Can I Use Pasta Sauce For Pizza?

Published Categorized as Pizza, Sauces

Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

Pasta, pizza, and spaghetti are all examples of delicious dinners, each with their own individual magical sauces that enhances their flavors, providing its unique taste for each meal. Despite its assumed rarity pasta sauce can be used as a substitute for pizza sauce, but without denying the distinct difference in taste between them, that may or may not be pleasant. You may find yourself having to use pasta sauce, or spaghetti sauce, simply because you’ve ran out of pizza sauce, unless you’re just feeling experimental, and want to find out the difference in taste and texture when it comes to using these sauces. Let’s find out if this works.

Table of Contents

What Is Pizza Sauce?

Pizza sauce is typically made with plain tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes and tomato paste, giving it a much thicker consistency. The thick sauce prevents the dough from becoming soggy while the pizza cooks, whilst also featuring a variety of spices such as oregano, Italian seasoning, garlic salt, onion powder an sugar for the tangy flavor we all know and love. This will perfectly compliment the fats and oils in the cheeses used for pizza. The sauce is thinly coated over the top of the dough and cooked simultaneously with the dough and toppings, combining all of the flavors perfectly.

What is Pasta Sauce or Spaghetti Sauce?

These sauces are generally made with crushed tomatoes that boost the water content in the sauce, making it thinner than pizza sauce. This is perfect for covering your spaghetti strands, or pasta shells with, thoroughly providing beautiful flavors with every bite. Pasta sauce will usually contain basic seasonings like salt, pepper, and dried oregano, so you can the dish to your liking. You will often find chunks of tomato in the pasta sauce, and can also contain elements of ground beef, and other bits of vegetables.

Swapping Pizza Sauce for Pasta Sauce

Since they both seem to contain similar ingredients, they appear to be a perfect swap for when you aren’t in possession of one or the other. Both containing similar ingredients of tomatoes, herbs and spices, however the obvious difference lies in the difference of preparation between the two sauces. Pizza sauce is uncooked and less seasoned, so that its ready to be thinly layered over the pizza dough, and then used as a source of security, and lingering flavor for when your favorite toppings are added. Pizza sauce is perfect because the flavors are not overpowering with everything tasting as it should.

Pasta sauce however, is already cooked and flavoured, ready to be added to your cooked pasta and left to simmer for a while before its eaten. You’ll need to cook pizza sauce amongst other ingredients for it to even taste slightly like pasta sauce.

Pizza Sauce vs Pasta Sauce

When you start to pay attention to the ingredients on both the pizza sauce and pasta sauce, you’ll find that the ingredients are quite similar, which is why lots of people naturally use pasta sauce on pizzas when there’s no other option. The main difference between pasta and pizza sauce is that pasta sauce is cooked whilst pizza sauce is rawer. Usually, pizza sauce is more of a raw sauce made with uncooked spices. The main reason for this is to let the pizza sauce cook in the baking oven.

There are also many spices lingering in the pizza such as oregano, thyme, pepper, onion powder, some Italian seasonings and more. Pizza sauce is much smoother in consistency compared to pasta sauce, which contains bits and chunks of tomatoes which aren’t great for putting on pizza. The pizza sauce is purposefully tangy in taste for complementing the cheese and meat that rests on top of the pizza, which beautifully combines the flavours together to make a delicious pizza.

Pasta Sauce/Spaghetti Sauce

Pasta sauce is prepared using crushed tomatoes, which add water to the sauce making it perfect to coat your strands of spaghetti well adding flavor to every mouthful. Pasta sauce usually contains basic spices like salt, pepper and dried oregano, allowing chefs to add some seasonings according to their taste.

Pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce typically have bits of tomato and can include ground beef or Italian sausage. If you take a chance and decide to use pasta or spaghetti sauce straight from the jar and onto your pizza, you may find that your pizza will emerge soggy and thin to your customers liking.

Differences Between Pasta Sauce and Pizza Sauce

Whilst both sauces have similar spices, but there are distinct differences that prevent one or the both of them to be used for pizza and pasta. So if you’re wondering whether you can substitute pizza sauce for spaghetti/pizza sauce, then let’s take a look at the breakdown below:


There’s a major difference in the ingredients between the two sauces though the base remains the same. Pizza sauce contains simpler ingredients like oregano, pepper, garlic, basil and different Italian spices. The base of pizza sauce is made so that you can add some more toppings like pickles, sweetcorn and meats to the pizza whilst keeping the same consistency in the sauces taste and textures.

