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Best pasta sauce in a jar?

I need to buy pasta sauce in a jar for dinner this evening. I was wondering what everyone thinks is the best jarred sauce. I've used Rao's on many different occasions, but I'm honestly not that crazy about it. IMHO, Newman's Own are the best jarred sauces that I've come accross. Barilla isn't bad either. I'd love to hear recommendations from fellow hounds!


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  1. I agree about Newman's Own. Sockarooni especially is great. Spicy italian sausage is a nice addition by the way. I love this local favorite: http://www.mids.cc.

    1. My favorite is Muir Glen's Organic Tomato Basil Sauce.


        1. Classico 4 cheese or tomato basil

          1. We love Seeds of Change brand, in particular the Arrabiatta di Roma variety. They also have a Balsamic Vinegar and Onion that is quite good.

            1. It's a bit pricey, but Citarella's jarred sauce is quite good.

              1 Reply
              1. re: jmat

                I agree - I've tried it once or twice.

              2. I really like Mom's Spaghetti Sauce but can't find it in the stores anymore. You can buy it online but used to be able to get it at Costco. Chunks of garlic and leaves of basil. Yum.

                3 Replies
                1. re: dockhl

                  Dockhl, I like Mom's too, and I find it at Bristol Farms. Do you have one near you?

                  I like the Arrabiata sauce a lot.

                  1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

                    I WISH I had a Bristol Farms ! :(

                    Maybe they carry it at New Frontiers in SLO, tho. I am so sorry that Costco stopped carrying it.

                  2. re: dockhl

                    Does anyone know where to get Mom's spaghetti sauce at a local store? Near Saint Charles Missouri?

                  3. Barilla is good. Also, Trader Joe's marinara makes a nice base for sauce.

                    1. If you can find it, Alessi is head and shoulders above all others. Practically as good as home made. Imported from Sicily:


                      Ingredients: Sicilian Pear-Shaped Tomatoes, Alessi Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Onion, Garlic, Alessi Sea Salt, Basil

                      That's it...real stuff.

                      If you can't find Alessi, look at the ingredients on the brands in store. First, avoid any sauce which lists tomato paste or puree as a main ingredient. Also check the oil...if it says canola or anything, there is propbably no olive oil in it. Spices, too, look for basil, specifically, and stay away from dried spices. Finally, if it is an ingredient you can't identify, or wouldn't have in your own kitchen, its probably junk. Just for kicks, pick up a jar of Ragu or Prego, and compare the ingredient list to the one above (I'd post the ingredients myself, but interestingly, neither brand website seems to include this info...make ya go hmmm...

                      It might be tough to find a good one, but if you can find one with a simple, normal ingredient list, that's the one I'd go with...

                      17 Replies
                      1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                        My vote is for Newman's Own. Our favorite is Italian Sausage and Peppers, Sockarooni a close second.

                        1. re: Axalady

                          Personally, I haven't been impressed. The ingredients seem to bear out that position:

                          TOMATO PUREE (WATER, TOMATO PASTE)-- Strike one,
                          DICED TOMATOES,
                          SUGAR--strike two...
                          SOYBEAN OIL,--strike three..
                          EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL,
                          SPICES, ONION*, GARLIC*. *DRIED--strike...four?

                          1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                            Those ingredients obviously work for us. We had tried others and like the Newman's best. TEHO.

                            1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                              If you make your own sauce out of imported San Marzano tomatoes here's a reality check, to wit, reference the label and you will see that they are packed in tomato puree and they taste like it too. The reason being is that there is a tariff war on canned tomatoes so they pack them in puree and import them as puree.

                          2. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                            I love the flavor of Alessi's white balsamic. I need to try their sauce.

                            1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                              The Cento San Marzano line: Marinara (a good base, too), Arrabiata, and Puttanesca are very good and contain nothing you wouldn't be happy with.

                              1. re: Striver

                                Agree...my local grocery stopped carrying Alessi, and Cento in the tall, beverage-type bottle is what I've been buying instead. Not quite as delicious, but very good for a weekday sauce.

                                1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                                  Cento has been our working day sauce for a while; now I've got to look for Alessi! :)

                                  1. re: Striver

                                    Cento is my personal favorite, as well.

                              2. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                                Alessi is also lower in salt than a lot of other jar sauces. It's one of our default red sauces.

                                The other one is the strained Pomi (box 'o' tomatoes) doctored up with some spices added to it.

                                1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                                  Last night, I was in the mood to find a top-of-the-line pasta sauce. I extremely picky, and will only have pasta from the more expensive restaurants in town. I've been accused of being a pasta snob. :)

                                  While examining the various brands, I came across Alessi. I was intrigued. It was more expensive than those around it (I think it ended up being either $6.00 or $8.00), but it looked very fresh, and as the reviewer above said, it has simple, but excellent ingredients. I purchased the one with eggplant.

                                  I went home and tried it. It was absolutely dee-lish-shish. I was so excited that I thought today I'd learn more about Alessi as a company. I found this site chowhound site and saw the link to Alessi, provided by ChefBoyAreMe.

                                  It's a pretty good deal to order directly from Alessi. Shipping wasn't bad.

                                  I noticed a few reviewers seemed to like Mom's. I haven't seen that before. Question of the day: Can Mom's compete with Alessi? Can anyone compete with Alessi.

                                  I await the reviews!


                                  1. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                                    sorry to bump this, but I have a couple varieties of alessi sauce available at my local store, i believe, but which one do you recommend? because of the tomato crop this year, my sauce won't last me through the winter, so I figure, while the fresh tomatoes are still remembered i'll use a jarred sauce. Then in the depth of winter, I'll break out the homemade sauce and remember again why i love tomatoes.

                                    1. re: kubasd

                                      I've used the chunky marinara as my go-to sauce, and it's excellent. I've also used the smooth, in situations like home-made manicotti, where that seems more appropriate. But given the ingredients, I wouldn't think you could go wrong with any.

                                    2. re: ChefBoyAreMe

                                      I agree with your list of what to look for in a sauce, and would like to add a few the things I look for. If possible, look for SUGAR instead of HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. If it is made with TOMATOES, CRUSHED TOMATOES and/or DICED TOMATOES chances are it will be better than a sauce made with TOMATO PUREE (TOMATO PASTE and WATER).

                                      Rozzano Marinara - a BJ'S Wholesale house brand, fits these criteria and tastes pretty good.
                                      Dei Fratelli Marinara, an Ohio company does also, and is also very good, but has a little too much sugar for my taste (I.E. too sweet).

                                      Both of those are reasonably priced, especially considering their more natural ingredient list.

                                      1. re: GarlicFingersOI812

                                        Better yet, look for a sauce that doesn't have sugar either. (I've never considered extra sweetening really necessary in a tomato sauce - that's what the tomatoes are for.)

                                        1. re: benbenberi

                                          Depending on the acidity of the tomatoes, some sugar is usually necessary to cut the tartness. When I make my own sauce from scratch, I taste it after cooking it with the caramelized onion (that adds some sweetness). Then I adjust with some sugar - IF necessary. Many recipes suggest adjusting for the tartness of fresh or canned tomatoes.

                                          1. re: benbenberi

                                            I agree.

                                            Years ago, canned tomatoes were not very good (ripe), thus the need for sugar, for some. But the canning process now has made leaps and bounds and most canned tomatoes are processed when ripe.

                                            I love this time of year, because I can make sauce from garden tomatoes. :)

                                      2. Amy's organic mushroom and garlic is oh-my-gosh-fantastic!

                                        1. President's Choice used to do a sinfully rich rose sauce in a stubbier jar that most similar ones.....it was sooooo good, but i haven't seen it on the shelves in a long time, anyone know if this is still being made? It was definitly one of those that you didn't want to flip the jar over for the nutritional info :)

                                          I used to use it in a "cheater" recipe when pressed for time .....and would add extra milk or cream, garlic, green onion and and some hot smoked salmon....it always went over really well with pasta. I've never found another brand that came close.

                                          1. Most are so tomatoey-sharp-tart -- ack -- is there a mellow one?

                                            1. I like Barilla the best - although some of the varieties are a little bit saltier than I like.

                                              I mostly use Trader Joe's sauces.

                                              1. i. i don't think anything can touch Vincent's. a second choice is relatively new. Naninna's. from the restaurant in Belleville nj. shop-rite carries it. try the arribiatta.

                                                1. Another vote for Newman's Own-- they must be doing something right! We go for the Marinara, but I'm sure the others are up there. (And I'm really picky about pasta sauce.)

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                                                    I've always wanted to try the sockaroonie based on the name alone :) Is it any good?

