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Best marinara sauce in a jar?

josephnl Jan 13, 2013 12:47 PM

OK, I know how easy it is to make excellent marinara sauce from scratch...but sometimes, I'm either too rushed or too lazy to do so. So far, I guess I've decided that amognst the widely available jarred sauces, I like Classico or Silver Palate the best. What's your favorite?

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    ButterYum RE: josephnl Jan 13, 2013 01:12 PM

    I just read this yesterday in the America's Test Kitchen Cookbook. Bertolli Tomato and Basil and Victoria Marinara were top ranked.

    5 Replies
    1. re: ButterYum
      mcf RE: ButterYum Jan 13, 2013 02:48 PM

      Other tests with different results:





      I tried Giada's traditional marinara and it is extraordinarily good and fresh homemade tasting, and with good body and texture.

      1. re: mcf
        mcf RE: mcf Jan 13, 2013 05:21 PM

        One more entry in the low price category: http://brokelyn.com/taste-test-cheap-...

        1. re: mcf
          StrandedYankee RE: mcf Jan 13, 2013 05:54 PM

          Another vote for Barilla!

        2. re: mcf
          sisterfunkhaus RE: mcf Feb 2, 2014 12:51 PM

          I love Giada's sauce. The garlic one is so amazing.

        3. re: ButterYum
          madeliner RE: ButterYum Jul 4, 2014 07:06 PM

          Thumbs up for Victoria

        4. s
          SmartCookie RE: josephnl Jan 13, 2013 01:16 PM

          I really dislike all jarred sauces except Giada De Lauentis'- great fresh, tangy flavor. The only place I've seen it (in MN) is at Target.

          4 Replies
          1. re: SmartCookie
            cheesecake17 RE: SmartCookie Jan 13, 2013 01:28 PM

            It's a target exclusive item. All of the Giada food and cooking equipment is made specially for target.

            We like the Kirkland (Costco) brand. No added sugar, nice texture.

            1. re: cheesecake17
              smilingal RE: cheesecake17 May 19, 2014 05:52 PM

              Does the kirkland come in small sizes to make a case?
              I find that the large jars, unless I use them in one or two uses will go bad...and if I am making something requiring a large amount of sauce I would be prepared to make my own for the dish.

              1. re: smilingal
                alwayshungrygal RE: smilingal Jul 16, 2014 12:27 PM

                Being a single parent/empty nester, I too have a hard time using a full jar of sauce before it goes bad. Solution--put the excess sauce into ice cube trays; freeze, then put the cubes into a zip lock bag (squeeze all the excess air out). Defrost/use the cubes as needed.

            2. re: SmartCookie
              NCcatdaddy RE: SmartCookie Jun 3, 2014 12:21 AM

              I sent Target an email because I couldn't find Giada Tomato Basil at any Target in my town, here's their reply.

              "After reading your e-mail, I checked to see if I could find the Tomato Basil Sauce you’re looking for. I’m sorry for any disappointment, but this has been discontinued and is no longer available."

            3. t
              texmexjerseygirl RE: josephnl Jan 13, 2013 01:31 PM

              Rao's. IMHO, tastes the most like a fresh sauce of any canned I've ever tried. If you can't find it in your supermarket, you can buy it online - raos.com.

              2 Replies
              1. re: texmexjerseygirl
                ButterYum RE: texmexjerseygirl Jan 13, 2013 03:31 PM

                Sadly, it's extremely pricey. I like to buy nice quality san marzano tomatoes so I can make my own.

                1. re: ButterYum
                  mcf RE: ButterYum Jan 13, 2013 04:28 PM

                  To my tastebuds, Giada's is better.

              2. iluvcookies RE: josephnl Jan 13, 2013 02:39 PM

                Trader Joe's marinara is pretty good... I add a drizzle of good olive oil and a few fresh herbs, makes a good quick weeknight meal. It's also much less expensive than some of the supermarket brands.

                1 Reply
                1. re: iluvcookies
                  westsidegal RE: iluvcookies Jun 15, 2013 10:20 PM

                  i've often "cheated" with the Trader Joe's marinara that comes in the can with the green label.

                  i saute fresh garlic slices in olive oil, then add the contents if the green can.

