Can Ketchup Be Used Instead Of Pizza Sauce? Full Recipe Here

Nothing is worse than missing a key ingredient on pizza night, and what can be more key to pizza than pizza sauce? So if you find yourself fresh out of tomatoes of canned sauce, here’s something else you can try.

Ketchup can be used instead of pizza sauce because it’s made primarily of tomatoes just like a traditional tomato sauce. The sauce is prepared by mixing ketchup with a small amount of olive oil and seasoning with black pepper and oregano. Ketchup is much sweeter and more vinegary than regular pizza sauce.

Is ketchup my preferred pizza sauce? Definitely not, but it’s not as weird as weird or gross as you might think it is. I wouldn’t hesitate to use it in a pinch on a simple pizza.

ketchup instead of pizza sauce Can Ketchup Be Used Instead Of Pizza Sauce? Full Recipe Here
Ketchup and pizza has always been a bit of a controversial pairing, but it really shouldn’t be.

Ketchup Makes A Sweet Substitute For Pizza Sauce

Many people initially scoff at the idea of using ketchup in place of pizza sauce, but it really shouldn’t seem that weird.

Ketchup is, after all, made mostly from tomatoes, the same as pizza sauce. It also includes other common pizza sauce ingredients such as sugar, vinegar, onion powder and salt.

Ketchup can be used instead of pizza sauce as long as you don’t mind a very sweet pizza. A typical pizza sauce has little to no added sugar while ketchup has as much as 4 grams per serving. To use ketchup as pizza sauce, simply add the following seasonings:

  • Olive oil
  • Dried oregano
  • Black pepper
  • Dried Basil (optional)
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
ketchup instead of pizza sauce Can Ketchup Be Used Instead Of Pizza Sauce? Full Recipe Here

Ketchup Pizza Sauce Recipe

This ketchup pizza sauce recipe is perfect for those times when you’re ready to make pizza but you’re missing a traditional tomato sauce. It pairs perfectly with quick and easy pizza recipes like my 1 minute mini microwave pizza.
Prep Time 1 minute
Total Time 1 minute


  • 2 tbsp Ketchup
  • 1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 pinch Oregano
  • 1 pinch Fresh Black Pepper
  • 1 pinch Dried Basil (optional)
  • 1 pinch Red Pepper Flakes (optional)


  • Gather your ingredients as well as a small mixing bowl.
  • First add the ketchup to the bowl. If you’re not working from a bottle, 2 packets of fast food ketchup will work fine.
  • Add olive oil, oregano, black pepper and whatever other seasonings you like and incorporate them well into the ketchup.
  • Add this ketchup sauce directly to the pizza crust. Tip: Don’t use too much of this sauce because it will quickly overpower the other flavors of the pizza. I recommend using just enough to create a thin, translucent layer before adding other toppings.

Ketchup Is A Common Ingredient In Tomato Sauces

Ketchup isn’t such an unusual ingredient in tomato sauces. In fact, some regional styles of pizza and spaghetti sauces include ketchup by default.

Filipino spaghetti sauce, for example, features banana ketchup, lots of sugar and quite a few other ingredients. This sauce is commonly served on spaghetti and is actually quite a popular dish in the Philippines as well as internationally through fast food chains like Jollibee (source).

Then there’s Lion’s & Tigers & Squares, a Detroit style pizza place based out of New York City. This critically acclaimed pizzeria serves a “chopped cheese” style pizza that features a rather generous helping of ketchup under the cheese in place of tomato sauce.

This pizza has ketchup instead of tomato sauce || Fork Yeah

This pizza has ketchup instead of tomato sauce.

Posted by Thrillist on Friday, December 6, 2019

So if a sweet tomato sauce is good enough to become a quasi spaghetti national dish, or a popular meal at a hip NYC pizzeria, why not use it as a quick substitute for pizza? As I mentioned earlier, ketchup is definitely not something I would use over regular tomato sauce, but as a substitute for a quick pizza snack I wouldn’t hesitate.

I recommend giving it a try because those who like ketchup on their pizza really like it. Just don’t tell any Italians about it.

How To Make Ketchup Pizza Sauce

The great thing about ketchup pizza sauce is almost everyone has all the necessary ingredients right in their refrigerator or kitchen cupboards.

This kind of pizza sauce is most likely not appropriate for a Neapolitan style pizza, or really any kind of authentically Italian pizza recipe. If you don’t have any pizza sauce for your Neapolitan or Roman style pizza, I recommend just holding off on the recipe until you do. But that’s just my opinion, you might like it!

But if you’re planning to make a quick and simple pizza, like my 1 minute microwave pizza, then ketchup pizza sauce might be a good option for you.

To make ketchup pizza sauce for a single pizza, follow these easy steps:

  1. Get a small bowl to mix everything in.
  2. Start with 1-2 tablespoons of ketchup, or 1-2 packets of ketchup from a fast food place.
  3. Add a glug (about 1 tablespoon) of olive oil.
  4. Add a big pinch of dried oregano but crush it between your fingers before throwing it in to release the flavor.
  5. Add a few cracks of fresh black pepper (or about a teaspoon).
  6. Add a pinch of dried basil (optional).
  7. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to add some spice (optional).
  8. Mix well and serve on pizza.

The key to this ketchup pizza sauce is to use it sparingly. Ketchup is much more flavorful than regular tomato sauces so if you use too much it’s going to overpower the sauce and cheese and taste more like cheesy bread dipped in ketchup than pizza.

I recommend spreading a very small amount on the pizza, similar to how you might spread butter on toast. Use just enough to get a very thing, translucent layer of this ketchup pizza sauce on the crust. Don’t pour a thick layer of it on or it’s going to be too much unless you REALLY love the taste of ketchup.

13 Pizza Sauce Alternative Ideas

If you’re looking for an alternative to regular tomato based pizza sauce, there are lots to choose from. Try one of these 13 pizza sauce alternatives next time you’re in the mood for something different (or don’t have any tomato sauce handy).

  1. Olive Oil with oregano and pepper
  2. Alfredo Sauce
  3. Garlic Paste (super garlicky)
  4. Hot Sauce
  5. Barbeque Sauce
  6. Béchamel Sauce
  7. Ricotta Cheese
  8. Chili Sauce
  9. Hummus
  10. Aglio e Olio (garlic oil)
  11. Curry Sauce
  12. Pesto
  13. Plain Olive Oil

Related Questions:

Can I Use Ketchup In Place Of Pizza Sauce?

Ketchup can be used in place of pizza sauce as long as you’re OK with a very sweet and slightly vinegary tasting pizza. Ketchup is made from tomatoes just like pizza sauce so in many ways it’s a good fit. To make ketchup more closely resemble pizza sauce, try adding olive oil, oregano and black pepper.

What Can I Use Instead Of Pizza Sauce?

Seasoned olive oil, pesto and alfredo sauce each make a very good alternatives to traditional tomato-based pizza sauce. The truth is, any kind of savory spreadable sauce or food can potentially be used instead of pizza sauce, even plain olive oil.

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