                                                    1. re: enbell

                                                      In a pinch the best I have found is Rao's Brand

                                                  2. Barilla Spicy Red Pepper.

                                                    1. Classico Vodka sauce. I really could eat it like a soup.

                                                      1. I like the Whole Foods store brand. No corn syrup.

                                                        1. If you're in NYC, I've never had a better marinara sauce out of a jar than Fairway's. It honestly tastes just like the one I would make myself. I also like to use the Cento sauce in a bottle as a base for a lot of other sauces as well.

                                                          The Newman's own is far too sweet for me.

                                                          1. i like both rao's marinara and puttanesca and barilla's green & black olive

                                                            1. According to Cooks Illustrated taste testers, Francesco Rinaldi is one of the better ones...and isn't expensive. I buy it when I am too lazy to make it.

                                                              5 Replies
                                                              1. re: melly

                                                                It's actually pretty good. That, plus Prego's meat sauce are my go-to sauces when I don't feel like making my own.

                                                                1. re: melly

                                                                  really? cuz that is pretty much the cheapest sauce at my store.... usually on sale 10/$10. If it's decent i'll give it a try

                                                                  1. re: melly

                                                                    Just bought a jar of it the other day and it was unacceptably sweet. As in, too sweet even for my wife, who normally likes the sweeter sauces (Prego, etc). Might have just been a bad jar but find out if the recipe has been changed recently.

                                                                    1. re: melly

                                                                      Agree on the Francesco Rinaldi - a good, solid jarred sauce. That, and they are one of the very few brands that make a low sodium version.

                                                                      1. re: NE_Wombat

                                                                        silver palate makes a low sodium sauce that, imho, tastes much better than their regular version.

                                                                        at this point, silver palate is my go-to brand for jarred sauce

                                                                    2. I usually make my own, but when I can't be bothered to, I like Trader Joe's marinara sauce. It's tasty, and doesn't need much of anything added to it.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                        It is so easy to make marinara sauce, that I am constantly surprised that anyone would actually buy jarred sauce -- no matter how good the ingredients. I don't mean to be a snob, but chop up some garlic, saute briefly in olive oil and add some high quality canned tomatoes and salt and you're done. This takes very little time and can be done while your pasta cooks. There are a zillion things you can add to it (basil, hot pepper flakes, meatballs, chicken, etc., etc.) and you are in control of how it tastes and what goes in it.

                                                                        1. re: roxlet

                                                                          Yes, as I mentioned, I usually do make my own sauce, but I don't like cooking when I'm on my own (don't like the cleanup involved, lazy I know), so TJ's sauce is handy. I thought that the point of the thread was to discuss what brand/kind of jarred pasta sauce chowhounders like, not the merits of home cooking. It goes without saying that homemade sauce will always taste better.

                                                                          1. re: FoodieKat

                                                                            Well, I'm curious then. Don't you have to heat the sauce in a pot before you use it? One pot either way. Oh yeah, and a knife to chop garlic. Maybe jarred sauce is the point of the thread, as you say, but saying that there isn't ANY jarred sauce that I like seems to be as valid a response from a Chowhounder. So what I'm saying, (as a Chowhounder, I might add) is that there is no brand/kind of jarred pasta sauce that I like since making my own is so easy. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                              Well, that's fine, of course, we all have the right to our opinions. That's the whole point of having Chowhound boards. I was simply trying to state the obvious here. Wasn't being snarky or trying to start a debate one way or the other.

                                                                          2. re: roxlet

                                                                            I totally agree. It's almost as easy to make it as it is to open the jar and heat it up. My most basic sauce has only three ingredients - High quality canned tomatoes cooked with half a pealed onion (kept whole and removed at the end) and a couple tablespoons of butter stirred in at the very end. I got the recipe from somewhere and it s foolproof. Any additions (garlic, herbs, meat) just make it better. Even the very best canned sauce isn't anywhere close to as good imho.

                                                                            1. re: Pamela_T

                                                                              That's a slimmed down and tarted up (garlic, herbs, meat) version of Marcella Hazan's justly famous Tomato Sauce with Butter and Onion (it's a whole onion, and 5 T of butter in her recipe). I won't tell her about the tarting up; it's our secret. Just don't tell anyone it's her sauce, or her furies will descend on you for tampering with it. (Half Seriously.)

                                                                        2. Had anyone tried the Trader Joe's boxed tomato sauce? I think it has garlic and basil in it (maybe?) Looked like something nice to have on hand for a fresh-type sauce.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: dockhl

                                                                            The TJ's boxed is a staple in my pantry - love it. As far as other jarred sauces - I do like Barilla, but I usually add some of the TJ's boxed sauce, and some fresh veggies. I didn't know Seeds of Change makes a sauce, where do you find it? I'm on the west coast.

                                                                            1. re: dockhl

                                                                              Starter sauce? Always have a box of it on hand.

                                                                            2. Hands down the best pasta sauce in a jar is Mom's Tomato and Basil. There are whole basil leaves and whole cloves of garlic in the sauce and it absolutely tastes like homemade!

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: jdpehl

                                                                                I agree. Where do you find it?

                                                                                1. re: dockhl

                                                                                  Found it at the grocery store next to Rao's and Patsy's but you can also order it online at, of all places, www.jelly.com.

                                                                                2. re: jdpehl

                                                                                  I love Mom's Arrabiata sauce, so I'll need to try the tomato and basil. My boyfriend is a big wimp in regards to spice, so he'd probably like the other.

                                                                                  Here in LA, I get Mom's at Bristol Farms.

                                                                                3. We've found another favorite spaghetti sauce, although it's not easy to compare this brand to the Newman's we like, they're VERY different. It's McCutcheon's garden style spaghetti sauce. Very thick with tomatoes and veggies. (For Chefboyareme here are the ingredients: tomatoes, onions, celery, carrots, pure vegetable oil, salt and spices.) It's all natural, no preservatives and has no sugar added. I find it tart, so I add a bit of sugar myself. The label reads "original recipe of Rafat Izadi Nido's Ristorante Italiano". It's excellent. www.mccutcheons.com

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Axalady

                                                                                    try adding just a small amount of molasses instead of sugar. Nice flavor.

                                                                                    1. re: Axalady

                                                                                      McCutcheon's is the best! I could eat that stuff with anything.

                                                                                    2. Newman's Own is too sweet for my family. We buy the Citarella's jarred sauce!! :)

                                                                                      1. Two easy steps to eliminate non-contenders:

                                                                                        1. No corn syrup and if there is sugar it better be towards the end of the ingredients and no more than 1g per serving....

                                                                                        2. Ingredient list should begin with tomatoes, NOT tomato puree.

                                                                                        1. Rao's and Trader Joe's vodka sauce.

                                                                                          1. Victoria marinara sauce tastes just like my grandmothers - love but can't find it anymore. It was available in NY when I lived there but now I am in PA. Used to buy it at Costco but don;t belong here. Has anyone seen it? i also love Rao's but not the price.

                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: christie21

                                                                                              I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Bertolli. They make a wonderfully authentic and delicious sauce.

                                                                                              1. re: christie21

                                                                                                I just bought some from a Giant Foods in MD. Amazon carries all of the varieties as well:


                                                                                                1. re: CDouglas

                                                                                                  Thanks. I actually just found their website and can buy it directly as well.

                                                                                                  1. re: christie21

                                                                                                    For those of you in Florida, Publix carries a complete line of Bertolli sauces.

                                                                                              2. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Bertolli. They make a very authentic and delicious sauce.

                                                                                                1. I usually use either Rao's or Barilla. I've never tried Newman's but from what many people here have said, it sounds like I should!


                                                                                                  1. Grew up with homemade sauce so I've always had issues with jar sauce. Recently started buying Rao's marinara and it is fantastic. Plan on trying Victoria's next. Any specific recs?

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: The Chowfather

                                                                                                      The Rao's vodka sauce could be better than the marinara. Impressive stuff

                                                                                                      1. re: The Chowfather

                                                                                                        For a quick meal, use the sauce that you prefer and pour it into a saucepan. Pour a small glass of dry, red wine, like a chianti, and pour it into the empty jar. Then pour another glass of wine for yourself. Swirl the jar with the wine to loosen the residue in the jar and add it to the saucepan. Stir it up and let it gently simmer while you cook the pasta, fry some sausages and make a salad. Serve with parmesan and fresh Italian bread. If the bread is not as fresh as you want, make garlic toast.

                                                                                                        1. re: powillie

                                                                                                          I am stealing the wine in the jar thing. Great idea.

