Pizza Sauce vs. Marinara Sauce: What Is The Difference?

Pandemic or not, nothing beats homemade pizza on the weekend. This famous Italian dish is quick and easy to make. With your family at home, you get to be creative with the toppings too. You can either use the regular pizza sauce or have marinara instead.

So, when it comes to the pizza topping, which do you prefer? You can have regular pizza sauce. If you want an alternative, there is marinara too. It sounds like the case of pizza sauce vs. marinara. You may like one, the other, or even both.

But what makes a difference between marinara and pizza sauce?

The Difference Between Marinara and Pizza Sauce

Before you start building “Team Marinara” and “Team Pizza Sauce”, let’s find out about each first:

1. About Marinara.

What Is Marinara Sauce? And Where Did It Originate

To make marinara sauce, we may usually start with sautéing (or sautéed) garlic and onion. Put garlic and onion in a pan. When the onions get tendered, it is time to add tomato and tomato sauce into the same pan.

People may then want to add some flavors, like herbs, peppers, and cumin. Once everything is well-simmered, then the marinara sauce is ready.

Who came up with marinara sauce at first? People from Sicily and Naples have been thought of as the first originators of it. Historically speaking, they may have come up with marinara sauce sometime before the 16th century. It may make sense because the 16th century was also the first time they discovered tomatoes.

However, another record contested the previous theory about how the marinara sauce was found. In the 19th century, sailors had been the key players in trading goods at sea. The name ‘marinara’ itself actually came from ‘Marinaro’ – which means sailors in Italian.

Many people believe that marinara had been the sauce for all sailors back then. One theory states that marinara sauce does not spoil easily. Another theory also states that marinara sauce had been the prime dish to welcome all sailors home. There were stories about women welcoming their sailors with hot fresh marinara.

Whichever the true history may be, marinara sauce started gaining its fame in the 1900s.

The basic ingredients for the marinara sauce:

  • 2 cups of tomato sauce.
  • Chopped basil leaves.
  • 5 cloves of garlic.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • A pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

How to make the traditional marinara sauce:

  • Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a saucepan.
  • Add some garlic and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes until they turn brown.
  • Pour 2 cups of tomato sauce and start stirring until the whole thing bubbles.
  • Add some sea salt for you to taste.
  • Add some black pepper for you to taste.
  • Add some chopped basil before you turn off the heat.

2. About Pizza Sauce.

What is Pizza Sauce?

The ingredients to make pizza sauce are basically the same as what you need to make marinara sauce.

Then, what is the difference between marinara and pizza sauce? If marinara needs to be pre-cooked, then it is not like that with pizza sauce. You cook the sauce together with the pizza you cook.

You can throw all the ingredients into a blender. Mix them all there. After that, pizza sauce is ready for you.

Another difference between marinara and pizza sauce is the thickness of each. Pizza sauce’s thickness is more consistent than marinara sauce. The good thing is, such consistency will not ruin the dough. Plus, there is a lot more tomato sauce in pizza sauce than it is in marinara sauce.

How come? Unlike in marinara sauce, the tomatoes in pizza sauce are not sautéed. That is why its thickness is more consistent.

Then who first came up with pizza sauce? Many claims that a man from Naples named Raffaello Esposito was the first creator of pizza. However, plenty of street vendors had already sold flatbreads with toppings before Esposito’s pizza was claimed as the pioneer’s work.

Another source also cited that around 1889, Pizza Margherita was first introduced. It took place after Queen Margherita went to visit Raffaello. He made her pizza with these ingredients as the toppings: tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese.

Since then, many Italians started travelling with pizza as their meals and introducing the menu to other countries. To England and other European countries, to The USA, and many more. Today, even you can make pizza sauce at home – with these easy recipes:

The basic ingredients for pizza sauce:

  • 2 types of tomatoes – crushed and whole-peeled.
  • White sugar (granulated).
  • Parmesan cheese.
  • Black pepper (ground).
  • Italian seasoning: basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme – all herbs blended.
  • Fennel seeds.
  • Onion (minced).
  • Basil leaves (fresh).
  • Garlic cloves (fresh).
  • Extra virgin olive oil.

How to make homemade pizza sauce:

  • Put all ingredients into a blender.
  • Mix them all with a blender.


Now you know the difference between marinara and pizza sauce. It does not have to be pizza sauce vs. marinara. It is all about what you like.

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