Marinara sauce is an authentic part of Italian-American cuisine. It’s no the very same as you’d discover in Italy, yet inspired by a tomato-based sauce made to garnish seafood. The surname “marinara” comes from “mariners” and also describes how fishermen often use the sauce on your freshly-made fish.

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Nowadays, the terms “marinara sauce” and also “spaghetti sauce” are provided interchangeably.

So, what’s the difference?

In this guide, we explore various factors connected with every sauce. You’ll additionally discover principles on just how to pick the appropriate sauce for her recipe.

Marinara VS Spaghetti – The 4 Differences

American Bolognese-style spaghetti sauce is quite comparable to marinara sauce. However, there room some differences in texture, flavor, and also prep time. Here are few of the differences you’ll notice:


Bolognese pasta and also bolognese spaghetti sauce is richer and has a meaty flavor. The spices in this sauce are well-combined, and also the consistency is thick. ~ above the various other hand, Marinara sauce delivers the complicated flavors the the various ingredients. It’s less meaty, and you can make the end individual flavors easily. Therefore, Spaghetti sauce is best for creating strong flavors in a dish, and marinara is an ext of one accent. Moreover, Spaghetti sauce goes well with plain pasta. If you’re utilizing seafood in your pasta dish, take into consideration using the marinara sauce to boost the seafood flavors.


Spaghetti sauce is thicker, while marinara sauce has actually a diluent texture. If you want to make a hearty, filling dish, choose spaghetti sauce or a marinara through a thicker consistency. However, if you want a lighter meal with a slim sauce, marinara is better.

These differences use to canned, jarred, and also homemade sauces. Below are added factors you may want to take into consideration when you do the sauces yourself:


The ingredients for both sauce are an extremely similar. The vital difference is that the spaghetti sauce needs meat. If you don’t have any type of meat however have all other ingredients, making marinara sauce will save you a trip to the store.

Prep Time

Spaghetti sauce calls for one cooking meat. It must additionally simmer much longer to construct the wanted consistency. Moreover, it requires more ingredients than marinara and likewise takes longer to make. If prep time is your concern, choose a marinara sauce.

What Is Marinara Sauce used For?


Marinara sauce has tomatoes, herbs, garlic, and also onions. Like most sauces, there are some variations. In part regions, sour ingredients (like olives, wine, or capers) are added to make tangy marinara. Classic Italian-style marinara sauce is thin, while plenty of Americanized variations are bold and thick.

While you can add different ingredients to marinara sauce and also maintain that is originality, you have to never add meat, anchovies, or cheese. When you start including these ingredients, you end up developing Bolognese or spaghetti sauce. Below are few of the standard dishes you can use Marinara sauce with:

Afritada – Spanish-FilipinoMenudo – FilipinoRatatouille – FrenchShakshuka –ArabicMeatballsMinestronePizzaParmigianaMozzarella sticks

Should You use Spaghetti Sauce or Marinara Sauce for your Pasta?

Some folks space keen come assume that there’s no such point as a “spaghetti sauce.” You can serve spaghetti through a huge selection of sauces, indigenous Alfredo sauce to Bolognese and marinara come a drizzle the olive oil. They likewise believe the spaghetti and also meatballs aren’t an Italian dish, yet American. As well as that, some people even insurance claim Italians favor eating spaghetti carbonara over some tomato-based meat sauce.

Most that these assumptions are incorrect. However, when you hear ‘spaghetti sauce,’ you instantly visualize and also think that a thick, savory tomato-based sauce linked with meat. Therefore, us don’t have to discard this label out that the pursuit of correctness; we have the right to use that to explain an American variation of Bolognese sauce. Because that example, it’s referred to as pasta gravy, pasta condiment, and also pasta dressing.

The main difference between marinara sauce and American Bolognese is the consist of of meat. Marinara sauce has a small number of vegan ingredients. However, if you begin serving marinara sauce v ground beef, or another kind of meat, you attain something through a various flavor profile that adds wealth to your dishes.

You can take a marinara sauce recipe and add meat to make spaghetti sauce, and you can likewise take a spaghetti sauce recipe and make a marinara sauce through omitting the meat. However, you may want to change the cooking times: Simmer ingredients long enough for flavors to bind in addition to marinara sauce. ~ above the various other hand, meat sauces need extra time as you need to cook the meat.

Adding more Tomatoes

Traditional marinara sauce is thin, while American spaghetti sauce has actually a more thickness texture. You have to add much more tomatoes to the spaghetti sauce than the marinara sauce. Moreover, you’ll need to alleviate the spaghetti sauce to acquire the trademark more thickness consistency. If the tomato sauce top top the pasta is thick, it’s either Americanized marinara or spaghetti sauce. If that thin, yes a good chance the a traditional Italian-style marinara sauce.

Can I usage Marinara Sauce because that Spaghetti?

Yes! Spaghetti is served with marinara sauce. If you’re ~ pasta v protein, you’ll desire to offer meat or seafood ~ above the side. Girlfriend can include some meatballs, shrimps, and sausage to her pasta. However, many civilization prefer the subtle, fragile flavor the marinara sauce on your dishes through no meat come overpower it.

How does Spaghetti Carbonara aspect Into This?

Spaghetti carbonara is a well-known Italian dish that doesn’t use any type of tomato-based sauce. Instead, the sauce is combined straight top top the pasta v eggs, bacon, and cheese. That a different dish yet quite simple to make. If girlfriend haven’t make the efforts this dish, girlfriend should offer it a try!


Can You substitute Spaghetti Sauce for Marinara Sauce?

It counts on what one classifies as spaghetti sauce. If you go to the supermarket, it’s extremely likely the a seasoned of spaghetti sauce top top the shelf is a kind of marinara. However, once it comes to conventional homemade tomato sauce directly on spaghetti, you can’t interchange the two. The consistencies and flavors are fully different. So, once it involves store-bought spaghetti sauce, you can conveniently substitute the two. Try to toss the noodles in the sauce and coat castle thoroughly.

What’s the difference between marinara sauce, pizza sauce and also tomato sauce?

Out of this three, marinara and also pizza sauce are the most similar as they usage very similar ingredients and also are thinner and also smoother than traditional tomato sauces. However, there space some differences between marinara and pizza sauce:

Marinara is chunkyPizza sauce has a smooth textureMarinara has a robust flavor than pizza saucePizza sauce has much more saltMarinara uses herbs and also seasoningsPizza sauce has actually raw tomatoesMarinara has actually pre-cooked tomatoes

Another distinction with pizza sauce is the it consists of balsamic vinegar; unique vinegar made utilizing grapes well-known in many traditional Italian dishes. ~ above the other hand, tomato sauce is thick, rich, and has complicated ingredients.

Originating in France, tomato sauce needs plenty that ingredients and takes patience. Traditionally, tomato sauce consists of a roux of flour and also butter mixed with salt, onion, pork or bacon, and carrots. As these spices combine, you add fresh tomatoes, garlic, just leaves, and chicken or veal stock. Then, you have to leave the tomato sauce come simmer because that hours.

During this time, it will certainly thicken up and also enhance the flavors. It additionally gets sweeter 보다 marinara or pizza sauce as soon as the tomatoes break down. You can also add Italian sausage or ground beef to give it depth in flavor and texture.

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Due come its thickness and also flavor, traditional tomato sauce is finest used as gravy to smother dishes choose spaghetti or to make chicken cacciatore, no as a pizza sauce.