                                                                                                          1. re: CDouglas

                                                                                                            I am stealing the wine in the glass thing. Just kidding, that is Standard Operating Procedure around here!

                                                                                                    2. Alessi is so fresh and ready to go , I feel it is hard to beat. Down here in south Florida I only pay about 4 dollars for a jar. The label even says not to cook it just warm it. I can attest to that i got side tracked with my kids and let it boil!!!! really different unpleasant at best

                                                                                                      1. To find the best, you have to try all of the sauces! You all missed so many great sauces.
                                                                                                        Just last night I had for the first time - De Cecco Napoletana jarred sauce. All Italian tomatoes & virgin olive oil, olives, veges, fresh herbs too. It was great! $2.00 at the Grocery Outlet in No. Calif. I have seen it in better grocery stores. I usually buy Mezzettas' Napa Valley Bistro Sauces. They around $5.00 and offer great styles. I usually buy mine online and get some Artichoke hearts too, great buy. I have seen these all over Calif. and Florida too. From Marinara to Puttanesca they cost $21 a six pak on line. http://www.mezzetta.com/
                                                                                                        If you ever get a chance to do a blind taste test on pasta sauces, don't pass it up. You will amaze yourself. With no lables to influnce you, it's all about the taste!

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: bushy

                                                                                                          bushy, have you done a blind test? sounds like fun.

                                                                                                          I admit to buying whatever looks good where I happen to be shopping at the time: Tj's or Grocery Outlet . Just got some Putanesca at Trader Joe's on a friend's reccomendation.

                                                                                                          You got the luck of the draw with the Grass Valley GO as they are not all the same. I'll look for some DeCecco next trip, maybe I'll get lucky. Found anything else there lately (new thread for Calif board, hint)?

                                                                                                          1. re: bushy

                                                                                                            I so agree that you have to try all kinds of sauces, I like Mezzettas' , Barilla's . Williams Sonoma are pricey but so delish, I have enjoyed ALL of them, and end up having a favorite for awhile and then switch.

                                                                                                            1. re: Cousin Anna

                                                                                                              I've been buying Victoria brand White Linen Collection Marinara Sauce. Ingredients: Imported Italian tomatoes, pure olive oil, fresh white onions, fresh copped garlic, sea salt & spices. It's really good.

                                                                                                            2. re: bushy

                                                                                                              Coming in late to this thread because I didn't want to start a new one. I just tried Mezzetta's Arabbiatta sauce and thought it was absolutely delicious and I especially liked how it "coated" the pasta. . I usually make my own sauces, but I was feeling lazy on Saturday. i'll definitely try some of their other offerings.

                                                                                                              1. re: bushy

                                                                                                                I bought a few jars of De Cecco on sale at Supermarché PA, a local (Greek) grocery here in Montréal. They had Napoletana, Siciliana (with quite a lot of green and black olives) and spicy Arrabbiata. They were $2, but not on sale they are $3, which is rather expensive for 400g of sauce. It is very good, similar to what I'd make myself (yep, they use real olive oil). Advantage is that this is shelf stable, making a great back-up. Disadvantage is a little too much salt. Flavours very good.

                                                                                                              2. My top 3 favorites are Il Mulino Pomodoro sauce, Scarpetta Arugula and Tomato sauce, and Dress Italian Sweet Cherry Tomato sauce. The first is a restaurant brand and it really is the closest I've had to real restaurant sauce in a jar. It's thin, but loaded with flavor and tastes slow cooked. The other two are thicker sauces and again are so packed with flavor that they are addictive and nothing else compares. The Dress Italian in particular looks like a jar of crushed cherry tomatoes, it's so loaded with them.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Suzanne

                                                                                                                  Il Mulino is definitely the best but is probably the most expensive. Victoria and Rao's are a close second, in that order. Bang for the buck Victoria has it hands down.

                                                                                                                  Il Mulino is the sauce I would grab if Christina Hendricks was coming to my house on short notice and wanted pasta with red sauce.

                                                                                                                2. It's not canned, but if you are fortunate enough to have a Trader Joe's near you, pick up a can of their Tuscan Marinara. It is a superior, all-purpose pasta sauce that is easily doctored to your own taste. It's also way cheaper than your standard grocery store jarred stuff.

                                                                                                                  1. A p.s. - does anyone know if Barilla still makes their olive pasta sauce? I remember it being really good, with a tone of both black and green olives in it.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: capicksnw

                                                                                                                      According to their website it still is.

                                                                                                                      1. re: hummingbird

                                                                                                                        TJ's Puttanesca sauce. It's new.... and really good.

                                                                                                                    2. Ain't nothing wrong with the Ragu Light Tomato/Basil sauce, which has no added sugar, when healthful considerations are important. No, it isn't homemade, but it's a perfectly serviceable alternative on a busy weeknight.

                                                                                                                        1. re: davecrf

                                                                                                                          Cento and Vincents Medium are my absolute favourites in a jar, but I've found myself happily eating Prego sauce over tortellini on a weekday evening when money is tight.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Antigone

                                                                                                                            Recently I've been buying the Culinary Circle sauces. Especially like their Arrabiata, nice and spicy.

                                                                                                                            For anyone who lives in the Boston area I'd recco picking up a couple of containers of the fresh-made sauce at Monica's Salumeria in the North End. I used to ship it out to friends and they all agreed it was the best bottled sauce they'd ever had - unfortunately a few years ago they stopped bottling.

                                                                                                                        2. I had a wonderful jarred sauce in Rome last year and can't even seem to find it on amazon.com, are there anyother websites that sell imported sauces like the one I had in Italy? I can't remember the name, but I would know if I saw the bottle. It's shaped like a tall larger ketchup bottle.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: emilierosebutala

                                                                                                                            This is the only one I know of in a jar like you describe. It's pretty good, but I still but it a notch below Alessi:


                                                                                                                          2. I would recommend 'Marinelli Real Italian All Natural Pasta Sauce.' It tastes better than homemade and doesn't have any additives or preservatives...not even sugar! It's the best sauce jarred sauce i've ever had.

                                                                                                                            1. Prego infinitely superior to Ragu, and even better than Barilla, though I use Barilla pasta.

                                                                                                                              1. A good friend showed me a trick when I lived in upstate NY; buy a jar of Progresso Marinara sauce, but first saute some chopped onion and garlic in a saucepan in olive oil. When they are ready, then pour in the jar of Progresso and let it simmer for awhile. Delish.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: MsDiPesto

                                                                                                                                  the reason that technique works well for me with almost ANY jarred or canned sauces is that, to my palate, onion and garlic do not take well to the kind of heat required in jarring and canning.
                                                                                                                                  the taste of both change for the worse.
                                                                                                                                  the best jarred sauces are, to me, the ones with the least garlic because of this.
                                                                                                                                  sauteing your own FRESH garlic does WONDERS for any of the jarred sauces.

                                                                                                                                  (also, imho, the flavors of onion and garlic are also changed by freezing, but this is probably a controversial opinion)

                                                                                                                                2. This is my problem . . . I've tried many of the sauces everyone has mentioned, but none are anywhere close to the kind I like. I grew up with (and make) a think, long-simmered, dark sauce that is very rich and has meatballs and sausage cooked in the sauce. All jarred sauces to me are too "raw" or sweet, or tart. My dad was of Neopolitan heritage, so I don't know if that's more of a southern italian or strictly neopolitan thing. I know there are Neopolitan sauces out there, but haven't seen one in the store. Not even sure if it's what I'm looking for. I love to make my own sauce, but it's a Sunday afternoon kind of thing; takes much of the afternoon between making the meatballs and sauteeing the sausage, and making the sauce (which then has to cook for 3 hours). I have kids and once in a while just want to come home from work and throw some pasta in a pot for them and pour some sauce on top. I even tried a Rachel Ray suggestion which is to add some beef broth to jarred sauce and let it simmer a bit to give it that rich, meat-cooked-in-it flavor, but that was still eh. Any ideas?????

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: peachmarie

                                                                                                                                    That's a classic Italian-American gravy. There are no good jarred versions of it that are worth having. You make it and freeze it, that's how you make it for ahead. Unless you have an Italian market near you that makes up batches and sells it frozen or in the refrigerator case.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: peachmarie

                                                                                                                                      We were lucky enough to live in Schenectady NY surrounded by wonderful Italian restaurants and local Italian cooks. You might try Casa Visco if you are in an area that you can get it. Made right in Rotterdam NY, it is authentic to our area. You'd probably most enjoy "Homestyle". And yes, even us non-Italian-Americans call it "gravy" there! But I should warn you, most of the traditional families I knew made sauce every week....it's a family thing. You might try cheating and making the meatballs at another time and freezing them...it affects the texture but not the flavor. Or better still, if they are school-age kids, put them to work making the meatballs and cooking the sausage!