                2. a
                  ariesgirlb78 RE: josephnl Jan 13, 2013 03:40 PM

                  Raos or Victorias both are delish

                  1. s
                    StrandedYankee RE: josephnl Jan 13, 2013 05:16 PM

                    My favorite is the Barilla marinara. I'm not calling it the most exciting sauce, but it's solid and it's beautifully changable. I've added sugar, garlic, chilis, veggies, sun dried tomato paste (in teensy quantities), I've used it to simmer meatballs or sausage, mushrooms and a Parmesan rind...It's a wonderfully flexible product, and can easily be turned into just about whatever you need it to be. Straight out of the jar though, it's not high in personality. For how I like to use it, that's part of it's strength.

                    1. m
                      MRS RE: josephnl Jan 13, 2013 05:20 PM

                      recently got turned on to the Rana brand of pre-prepared sauces. really like their pesto and marinara.

                      1. j
                        janniecooks RE: josephnl Jan 14, 2013 12:47 AM

                        There are numberous threads asking the very same question, with hundreds of responses. Go figure.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: janniecooks
                          hawkeyeui93 RE: janniecooks Jan 26, 2014 07:31 PM

                          jan: It is sometimes easier to start a new thread ....

                        2. z
                          zackly RE: josephnl Mar 13, 2013 08:49 AM

                          Rao's is good but pricey. I buy several jars when it's on sale for S3.99. Barilla is pretty decent too and much less expensive.

                          1. jrvedivici RE: josephnl Mar 13, 2013 08:52 AM

                            On the rare occasion I use one I use to prefer Aunt Millies with meat. In recent years this has become difficult to find however I believe the generic brand Foodtown is the same manufacturer.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: jrvedivici
                              pinehurst RE: jrvedivici Mar 13, 2013 09:50 AM

                              Yes, it is tough to find. Agreed...used to be ubiquitous in the Northeast, at least in my nook of it.

                              I also really into the Pastene canned Spaghetti sauce.

                              1. re: jrvedivici
                                BobbieSue RE: jrvedivici Jan 31, 2014 03:02 PM

                                Aunt Millie's makes the best pizza sauce.

                              2. fldhkybnva RE: josephnl Mar 13, 2013 09:44 AM

                                I like Cucina Antica and Rao's

                                1. grampart RE: josephnl Mar 13, 2013 11:01 AM

                                  I usually make my own, but we bought a jar of Mario Batali's Cherry Tomato Marinara "crafted with Imported Cherry Tomatoes & San Marzano Tomatoes from Italy". It was tasty enough to buy another jar. Also, have used Trader Joe's and Mid's pasta sauce.

                                  1. Ruthie789 RE: josephnl Mar 13, 2013 03:06 PM

                                    I like the White Linen mark which you can purchase at Costco but I do find it high in salt.

                                    1. j
                                      josephnl RE: josephnl Mar 13, 2013 03:53 PM

                                      Responding to my own op...I've just tried the Giada Brand which is only sold at Target. The simple tomato & basil sauce for about 3 bucks is surprisingly delish! I'm going back to buy more, and try some others.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: josephnl
                                        mcf RE: josephnl Mar 13, 2013 04:06 PM

                                        The marinara is superb... only reason I go to Target, aside from Smucker's organic pb in glass jars.

                                      2. Bacardi1 RE: josephnl Mar 13, 2013 03:53 PM

                                        Barilla & - believe it or not - Safeway supermarket's own brand, & Costco's own Kirkland brand of sauces are my favorites.

                                        And while not Marinara - Safeway's own brand of "Arabbiatta" is wonderfully uber-spicy. Doesn't need any tweaking.

                                        I never bother buying the pricey upscale jarred sauces because for those prices I could make my own for less, which would inevitably be better. ;)

                                        1. j
                                          Jerseygirl111 RE: josephnl Mar 13, 2013 05:52 PM

                                          Bertolli Olive Oil & Garlic. It has chunks of tomatoes, perfectly seasoned. I have a recipe for a Vodka sauce that calls for 3 cups of a marinara sauce and I always use that sauce. With some red pepper flakes, wow, wow, wow.


                                          1. s
                                            shaun11m RE: josephnl Mar 29, 2013 03:18 PM


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: shaun11m
                                              josephnl RE: shaun11m Mar 29, 2013 08:35 PM

                                              Try Giada's at Target. Surprisingly good for ~3 bucks!

                                            2. d
                                              dlee63 RE: josephnl Jun 15, 2013 07:33 PM

                                              The best I've ever tasted is World Classics Marinara Sauce. It tastes just like the kind I make from scratch using tomatoes fresh from the garden. It absolutely makes my eggplant parmesan!

