Can You Use Marinara Sauce For Pizza

Bruce Willis is an angry dad. In the 90s, he wasn’t pleased about how Americans were dressing their pizza. He was so angry about it that he came up with a line he ad-libbed in several movies he clearly thought was funnier than it is: “Reindeer Goat Cheese Pizza.”

This made me wonder, would a pizza topped with Marinara sauce be equally outrageous?

Can you use marinara sauce for pizza? Yes, you can use marinara sauce for pizza. Using marinara sauce for pizza is a staple in Italy. There are plenty of traditional Italian pizza recipes that use marinara sauce instead of your usual tomato pizza sauce, and they’re just as authentic.

Better still, marinara sauce is even easier to make than its basic tomato counterpart. 

In this post, I’ll explore some other interesting alternatives to traditional tomato sauce pizza. But first, let’s take a look at why you’d use marinara as a sauce base for your pizza in the first place.

Can You Use Marinara Sauce for Pizza?

There are numerous reasons to use marinara sauce for pizza, such as:

  • You may have noticed that marinara is thicker than traditional pizza sauce. 
  • It’s also far more flavorful, with a much stronger taste.
  • The key distinction between the two is that marinara sauce and traditional pizza sauce is that marinara is made with cooked tomatoes, while pizza sauce is cooked with raw tomatoes. Call it a matter of preference, but having them cooked beforehand adds more flavour.

5 Best Alternatives to Tomato Sauce For Pizza

Here are some other alternatives to tomato sauce that you can easily enjoy on your pizza. Mr. Willis was correct about one thing, pizza has certainly changed in the past few decades since I was a kid. 

You find avant-garde ingredients advertised all the time as novelty, from M&Ms to the controversial pineapple. But what you put on top of the dough and underneath the cheese and toppings makes a much more significant impact (unless you’re using M&Ms, in which case, I’m worried about you).

Other Tomato-Based Alternatives

Tomato sauce for pizza is fairly basic – raw tomatoes, usually from a can, onion, garlic, and herbs like basil. But it’s far from the only way to prepare a tomato sauce. One alternative is to purchase pre-made italian tomato sauces from the supermarket. 

There are plenty to choose from, but I’ve always had a personal affection for Paul Newman’s. It may not be an authentic Italian brand, but it’s a quality sauce, which you don’t often see from brands offered by celebrities. 

These sauces can add a great deal of flavour to your pizzas. 


I’m a big fan of pesto on sandwiches and various dinners, so I decided to see how it stacked up as a pizza sauce. It’s a very different experience from what you’re used to, however that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

It’s a vibrant, exciting, flavourful change from the norm, and it complements a litany of toppings that blend nicely. I would recommend using this on thin-crust pizzas only, however, as too much pesto can be a little overwhelming. 

Probably the best toppings you can use with pesto are other things you know complement it, such as feta cheese and olives. It even goes well with a nice glass of wine.


A word of warning about alfredo sauce: this should not be tried if you’re on any sort of diet. It’s absolutely exquisite, however alfredo is one of the most fattening sauces you can add to pizza. Mixed with a heavy dough, it’s even worse, so again it might be best to opt for thin-crust. 

But it should be tried at least once. The words “creamy” and “rich” really aren’t said much around pizzas, and an alfredo pizza is exactly both of those things. It’s a delight, if you’re willing to pay the consequences. 


I thought I heard everything until someone suggested I try some olive tapenade on my pizza. But it was a wonderful experiment that produced a fascinating mediterranean flavour. If you’re really in the mood, try some olives and grilled vegetables such as eggplant on top. 

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Sometimes, keeping things as basic as possible is the best option. Olive oil is a good substitute for when you want complex, interesting toppings to adorn your pizza. So you’ll want to prepare them before putting them on.

The trick here is to stick with only high quality olive oil, which actually can take a little research. Even if the bottle claims it, many olive oils are counterfeit thanks to a robust black market trade in Italy.

It’s not like anything you’re familiar with, but that’s part of the joy of pizza. It can be practically anything you want. Even Reindeer Goat Cheese. 

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