                                                                                                                                    2. I agree about Victoria's Marinara sauce (white linen collection). Still available at my local Costco, just picked up a pckg about a month ago. Recently while visiting Boston I purchased a brand called Pellicano's (traditional red sauce), made in Buffalo. Very good. Don't know if it's widely available, but if you can find it, it's worth buying. Very rich and sweet.... if you don't like your sauce sweet, this isn't for you.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: traccan555

                                                                                                                                        Traccan555 THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR MENTIONING VICTORIA's Sauces. I was desperately trying to find it as I remembered the flavor I bought but I moved out of my williamsburg neighborhood and the local places dont sell it but I just couldn't remember the name and I searched for the flavor and then I thought "I can't be the only person who thinks the sauce is amazing" so I searched for best jarred sauces and this thread popped up. I had to be patient and go through the whole thing but it paid off.

                                                                                                                                        THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

                                                                                                                                      2. Actually I was searching for a sauce that I tried a few times and fell in love with and forgot the name of the brand as it is not in every store a la Ragu, Newman's Own and in nyc at least, Rao's. but one of the other posters in this thread mentioned Victoria's and I found my needle in a haystack! I think since Victoria is such a common name that is why I couldn't remember it :-) The brand is fantastic and you have to and I MEAN HAVE TO try the roasted garlic. So garlicky but salty and tomatoey (is that even a word) and is a total substitute for a bruschetta. Toast up some brioche and have at it. Makes a perfect party dip for breads and olives/ cheeses.

                                                                                                                                        Good on pasta also ;-)

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: goofyfoodie

                                                                                                                                          I just scored 3 jars of Rao's...at a Food Lion that was converting back from a Bloom store. They had put all their "primo" stuff on clearance, so I got the Rao's for $4 a jar. I would never spend the money to try it before, as it was so expensive! Hope I like it!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: FitMom4Life

                                                                                                                                            For those of you who live in North Jersey, in Englewood JERRY"s GOURMET their sauce (private label) is the most balanced base sauce I have tasted in a long time, We use about a 1 to 1 dilution with San Marzano whole Peeled tomatoes, it is very good!!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                              ooh, my mother shops at Jerry's, she hates to cook, and dad loves pasta with tomato sauce so she's always looking for a good one. i'll pass along the info. thanks!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: ospreycove

                                                                                                                                                By the way...I'm glad you mentioned San Marzano tomatoes. Perhaps you all know this, but just in case you don't here's the skinny on SM tomatoes. They MUST have the EU stamp on the can that gives them the DOP, and now they have to have the Corsorzio stamp as well. SOooooo many supermarkets are now marketing supposed San Marzano tomatoes, but they're NOT from Italy. In fact, SM tomatoes only come from the Catania region in Italy because they're grown in that volcanic soil and are unlike any other tomato on the planet. Not to say there aren't other great tomatoes, but they won't taste exactly like SM's. A friend of my wife's gave me a few tomatoes grown by her father here, and are grown from true Catania seeds. They were absolutely wonderful--but they weren't SM's in truth because they were grown here on Long Island and not in Catania. Don't pay the freight for those SM's at the supermarket unless you see the DOP stamp and the Corsorzio stamp. If you get your SMs at an Italian grocery you'll probably have the real deal, but I've seen both even at a good Italian store. Just sayin'. They're not cheap, so be careful.

                                                                                                                                          2. I make my own sauce from scratch, but tried this on a friend's recommendation last night. Trader Joe's Bolognese and it was excellent.

                                                                                                                                            1. I haven't tried all that many jarred pasta sauces, but I really like Mario Batali's marinara sauce.

                                                                                                                                              1. I tried a ton of different sauces and I really love Rao's the best. They will break your wallet though. Don Bruno Vodka sauce by Roland is also very good. They cost about 4.50 at my local supermarket.

                                                                                                                                                1. I am on both sides of the family- Italiano. My mom makes the best sauce (she makes hers with pork and meat balls that you just cant compare- (also try Paesano Olive Oil) BUT, I would say, add the meat in to these jar sauces and they will be just as good (gulp! dont tell my mom)...
                                                                                                                                                  no reason to sweat the home made sauce- Ive had many get togethers at my friends and families home and EVEN homemade sauce cant compare with my two top picks... They are:
                                                                                                                                                  Mom's Brand Pasta Sauce is head and heels the best authentic sauce available bar none. If you can find it- buy it. Its worth the $$$ and the efforts to find.
                                                                                                                                                  My second choice is Daves Gorumet Red Heirloom Organic Pasta Sauce. This sauce is equally delightful, but without large pieces of basil visable.
                                                                                                                                                  Both tatse sooooo authentic and its apparent they use no additives- BOTH TASTE AMAZING!
                                                                                                                                                  I used to buy Victoria's, Trader Joes, Rao's Classico, Newman's Own, Natures Promise (Stop & Shop brand) and well....
                                                                                                                                                  if you have to pick from one of these, IMO Natures Promise is the closest to Moms and Daves, but people that tryed Newmans Own and vote it their favorite are simply in the dark.

                                                                                                                                                  GO AND GET SOME of Moms or Daves Red Heirloom... you wont regret it..... ;-)

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: whatugot

                                                                                                                                                    I like to keep a jar of Paul Sorvino on hand for when I need a quick dinner when it's just my 4 yr old daughter and I. The marinara sauce is light, clean flavor - it actually converted her back from only butter on spaghette to liking sauce again. Unfortunately they no longer carry it at the store and was looking for something that would taste homemade when I can't make it myself. Thank you for the thread so I can find a back up.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: whatugot

                                                                                                                                                      completely agree with you whatugot about Newman's Own.
                                                                                                                                                      you can add to the catagory: prego, muir glen, ragu.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Well, was at the store last night after browsing this post and making mental note of some of the recommended brands. I love Raos and usually stick with the straight up marinara. However, I noted many mentions of Alessi and went ahead and picked up their Norma sauce (has eggplant). I served this over a very good buffalo mozz ravioli. Both were amazing, but since this thread is about sauce, let me say it was luscious and good enough to eat straight. This is on my buy again list and I will try their other variations as well. Thanks chowhounders!

                                                                                                                                                      1. Don't care for any of them. I open up a can of diced tomatoes and/or tomato sauce and doctor it up with whatever I have available I'm craving. I also try to cook it for a good while so it can reduce. The next day it tastes even better.

                                                                                                                                                        1. Classico for alfredo - any variety will do.

                                                                                                                                                          for red -
                                                                                                                                                          Raos - sausage and mushroom
                                                                                                                                                          Patsy's - Marinara
                                                                                                                                                          Batali - marinara
                                                                                                                                                          Classico - four cheese

                                                                                                                                                          1. We were using the Prego meat sauce until they changed the recipe recently, and we decided to look for a brand without so much sugar. After several disappointing jars (and less-than-successful attempts at making our own) we grabbed a jar of Alessio's on a whim. It's locally made and bottled (Lancaster, PA), has no artificial ingredients, little sugar and is delicious! I make up a batch of meatballs to simmer in it... heaven!

                                                                                                                                                            1. I was at my local Safeway and picked up a jar of their Select Artichoke Pesto on sale for 2 for 4.00. Tasted surprisingly good to me with deep-fried cheese ravioli. It was a tomato-based sauce BTW.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Recently tried Mario Batali's tomato basil and loved it !

                                                                                                                                                                1. I usually make my own sauce but have decided that Rao's is the only bottle sauce better than my own. I try to buy it on sale as it is so expensive. I think Mario Batali puts too much thyme in his and do not like Paul Newman's at all.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Don Pepino Pizza Sauce in a can very good base to start. Used to be the cheapest on the shelf, not anymore and you can find it just about anywhere now. It is delicious. It has been a staple in my pantry for over 10 years. They make a spaghetti sauce too but I just use the pizza sauce and go from there. No sugar, no MSG, no salt, no nothing. It is a bit acidy though. My whole family loves it and anyone I've ever recommended it to loves it as well.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chessie812

                                                                                                                                                                      I agree that Don Pepino is the best pizza sauce, chunky and simple. And while I rarely use jarred sauce (DW makes big batches of sauce from the garden at the end of the summer and cans it), I have tried the Batali's and liked it quite a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I think this has to be an exercise in pointlessness. It's like asking about the best instant chocolate pudding---there ISN'T one. Besides, there's just nothing difficult about making a decent pasta sauce, to say nothing of the exorbitant cost as compared to the volume of sauce you can make for the same money if you do it from scratch.

