Although food manufacturers offer jars of pizza sauce alongside rows of spaghetti sauce, there actually isn't much difference between the two. Both are tomato-based sauces seasoned primarily with basil and oregano. There may be minor differences that vary by brand and by recipe, but these differences are small compared to the similarities between the two products. Pizza sauce can be easily substituted for spaghetti sauce and vice versa.
Pizza sauce is somewhat thinner than spaghetti sauce because it is meant to be easily spread to cover the surface of the dough. When substituting pizza sauce for spaghetti sauce, you may want to add extra texture to compensate. Try sautéed onions, peppers or mushrooms, or cooked ground beef or sausage. Although these additions will enhance pizza sauce for spaghetti, they aren't necessary, especially if you find a thin sauce more appealing than a thick one.
Unlike spaghetti sauce, which may be flavored with anything from roasted garlic to multiple cheeses, pizza sauce tends to have a relatively neutral flavor, complementing toppings rather than standing on its own. Pizza sauce seasoning is likely to tip towards oregano, while spaghetti sauce seasoning typically relies more on the flavor of basil. The tastes are sufficiently similar that you can use pizza sauce on spaghetti without adjusting the flavor. If you do choose to adjust pizza sauce seasoning when using it on spaghetti, add additional basil, or roasted garlic or cheese.
A homemade pizza sauce can be either thick enough to add texture or thin enough to spread easily, depending on your preference and also on the ingredients you have available. Like jarred pizza and spaghetti sauces, homemade sauces are unlikely to differ much from each other. They can be used interchangeably, or you can add flavor or texture to beef up a pizza sauce for spaghetti.
Reasons for Substituting
It is convenient to substitute pizza sauce for spaghetti sauce if you have no other tomato sauce available. The substitution won't substantially change your meal, and it may save you from opening a new jar of sauce when you already have one opened. The degree to which you adapt pizza sauce for spaghetti should depend on the situation and the time you have available. If you're in a hurry and simply want a quick meal, use the pizza sauce as is. If you're not rushed and have strong feelings about how you want your sauce to taste, take the time to add extra flavor and texture.
- Photo Credit Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images