What is the difference between marinara and spaghetti sauce?

  • The title pretty much says it: What is the difference between marinara and spaghetti sauce?

    I Googled and got a bunch of hits but none of the answers left me feeling like I actually understand the difference. If anything, I'm more confused now than when I started. The one thing that a few of the answers I found had in common was the idea that marinara sauce is simpler, with fewer ingredients than other tomato-based sauces. Still, the idea does not present the full picture. I guess another way to approach this question would be to ask: What would one add to "marinara" sauce to make it "spaghetti" sauce?


    Spaghetti sauce is a generic term for sauces you can put on pasta. There are hundreds of recipes out there with a huge variety, some have tomato and some don't. Marinara is one type of pasta sauce.

  • Ching Chong

    Ching Chong Correct answer

    5 years ago

    Marinara is a style / kind of a sauce that originated in Napoli usually made with tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and onions. A spaghetti sauce only says where to sauce is used (obviously on spaghetti) but doesn't say anything about what the sauce is exactly like.

    There are many dishes which are basically spaghetti + sauce:

    and, uhmmm...

    I thought Spaghetti and meatballs were from Italy

    @RobP. No, it isn't from Italy. I heard from spaghetti with meatballs only in American context. The only thing I know that resembles with spaghetti and meatballs is Ragù alla bolognese.

    Interesting - I'm finding a lot of conflicting claims. Wikipedia says 'However, pasta served with meatballs and tomato sauce are found in southern Italy and are documented earlier than the American version'. But plenty of other sources say otherwise. Probably getting off-topic, my apologies.

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