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10 Pizza Sauce Substitutes

A photo collage of pizza sauce substitutes.

I love making pizza at home and trying different toppings to change the flavor and taste, but there’s another way to get creative with pizza: the sauce. Changing the flavor of pizza is actually a game of sauces. But…what if you don’t have a Pizza Sauce? What can you use as a substitute?

The best substitutes for Pizza Sauce are Pesto, Ricotta Cheese, Ranch Sauce, Tapenade, Olive Oil and Garlic, Chimichurri Sauce, Balsamic Glaze, Alfredo Sauce, and many more. If you often eat and make your pizza, you must have thought of changing things and bringing in some variety to enhance the taste.

No need to get worried if you do not have pizza sauce or if you got tired of using normal tomato sauce. I mean, what’s the aim of eating pizza if you can’t play around with available options of sauces and try something new to satisfy your cravings.

Here are the best alternates that you can always use to make your pizza more delicious.

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Commonly Used Pizza Sauce Substitutes


A bowl of pesto sauce surrounded by the ingredients.

While experimenting with sauces, pesto can prove to be a very handy and safe option. This traditional, as well as versatile sauce, includes basil, garlic, nuts, olives, olive oil, cheese, salt, and pepper. Just spread it on the top of your pizza bread along with some tasty toppings and you are good to go.

The dried tomatoes and the thin delicious crust combined with the pesto sauce give a perfect finish to the pizza leaving you desiring for more.

Though pesto is one of the easiest sauces to make but a nutritionist, I won’t recommend it to those trying for weight loss because it contains a lot of calories due to the amount of oil used.

Ricotta Cheese

This is a green bowl of Ricotta Cheese with basil leaves.

It can be used with honey and pepper for seasoning. Ricotta is a typical Italian ingredient used in desserts and pasta that are made from whey and fresh milk of cow. Its flavor comes from the milk and it is usually sweet with a smooth texture.

Ranch Sauce

This is a homemade ranch dressing with mint.

Primary ingredients of ranch sauce include buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream mixed with mayonnaise, and other spices like herbs and mustard. Ranch sauce is easily available in the stores, but I would recommend trying homemade ranch sauce if you are a fresh and healthy food lover.

Use the fresh garlic with fresh herbs if you want an enhanced flavor. For sure, you won’t regret the taste because it does stand out.


This is a look at various bowls of tapenade made from capers and olives.

It’s an olive paste with a range of flavors. Taste mainly depends on the type of olives being used. Pizza made with the ingredients like mushrooms, basil, and jalapenos mixed with Tapenade sauce gives a unique flavor as well as a color that will definitely tempt you for a bite.

Olive Oil and Garlic

This is a jar of olive oil and garlic with herbs and spices.

A combination of olive oil and garlic with mayonnaise also serves as a sauce to spread over the pizza. The sauce is basically an Italian classic originating in Naples. The other ingredients in the sauce include red paper flakes and anchovies.

The only constraint is with the smell as the sauce has a strong smell of garlic that may affect your breath in the long run.

Chimichurri Sauce

This is a bowl of Chimichurri Sauce with its ingredients on the side.

The origin of Chimichurri sauce in Argentina. It is also widely used in some parts of Uruguay. The major ingredients of the sauce include oregano, oil, garlic, fresh parsley, vinegar, and a little chili pepper.

Balsamic Glaze

This is a bowl of Balsamic Glaze sauce on a wooden table.

Here is the most comfortable sauce to prepare using a mixture of balsamic vinegar, heated in a pan on medium heat with any sweetener like honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar. The mixture is ready when the sugar is absorbed completely and the color is a bit darker (caramelization of sugar). It turns out as an evenly blended paste.

Alfredo Sauce

This is a bowl of Italian Alfredo sauce on a table.

Alfredo sauce is prepared using creams or milk as an option, butter, and some cheese to thicken the sauce. Alfredo makes a rich and creamy pizza sauce. The main objective of the sauce in chicken alfredo pizza is to balance the chicken flavor for a rich taste.

American Style Barbeque Sauce

This is a glass jar of American Style Barbeque Sauce with a brush.

A simple and easy barbeque base can be prepared using only four ingredients including tomatoes, mustard, vinegar and mayonnaise. You have the choice to add any of your desired flavors to your barbeque sauce. It can give a spicy touch to your pizza.

Hoisin Sauce

This is a bowl of hoisin sauce with sesame seeds.

Hoisin is a Chinese word meaning seafood; the sauce, however, is believed to be of Cantonese origin. It is prepared from fermented soybean, which is the main key ingredient with other spices like garlic, red chili peppers, sesame seeds, and sugar. Hoisin sauce resembles American-style barbeque sauce except that it contains more salt and less sugar.

Discussed above are some commonly used ones, but there are a lot of other options that can be used as a substitute. Rest is listed below:

  • Pumpkin Sauce Pizza
  • Béchamel
  • Salsa
  • Carrot Harissa Sauce
  • Hummus
  • Thai Chili Sauce
  • Curry Sauce
  • Romesco Sauce
  • Soy-Miso Sauce
  • Wasabi Sauce
  • Zaatar
  • Pepper Jelly
  • Thai Peanut Sauce
  • Pomodoro Sauce
  • Bolognese Sauce
  • Ragu Sauce
  • Caramelized Onions

Can marinara sauce be used for pizza?

Absolutely! You can upgrade your typical pizza using the Marinara sauce to have the best pizza experience. You just need to use the freshest tomatoes along with your other preferred ingredients to produce your much-needed sauce.

Can pasta sauce be used as pizza sauce?

This is a woman making a homemade pasta sauce.

Definitely yes, you can use pasta sauce in place of pizza sauce with a little bit of alteration. Just reduce the excess water (you can strain) and cook it a bit longer for a thicker sauce. Usually, pasta sauce has large chunks; if your pasta sauce is so, just pass it through a blender or for a smooth consistency.


There are so many options available to pick from, and it is very easy to be spoilt for the choice. Traditionally, pizza sauce is simply ground tomato paste that is lightly seasoned. The sauce is actually cooked in the oven as part of the pizza; however, there are several variations today that can substitute pizza sauce.

Almost any sauce that you are going to toss with pasta or pre-dinner dip can prove to be a good base for a pizza if paired with the right toppings. If you do not give them a try, you might not discover other options that are out there. These substitute sauces are amazing, and you must try them if you have an opportunity.


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