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                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TheClambelly

                                                                                                                                                                        Some of the answers in this thread repulse me such as Ragu Light? uughhgh. The only jarred sauce I ever tasted that is worth mentioning I purchased at a real Italian supermarket named Laurenzo's in North Miami Beach called "Sclafani" The marinara and Fra Diavlo are to die for. I looked it up and they have a website:


                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: TheClambelly

                                                                                                                                                                          Then don't answer. There is indeed nothing too difficult about a homemade sauce. But sometimes you don't have time. The question was about jarred sauces, which there is nothing inherently heinous about using. Suggest one or don't answer.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: TheClambelly

                                                                                                                                                                            Well aren't you a superior and elevated foodie who is better than the rest of us? You must be so proud.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Victoria. It is the only one that I've found that doesn't taste sweet, fake or starchy. The ingredients are all things like tomatoes, garlic and spices that would be found in a tomato sauce you'd make on your own. It is awesome to make your own sauce, but when you are trying to get a weekday dinner on the table, a reliable jarred sauce is good to have on hand. I swear by Victoria.

                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: CoffeeNCookies

                                                                                                                                                                                  I've seen Victoria in the store, and wondered about it. Maybe now I'll try a jar.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: CoffeeNCookies

                                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed- VICTORIA! Tastes better than some of the Italian restaurants where I live. Fra Diavolo is my favorite (spicy!) butI haven't had a flavor I didn't like

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Not a jar, currently only in a big can. This is my favorite, Exclusivo Wild Porcini Sauce


                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Home made is best, natch. Now, having said that there are some jarred sauces I enjoy.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Victoria Marinara - It has that classic Italian-American flavor down pretty well.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Citarella Lobster Fra Diavolo
                                                                                                                                                                                      Pomi Marinara - Much fresher, more Italian, less Italian-American when you want that sort of thing...the aseptic carton keeps it fresher than a jar.
                                                                                                                                                                                      Coppola Amatriciana
                                                                                                                                                                                      Mid's Meat Sauce - I use to make a fast lasagna al forno.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Not crazy about Sockarooni. Alessi is nice, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I recently looked at one of those ubiquitous web pop-up lists purporting to taste-test the "best tomato sauces". I don't remember the entire list, but three top ones were
                                                                                                                                                                                        Barilla Traditional Marinara
                                                                                                                                                                                        Prego Traditional Marinara
                                                                                                                                                                                        Amy's Family Marinara Pasta Sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                        I have not tried any of these three yet, but I did buy some Newman's Sockarooni a few months ago and liked it.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Barilla Roasted Garlic is fabulous. Simple ingredients too.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Count me in as another fan of Victoria brand sauces, especially the Tomato and Basil.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Charlieindc

                                                                                                                                                                                              The only jarred sauce I will use on rare occasion is Vincents. I like the medium sauce. It's pretty hard to find though. Funny thing is that my 7 year old daughter never knew that spaghetti sauce came in jars at all. We were at a friends house and she didn't like the pasta and was moving it around her plate and my friend asked her if everything was okay and she politely asked "what kind of sauce is this?" and my friend replied "Ragu" and my daughter asked, "What's Ragu?"

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. After getting burned many times by high-dollar jarred sauces, I've come to the conclusion that they're honestly no, or little better than plain old Ragu, which costs a fraction as much. Henceforth I'm not spending a dime on any fancy pants sauce with "criminis, roasted Calabrian peppers and a hint of bardolino" or whatever.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I live in Wegman's country. We get to choose from many different brands. There is an Italian restaurant in Rochester NY called Mario's. They make the best marinara sauce on the shelf.
                                                                                                                                                                                                If you can get it, Mario's.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Enigma3

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Love Wegman's I know they carry our favorite spiedi sauce here in PA, good chance they'll have Mario's also. :) I'll have to check it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. After seeing so much talk about Rao's, we decided to give it a try. My wife and I agree that it's the best tasting jarred sauce we have ever eaten. We are crazy about it, but at $8.99 a jar it will only be for special occasions. I don't think any jarred sauce is worth nine bucks. For years the only spaghetti sauce we have used is the DelMonte canned stuff. It's cheaper than any jarred brand and tastes terrific. I can discern no metal taste. It works great as a recipe ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I am surprised not to see it mentioned yet, but my all time favorite jarred sauce (and the only one I will bother with) is Dell'Amour. The spicy marinara is to die for. I don't see it many places, but when I do I stock up. It is an old school recipe without added sugar, which I love.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. When I'm feeling lazy I actually use a blend of two - Barilla's Tomato & Basil and one can of Hunt's Traditional. The sweetness of the Hunt's cuts the acidity of the Barilla and vice-versa. If you cook any meat in it, it picks up the flavor nicely.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Update: I no longer use the Barilla Tomato & Basil - I don't know if they changed the recipe or what, but now it smells and tastes...somewhat...boyardee-ish? Ugh. Now I'm on the lookout for another lower cost variety. I think they must have changed the recipe.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                                                                                                                                                                          i hate it when companies do that. i especially hate it when they don't change the labeling expecting that we wouldn't notice the difference . . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. IMO Trader Joe's marinara is a very acceptable sauce and I love the small jar. And it is $1.27. Wow! Classico sauces are good, also. But like most folks, I always add a bit of something. It could be fresh herbs, or a splash of wine, garlic, or a bit of Italian sausage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: brooktroutchaser

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Trader Joe's is good and I agree about Classico, lots of flavor in the Spicy Tomato and Basil.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: brooktroutchaser

                                                                                                                                                                                                            the TJ's marinara that comes in the jar with a green label is also worthwhile

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Raos Marinara is my go-to for the family, but my favorite for me is Raos Vodka Sauce. Yuhuuuum! But soooo expensive! I wait until it goes on sale (rarely!) and stock up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Mezzetta Amatriciana Pasta Sauce

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just tried this recently on a night when all that I could handle was boiling water for noodles and heating sauce. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the flavor is straight out of the jar, no additional seasoning needed. Highly recommended.


                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I just read two separate jarred sauce taste tests and Giada De Laurentiis came in first in both. Her Tomato Basil Sauce was Consumer Reports top pick, and her Vegetable Marinara was number one for the Huffington Post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Consumer Reports also named it a 'Best Buy'. I haven't tried it, but I'm going to!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: GrammyM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  She beat out Lidia and Mario Batali and it is better than theirs, very fresh and traditional tasting, I was really impressed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Anybody have an opinion about Giada De Laurentiis' other sauces - the spicy Arrabiata etc etc?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I haven't tried any others and I'm kind of bugged that Fairway has stopped carrying it, but stocks two losers to her in the taste test who are NY chefs, Lidia and Mario Batali, both inferior. If I find Giada's again, I'll definitely try others, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I'm surprised that nobody mentioned Silver Palate. First ingredient is tomatos,including tomatos that are imported from San Marzano, pure olive oil, fresh onions, fresh garlic, fresh carrots, sweetened with grape concentrate. My favorites are the tomato basil and the fra diavolo. The diavolo has a nice kick. I like to combine the diavolo with different flavors for my stuffed shells and baked ziti.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also am surprised; Silver Palate is the best of the best when I need to use jarred sauce, due to time constraints. It's special treat. Every one of their flavors is great, one better than the next. I can get it on sale sometimes @ 2/$5 and I stock up like a drunken sailor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also recently tried Rao's and Patsy's on half price sale, just out of curiosity....couldn't remember which one everyone was recommending, just that it was a restaurant in the city. Rao's was nice, Patsy's ughh...tasted like Chef Boy R D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So....you like the vodka sauce? ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, it's not like my home made but it's still great for certain applications, when you want something a little creamy. My favorites so far are the San Marzano or the tomato basil, and definitely the Fra Diablo/Arrabiato.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      silver palate is my go-to sauce for marinara.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      once, by accident, i bought their low sodium variety and found that i liked that one even BETTER.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the tomato flavor was better with the reduction in salt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. There are so many great sauces mentioned here. I just wanted to add a suggestion regardless of what sauce you decide to buy. They will taste more like homemade if you add 1/2 cup of Pecorino Romano cheese into the sauce while you are heating it up. Also, here's a quick tip that I guarantee your family will love. Go to the local grocery and buy a bag of frozen yeast rolls. Through the bag on the counter and let them thaw and rise in the plastic bag. Punch them down once and let them rise again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cook ground sausage until done, throw in some green peppers, some mushrooms and cook until the peppers are soft. Take the dough and put it on a pizza pan. Splash some of that pasta sauce with the Pecorino cheese, spread the sausage, peppers and mushrooms over the sauce. Add a little pepperoni. Don't forget the mozzarella and provolone cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Once the dough is raised, it only takes 30 minutes and you have home made pizza.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jwhart