                                              16 Replies
                                              1. re: dlee63
                                                josephnl RE: dlee63 Jun 15, 2013 08:18 PM

                                                Have you tried Giada's Tomato Basil sauce from Target? It's really very, very good and a bargain at ~3 bucks a jar. Consumer Reports (the well known food authority ;) !) top-rated it.

                                                1. re: josephnl
                                                  dlee63 RE: josephnl Jun 15, 2013 10:15 PM

                                                  I can't believe you asked! I can't find my favorite right now so I picked up a jar of Giada's Tomato Basil at Target today. I had it over spaghetti for supper and was disappointed. Sorry.

                                                  1. re: dlee63
                                                    josephnl RE: dlee63 Jun 15, 2013 10:36 PM

                                                    Mmm...really sorry! I've never heard of World Classics, but it must be great. Where do you get it? Perhaps it's regional...we're in southern CA.

                                                    1. re: josephnl
                                                      dlee63 RE: josephnl Jun 16, 2013 12:07 AM

                                                      I'm in the midwest but I know it's also sold in the south. World Classics has a web site listing 14 supermarket chains, many I am not familiar with so I couldn't say where they're located. Here in Iowa it's sold at Hy Vee.

                                                      1. re: dlee63
                                                        josephnl RE: dlee63 Jun 16, 2013 09:40 AM

                                                        Discovered one chain in southern CA that may carry it. There are apparently 2 different marinara sauces they have, one in a jar and one in a plastic tub. Which is the one you like?

                                                        1. re: josephnl
                                                          dlee63 RE: josephnl Jun 16, 2013 09:51 AM

                                                          The one I like is in the jar. I've not tried the other.

                                                    2. re: dlee63
                                                      westsidegal RE: dlee63 Jun 17, 2013 10:25 PM

                                                      i just tried the Giada Tomato and Basil
                                                      sorry, found it to be watery and not very flavorful.

                                                      1. re: westsidegal
                                                        josephnl RE: westsidegal Jun 18, 2013 07:39 AM

                                                        Sorry. Which is your favorite jarred sauce?

                                                        1. re: josephnl
                                                          westsidegal RE: josephnl Jun 18, 2013 09:10 PM

                                                          the silver palate low sodium marinara sauce.
                                                          gelsons carries it all the time, but about 4 times a year they have it on sale at a substantial discount.

                                                          the first time i bought the low sodium variety it was an accident. i thought i was buying the regular marinara. after i tasted the low sodium version i started buying that one exclusively.

                                                          also, UNLIKE the Giada's, it doesn't have a dairy/butterfat smell. it smells like tomatos.

                                                          1. re: westsidegal
                                                            josephnl RE: westsidegal Jun 18, 2013 09:48 PM

                                                            Thanks. I'll give it a try.

                                                            1. re: westsidegal
                                                              mcf RE: westsidegal Jun 19, 2013 06:02 AM

                                                              Are you referring to Giada's traditional marinara, or her tomato basil? I got a very fresh vegetable taste and smell from the marinara of hers I tried. The reports on it (can't find the ingredients yet) say it's finished with butter, but that was tomato basil.

                                                          2. re: westsidegal
                                                            MRS RE: westsidegal Jun 18, 2013 03:07 PM

                                                            Rao's. Very delicious. I buy a bunch at a time when it's on sale, or keep 1 or 2 jars in the pantry. It's such good quality that i really use it for anything.

                                                        2. re: josephnl
                                                          mcf RE: josephnl Jun 16, 2013 11:20 AM

                                                          I thought her traditional marinara was very good, I believe that's the one that won the taste test over Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and Vincent's Clam bar, right?

                                                          1. re: mcf
                                                            dlee63 RE: mcf Jun 16, 2013 12:31 PM

                                                            That could be. Maybe I'll give it a try. The only one of hers I've tried is the Tomato Basil.

                                                            1. re: dlee63
                                                              josephnl RE: dlee63 Jun 16, 2013 03:23 PM

                                                              I like the vegetable marinara quite a bit.

                                                            2. re: mcf
                                                              josephnl RE: mcf Jun 19, 2013 09:53 AM

                                                              This is the article from Consumer's Report:


                                                              Giada's was also top-rated by another publication that I can't bring to mind...perhaps, the NY Times.

                                                              I rather like most of her sauces that I've tasted, but truth be told, I always doctor store-bought sauces with additional fresh herbs from my garden.

