There Can Only Be One Best Tasting Pasta Sauce
I first decided to find the best canned spaghetti sauce back when I was researching what you can add to jarred pasta sauces to make them taste better. My inquisitive mind couldn’t help but wonder which store-bought pasta sauce tastes the best right out of the jar (or can!)
With my recent condiment taste test still on my mind, I thought it only made sense to do a similar head-to-head comparison with canned pasta sauces. And, perhaps unsurprisingly at this point, the results were just as surprising as they were when I tested toilet paper and paper towels!
Since there are all sorts of meals you can make with store-bought spaghetti sauce, it only makes sense that those meals will taste even better if you start with the best tasting sauce. So without further ado, let’s get into the juicy details of this pasta sauce taste test!
The OGT Canned Spaghetti Sauce Showdown
I selected the following contenders for our jarred/canned spaghetti sauce showdown, all of which are widely available and can be found in most grocery stores:
- Prego Classic Marinara
- Barilla Marinara
- Bertolli Traditional Marinara
- Mezzetta Marinara Sauce
- Rao’s Homemade Marinara
- Classico Traditional Sweet Basil
As with other product evaluations I’ve done, I went into this taste test with an open mind, as well as an awareness of my own pre-existing preferences and biases. Members of the OGT team were on the scene to provide additional insight, along with my husband Dave, who loves spaghetti sauce almost as much as he loves sharing his opinion. ;-)
After tasting each sauce, I evaluated them according to two primary characteristics:
- Texture – Was the texture of the sauce rustic and chunky, or smooth and soup-like? Did the texture complement the flavor?
- Flavor – How did the sauce taste? Was the flavor balanced, or did it have too much or too little of something? The best spaghetti sauces and marinara sauces balance the flavors of tomato, garlic, onion, and herbs in perfect harmony, so that’s what I was looking for.
The Best Jarred Pasta Sauce Is…
The Winner: Mezzetta Marinara Sauce
This marinara sauce from Mezzetta was not only packed with fresh tomato flavor, but it was also well seasoned, rich, and slightly earthy too. This is a rich, full-flavored sauce, and the vibrant color and bright, fresh flavor kept me coming back for more!
The Runner-Up: Rao’s Homemade Marinara
The Rao’s sauce was my second favorite, but I would still eat it happily any day of the week! It was a little more chunky than some of the other sauces, but the delicious homemade flavor made it a standout among the other options. (Bonus Tip: You can save big on Rao’s by picking up a two-pack at Costco!)
Last Place: Bertolli Traditional Marinara
This sauce from Bertolli was really sweet. Between that, a too-thin texture, and underwhelming flavor, putting this one at the bottom of my list wasn’t a difficult call to make.
Dave’s Pick: Classico Traditional Sweet Basil
It’s always nice when a product lives up to the expectation created by its name, and that was definitely the case with Classico’s Traditional Sweet Basil, which was both sweet and infused with the flavor of basil. It wasn’t my favorite (a bit too sweet by my standards), but Dave sure loved it.
Best For Garlic Lovers: Barilla Marinara
This marinara sauce from Barilla, a mainstay of the pasta aisle, may not have had the most strongest tomato flavor, but it sure packed a punch of garlic and onion! With it’s garlic-forward flavor and spreadable texture, this would be a great sauce to use for homemade pizzas or lasagna.
Best For Picky Eaters: Prego Classic Marinara
Prego’s marinara sauce had a nice, slightly sweet flavor, but I wouldn’t say there was anything remarkable about it. With that being said, the picky eaters in your life won’t have any complaints about this sauce — probably!
The biggest takeaway from this and other taste tests I’ve done is that we all have our own unique tastes and preferences, and that those make it impossible to rank similar products with any kind of real objectivity. But it’s fun to try new things, and you can learn a lot about what you like (or dislike) and why with side-by-side comparisons.
With that in mind, your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce might be totally different from mine! If so, be sure to tell us which one you like best and why in the comments below!
What’s your favorite pasta sauce?