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Where do you buy the frozen yeast rolls? can't find any...and is there another 2nd alternate option for the crust?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: zoey67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There are a few brands which are OK if you're looking for frozen yeast rolls- the best I've found are Sister Schubert and Rhoades.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Has anyone had Vino de Milo before?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It's about the same price as Mezzetta and Victoria, and Mezzetta Tomato Basil is my go-to when I need to use a jar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Not a recommendation, but a lament from me - the old Progresso white clam sauce in a bottle (glass jar) was good. Then it started going downhill after the company changed hands...and now it's in a can and is a far cry from what it was. :-(

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I just tried the DaVinci canned white clam sauce and prefer it to Progresso.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Mario Batali sauces on sale at ShopRite for $2.99. Gonna give 'em a try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Vidute

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That sounds like a good deal for celebrity sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Consumer Reports says best is Giada's Tomato/Basil at Target, then Victoria Marinara and then Batali's Marinara with this the most expensive.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mexivilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                just tried the giada tomato basil tonight.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                was unimpressed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                not very flavorful.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                to my palate the silver palate sauces are far superior.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i'm fortunate that one of the stores in my area deeply discounts it about 4 times a year, so i stock up then

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I also love the Silver Palate sauces. I use it as a base for my lasagna.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  About every other month one of my local stores has the Silver Palate sauces for 2/$5, and they always somehow manage to coincide with a $1 coupon that's out, and I've gotten 20 $1 coupons from Ebay sellers. It's worth paying $2 for the coupons if you really stock up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    wow! you get a far better deal than i.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i'm jealous!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i like that their primary taste is tomato.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    (after all, i'm NOT lookiing for a garlic/butter/oil/salt/pepper sauce with a little flavor of tomato added to enhance it. i'm looking for a TOMATO sauce)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Classico four cheese flavor is my favorite jarred sauce if I do not want to spend time doctoring it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: lafouchow

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  My neighbor swears by Classico 4 cheese. I'm going to have to try it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I can tell you which is one of the worst; Rao's Pasta Sauces. They are so fatty for no reason and bland. I was mad I spent so much money on a jar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: miss787

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    that was my take on Rao's too, miss787.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    way too oily for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Trader Joe's Arabbiatta (with a splash of heavy cream)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Barilla's Olive Oil and Garlic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    only two jarred sauces I really enjoy...usually I make my own from fresh tomato

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Via Roma is pretty good. But their Puttanesca is fabulous. Only problem is I haven't seen it in months and am afraid it may have been discontinued. Which would be a real shame. I usually make my sauce from scratch twice a month. But I tried the puttanesca and was blown away. I could eat it with a spoon cold from the jar. Just chock full of great ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Here's the list: Plum Tomatoes, Diced Tomatoes in Juice, Crushed Tomatoes, Portabella Mushrooms, Ripe Olives, Imported Olive Oil, Artichoke Hearts, Fresh Onions, Chablis Wine, Whole Capers (Capers, Water, Vinegar, Salt), Imported Pecorino Romano Cheese (Pasteurized Sheep's Milk, Cheese Culture, Enzymes, Salt), Sea Salt, Anchovy Paste (Cured Anchovies De-Fatted Soy Flour, Water), Organic Sugar, Garlic, Basil, Parsley, Oregano, Crushed Red Pepper.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      20 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Glad you mentioned Via Roma, I thought it was a house brand for A&P? And therefore was avoiding it. I too make my own sauce on a regular basis, but as we get older and our appetites are decreasing, I like to have a jar or two of something on hand rather than making a whole pot myself, for quick parmigiana or ziti rather than takeout.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It is the house brand for A&P. And many of the items are pretty good. I was surprised. Some of the frozen items are good too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Glad you mentioned it, I wasn't going to bother trying any of it, despite the cute faces on the packaging. I am going later today and will check for puttanesca.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, that makes it a non-accessible brand for anyone outside of the NYC/NJ/CT Tri-state area. It also seems one cannot even order anything online from A&P and have it delivered by a means other than their delivery vans.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So weird, since it IS the Atlantic/Pacific Tea Company. Or was, I guess. I'll let you know if it's as great as I hope, you can always have a chow friend send some to you if you're really interested!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's also carried by Pathmark and Walbaums. But I don't know what areas they are in. I think they're all part of the A&P Co.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just got back from Waldbaums...not only did they have plenty of puttanesca but it was all on sale for $2.99. I got four in case any out of towners want any, although I haven't tried it yet myself. Maybe later this week, I have my menu planned for the next few days. Or I could just eat some out of the jar like JMF! I was surprised to see the other "exotic" flavors like Bolognese and Arrabiata, could be a new thing for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Heh. This out-of-towner would be curious to read about your taste test when it is done in due course. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I will post a report in the very near future! After I finish painting the bathroom unfortunately.....I'm totally obsessed witht that right now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just remembered I wanted to get back to you. Opened a jar of the puttanesca and tasted a spoonful, just to see. Unbelievably good, like the best restaurant in the city would make. Had to change my menu for dinner tonight. If you want a jar, let me know, I'm going back and stocking up on a few more flavors later today!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That's OK, do keep the jars for yourself. Thanks very much for the offer! I will simply note that this is good stuff and will seek them out as opportunity arises or otherwise. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Next time you're in the NY metro area, just look for a Waldbaums or Pathmark. Don't think A&P exists anymore, except in name only? At least not here on Long Island.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Anyway thank you JMF for turning me on to this, never would have touched it otherwise. They really should do an in-store taste test.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, there are A&P's around. One near me in Westchester, NY. I have to check the Pathmarks and Waldbaums nearby. I got an email response from A&P and it is just my local one that isn't carrying it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yesterday they were still on sale, I bought one or two of every flavor. I'll work my way through them this winter for sure. Like I said I do make my own sauce, but with just the two of us, and husband not much of an appetite anymore, this will be a nice treat for me. The pots of homemade I'll save til we have company!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I drove a few miles checking out several Pathmark's and A&P's, finally found an A&P that had the puttanesca, bought 4 jars on sale at $2.99.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now that I know where to find it I can always get more... ;-)>

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But they may not be on sale again... :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              They go on sale at that price every few weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I've literally tried hundreds of various jarred pasta sauces (and still have hundreds to go after reading through all the posts above) and so far I've found my top 3 to be, in no particular order, Victoria, Rao's, and Mom's, (De Cecco is pretty good as well).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            For the money, you really can't beat Victoria's Trading Company pasta sauces recently being sold at Wal-Mart (of all places) It is by far one of the best sauces I've eaten out of a jar, and at a fair price. I'm sure it's the same exact sauce as the Victoria brand, only sold under the brand name of Victoria's Trading Company at a lower price.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bobul

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If it's a lower price, there are probably different ingredients. I bought my husband a pair of authentic Levi's at Walmart once, selling for half the price as the outlets, and they were just not right. I contacted Levi's and they confirmed that everything they make for Walmart is made in a different factory, in Mexico. Not saying I know about your sauce for sure, but you should buy a grocery store one and taste them side by side. Maybe you'd like that one even better, you never know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Actually I have tried them side by side and they do taste exactly the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I will literally eat this brand sauce right out of the jar!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bobul

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Good to know, wonder if my Walmart has it? We have a Super Walmart coming in the next year or so, but right now just an old fashioned one with 3 or 4 aisles of food. You guys are making me look forward to the new, improved store.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Bobul

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Walmart does seem to carry everything, I really feel bad for all the local grocery stores they''re putting out of business. But it's really great, they have so many brands that albertson's or Ralphs don't carry. Like the other day they have Mrs Renfro's salsa which I tried for the 1st time and it was nearly a life changing experience. I will never go back to Pace. That's what I love about Walmart, selection. Next I can't wait to try is Rick Bayless Frontera salsa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bobul

