Marinara vs Arrabiata: What’s The Difference?

Italians are very particular about their tomato sauces.

A marinara sauce is made with tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, oregano and basil. It’s typically less spicy than an arrabiata sauce. Whereas an arrabiata sauce is also made with tomatoes but it also includes red chilli pepper, garlic, onion and sometimes anchovies. They are usually spicier than a marinara sauce because of the heat from the red chili peppers.

Marinara sauces are more traditional but arrabiata sauces can be used to give dishes a little more oomph! Here’s some easy ways to use them both in your cooking today!

Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce is a classic Italian tomato sauce. It’s typically made from tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, oregano and basil. Marinara sauce can be used as a base for many other dishes like spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna.

Arrabiata Sauce

The flavor of this arrabiata sauce is very spicy but not too hot. It has a nice balanced flavor that isn’t too overpowering which makes it perfect for dishes like pasta, pizza, chicken parmesan or anything else that needs some extra spice!


Marinara is a tomato-based sauce that is often served with seafood or pasta. Arrabiata is a thicker, spicier tomato sauce that is often served with meat.