Is marinara sauce the same as tomato sauce?

Although the two sauces share many ingredients, the main difference is in the consistency and depth of the flavor. Marinara is brighter, thinner and has more tomato flavor than ketchup. tomato sauce is thicker, creamier and has a certain resemblance to sauce, which is why some Italians call it “Sunday sauce”. Marinara is a simple sauce made with garlic, chopped red pepper and basil, and is prepared in about an hour.

Ketchup, on the other hand, is thick, rich and complex. Ketchup also usually contains more ingredients, such as vegetables and salty pork. Marinara sauce and ketchup are often used interchangeably and for clear reasons; the two look and taste quite similar to each other. But those nuances in their textures, cooking processes, and flavor profiles are the same things that separate these two sauces into different categories.

And make each one better adapt to different recipes. But before delving into their differences, let's talk about what ketchup and marinara sauce actually are. Because the two sauces look similar (and can sometimes even taste similar), we often use the names marinara and tomato interchangeably. However, the two sauces are not the same.

According to Taste of Home, marinara sauce cooks much faster than tomato sauce (often less than an hour) and has a less complex flavor profile that usually consists simply of tomatoes, garlic and oregano. Tomato sauce, on the other hand, requires hours of slow cooking and is made with more abundant ingredients, often including a creamy base of roux, meat, and other vegetables and various herbs. As a result, ketchup tends to be much thicker and more robust than its marinated counterpart. Marinara sauce is much lighter and simpler compared to pasta sauce.

Marinara usually uses only tomato, olive oil and garlic, making it less complex than pasta sauce. In addition, marinara takes less time to cook, while pasta sauce may have meat that extends its cooking time. The same goes for fried calamari or mozzarella sticks; the marinara sauce will help accentuate the flavor of the dish without robbing it of prominence. Marinara sauce is a very simple tomato-based sauce with minimal ingredients, including tomatoes, onions, garlic and condiments.

However, unlike marinara, the thicker and tastier tomato sauce is traditionally never used as a pizza sauce. After letting it cook, the finished sauce will have an almost candied and thick consistency, and will taste sweet, rich and caramelized. Tomato sauce, which has a consistency that looks more like the sausage sauce that is covered on top of cookies, can also be used as a marinara sauce in pasta dishes or can be poured over meat. Try this old tomato sauce recipe or take your ketchup to the next level and make Sunday sauce.

But if you have free time and are looking for a richer and heavier sauce, then the traditional pasta sauce will suit you better. We often see that the terms “ketchup” and “marinara” are used interchangeably on supermarket sauce jars. While each of the two sauces clearly has unique flavors and uses, one thing remains the same: both are delicious in their own way. The sauce acquires its characteristic flavor through the addition of garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and herbs such as basil and oregano.

According to the pasta sauce company Paesana, marinara sauce is prepared by combining olive oil, garlic and basil with whole peeled tomatoes (preferably of the San Marzano type). It's best to think of marinara sauce as a basic form of tomato sauce, especially since its flavor notes, cooking time and ingredient list are short and sweet, according to Paesana. Spaghetti usually uses pasta sauce, since they are commonly made with meat (meatballs and spaghetti are a classic combination). .

Jeannette Klingenberger
Jeannette Klingenberger

Proud beer fanatic. Freelance web specialist. Subtly charming tv nerd. Wannabe coffee fan. Subtly charming tv ninja.