What are the substitutes for marinara sauce?

In this article, we will answer the question “What are the substitutes for marinara sauce?”

What are the substitutes for marinara sauce?

Marinara sauce is a tasty combination of tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, herbs, spices, and other optional ingredients such as wine and capers. 

Whether it is pasta, meatballs, shakshuka, soup, or pizza, marinara works like a charm. If you happen to not have marinara in your pantry, worry not! You can choose from the following list of the best marinara substitutes. 

Canned tomatoes 

Canned tomatoes make for a good substitute for marinara sauce except you need to adjust the consistency of the canned tomatoes. To do this, drain your canned tomatoes before blending them. 

Strain and reserve some of the liquid after blending. If this does not get the job done, cook the pureed canned tomatoes until the desired consistency is achieved. Estimate a 1:1 ratio for substitution.


It is an apt alternative to marinara but only in recipes where marinara is not the main ingredient. Because the flavor profile of ketchup is quite different from that of marinara. 

The former contains a lot of sugar and vinegar along with the flavoring spices that are not used in the making of marinara. But ketchup is a very economical substitute for marinara. 

Carrots and beets 

This makes for an excellent alternative when you are allergic to tomatoes or simply because you do not have tomatoes at hand. To make this substitute, the veggies such as carrots, onions, and beets are sauteed in olive oil. Then the garlic is stirred in and heated until fragrant. 

For the final step, a solution of water, balsamic vinegar, and white vinegar are poured onto the veggies. When cooked, everything is blended in a food processor until nice and smooth.

Tomato paste

With some tweaks in flavor by the addition of herbs like basil, oregano, salt, and another seasoning, tomato paste makes for a good marinara substitute. 

Dissolve 1 cup of tomato paste in 1 cup of water to replace every 2 cups of marinara sauce called for in the recipe. Adjust the consistency of the substitute by the addition of more water or tomato paste.

Tomato puree

Cook the tomato puree to the desired thickness. Don’t forget to season it with herbs, salt, and pepper to tailor its flavor to your liking.

Condensed tomato soup 

Condensed tomato soup can be milk or broth-based. Regardless of the type, it is going to impart a distinct flavor of its own to whatever dish it is added. If the soup is broth-based, it is going to have a thinner consistency. 

To adjust the thickness, you can add a teaspoon or two of tomato paste to it. Then cook the tomato soup until it reaches the desired thickness and add a pinch or two of salt to neutralize its sweetness.

Pasta sauce 

This substitute works great in recipes where a small amount of marinara is required. Pasta sauce has a flavor of its own that is noticeably different from marinara. Estimate a 1:1 ratio for substitution.

Pizza sauce 

Pizza sauce is made from raw tomatoes pureed and mixed with salt, pepper, oregano, and some garlic. Cook the pizza sauce until it reaches a consistency similar to marinara. Add herbs like basil to tweak its flavor. Estimate a 1:1 ratio for substitution.

Tomato juice 

Tomato juice is obtained by pulsing fresh tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Cook the tomato juice and add the required seasonings and herbs to make its flavor match the flavor of marinara. 

Replace ½ cup of marinara sauce with 1 cup of tomato juice substitute. Reduce the liquid ingredients in the recipe by ½ cup. If you do not have time to cook the tomato juice for desired consistency, you can mix it with some tomato paste.

Tomato sauce 

Tomato sauce has an ample amount of seasoning. So, before adding tomato sauce to your soups and stews, keep a light hand on the seasoning. Estimate a 1:1 ratio for substitution. 

Fresh tomatoes 

Fresh tomatoes are the staple ingredient of marinara sauce. Follow this recipe to make marinara sauce from scratch. 

Alfredo sauce 

No recipe is a drawn line on the rock. You should be able to get creative and improvise when needed. This is why we think alfredo sauce is a great alternative to marinara sauce. The flavor profile will be different but tasty. Alfredo sauce lends a rich and creamy texture to your dishes.


In this article, we will answer the question “What are the substitutes for marinara sauce?”


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