                                                        3. Njchicaa RE: josephnl Jun 16, 2013 05:52 AM

                                                          I haven't bought jarred sauce regularly in years. When I did, I used Emeril's Kicked Up Tomato Sauce.

                                                          I did buy a jar of Rao's Marinara @$7.99 a couple of weeks ago after reading such raves about it. It wasn't awful but I wasn't impressed.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Njchicaa
                                                            sisterfunkhaus RE: Njchicaa Jun 16, 2013 12:36 PM

                                                            We weren't impressed either. I like Barilla Marinara best. So tasty. I'm going to Try Giada's sauces soon.

                                                          2. Cheese Boy RE: josephnl Jun 16, 2013 04:30 PM

                                                            I look for jars whose label says NO added sugar in it.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: Cheese Boy
                                                              dlee63 RE: Cheese Boy Jun 16, 2013 08:04 PM

                                                              Good idea. That had never occurred to me.

                                                              1. re: dlee63
                                                                Cheese Boy RE: dlee63 Jun 16, 2013 08:57 PM

                                                                ... or if it has sugar or HFCS in the ingredients list, I put it back on the shelf. I don't like sweet tasting sauces (like Barilla, Ragu, Prego, etc). Blech.

                                                            2. m
                                                              maliheh RE: josephnl Dec 18, 2013 01:02 PM

                                                              Mid's is best by far, and What a joy to finally find a bottled sauce I don’t have to adjust. Mids meat sauce was the BEST I have ever tried. Just the right blend of herbs, not too salty or acidic. I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen that Mid’s is worth every cent to get that delicious taste. Bravo!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: maliheh
                                                                Bada Bing RE: maliheh Jun 3, 2014 06:09 AM

                                                                I agree that Mid's is good stuff across their product line. I'd call it mid-priced (hey, a pun!), relative to Rao's. Either of those brands, I'll stock up when on sale.

                                                              2. z
                                                                zackly RE: josephnl Dec 18, 2013 02:29 PM

                                                                There have been many new high end jarred sauces entering the market here in suburban NYC. Rao's is still the best I've tasted but most of the better ones have ingredients similar to what you'd use to make homemade:
                                                                whole peeled plum tomatoes (not tomato puree or paste)
                                                                olive oil
                                                                fresh basil
                                                                dry oregano
                                                                salt & pepper
                                                                If the tomatoes are ripe there is no need to add sugar
                                                                Should be low in sodium and sugars

                                                                1. grampart RE: josephnl Jan 26, 2014 12:04 PM

                                                                  Lately, I've been using Bertolli Vidalia Onion and Roasted Garlic. We like it a lot.

                                                                  1. Atomic76 RE: josephnl Jan 26, 2014 04:32 PM

                                                                    I can't bring myself to spend upwards of $7 or more for many of these premium jarred tomato sauces. I know you can get Prego or Ragu or some store brand for less, but anything remotely better and the price jumps dramatically.

                                                                    I can stock my pantry with 10 cans of crushed tomatoes for $10, or spend over $60-$70 for 10 jars of a somewhat decent pre-made sauce. It adds up quick.

                                                                    You can make a much better tasting sauce in minutes with just a can of crushed tomatoes and a few fresh ingredients. I don't really see the point personally.

                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Atomic76
                                                                      JoeBabbitt RE: Atomic76 Jan 26, 2014 07:10 PM

                                                                      2 #10 cans of crushed/diced/puree/sauce plus your own blend of onions, garlic & spices will yield about 7 quarts of sauce. Takes about 4 hours to make for about $1.50 per jar. Plus - no artificial ingredients, stabilizers, preservatives, ingredients with long unpronounceable names, etc etc.

                                                                      You can freeze it or can it.

                                                                      1. re: JoeBabbitt
                                                                        Bada Bing RE: JoeBabbitt Jun 3, 2014 05:37 AM

                                                                        That "4 hours" part of your response indicates the problem. Homemade is not alway on hand, and having more like 25 minutes till dinner is often the case.

                                                                      2. re: Atomic76
                                                                        josephnl RE: Atomic76 Jan 26, 2014 07:22 PM

                                                                        I am the op. You are, of course, absolutely correct...nevertheless, there are some times when I want to put a meal on the table with as little effort as possible. Thus my query. Yes, it's true that 99% of the time I'll open a can of San M. tomatoes, put them in a pan with sautéing onions, garlic, oregano in terrific olive oil...add a bit of Parmesan and basil in at the end and with a grind of salt and pepper, have a sauce better than any jarred stuff. But sometimes, I just don't want to bother!

