How To Turn Marinara Into Pizza Sauce (Unlock The Secrets)

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Pizza is an all-time favorite dish loved by people of all ages and backgrounds. The secret to a truly scrumptious pizza lies not only in its toppings but also in the rich, flavorful sauce that serves as its foundation. 

While pizza sauce is readily available in stores, did you know that you can transform your beloved marinara sauce into a delectable pizza sauce right at home? 

In this article, I’ll take you through an easy and delightful journey of turning marinara into a mouthwatering pizza sauce that will elevate your homemade pizzas to a whole new level.

How To Turn Marinara Into Pizza Sauce – Complete Guide

Turning marinara into pizza sauce is a simple process that involves a few adjustments to enhance its flavor and texture to better suit pizza. Here’s a complete guide to help you transform marinara sauce into a delicious pizza sauce:


  • 2 cups of marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for added spiciness)
  • 1-2 teaspoons granulated sugar or honey (optional, to balance acidity)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Start with Marinara Sauce: Begin by preparing 2 cups of marinara sauce. You can use homemade marinara or a store-bought version.

Sauté Garlic: In a saucepan or skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a minute or until it becomes fragrant.

Add Marinara Sauce: Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet with the sautéed garlic. Stir it to combine.

Season the Sauce: Add the dried oregano, dried basil, and red pepper flakes (if using) to the sauce. These seasonings will enhance the pizza flavor profile.

Adjust Sweetness: If your marinara sauce is slightly acidic, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of granulated sugar or honey to balance the acidity and create a more pizza-like taste. Adjust the sweetness to your preference.

Simmer the Sauce: Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes. This will help thicken the sauce and intensify the flavors.

Taste and Adjust: Taste the pizza sauce and adjust the seasonings as needed. You can add more salt, pepper, or any other seasonings to achieve the desired flavor.

Let It Cool: Once the pizza sauce reaches the desired consistency and taste, remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly before using it on your pizza.

Apply to Pizza: Your transformed marinara pizza sauce is now ready to be used! Spread a generous amount of the sauce over your pizza dough, leaving a little space around the edges for the crust.

Add Toppings and Bake: Add your favorite toppings, such as cheese, vegetables, meats, or any other ingredients of your choice. Bake the pizza in a preheated oven according to your pizza crust recipe’s instructions.

Enjoy your homemade pizza with the delicious marinara-turned-pizza sauce, and revel in the delightful flavors of your personalized creation!

Can you use marinara sauce for pizza sauce?

Yes, you can use marinara sauce for pizza sauce. In fact, marinara sauce is a great base for pizza sauce as they share many similar ingredients. 

Marinara sauce is a simple tomato-based sauce typically made with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and herbs like basil and oregano. It’s a flavorful and versatile sauce used primarily for pasta dishes.

To use marinara sauce as pizza sauce, you can make a few adjustments to suit your pizza’s taste. Since marinara sauce is usually smoother and thinner, you might want to simmer it over low heat to reduce and thicken it slightly. 

Additionally, you can add extra seasonings like red pepper flakes, sugar, or grated cheese to enhance the pizza sauce’s flavor.

By making these simple modifications, you can transform marinara sauce into a thicker, richer pizza sauce that works perfectly for your homemade pizzas. 

It’s a convenient and delicious way to repurpose leftover marinara sauce and enjoy a tasty pizza at home.

Is pizza sauce or marinara better for pizza?

The choice between pizza sauce and marinara sauce for pizza ultimately comes down to personal preference. Both types of sauces have their own unique characteristics and flavors, and the better option depends on the specific taste and texture you prefer for your pizza.

Pizza Sauce

Pizza sauce is specifically designed for pizza, and it is generally thicker and more concentrated in flavor compared to marinara sauce. 

It often includes additional seasonings like garlic, onion, oregano, and sometimes sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. 

The thicker consistency of pizza sauce helps it adhere better to the pizza crust and toppings, creating a well-rounded and flavorful pizza experience.

Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce, on the other hand, is a simple and basic Italian tomato sauce typically used for pasta dishes. It is usually smoother and thinner than pizza sauce and is primarily made with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and herbs like basil and oregano. 

While it can be used for pizza, it might not have the same concentrated flavor and thickness as pizza sauce.

Some pizza enthusiasts prefer the bold and rich taste of pizza sauce, which complements the various toppings and cheese. Others may enjoy the lighter and more delicate flavors of marinara sauce on their pizza. 

It’s worth experimenting with both options to see which one suits your taste preferences best.

What is the main difference between marinara and pizza sauce?

The main difference between marinara and pizza sauce lies in their consistency and preparation. Marinara is a simple Italian tomato sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and herbs like basil and oregano. It is typically smoother and thinner in texture, perfect for pasta dishes. 

On the other hand, pizza sauce is a thicker and richer version of marinara, often cooked down for a more concentrated flavor. It may contain additional ingredients like sugar, red pepper flakes, and sometimes even grated cheese to enhance the taste.

Can I use any type of marinara sauce to make pizza sauce?

