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Mar 17, 2009 02:23 PM

What is your favorite spaghetti sauce ina jar?

I'm always trying new jarred sauces looking for a flavor that I remember from my childhood. The sauce is on the spicy side and has a meaty flavor (but no meat in the sauce). I haven't been able to recreate this memorable flavor making homemade sauce and don't mind buying jarred sauce from the store. Do you have a favorite jarred sauce that doesn't cost $8.00 a jar?

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  1. Turco's used to sell a jarred vodka sauce that had chopped proscuitto in it that was amazing. Better than most restaurant sauces. The closest thing I've found, which isn't really that close, but in a pinch is ok, is Newman's Own sauces. Much better than the Rao's, Bertolli, or other supermarket jarred sauces.

    1. I like Newman's own too. They have lots of interesting flavors--Sockarooni is my current favorite.

      Incidentally, I hear that there is a suspicion that Newman's own is a fraud! A random check by a consumer group showed no trace of Paul was found in any of the tested jars.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DonShirer

        That's my #1 pick and I've tried at least a dozen.

        1. re: DonShirer

          Another vote for Newman's Own. Sockarooni is my personal favorite as well. Although—I first tried Newman's Own sauce years ago while cooking dinner for a small get-together. I don't remember whether I added any extras to the sauce (I think it was the Sockarooni flavor), but I do remember it was absolutely delicious. So I eagerly bought more NO sauce a few weeks later, but to my dismay it was never quite as good as it was that first night. Hmm. Still decent for a jarred sauce though.

        2. FWIW, Cook's Illustrated ranked Bertolli Marinara as their test kitchen favorite.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bob Brooks

            Well, I was about to add to this thread with that very sauce. I like Bertolli, and their marinara doesn't overdo the fat. I think their sauce is just sweet enough, nor is it too salty. I like to buy it on sale, several jars at a time.

            1. There are lots of threads on this (when you search the archives, delete the limitation on the search that makes it only go back 1 year).

              Key things: the first ingredient should be tomatoes, *not* tomato puree (tomato puree should not be a significant ingredient in good jarred sauces). And there should be no corn syrup or sugar in the ingredient list. These two rules eliminate a helluva lot of options. A third trick - but it's not infallible - is to look at the fiber content per 1/2 cup serving - higher fiber means more tomato solids.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Karl S

                Good guidelines, and while I would never buy a sauce with corn syrup, I do use a tiny amount of sugar in my homemade spaghetti sauce, so I might not eliminate a jarred sauce because it contains sugar (as long as it is low on the ingredient list).

                1. re: chicgail

                  Understood. Growing conditions are variable enough that growers cannot ensure that all tomatoes have the perfect acid-fruit balance. But, as you note, the sugar needs to be handled so that it is not noticeable.

                2. re: Karl S

                  Along with your list to check out, add the sodium content in each jarred sauce.

                  1. re: mcel215

                    Fairway Markets Tomato Basil Sauce -- tomatoes, onions, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano. 4 grams of fiber and 170 mg. of sodium per serving. And only 2.99 a jar. If i cannot make my own sauce, i can't imagine using anything other than this. It has everything i would put in and nothing that i wouldn't..

                    1. re: mshpook

                      That sounds like a geat alternative.

                      We don't have Fairway Markets in Boston though. I just always find Citric Acid in jarred sauce, which to me has an after taste. So, making a quick marinara isn't really a big deal to me, it cooks in 1/2 hr.