                                                                        1. re: josephnl
                                                                          Ttrockwood RE: josephnl Jan 26, 2014 11:05 PM

                                                                          I'm with you!
                                                                          No one mentioned Newman's Own....i've bought and loved the organic marinara for years, its about $4 or so near me. Nice texture, not too smooth.

                                                                          Honestly i've taken a jar, a big can of tomatoes and some white beans all together for soup in five minutes! It was pretty good!

                                                                          1. re: Ttrockwood
                                                                            mcf RE: Ttrockwood Jan 27, 2014 07:35 AM

                                                                            If you like a sugar bomb in your pasta (or anything else) then Newman's Own is for you! I'd love to support charity with my $$ as soon as they cut the sugars they dump into everything, including tomatoes.

                                                                        2. re: Atomic76
                                                                          grampart RE: Atomic76 Jan 27, 2014 08:15 AM

                                                                          The Bertolli sauce I mentioned above is about $3 for a 24 oz. jar at Publix and, on occasion, it goes on a 2 for 1 special. Mostly I make my own, but this is great for those times when I don't.

                                                                          1. re: Atomic76
                                                                            pamf RE: Atomic76 Feb 1, 2014 04:07 PM

                                                                            Wish I could find crushed tomatoes for $1/can. I needed some yesterday and the Safeway store brand was $3.09. They also had Cento for $3.29, so I went with those because I have always liked their quality.

                                                                            1. re: Atomic76
                                                                              westsidegal RE: Atomic76 Jul 6, 2014 02:31 PM

                                                                              plus, garlic changes flavor dramatically when it is canned/jarred (imho, not for the better).
                                                                              when you use fresh garlic at home, the flavor doesn't get degraded.

                                                                              1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                josephnl RE: westsidegal Jul 6, 2014 02:56 PM

                                                                                What do you think of the Dorot frozen garlic? I think it's not bad, and use it in a pinch when I'm lazy. It's obviously not as good as fresh, but it's very handy!

                                                                                1. re: josephnl
                                                                                  westsidegal RE: josephnl Jul 8, 2014 12:03 AM

                                                                                  once i learned how to easily peel a whole bulb of fresh, local, garlic at once, there was no need to compromise with a product like dorot.

                                                                                  put the whole bulb of garlic in a small steel saucepan WITH a tight-fitting steel top. hold the top on firmly and vigorously shake the whole thing like a bartender shakes a martini for about 10 minutes. the paper-like peel will be completely off.

                                                                                  1) dorot cannot compete with this.
                                                                                  2) the upper body workout will be good for your arms, your pecs, your shoulders (you get the picture)

                                                                            2. t
                                                                              truman RE: josephnl Jan 27, 2014 08:20 AM

                                                                              I'm surprised nobody has suggested the Wegman's store brand - that is now my go-to sauce. I think it's called "Grandma's pomodoro" or something like that. $1.99 all the time, not too runny, not too sweet, just enough chunks of tomato.

                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                              1. re: truman
                                                                                ludmilasdaughter RE: truman Jan 28, 2014 12:39 PM

                                                                                I was surprised as well. I like all of the Wegman's brand sauces.

                                                                                1. re: ludmilasdaughter
                                                                                  josephnl RE: ludmilasdaughter Jan 28, 2014 01:02 PM

                                                                                  Sure wish we had Wegman's in California. I drool when we visit Rochester (NY) twice a year and look into the Pittsford Super Wegman's!

                                                                                  1. re: josephnl
                                                                                    Raffles RE: josephnl Jan 28, 2014 01:22 PM

                                                                                    Better than Macys at Christmas time !

                                                                                    1. re: Raffles
                                                                                      josephnl RE: Raffles Jan 28, 2014 01:46 PM

                                                                                      I don't know what the other Wegman's Markets look like, but the Pittsford, NY (Rochester) store is truly amazing. I could live there for a week (and gain ~ 100 lbs!).

                                                                                2. re: truman
                                                                                  Raffles RE: truman Jan 28, 2014 01:01 PM

                                                                                  Wegmans isn't across the country...yet....I met Danny last year in Geneva, the employees were going nuts!