However pasta sauce has many more ingredients in comparison, with thicker slices of tomatoes, and can contain other ingredients within the sauce like different types of meat, onion slices and more.


When planning to prepare a pizza the main target is a flavorsome tomato base that compliments the toppings, though it isn’t quite the star of the show, it is the essential part. The pizza sauce must be thick and has to rest on top of the pizza without ruining the consistency of the dough. The toppings must not sink in to the sauce and if the pizza sauce contains too many spices the toppings won’t taste as good either.

When you’re preparing pasta sauce or even buying it, it must have a good amount of water in it, this is because it’ll have to cook longer on the stove without being dehydrated. The pasta sauce is meant to be enjoyed through cooking and not baking, since it absorbs significant amounts of water, the pasta needs to be heavily drenched in the sauce in order to extract its deliciousness.


Pizza sauce needs to be thicker than pasta sauce, and the consistency is very smooth, the texture of the sauce appearing grainy. You’ll rarely find chunks of ingredients in the pizza sauce because it’s meant to be simple but flavoursome.

When cooking your pasta or spaghetti with the sauce the pasta sauce simmers down to a thick reduction of flavours giving your pasta the perfect consistency. A thin pasta sauce will make the pasta super sticky which is not amazing at all.

Using Pizza Sauce for Spaghetti

Marinara sauce in an Italian semi-smooth tomato sauce with less water content than regular tomato or pasta sauce but is much similar to pizza sauce Tomatoes are peeled, coarsely diced then blended to smooth out the lumps of tomato but not pureed into a paste, like pizza sauce. To turn your pizza sauce into a pasta sauce you’ll need to do the following:

  • Take your jarred pizza sauce and drop it into a saucepan, over the stove
  • Before turning on the heat, add some pasta water from the boiled pasta
  • Sprinkle some salt and sugar until you find the correct balance
  • You can add any other ingredients you like into the pizza sauce, including vegetables, meat and more.
  • Boil it a little to make the sugar and added ingredients blend into the sauce properly

Turning Spaghetti Sauce into Pizza Sauce

This is usually made using ripe red tomatoes that have been seasoned with basil leaves and other herbs, depending on the level of heat you want, you might want to use some chili flakes. This is best for when you don’t have any pizza sauce but you happen to have some spaghetti sauce which you intend to use as a substitute. To make the perfect pizza sauce from the pasta sauce you’ll need to do the following:

  • Take your jarred pasta sauce and put it into the food processor. This will allow the chunky tomatoes and other elements to blend into a smooth paste.
  • Turn on the heat and let the blended mixture simmer, until you get a thicker pizza sauce consistency
  • You can add salt, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder or any other spices you like.

Making Pizza Sauce at Home

I’m sure you’d much rather use pizza sauce for pizza, or make some yourself, to prevent the unpleasantness that may occur if you were to use pasta sauce instead for the dough. You wouldn’t want the dough to become limp and watery as it will eliminate the other flavors that emanate from the toppings, and the buttery deliciousness of the dough. To make pizza sauce you’ll need:

  • 8oz tomato sauce
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 minced clove of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 cup olive oil

All you need to do from here is mix these ingredients into a large bowl until you have a smooth consistency, you can use a food processor for this if you want. Then apply a generous layer of this sauce to your pizza dough and bake.

What Are The Alternatives to Pizza Sauce?

So you’re planning to make some pizza for the family, but no one is really a fan of the tomato-based pizza sauce in your family, here are some alternatives:

  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Pesto
  • Alfredo Sauce
  • Olive Oil and Garlic
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Balsamic Sauce
  • Sweet Chilli Sauce

Sublime Pizza or Pasta?

Without competing against the two, each having their own individual perfections, the sauce seems to play a major role into these dishes. The importance of consistency and preparation being the key elements that give these dishes their perfected taste. Whilst it is possible for them to use each other as a substitute for their opposing dishes, it will not bring out the correct taste, and you’ll find your pizza coated in pasta sauce is quite limp and tastes funky, whilst your spaghetti or pasta dunked in pizza sauce, is pretty tasteless. Although making it work is never out of the realms of possibility!


Can I Use Pasta Sauce Instead of Pizza Sauce?

You can most certainly use pasta sauce instead of pizza sauce with a little alteration. You’ll need to reduce the excess amount of water and cook it for longer to make a thicker sauce. Pass it through a blender if it has thicker chunks or blend for a smoother consistency.

Can I Use Regular Spaghetti Sauce for Pizza?

You can use spaghetti sauce in place of pizza, making sure you’re aware of the flavour profiles of the toppings compared to the base sauce.