Yes, you can use any type of marinara sauce as a base to make pizza sauce. However, keep in mind that the flavor of the resulting pizza sauce will be influenced by the original marinara’s ingredients and seasonings. 

If your marinara sauce already contains the desired pizza flavors and has a thicker consistency, it might be ideal for direct use. Otherwise, you can adjust the seasonings and cook it down further to reach the desired pizza sauce consistency.

Are there any special ingredients needed to turn marinara into pizza sauce?

There are no specific special ingredients needed to turn marinara into pizza sauce, but some optional additions can enhance the flavor. 

As mentioned earlier, you can add sugar or a sweetener of your choice to balance the acidity of the tomatoes and improve the taste. Red pepper flakes or hot sauce can be included to give the pizza sauce a spicy kick if desired. 

Additionally, grated or shredded cheese can be mixed in to create a creamier texture and add a cheesy element to the sauce. However, these additions are entirely customizable based on personal preferences and the original marinara’s characteristics.

How long does the process of converting marinara to pizza sauce take?

The process of converting marinara to pizza sauce is relatively quick and straightforward. Depending on the desired thickness and flavor concentration, it usually takes around 15 to 30 minutes of simmering over low to medium heat. 

During this time, the sauce will reduce and thicken while the flavors intensify. However, the actual time may vary based on the initial consistency of the marinara and the desired final texture.

Can I store leftover pizza sauce made from marinara in the refrigerator?

Absolutely! If you have leftover pizza sauce made from marinara, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days. 

Make sure to let the sauce cool down completely before transferring it to the container. When ready to use, simply reheat the sauce on the stove or in the microwave until it reaches the desired temperature.

Is it possible to freeze the transformed pizza sauce for later use?

Yes, you can freeze the transformed pizza sauce for future use. Allow the sauce to cool completely before transferring it into freezer-safe containers or resealable plastic bags. 

Leave some space at the top of the container to allow for expansion during freezing. Label the containers with the date and contents and store them in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. 

When you want to use the sauce, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it before applying it to your pizza crust. Freezing can be a convenient way to have homemade pizza sauce readily available whenever needed.

What types of pizzas work best with this converted sauce?

The beauty of using converted pizza sauce made from marinara is its versatility, making it suitable for a wide range of pizza varieties. 

The sauce pairs well with classic Margherita pizzas, meat lovers’ pizzas, vegetarian options, and even gourmet combinations. Its rich and flavorful profile complements various toppings, including pepperoni, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, olives, and more. 

Whether you prefer a thin-crust or deep-dish pizza, this sauce is sure to elevate the taste of any pizza creation.

Can I add additional herbs and spices to enhance the pizza sauce flavor?

Absolutely! Customizing the pizza sauce with additional herbs and spices is a fantastic way to elevate its flavor. Popular options include fresh or dried basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and even a pinch of fennel seeds for a hint of Italian authenticity. 

You can experiment with different combinations to find the perfect blend that suits your taste preferences. Just remember to taste as you go to achieve the desired flavor profile.

Will the pizza sauce taste drastically different after the transformation?

Yes, the pizza sauce will taste noticeably different after the transformation. The process of turning marinara into pizza sauce involves reducing the sauce to thicken it and intensifying the flavors by simmering it with additional seasonings. 

As a result, the pizza sauce will have a richer, bolder, and more concentrated taste compared to the original marinara. The added seasonings and reduction will create a unique flavor profile that is well-suited for pizza and will complement the various toppings and crusts.

Are there any common mistakes to avoid when turning marinara into pizza sauce?

While turning marinara into pizza sauce is relatively simple, there are a few common mistakes to avoid to ensure the best results. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Overcooking: One of the most common mistakes is overcooking the sauce. Simmer the sauce gently over low to medium heat and avoid boiling it rapidly. Overcooking can lead to a sauce that is too thick or burnt, impacting the overall taste

Adding too many seasonings at once: Adding all the seasonings at the beginning without tasting can result in an overpowering sauce. It’s better to add seasonings gradually and taste as you go to achieve the desired flavor balance

Not adjusting consistency: If the transformed sauce is too thick, you can add a little water or vegetable broth to reach the desired consistency. On the other hand, if it’s too thin, you can continue simmering until it thickens.

Not balancing acidity: Marinara sauce can be slightly acidic, and to balance the flavors, it’s common to add a touch of sugar or a sweetener of your choice. However, adding too much sugar can make the sauce overly sweet, so it’s essential to find the right balance.

Not letting it cool before storing: If you plan to store any leftover pizza sauce, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Storing hot sauce can lead to condensation and spoilage.

By keeping these common mistakes in mind, you can ensure that the transformation process goes smoothly and results in a delicious pizza sauce that perfectly complements your homemade pizzas.


By following these simple steps, you can effortlessly transform marinara sauce into a luscious and flavorful pizza sauce that will take your homemade pizzas to new heights. The rich blend of herbs, the touch of spice, and the perfect balance of flavors will have your family and friends begging for your secret pizza sauce recipe. So, the next time you’re in the mood for pizza night, remember that the magic lies in turning marinara into the perfect pizza sauce!

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