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well thanks to chow hound I got a bottle of Victoria Trading Co - tomato & basil for only $3.48.I just refuse to pay $8 or more for a jar of tomato sauce. And it was very good indeed, very natural tasting , balanced and NO grease film. I bet if you told people it was home made they wouldn't know. Walmart is amazing, they have everything. Patys' look really good too, that's next on my list.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Btw when I see those jars like Rao's that have the greasy ring or film inside the jar I won't even touch it for free. I know olive oil is essential but there's a limit, and that's mine. I've been to local italian places and when I see a red/yellowish tint of film from the grease in the to-go container that's where I stop. Every time I've eaten this in the past makes me weasy and sickly feeling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know some of you think I'm nuts but I stand by this. If you look at the top pasta places like that show on travel channel pasta paradise, all the sauces and marinara from the best places don't have that excess grease. It's also from sloppy-ness too from not simmering long enough for it to evaporate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: zoey67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Um, oil doesn't evaporate. Water, however, does. The longer you cook it, the more likely you are to have oil separate out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, that's what I meant then..the oil separate out. In general, the more time I spend braising or simmering something it helps quite a bit in getting rid some of the excess grease or fat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: zoey67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      when i worked as a private chef, there were times that the food i cooked didn't "come out" right.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      if i added grease/oil, most folks still thought the food was good.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      it's a cheat.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      most folks are not like you and me.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      most folks like the mouth feel and flavor of grease/oil/fat so much that it's the main criteria for their evaluation of any dish.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      once i figured that out, the personal chef gig became a lot easier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Dave's Gourmet Pasta Sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I've read a review in the past year that named 365 brand as best jarred marinara. I do like it. But, I recently was shopping at a non-Whole Foods store and bought Mario Batali's marinara sauce and it is my new favorite. Only real food ingredients and tastes great!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pagesinthesun

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Only problem is that it's nearly $10 for a jar, highway robbery.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Agree that 9-19 bucks a jar is high,but you get quality,and that trumps the either high sodium or high sugared concoctions of the cheaper brands.Daves and Mario's are my 2 favorite store bought in my area of the twin cities.As for Bayless's frontera salsa's,I opened the jars,tried it ,gagged with a spoon,and tossed them into the garbage can.It's pathetic when known great chefs put their name on inferior products.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: shikken

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'll take that in mind and maybe you're right and I didn't buy any yet. The salsa verde tomatillo and hot habenero from Mrs Renfro's I guarantee you won't be doing that. If you do I really have nothing else to say as it is very, very good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. "Isola roasted garlic and zucchini flowers" marinara. It also has capers in it, san marzano tomatoes. It has amazing texture, and lots of herbs and spices. I really love it when I'm in a pinch and I can't make homemade tomato sauce. I tried Rao's, and I wasn't impressed. This is around the same price as Rao's, but Whole Foods had a sale on it, and I tried it. This was amazing sauce. It also doesn't have added sugar, which to me, is the sign of a poor sauce. If you need sugar, then you're probably using inferior ingredients, and you need to make up for the taste. http://www.isolaimports.com/product.p...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Tudor_rose

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            what's the sodium content in that Isola sauce? i'm guessing pretty high with the capers...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have to check, but the capers are not salty at all. I didn't even realize they were capers because they don't have that salty briney caper flavor. It's just as salty as other pasta sauces I've tried.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tudor_rose

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                no worries - i can't remember the last time i used jarred sauce. i was just curious because capers are typically high in sodium even when they taste more vinegary than anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Some cooks rinse them prior to use. I love me some salt, never rinse. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    For those in favor of Rao's and Patsy's you'll be happy with this:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: zoey67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Wow, the big surprise in the article was the epilogue about Giada's sauce. It wasn't included in the original test, but as an adjunct they pronounced it "...the best buy of the bunch."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I keep hearing about Giada's sauce winning taste tests. I guess I'm going to have to go buy a bottle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ski_gpsy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        if you have Target nearby, i walked past a huge display of her sauces at my local store last week and i think they were on sale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        edit: apparently it's sold exclusively at Target, which i didn't know! so i guess you'd have to buy it there...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          bought it yesterday for three dollars and change per jar

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I general, I've found that if the first two ingredient are tomatoes and olive oil (not tomato pulp, not tomato puree, etc...) you've got a good start.. Just keep in mind the "simple" fresh ingredients,are good signs.. (I'm also suspect of sauces that start off with tomatoes, with the second ingredient being tomato paste.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Secondly, if the sauce contains any sugar, it's "typically" going to be an average sauce at best.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In addition, If I find a promising sauce I'll start off with their simplest sauce first (usually their Marinara) before moving onto any of their flavored sauces. I only say this because I like Rao's marinara but found their eggplant sauce to be bitter and average. Had I tried the Rao's eggplant sauce first, chances are I would have never tried any of Rao's other sauces afterwards, most of which I like.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Bobul

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Good advice. You don't need sugar because when tomatoes cook long enough, especially with onions, they get sweet on their own. Sugar, corn syrup and other sweeteners mask inferior ingredients. I love san marzano tomatoes, which is what is used in Isola brand (my favorite brand of jarred pasta sauce). They're sweeter than other tomatoes. Never found a jar of heirloom tomato sauce though. I should attempt to make some on my own. It's so easy to make your own tomato sauce, if only people knew how, they'd never buy the jarred stuff again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Tudor_rose

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I know how to make my own sauce, and when I was younger I wouldn't buy it in a jar, but life goes on and things change. Never say never.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I totally agree coll. As life flies by, more and more often I find myself going for what is easy, tasty and quick. Jarred pasta sauce is one of those things. Open it, heat it, serve it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As long as it's tasty and quick, it works for me!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ski_gpsy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah I'd never serve it to company but for the two of us, it's just another meal!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ski_gpsy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What? that doesn't make any sense. As time goes by and we get older we appreciate quality and don't mind spending time making things from scratch right? when you're young you don't time to cook so a cheap jar of Ragu is normally the case.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: zoey67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Check back with us in 30 or 40 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There is a lot better than Ragu by the way, haven't had that since since I was 10 years old.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's my story, too. We so rarely eat pasta that our need for sauce is very rare, so good jarred sauce it is on those occasions. And the choices are much better these days.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hey now..no love for good ole dependable RAGU??? sometimes you can find a huge jar for about $2 at some warehouse stores. You know, it is full of sugar but what I do is to neutralize it with a bit of red wine, chicken broth and throw in some dry herbs and it's very nice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        IMHO, I rather buy top notch pasta like De Cecco and eat ragu straight out of the jar VS the reverse say a top notch jar of sauce with average pasta like Creamette or generic no-name stuff. De Cecco is seriously so good, it can make ok sauce taste better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: zoey67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Ragu, never liked the taste, now hate the high sugar content, soybean oil and "added flavors."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Good sauces don't need "added flavors."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        same thing happened to me with driving a stick shift.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh yeah westsidegal! That says it all. My first sportscar HAD to be a stick (and was IMPOSSIBLE to get out of in a short skirt and heels!). Nowadays I savor my high-performance luxury ride!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Same way I feel about outstanding jarred pasta sauce (Raos), and premade fresh pastas. They're just some of the little things that make Life easier, and even better IMO!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. My wife, who lived in Italy for years, can come home from work, change her clothes, and within minutes have a terrific pasta sauce ready, or nearly so by the time the table is set, the wine opened, the the pasta cooked, the salad tossed. Why buy something when you can make a better sauce in a very short time? she's taught me, and the results are eminently pleasing. there's no sense in in buying a jar when any decent pantry and refrigerator shelf has what you need for something very, very satisfying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: rkscher

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'll have to get a wife that lived in Italy for years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bobfrmia

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I need to get a wife who'll come home and within minutes have a terrific pasta sauce made, the table set, the wine opened, the pasta cooked and the salad tossed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Until I find such a creature, I'll be happy to open a jar of tasty pasta sauce and have a yummy dinner on the table as fast as a mere mortal can.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ski_gpsy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Bob must be married to Samantha Stephens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: rkscher

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The next question is: can you do the same for your wife?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: rkscher

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Aaaaaaand...once again the question is ignored in favor of the Chowhound mantra "of course food should be the most important thing in your life so make it yourself."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: rkscher

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I said as much upthread, about 2 years ago. This thread never dies.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: rkscher

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hubs and I share this task. Shoes off, music on. He opens the wine and sets the table. I put on the pasta, rough chop some garlic, onion, froz peppers (don't judge) and a carrot for sweetness. Sweat it in some olive oil. Then I toss in a glass-worth a tin of SM tomatoes. Immersion blend and serve over pasta with slivers of parmesan. Literally 20 minutes. Cook doesn't clean. =)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. This is an old post, but my favorite jarred pasta sauce is Classico Tomato and Basil. One of the few mainstream sauces w/o sugar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Tomato puree
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Diced tomatoes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Olive oil
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dehydrated Garlic

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Though I despise onions, this one really has the best savory flavor. Of course my budget is not $5+ sauces so I haven't tried the more expensive ones.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I prefer a homemade tomato cream sauce myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JReichert

