In about 50 percent of all real life situations, homemade pasta sauce is worth it. The other half of the time—when you have a million other things to do or you’re short on time or you’re feeling lazy and hangry—starting with a store-bought jar of marinara is more than okay.
Don’t get us wrong . Your spaghetti will always taste better when the sauce is made from scratch. And things like bolognese and alfredo are nonnegotiable. But overall, we feel really good about recommending these four to you.
Best-Ever Marinara: Rao’s Homemade
Fun fact: We use this in every single Delish recipe that calls for marinara as an ingredient. It’s so good, we could eat it by the spoonful. It is more expensive than most other bottles on the shelf (it’ll set you back around $9), but it’s worth it.
BUY NOWRao’s Marinara Sauce, $12
Best Budget Jar: Whole Foods 365
Seriously! Whole Foods can be annoyingly expensive, but this jar only costs $1.99. With no sugar added, it has a clean and pure tomato taste. Others were wayyyy too sweet and reminiscent of SpaghettiOs.
Best Flavored Marinara: La San Marzano
Like Rao’s, this one tastes homemade and has a semi-chunky texture. We also ❤️ the ingredient list. There are just tomatoes, puree, olive oil, onions, basil, sea salt, garlic, black pepper, and oregano.
BUY NOW La San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Pack of 4, amazon.com
Best Low-Sodium Option: Trader Joe’s Organic
What it lacks in salt, it makes up for in a very peppery and decent sauce. (It also has fennel, basil and oregano.) It’s not the most flavorful, but it’s a good base for a recipe that has a ton of other things going on—like Chicken Parm Egg Rolls or a Spaghetti Meatball Crescent Ring, ya know?
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