21 Types of Pasta Sauce – Complete List and Guide 2024

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When you want comfort food, pasta is a tried and tested winner. It is warm, full of flavor, and overall delicious.

There are many different types of pasta sauce you can choose from, so consider this list a menu of dinner ideas.

Which sauce is best for pasta?

There are different pasta shapes, and each deserves a different type of sauce. For straight spaghetti noodles, a Bolognese sauce pairs well.

Thin capellini noodles do well with thinner sauces, such as Pomodoro sauce. For thick pasta like penne, try a hearty arrabiata sauce.

What are different types of pasta sauce?

Amatriciana Pasta Sauce

Need a simple dinner idea? Amatriciana pasta sauce needs just a few ingredients but packs a whole lot of flavor.

Tomatoes make the base of this sauce, and other ingredients include olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil.

The star of the sauce, however, is guanciale. This is cured pork cheek, which is sauteed and then added to the sauce.

Alfredo Pasta Sauce

The classic white pasta sauce, alfredo is rich and creamy, not to mention delicious. Just don’t think too hard about the rich ingredients that are used!

To make alfredo sauce, start with plenty of butter. Add whipping cream and parmesan cheese. You can even add some cream cheese for a richer texture.

Other ingredients include garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian herbs. Serve with fettuccine noodles to make the classic fettuccine alfredo.

Frutti di mare Pasta Sauce

Seafood lovers will want to add this recipe to their repertoire. It is a light, simple sauce and the real star of the whole dish is definitely the seafood.

In addition to basic ingredients, such as garlic, salt, onions, tomatoes, and pepper, there should be plenty of seafood. This includes scallops, clams, shrimp, and mussels.

The real beaty of Frutti di mare pasta sauce is the presentation. The mussels and clams should be boiled until they are open and served in their shells.

Roasted Tomato Pasta Sauce

While some red pasta sauces can be used with canned tomatoes, roasted tomato pasta sauce is all about fresh tomatoes.

To start with, use smaller, cherry tomatoes. Cut them in half and then place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, salt, and tomato, and bake for up to four hours.

Once cooked, simply puree the tomatoes and serve over fresh pasta. It really is that simple.

Bechamel Pasta Sauce

In French cooking, there are five basic sauces that all good cooks should know. Bechamel is one of them.

Simple in its origin, once you have mastered a bechamel sauce, you can then turn it into further masterpieces. At its base, combine flour and butter to make a roux. Then, add milk, parmesan cheese, and spices, such as salt, pepper, and chili flakes.

If you want to, you can add extras such as chicken, broccoli, and even mushrooms.

Carbonara Sauce

Some pasta sauces are incredibly healthy and some are, well, less so. Carbonara sauce falls into the latter category but is still a treat to indulge in.

Ingredients such as heavy cream, pancetta, pecorino cheese, and egg yolks are used to create a rich and hearty sauce full of flavor.

Butter Flavored Sauce

Picky kids will always exist so instead of fighting it, why not do your best and hope the phase ends soon. As its name implies, a butter flavored sauce is pretty basic.

Once you have cooked your pasta, such as linguini, toss it in butter. If you want to be a bit adventurous, you can add salt, pepper, fresh herbs, and even grated parmesan cheese.

Pomodoro Pasta Sauce

Another essential basic, Pomodoro sauce is rustic and simple to make. All you need are halved cherry tomatoes, olive oil, onions, garlic, salt, and basil.

Everything can be cooked in one frying pan together, with herbs added to taste. You can serve a Pomodoro pasta sauce on its own or add some gorgeous shrimp to liven it up.

Puttanesca Sauce

If you look at the ingredient list of a puttanesca sauce, you might be a bit worried. But trust us that when they cook together, the result is delicious.

Puttanesca sauce includes black olives, anchovies, and capers. It also has staples such as tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes.

Napolitana Sauce

If you’re trying to find an even more basic pasta sauce than a marinara, then Napolitana sauce is perfect.

It is made from just tomatoes, garlic, salt, and basil. This is a simple, incredibly versatile sauce that can be thrown together no matter how tired you are.