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                +1 love the Classico Tomato and Basil

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree. Classico spicey tomato and basil, Trader Joe's italian meatballs and pasta. A substantive meal in less than 12 minutes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I do make my own sauce per Alton Brown's recipe but that is a lot of work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bruce9432

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Same here, our costco has a ton of Classico in a 3 pack. Since then, I've never been back to Ragu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I just tried the Victoria sauces, tomato basil, marinara, a bit garlicky, and fradiavolo, not enough hot spice, but all were fantastic! As good as my homemade.Pathmark had them for $3.33 a jar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JMF

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Victoria just won 'best pasta sauce' on America's Test Kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tudor_rose

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I like them, have used them for years, but they are so far from being the best, IMO.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Could you give some names? I'd love to give them a try!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bobul

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Enrico's traditional; very home made tasting and good for lasagna, Barilla is decent, Giada's marinara is the freshest, best tasting and beat out Batali's and Lidia's in a taste test. Also, Vincent's, though not as good as the rest. Most of the one's I've named have more body than Victoria sauces, but I do really like the Victoria flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In case anyone cared, Bertolli scored lowest in the pasta sauces on ATK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tudor_rose

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, I think I tried it once. They also don't have real EVOO in their EVOO labeled bottles, IIRC.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Honestly, Barilla's marinara is my go-to. It's versatile because it has good flavor as a basic red sauce and also works beautifully as a base for expanding into other dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. We just did a blind taste test of 6 regular marinara's and 4 spicy style marinara's

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      #1 Rated spicy marinara and overall winner in points: Wolfgang Puck Arrabbiata Sauce.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      #1 Rated regular marinara: Barilla

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      NOTE: Newman's actually came in 5th out of our test, only mentioning that because many people here are recommending it. It was acidic and lacked any depth of flavors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Could you name all of the sauces you tried? Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I guess that would have been helpful ;-) (Just a side note we decided to use sauces that were readily available to everyone in the group so no mail order or hard to find stuff - the one exception could be TJ's but we all lived near to a TJ's and had many TJ shoppers so it was agreed to ahead of time.) Sauce was tasted on De
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Marinara in Order

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Prego (surprised me)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Trader joe's
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Newman's Own

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Arrabiata/spicy Marinara

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wolfgang Puck
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Classico Spicy Red Pepper
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Trader Joes - This was the worst sauce of the tasting, we made them check THREE different times if they had gotten it mixed up with a regular marinara sauce but they didn't, no spice, sugary, dried herb tasting with a nasty after-taste. To be honest this may have been a bad batch, but that says something about quality control because I have heard other people say good things about this sauce but with the exception of one person who rated it second worst everyone else rated it the worst.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We really wanted to taste Giada's sauce but it was not at the two target stores near us, even though the website says it is - even the manager didn't have an answer for that one saying he didn't even have a shelving schematic for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RetiredChef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I just picked up a jar of the Giada De Laurentiis' tomato basil at the Newport Highway Target in Spokane yesterday. Tried it today and it was quite good. Fresh flavor and not overly sweet, as a lot of jarred sauces tend to be. I like to use jarred sauce to make lasagna and I think Victoria and the Giada's sauces will be my go-to sauces from now on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What? no Giada De Laurentiis? you could have bought it online or something Cmon. That taste test is totally incomplete now you have do it all over again with her's in the line up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: zoey67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the Giada sauce, to me, had a weird dairy smell/flavor.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  yuck to my palate.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  also, yuck when that odor came at me when i opened the jar.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  much prefer the flavor of high-quality olive oil over that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. We finally found Don Peppinos after years of looking and anticipating and were disappointed! I thought maybe they changed and added citric acid, but i guess it's just an acidic sauce, and quite peppery. Hubby just got wicked heartburn for the first time in years..But mostly what we didnt like was the tons of tomato seeds. Just wondering if you Peppino fans know if it always has this or it was a fluke in this can?? I don't recall many tomato seeds in other brands.. do some of the above favorites have a lot too?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oddly, our favorite at this point is shockingly Del Monte traditional sauce in a large can for a buck at Market Basket. I cant remember but it prob. has all the usual junk in it but its really mild, not very acidic and not peppery and when we used it as a base with some garlic, oil and ground Grillers veggie burger it actually tasted the most like childhood homeade that we have had with using store bought...go figure...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chompie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I know, Don Pepinos is always bragging how great they are so I finally bought their pizza sauce (which is what they are supposed to be famous for) and was very disappointed. Very little actual tomato flavor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Emeril's Homestyle Marinara is The Best! I have tried different varieties each of Rao's, Barilla, Classico, Prego, Ragu, Newman's, Rinaldi's, Trader Joe's alike. For all of these, I still have to doctor up, in order to make them better. Emeril's Homestyle Marinara, I can eat right out of the jar....and I have! I am guilty of just taking a nice piece of crusty bread and dunking it in Emeril's marinara. There might be better jarred sauces out there but not one that is easily or readily available at most markets. Yes, San Marzano canned tomatoes are great, but you still have to make it into a sauce. Good luck. And Happy Eating!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. silver palate low-sodium marinara.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i used to buy the regular silver palate marinara and once, by accident, ended up with a jar of the low-sodium version. the reduced-sodium version tasted even BETTER.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              when i am looking at ingredient lists, i always try to select one with very little garlic since, to my palate, the heat of processing jarred/canned sauce changes the garlic flavor in a very yuck way. would prefer to adfd fresh sauteed garlic myself so the flavor won't turn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I think the best pasta sauce I've had in years is, strangely enough, the Stop and Shop (East coast) "Simply Enjoy" Tomato Basil sauce. It is absolutely fantastic--tastes better than sauces I've tasted in high-end Italian restaurants. It has a lot of body and homemade flavor. I would love to hear a true Italian cook critique it, because I truly can't imagine any better--and I've tried Rao's and other expensive sauces. There is no comparison. This is a hidden gem!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jarvberry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Looked it up, here's the ingredient list: http://stopandshop.peapod.com/pd/Simp...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The nutrition label is clearly off, carbs don't add up and protein is inexplicably high, but it has its fans.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jarvberry

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just came across this post that was started way back when...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I've been using Giadas basil marinara sauce that I've only seen at Target, $3.49. It's absolutely delicious and very fresh tasting. Anyone I've told about it has become a convert. I'm
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    sharing this so people will buy it because I'm afraid Target won't carry it if it doesn't sell.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Another thing Target has that I'm pushing is Rick Bayless's Mexican sauces in a packet, sooo good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. i have enjoyed rao's, but was wondering has anyone tried sugo di pomodoro san marzano brand?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    it might be listed under the "san marzano" brand of sauces...over $15 bucks a jar...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Is anyone else amazed that there are over 275 responses to a question about your favorite bottled sauce? Truthfully I'm amazed at any question getting this many responses. The only sauce that wasn't mentioned was the powdered sauce that came in envelopes in the 1960's and for the life of me I can't remember the name.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jnk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No, if anything I think this will be a question for the ages. And are you talking about Spatini Spaghetti sauce, my boyfriend's Mom made the best sauce and she confided in me that was her secret ingredient. So there, now it's also been mentioned. Although not sure if that's what you meant, since it was only a seasoning and not a sauce.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          That was It!!!!!!!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think my mother used as an additive to a sauce, I'm pretty sure it WAS her sauce. While she was a great cook in other respects.......this one, not so much. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jnk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm sure she must have added tomatoes at least!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I loved that stuff when I was a kid!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: jnk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And this isn't the only thread on this topic...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. I find new mans to be overly seasoned with dry herbs, I like cucina antica garlic marinara that I cook down with a can of san MarZanos, and monte benne is produced by the same company and a few bucks cheaper at wfm. Victoria also makes a nice tangy red for homemade pizzas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Not sure if this has been mentioned, (because I'm too lazy to go through 200 + replies), but what's everyones take (well, those who have tried it) on Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash sauce? I used it with sun dried tomato and goat cheese ravioli, with goat cheese crumbles and fried sage on top. It was delicious!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Ragu Roasted Garlic. And if any cheese is to be used with it, asiago MUST be included!

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: JoyPCS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  for anyone who would like to know. i buy hunts in a can they have so many combinations. i add a couple bay leaves, garlic and onion powder or you can use fresh garlic and onion. i add a little pinch of sugar if it's acidic and the best secret of all,add to your sauce a really good olive oil. i love pomepian extra virgin,first cold press robust flavor. you could add this to any sauce and it makes it taste homemade.