thick enough to cling to the crust without running and thin enough to spread evenly.
Pasta Sauce Characteristics
Crushed tomatoes are the primary ingredient in pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce, increasing the sauce’s water content and making it thinner than pizza sauce.
The thinner sauces coat the noodles completely, so every bite is bursting with flavor.
For this reason, most pasta sauces simply include basic flavors like salt, pepper, and dried oregano, leaving it up to the individual chef to add extra seasonings to their liking.
Ground beef and Italian sausage are two other meat options for spaghetti sauce.
Also note that there are many different types of pasta sauces, from classic tomato sauces to cream-based sauces, to pesto and beyond.
Each type of pasta sauce is designed to pair well with a specific type of pasta and ingredients.
For example, a classic tomato sauce works well with spaghetti, while a creamy Alfredo sauce is perfect with fettuccine.
Pizza Sauce vs Pasta Sauce: What’s The Difference?
Since both sauces are red, you might be tempted to just use whichever is cheaper on your pizza.
To understand why you cannot make a habit of doing this, let’s look at the differences between these two popular sauces.
Pasta sauce typically contains more tomato pieces than pizza sauce, which is why pizza sauce is typically made using a pureed tomato sauce.
Here’s a table that compares the differences between pasta sauce and pizza sauce:
|Feature||Pasta Sauce||Pizza Sauce|
|Consistency||Lighter and thinner||Thicker|
|Seasoning||Lighter, designed to complement pasta||Heavily seasoned, designed to complement toppings and cheese|
|Ingredients||Blend of tomatoes, herbs, and spices||Blend of tomatoes, herbs, spices, and sometimes additional ingredients like garlic and onion powder|
|Purpose||To accompany pasta dishes||To accompany pizza toppings and cheese|
|Texture||Can be smooth and creamy or chunky with bits of vegetables and meat||Should be thick enough to adhere to the crust without running|
As you can see, the main differences between pasta sauce and pizza sauce lie in their consistency, seasoning, and purpose.
Pizza Sauce vs Marinara Sauce: Is There A Difference?
Marinara sauce is a semi-smooth tomato sauce that tends to be a bit thinner than pizza sauce but has less water content than regular tomato or pasta sauce.
Marinara sauce is made by peeling and chopping tomatoes into small pieces before blending them together (often with roasted garlic cloves); unlike pizza sauce, which is pureed to a smooth paste.
Marinara sauce can be used on pasta and sandwiches, but our favorite option is for dipping breadsticks and mozzarella sticks.
Many people just call marinara “spaghetti sauce” because it is so often used to top certain types of pasta.
The tl;dr – There is a subtle but noticeable difference between pizza sauce and marinara sauce.
Because the tomatoes are pureed instead of mashed softly, pizza sauce has a thicker consistency than marinara sauce.
Marinara sauce is typically served as a dip or topping, while pizza sauce is typically prepared on a pizza crust.
Can You Substitute Pasta Sauce As Pizza Sauce?
Pasta sauce could be used as pizza sauce, but it might not turn out the way you want it to.
Pasta sauce is less viscous than pizza sauce, which means it may not stick to the crust as well and make the pizza soggy.
Also, pizza sauce needs to have a more robust flavor profile to go with the pizza’s toppings and cheese, and pasta sauce’s milder flavor profile may not cut it.
In a pinch, you can use a richer, more flavored pasta sauce in place of pizza sauce, but it’s better to go easy on the amount you add.
In order to improve the taste, you may also try adding some more spices and condiments.
Although you could theoretically use pasta sauce in place of pizza sauce, the outcome might not be to your liking.
Although both pizza sauce and pasta sauce are made from tomatoes, their flavors and textures are uniquely tailored to their respective uses.
Pizza sauce is the best choice if you want to produce a truly yummy pizza.