What’s The Best Canned Spaghetti Sauce? I Tasted 6 To Find Out

We taste tested 6 brands to find the best tasting jarred pasta sauce.

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

The 6 contenders for best tasting canned spaghetti sauce.

The Contenders

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
To decide on the best canned pasta sauce, we tested based on taste and texture.


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…

Winner and the best tasting jarred pasta sauce is Mezzetta Marinara,

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!

Rao's Homemade Roasted Garlic pasta sauce was the runner up in our best tasting pasta sauce taste test.

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 in the canned spaghetti sauce taste test was Bertolli's marinara.

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.

Honorable Mentions

Dave's Pick for best tasting canned spaghetti sauce is Classico Traditional Sweet Basil.

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.

Garlic lovers will appreciate Barilla marinara, a great-tasting jarred pasta sauce.

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.

For picky eaters, Prego is a safe, unremarkable jarred pasta sauce.

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!

Although I think Mezzetta is the best tasting jarred pasta sauce, your results may vary!

The Takeaway

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!

Related: 11 Easy And Effective Ways To Remove A Stuck Jar Lid

What’s your favorite pasta sauce?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes

  • I would never eat anything Prego. I recently discovered Classico Spicy Tomato and Basil. It replaced Spicy Tomato that I use to really enjoy before it disappeared from the store shelves.. It’s difficult to find but did at certain Walmart stores. Most jar sauces are underwhelming but I do want to try Raos

  • Classico is my go-to. I’ll look for Mezzetta and give it a try. Rao’s – not impressed. It’s overpriced and soupy. I can make my own sauce at that price! Classico is chunky and I’m a big fan of basil. Rao’s is 7.99 but they’ve dropped the price to 5.99. I do know how to make a 7 hour Italian sauce (constant stirring) but only if I have company.

  • I rarely buy sauce but I bought some Rao’s and enjoyed it.Costco had a great sale on it. I haven’t tried your top pick. I’ve never seen it around here. I make my own sauce most of the time.

  • Rao’s line of tomato sauces are well known in the Keto community as being one of the most Keto friendly tomato sauces because of no added sugars and lower on carbs.

  • My favorite is Classico! In all flavors, it is better balanced than the others. Rao’s is good, but I have to add sugar to it – otherwise it is too sour. Prego is crap.

  • Kirkland brand of marinara sauce is close to RAOS but cheaper and not as strong, will have to try the one you like tho, but giv e Kirkland brand a try you’ll be surprisef

  • My favorite is Dell’Amore Pasta Sauce. It’s absolutely fantastic! I thought that Carbone’s and Rao’s were great but this is better than both of them. It is made by a small Family Owned Company in Vermont. The had been in business for decades but hard to find on a lot of supermarket shelves. Don’t have as high tech marketing as the more famous ones. You can purchase this on Amazon. Try it, I think you’ll be a fan!

  • My favorite jarred sauce is from Thrive. Their tomato basil sauce is so fresh tasting. I haven’t been able to find anything else like it in any stores. It’s also organic and worth every penny. Another bonus is that it is delivered right to my front door. I always keep it on hand.

  • Newman’s Own Sockarooni–all day, every day! It has everything in it–you don’t have to add anything to it. Rao’s is quite pricey but very good.

  • These are good picks. But my favorite is not on the list – Hunt’s Garlic and Herb. Comes in a can, cheap, and tasty. When I don’t have homemade, this is my go to.

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