                                                                                  1. re: Raffles
                                                                                    josephnl RE: Raffles Jan 28, 2014 02:03 PM

                                                                                    When you say that Wegman's isn't across the country "yet"...have you heard anything that would make you think that cross country expansion is in their plans?

                                                                                    1. re: josephnl
                                                                                      EM23 RE: josephnl May 11, 2014 10:48 AM

                                                                                      They list future locations on their webpage. I keep checking back hoping to see one slated to open near me, but no dice so far.

                                                                                      1. re: josephnl
                                                                                        mcsheridan RE: josephnl May 11, 2014 12:29 PM

                                                                                        I wouldn't expect to see them in California. From their website:
                                                                                        "Today, we have stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. You’ll see from our list of future projects that our new store growth is concentrated in the northeast and mid-Atlantic regions, though we will continue to upgrade or replace older stores in our more mature markets, like New York. There are other sites we are working on, but are not at liberty to disclose as yet."
                                                                                        Some of the planned stores have TBD opening dates, and when you see that, it's a long wait. They only open 2-3 new stores a year, and set their construction schedule about 14 months in advance. I'm still waiting for the Hanover Township store that was first announced in July 2012, and which has TBD on it.

                                                                                    2. re: truman
                                                                                      SaraAshley RE: truman Jan 28, 2014 01:51 PM

                                                                                      I buy the Wegmans Tomato Basil sauce pretty frequently. I think it's 99 cents a jar, so you can't beat the price!

                                                                                      Edited to add, not marinara, but Wegmans brand pesto sauce is also fabulous, at $4 a jar.

                                                                                      1. re: truman
                                                                                        truman RE: truman Feb 3, 2014 09:56 AM

                                                                                        Edit: what I meant is the "Italian Classics" line, $1.99/jar with white and green labels. I haven't tried the store-brand stuff with red labels.

                                                                                        1. re: truman
                                                                                          Indy 67 RE: truman May 9, 2014 05:38 AM

                                                                                          There are a number of sauces all bearing the Italian Classics label.;
                                                                                          Grandma's (seasoned with onions, garlic & basil)
                                                                                          Grandpa's (sausage, peppers & wine added)
                                                                                          Chunky Marinara

                                                                                          I've been pleased with the Chunky Marinara as a nice base for adding my own ingredients.

                                                                                        2. fldhkybnva RE: josephnl Jan 28, 2014 01:04 PM

                                                                                          I really liked Trader Joe's Organic Tomato Basil Sauce but the sodium is a killer at least for me.

                                                                                          1. l
                                                                                            laraffinee RE: josephnl Jan 31, 2014 03:11 PM

                                                                                            YELLOW BARN! I sampled it at a trade show and was blown away by the balance of flavor! It is very pricey but worth every penny. Whole Foods has it , but I buy it by the case in the winter from my local health food store that gives a case discount. They make several versions, but my favorite the the simple Tomato Basil one.

                                                                                            1. g
                                                                                              GH1618 RE: josephnl Jan 31, 2014 04:43 PM

                                                                                              Campagnola is often available at Grocery Outlet. Italian, no added sugar, no ingredients you wouldn't use at home, and less expensive than the cost of homemade. I don't have the price handy, but once it was about $3 for a 24 oz jar.

                                                                                              1. t
                                                                                                toddrhodes RE: josephnl Feb 2, 2014 02:37 PM

                                                                                                If we buy it in a jar, we buy Rao's. $8 a jar is up there but for the taste and convenience, I'm fine with it. I should add, we do that maybe once a year. In fact I don't remember now the last time we bought it in a jar since I started making triple and quad batches to freeze.

                                                                                                1. s
                                                                                                  Steve RE: josephnl May 8, 2014 03:49 PM

                                                                                                  The best is not in a jar, it's a can of Trader Joe's Marinara Sauce. I've always loved it, and after experimenting with many others, have come back to that as a clear winner. You can easily do anything you want with it since it is so pure and simple, but it is the perfect essence of tomato just by itself.

                                                                                                  1. z
                                                                                                    zackly RE: josephnl May 11, 2014 12:16 PM

                                                                                                    Steve Schirripa, AKA BobbbY Bacala of the Sopranos, has a new sauce out. Haven't tried it yet but the ingredients are as they should be: Organic Imported Italian Whole Peeled Tomatoes, Organic Fresh Onions, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Fresh Garlic, Sea Salt, Organic Fresh Basil, Organic Black Pepper.


