The Best Jarred Tomato Sauce, According to Our Readers

We took your favorite pasta sauces from our Community Choice Awards and pitted them against each other in a blind taste test to find the best ones.

A collage of different tomato sauce jars on a green background
Photo: Jesse Blanner/Allrecipes

A jar of tomato sauce is an essential pantry staple. Its versatility ranges from using it as is for a quick and simple pasta dinner or using it as the base for one of these 12 recipes that use a jar of pasta sauce that aren't spaghetti. Either way, keeping a few jars on hand means you're always just a few minutes away from a healthy, satisfying dinner. But the pasta sauce aisle is full of hard-to-navigate options.

How do you know which one to pick? Well, we started with your favorites from our Community Choice Awards and pitted them against each other to find out which tomato sauce was really the best whether your budget is high or low.

How We Tested

Since many people are biased based on labels and brands, we tasted through all the pasta sauces blind, i.e. the jars were covered and the tasters were unaware of what sauce was associated with each brand. All sauces picked were labeled "marinara" as there are many different versions and we wanted to go with the basic. We tasted the sauces warm and plain without pasta so you could tell the nuances between the different brands. Testers rated the sauces on texture, flavor, and seasoning.

Best Standard Tomato Sauce: Prego

A jar of Prego Marinara on a green background
Jesse Blanner/Allrecipes

While most of the tasters said this sauce was standard and plain, it scored highly because it was just that: standard and plain. The tomato chunks were ample, the texture thick but not overly so, and the seasoning had just the right amount of garlic, onion, oregano, and tomatoes. For those looking for a tomato sauce that doesn't overpower the noodles, or for a sauce that might be the base to another recipe, this budget-friendly pick was the winner.

Best Tomato Sauce That Could Pass As Homemade: Rao's

A jar of Rao's Marinara Sauce on a green background
Jesse Blanner/Allrecipes

With great acidity, prominent garlic and herb flavor, and bigger chunks of tomatoes, this pasta sauce tasted the closest to homemade from a jar. It was as if you could taste the late-summer ripe tomatoes bursting through alongside fresh herbs. It's a little pricier than the others but considering it could easily pass as homemade, it's worth it.

Most Flavorful Tomato Sauce: Trader Joe's

A jar of Trader Joe's Tomato Basil Sauce on a green background
Jesse Blanner/Allrecipes

When the most affordable also has the best flavor, it's easy to understand why Trader Joe's has such a cult following. In blind taste test after blind taste test, Trader Joe's products come out on top and the Tomato Basil Marinara is another winner. The semi-chunky sauce is seasoned well with herbs and garlic plus, the texture has just enough thickness to cling perfectly to pasta. Another win for Trader Joe's.

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