Skip to Content

The 5 Best Substitutes for Marinara Sauce

Have you ever wondered how to cook Marinara Sauce? This delicious sauce is not only great on pasta but can also be used as a dipping sauce or in several other recipes.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to make Marinara Sauce, look no further.

This article will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to cook Marinara Sauce, as well as some tips on how to use it in a variety of different dishes.

In addition, we will share the five best substitutes for Marinara Sauce in case you cannot find it at your local store.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

What is Marinara Sauce?

what is marinara sauce

Marinara sauce is a red sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, and herbs.

It is typically used as a pasta sauce but can also be used on pizza or as a dipping sauce.

Marinara sauce is relatively easy to make at home and can be tailored to taste by adjusting the amount of garlic or adding different herbs.

In terms of flavor, marinara sauce is slightly acidic from the tomatoes, with a subtle sweetness and a hint of spice from the garlic.

The sauce should be smooth but still, have some texture from the diced tomatoes.

To make marinara sauce:

  • Start by sautéing garlic in olive oil.
  • Add diced tomatoes and tomato paste, and cook until the tomatoes are soft.
  • Add salt, pepper, and your desired herbs, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Making your marinara sauce is a great way to control the ingredients and create a dish tailored to your taste.

Plus, it’s cheaper than buying jarred sauce at the store.

Marinara sauce can be served immediately or refrigerated for later use.

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.


In the end, marinara sauce is a classic for a reason. It’s versatile, flavorful, and easy to make.

However, sometimes you need a change of pace.

Whether you’re looking for something new or need an alternative for dietary reasons, these five substitutes for marinara sauce are sure to hit the spot.

So, the next time you’re in the mood for something different, give one of these a try.

You might just find your new favorite sauce.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 Best Substitutes for Marinara Sauce

The 5 Best Substitutes for Marinara Sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


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


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
    Skip to Recipe