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Italian Flavors: 5 BEST Marinara Sauce Substitutes

Finding the perfect marinara sauce substitute can feel like hitting a jackpot in your cooking adventures.

We’ve got you covered with top-notch swaps that promise to keep your dishes delicious.

Ever been in the middle of cooking and realized you’re out of marinara?

It’s a common kitchen hiccup. No need to dash to the store or scrap your meal plan.

We’re here to introduce you to five stellar marinara alternatives.

Each option offers unique flavors that can elevate your pasta, pizza, or any Italian-inspired dish.

They’re easy to find and simpler to use. And trust us, they pack a punch in the flavor department.

With these substitutes, you’ll impress not just yourself but everyone at the dinner table.

Ready to find out what these game-changers are?

The 5 Best Substitutes for Marinara Sauce

In a hurry and don’t have time to make your marinara sauce? No problem.

There are plenty of great store-bought options that will work in a pinch.

Here are our five favorites:

1 – Canned Tomatoes

canned tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are a versatile kitchen staple that can be used in a variety of recipes.

While they are often used in soups and stews, they can also be used as a substitute for marinara sauce.

When cooked with garlic, onions, and basil, canned tomatoes provide a quick and easy alternative to store-bought marinara sauce.

In addition to being economical, canned tomatoes can also be a healthy choice as they are typically lower in sodium than their jarred counterparts.

With so many uses, it’s no wonder that canned tomatoes are a pantry staple in homes worldwide.

2 – Tomato Paste

tomato paste

Are you in a hurry and need a quick pasta sauce? Look no further than your pantry for a can of tomato paste.

While tomato paste is technically a concentrate, it can be used as a shortcut for making marinara sauce.

Simply add water to the tomato paste to thin it out, then simmer with garlic, onions, and herbs to create a delicious sauce in minutes.

If you have more time on your hands, you can also use tomato paste to make a slow-cooked marinara sauce.

Start by sautéing garlic and onions in olive oil, then add the tomato paste and cook until it begins to caramelize.

Finally, add canned tomatoes and allow the sauce to simmer for several hours.

No matter how you use it, tomato paste is a versatile ingredient that can help you get dinner on the table in a snap.

3 – Tomato Puree

tomato puree

Tomato puree is a thick, red sauce made from cooked tomatoes.

It is a versatile ingredient that can be used in various dishes, including pasta sauces, pizzas, and stews.

While it is not as widely available as other tomato products such as tomato sauce or tomato paste, it can often be found in the international aisle of supermarkets or online.

When substituting tomato puree for marinara sauce, it is important to keep the following in mind: Tomato puree is thicker than marinara sauce, so you may need to add additional liquid to thin it out.

Additionally, because tomato puree is less seasoned than marinara sauce, you may want to add additional herbs and spices to suit your taste.

However, with some planning and creativity, tomato puree can be a delicious and convenient substitute for marinara sauce.

4 – Pizza Sauce

pizza sauce

While Marinara sauce is the traditional choice for pizzas, there are several other sauces that can be used to create a delicious pie.

One popular option is Pizza Sauce.

This sauce is similar to Marinara but has a thicker consistency and bolder flavor.

As a result, it can provide a nice contrast to the sweetness of the pizza crust and the richness of the toppings.

Another advantage of Pizza Sauce is that it doesn’t require additional seasonings.

This makes it a convenient option for busy cooks who don’t have time to prepare a complex sauce from scratch.

If you’re looking for a change from Marinara, give Pizza Sauce a try next time you make pizza at home.

5 – Spaghetti Sauce

spaghetti sauce

Spaghetti sauce is a type of pasta sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs.

It is a famous sauce for many different types of pasta dishes.

Marinara sauce is a type of tomato sauce that is typically made from tomatoes, garlic, onions, and spices.

It is a popular sauce for many different types of seafood dishes.

Both spaghetti sauce and marinara sauce are made with tomatoes as their base, but there are some critical differences between the two sauces.

Spaghetti sauce generally has a thicker consistency and a sweeter flavor than marinara sauce.

Additionally, spaghetti sauce typically contains meat, whereas marinara sauce does not.

As a result, the marinara sauce can be a good substitute for spaghetti sauce in pasta dishes that do not contain meat.

The two sauces can also be used interchangeably in other recipes that call for either one.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Marinara Sauce

Elevate your dishes with these top 5 marinara sauce substitutes! We've curated a list of flavorful alternatives that will perfectly complement your favorite recipes.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes
Servings 1 Serving


  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Tomato Puree
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Spaghetti Sauce


  • Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  • Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
Keyword substitutes for marinara sauce
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