So, you want to make some pizza at home, but all you have in the pantry is some marinara sauce. Can you use the marinara sauce for pizza? Will it taste right? Let’s sort that out now.
I think if we’re going to answer this question in any sort of serious way we’re going to have to look at the differences between pizza sauce and marinara sauce.
But before we do that I just want to point out that I’ve had both sauces on my homemade pizzas, and both have been absolutely delicious.
I think we’ll all have different opinions about whether or not you should use the marinara sauce as pizza sauce, but in terms of whether you can or not, I’d have to say of course you can, Part of the fun of homemade pizza is being able to experiment.
If we wanted the same old pizzas every time, we would just order from takeout or head to a local pizzeria and eat all the usual suspects.
But at home, we can try new things, mix new flavors and risk different ingredient combinations, so if you want to put marinara sauce on your pizza, then I say go ahead!
But What Is The Difference Between Marinara and Pizza Sauce?
The major difference I notice between marinara sauce and pizza sauce on my pizzas is the texture.
Marinara takes a little longer to make, and cooking the tomatoes leads to a thicker sauce, but as pizza sauce is generally made with uncooked tomatoes, the sauce can be a little thinner.
I suppose that’s why it is such a divisive issue. For me, the thicker sauce doesn’t bother me. It can make the pizza a little drier after it’s been in the pizza oven, but the fresh flavors of marinara sauce more than makes up for it.
Likewise, I enjoy a thin pizza sauce because it allows you to spread it more evenly, and keep a lovely juicy base for your favorite toppings.
In terms of flavor, I think you’ll notice a lot of difference, and I certainly have a favorite when it comes to this. For me, the marinara sauce tastes nicer than pizza sauce.
Maybe it’s the freshly cooked tomatoes, or maybe it’s the fresh herbs, but I just think marinara packs more flavor into every bite.
Don’t get me wrong, I can still make a delicious pizza with pizza sauce, but I think the base is always a little less interesting.
But there’s an argument to be had about the marinara sauce being too overpowering too, which I certainly understand.
I suppose if you’re using less punchy flavors with your cheese and toppings you’ll want to use pizza sauce to let the other ingredients shine.
If you’re looking for a real flavor hit, then marinara sauce can be an excellent way to pack bags of flavor into your pizza – but just be sure that your toppings can handle it.
Why Bother Using Marinara Sauce At All?
I’ve added this section based on the first time I used the marinara sauce as a pizza base. Like you (if you’re a marinara sauce doubter) I didn’t see a reason to use marinara sauce when pizza sauce is readily available.
That was until I made a delicious meatball marinara pasta dish and made too much marinara sauce.
I was halfway to the trashcan when it struck me that marinara isn’t so different from pizza sauce, so instead, I put it in a storage container and kept it in the refrigerator for the next day.
Using it was a revelation for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed my pizza that next night. Now, whenever I have marinara sauce leftover, I know exactly what to do with it.
And I suppose that is why you should bother using marinara sauce. It’ll help you reduce waste, it makes meal prep so much easier because you can make an extra marinara sauce to stretch across more than one meal.
Not only that, but I also believe that everybody should try something at least once to know whether or not they really dislike it. So why not try marinara sauce on your next pizza?
A Note For Pizza Traditionalists
There are many of you out there who would consider themselves a pizza traditionalist, and the idea of marinara sauce on your pizza might seem like a really foreign concept, but I do have to stop you on that train of thought for just a moment.
Cast your mind back to when bbq bases became a thing – I bet you, like most of the rest of us, thought ‘bbq sauce on a pizza?
That’s just insane, but after your first bite, I’d be willing to bet you changed your tune pretty quickly.
Even if you still haven’t tried a pizza with a BBQ base yet, marinara should be an easier step for you anyway. In terms of the ingredients, marinara and pizza sauce barely differ at all.
Yes, they are their own distinct sauces in their own right, but they share a lot of the same flavors that we all love on our pizzas, so why shouldn’t you give it a go?
I’m not saying that every pizzeria in the country should stop using pizza sauce altogether and switch to marinara.
But, I am saying that if you’re in the comfort of your own home, then why shouldn’t you mix things up a little and try something new on your next homemade pizza.
Who knows? Maybe marinara will become your preferred choice when it’s time to make the base for your pizza in the future.
I think this last point is something I’ve made before on this blog, but it’s one I have to keep coming back to.
Pizza blogs can serve two different crowds – the die-hard traditionalists, and the experimental – and I like to think that mine strikes a balance between the two.
I’m not saying you have to try marinara sauce if it’s something you are against, but I am saying you can try it if you want to, without any guilt.
Sure, your grandma’s secret pizza sauce recipe will probably still outshine any marinara you whip up, but at least you can say you tried something new for a change, right?