                                                                                                    1. PuniceaRana RE: josephnl Jun 3, 2014 06:03 AM

                                                                                                      I'm a huge fan of Michael's of Brooklyn sauces. They are available pretty much throughout the country. I love that it is not full of chemicals and preservatives. My favorites are the Fresh Tomato & Basil, and the Marinara. Naturally sweet, so no added sugar or HFCS, because it is made with DOP San Marzano tomatoes. Although I usually make my own sauce from scratch, when time is an issue, Michael's is my go to.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: PuniceaRana
                                                                                                        prunefeet RE: PuniceaRana Jul 7, 2014 05:05 PM

                                                                                                        I second Michael's. Like Rao's it's on the thin side but fresh and flavorful and delicious.

                                                                                                      2. Bada Bing RE: josephnl Jun 3, 2014 06:21 AM

                                                                                                        I'll just add that looking at ingredients is my main go-to when judging whether to try a new sauce. If fructose or sugar are at all high on the list, or if anything barely pronounceable is on the list, I pass.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Bada Bing
                                                                                                          PuniceaRana RE: Bada Bing Jun 3, 2014 06:48 AM

                                                                                                          I'm with you on that Bada....I love that Michael's ingredient list reads "Imported Italian tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, olive oil, oregano, spices, NOTHING ELSE!"

                                                                                                        2. z
                                                                                                          zackly RE: josephnl Jun 27, 2014 06:43 AM

                                                                                                          I'm making a rare trip to Target in the near future. I'm thinking I'll buy a case of the Giada De Lauentis jarred tomato sauce that is highly recommended here. I have never tasted it. My sauce of choice has been Rao's but that costs twice as much even when on sale. Has anyone eaten both? Do the compare favorably? Thanks!

                                                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: zackly
                                                                                                            josephnl RE: zackly Jul 2, 2014 07:22 PM

                                                                                                            Yes, to my palate, the Giada DL sauce is very good, and is clearly a bargain when compared to Rao's which I find pretty much equivalent and double the price. Unfortunately, I don't think you'll be finding a case of the Giada sauce at your local Target!

                                                                                                            1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                              zackly RE: josephnl Jul 3, 2014 06:21 AM

                                                                                                              Thanks, but why do you think they wont have a case?

                                                                                                              1. re: zackly
                                                                                                                josephnl RE: zackly Jul 3, 2014 06:42 AM

                                                                                                                It has been discontinued! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/978223

                                                                                                                1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                  zackly RE: josephnl Jul 3, 2014 07:21 AM


                                                                                                            2. re: zackly
                                                                                                              westsidegal RE: zackly Jul 6, 2014 02:33 PM

                                                                                                              zackly: taste it first before you buy a case.
                                                                                                              to my palate, it tastes and smells revolting
                                                                                                              i don't care what consumers union panels said.. . . .

                                                                                                              1. re: westsidegal
                                                                                                                zackly RE: westsidegal Jul 6, 2014 02:45 PM

                                                                                                                I'm being told it's a discontinued item so I guess I won't be buying any. it's funny how there is so much difference of opinion on jarred tomato sauce. I think Rao's is great & I just had one (Victoria, I think, that was also very good). Most of the stuff in jars is nasty & overly sweet to me including Kirkland and I thought Costco could do no wrong.

                                                                                                                1. re: zackly
                                                                                                                  westsidegal RE: zackly Jul 8, 2014 12:12 AM

                                                                                                                  my girlfriend who likes the Rao's comes from louisiana where, to hear her tell it, folks don't like any bright taste in their sauce.
                                                                                                                  all tomatoey things are cooked and cooked until the bright/acidic flavor that I personally like gets destroyed. . . .

                                                                                                                  even the lemon meringue pie that her mom makes, that the whole town loves, to me tastes flat and not at all tart.

                                                                                                                  1. re: zackly
                                                                                                                    madeliner RE: zackly Jul 8, 2014 10:17 PM

                                                                                                                    Someone on this topic recommended Victoria I think - not sure


                                                                                                                    1. re: madeliner
                                                                                                                      smilingal RE: madeliner Jul 9, 2014 07:56 AM

                                                                                                                      Funny...I came back here to share...DH stopped at store on way home from work to pick up a bottle of Victoria's for dinner last night. He turned up with a bottle of Victor's!!!! Happened to be very good albeit with the added sugar.