Arrabiata Sauce

Adding a bit of spice to dinner is always a lively decision. With arrabiata sauce, you can have a warm, hearty meal.

Start with a basic tomato sauce, including tomatoes, olive oil, and spices. The extra ingredients include ground pork, chopped prosciutto, celery, and carrots.

You can add red chili flakes for a hotter element, or even add spicy Italian sausage.

Pesto Pasta Sauce

Sometimes it’s fun to add a bit of whimsy when making pasta. Red, white, and green sauces are often used to represent the Italian flag, and if you’re looking for a green sauce, then pesto is the best consideration.

Pesto pasta sauce is quite simple but incredibly delicious. It uses pine nuts, olive oil, basil, garlic, and parmesan cheese.

While you can blend everything together in a food processor, you can also use an old fashioned mortar and pestle. Once finely ground, the pesto sauce is ready to be devoured.

Umbrian Ragu Pasta Sauce

A rich, meaty dish, Umbrian ragu pasta sauce highlights the savory taste of pork, while combining it with plenty of vegetables.

Ground pork and prosciutto are used in this pasta sauce, along with celery, onions, and carrots. Tomatoes, red wine, and spices round it out.

After cooking for a few hours, you will have a thick sauce perfect for a cold winter day.

Salsa di Noci Pasta Sauce

For a nuttier dish, try salsa di Noci pasta sauce. It uses walnuts that are blended with milk-soaked bread. Parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil, and parsley are also used.

The blended sauce is incredibly rich, creamy, and thick. You can always alter the consistency by adding more milk.

Truffle Cream Pasta Sauce (Tartufata Pasta Sauce)

Sometimes, a bit of elegance is needed, and truffle cream pasta sauce may be the way to liven up dinner. Along with basic ingredients such as butter, olive oil, and parmesan cheese, truffles are used.

You can cut a few corners and purchase ready-made truffle meals if it is too hard, or too expensive to find raw truffles.

Bolognese Pasta Sauce

Another classic pasta sauce recipe, Bolognese sauce essentially takes a marinara sauce but adds ground beef to it.

Start by browning the ground beef in a pan with oil and onions. You can also add carrots and celery.

Other ingredients include fresh tomatoes, garlic, white wine, and Italian spices. Cook and add spices to your preferences for a delicious meat sauce.

Funghi E Piselli Pasta Sauce

If you’re looking to add more vegetables to your diet, funghi E piselli pasta sauce is the way to go. It includes such healthy ingredients as snap peas, pearl onions, and cremini mushrooms.

To balance the healthiness, plenty of cream and parmesan cheese are also added. Lemon juice and white wine are also essential ingredients.

Bean Bolognaise

Those looking for a vegetarian pasta sauce option, or who simply want the nutrition that beans bring, can opt for this alternative, bean bolognaise sauce.

Start with plenty of vegetables, including onions, celery, and carrots. Also add tomato paste and garlic.

Red wine, tomatoes, and Italian herbs add depth to the sauce. For beans, use cannellini beans as they have a subtle flavor and rich texture.

Marinara Sauce

Perhaps the most well-known and versatile pasta sauce, marinara is elegant in its simplicity. It can be used for a basic spaghetti recipe or used as a base for more complex dishes.

Marinara sauce is easy to make. You just need tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, onions, oregano, and salt.

What’s really nice about marinara sauce is that you can use fresh tomatoes or canned, depending on the season. Then, cook all the ingredients together, adding extra herbs and salt to taste.

Vegan Tomato Pasta Sauce

Despite its technical name, a vegan tomato pasta sauce is quite simple to create. Just like marinara sauce, it doesn’t include meat and instead relies on the simple freshness of its ingredients.

Tomatoes make the base of this sauce, as well as olive oil, onions, and garlic. You can add a bit of sugar for a sweeter taste and red chili flakes for a spicier taste.

Finish the sauce off with fresh basil, salt, and pepper.


Pasta is delicious and exists in so many forms. Too often we get used to one pasta sauce and while it may be delicious, we tend to forget about the other amazing options.

Hopefully, this list of pasta sauces has inspired you to try new flavors and combinations.

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