                                                                                                                      1. re: smilingal
                                                                                                                        smilingal RE: smilingal Jul 11, 2014 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                        my mistake - it was Vincents

                                                                                                                  2. re: westsidegal
                                                                                                                    gmm RE: westsidegal Jul 6, 2014 09:22 PM

                                                                                                                    westsidegal - I remember from another thread that we both like the Silver Palate sauces. Unfortunately it hasn't been on sale in my area for a while so it's $6+, but you might be interested in these http://www.ebay.com/itm/10-0-55-1-Jar...

                                                                                                                    1. re: gmm
                                                                                                                      westsidegal RE: gmm Jul 8, 2014 12:07 AM

                                                                                                                      thank you so much for thinking of me, but i stocked up on it about a month ago when GELSON'S had it on sale for ~$3/jar (it's $6/jar today).
                                                                                                                      (if had had those coupons when i bought them at $3/jar, it would have cost me only $2/jar including the price of the coupon!)

                                                                                                                2. m
                                                                                                                  madeliner RE: josephnl Jul 4, 2014 07:02 PM

                                                                                                                  Victoria marinara is the best jarred sauce imho, plus it is less expensive than Rao's (which is overpriced big time)

                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: madeliner
                                                                                                                    gmm RE: madeliner Jul 15, 2014 05:43 PM

                                                                                                                    I was hooked on Silver Palate, but unless it's on sale, it's around $7 a jar around here, which I refuse to pay. I tried Victoria based on the recs on this thread and tasting them side by side, I actually think I prefer the Victoria. It's less acidic than the Silver Palate marinara. And it's less than $4 at Walmart, so gotta love that.

                                                                                                                    1. re: gmm
                                                                                                                      madeliner RE: gmm Jul 15, 2014 10:21 PM

                                                                                                                      I didn't know they carried it at walmart

                                                                                                                      The smaller jar here is about $5 the larger is $8

                                                                                                                      I have picked up the large size (in quantity) for $5.99 when it goes on sale

                                                                                                                      Rao's small jar which is the same size is also $5 lately here, so Victoria isn't really a bargain after all at this point

                                                                                                                      They seem to be reinventing themselves - the labels on the new jars are a little more slick, hopefully the price doesn't rise (but it probably will)

                                                                                                                      1. re: madeliner
                                                                                                                        gmm RE: madeliner Jul 16, 2014 02:22 AM

                                                                                                                        Walmart doesn't have the larger jars, but the smaller jars are $3.88 here in Washington. And they are the jars with the new labels. I don't like grocery shopping at Walmart, but I checked the prices at one of our local stores and it was $6.49 there. Rao's never seems to go on sale here and it's around $8.

                                                                                                                  2. s
                                                                                                                    sandylc RE: josephnl Jul 6, 2014 06:22 PM

                                                                                                                    I find it strange that Muir Glen is conspicuously absent from this thread and all of the links that I clicked on.

                                                                                                                    It is fresh-tasting, mid-priced, and lower in sodium and sugar (by about half when compared to Barilla).

                                                                                                                    This is our go-to sauce when we buy it.

                                                                                                                    1. b
                                                                                                                      blythe RE: josephnl Jul 9, 2014 11:16 AM

                                                                                                                      Aside of the fancy brand, I like Classico, Barilla and Paul Newmans.

                                                                                                                      1. s
                                                                                                                        sandylc RE: josephnl Jul 9, 2014 12:24 PM

                                                                                                                        No takers on Muir Glen yet? (scratching my head in puzzlement)

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: sandylc
                                                                                                                          josephnl RE: sandylc Jul 9, 2014 04:07 PM

                                                                                                                          I see tons of Muir Glen tomatoes in my super, but I've never seen MG pasta sauce...and I've now been looking. Is it regional? I'm in southern CA.

                                                                                                                          1. re: josephnl
                                                                                                                            sandylc RE: josephnl Jul 9, 2014 04:21 PM

                                                                                                                            I don't think it's regional - owned by General Mills.

                                                                                                                        2. a
                                                                                                                          AjCafe RE: josephnl Jul 16, 2014 12:40 PM

                                                                                                                          Rao's. I don't know how widely it's sold because its made after a restaurant in Harlem but it is amazing for a jar sauce

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: AjCafe
                                                                                                                            josephnl RE: AjCafe Jul 16, 2014 12:53 PM

                                                                                                                            It's very widely available, at least in southern CA. I'm sure it's made in a factory, not in the restaurant (but hopefully at least with the restaurant's recipe and QC).

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