The Quest for the Perfect Supermarket Marinara Sauce

Who doesn’t love a good marinara sauce? Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, finding the perfect jarred sauce can be quite the challenge. Luckily, the experts at Hook’d Up Bar and Grill have taken it upon themselves to taste test and rate some of the most popular supermarket marinara sauces. So, grab a fork and join us on this flavorful journey as we uncover the hidden gems and disappointments of the sauce aisle.

The Quest for the Perfect Supermarket Marinara Sauce
The Quest for the Perfect Supermarket Marinara Sauce

The Criteria: Quality Matters

When it comes to evaluating marinara sauces, quality is paramount. The Hook’d Up team, boasting a combined 90 years of experience in Italian cuisine, knows a thing or two about what makes a sauce exceptional. They look for sauces that strike the perfect balance between sweetness and acidity, using high-quality tomatoes that really shine.

The Contenders: From Vine to Shelf

Let’s dive into the tasting notes of the sauces that made it to the table:

Bertolli Traditional Marinara

Starting with Bertolli, our experts were initially impressed by its fresh aroma and potential. However, they found it to be too sweet and overwhelmed by an excessive amount of herbs. Despite its flaws, some members of the team found it to be a decent contender.

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Bertolli Traditional Marinara

Ragu Old World Style Traditional Sauce

Next up was Ragu, which had a nostalgic pizzeria aroma but fell short in terms of flavor. Our experts noted an overpowering sweetness and a lack of depth. They also discovered that Ragu uses tomato puree instead of whole tomatoes, resulting in a less authentic texture.

Ragu Old World Style Traditional Sauce

Rao’s Homemade All Natural Premium Marinara

Rao’s Homemade Marinara stood out from the crowd with its meaty aroma and superior texture. Made with real Italian whole peeled tomatoes, this sauce impressed our team with its authentic flavor profile. The addition of black pepper added a delightful nuance, elevating it to the top ranks.

Rao's Homemade All Natural Premium Marinara

Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

Trader Joe’s sauce failed to make a lasting impression. With a lackluster aroma and an overwhelming number of ingredients, including dried herbs and tomato juice, it fell short in terms of flavor. Our experts found it to be more like a batch of soup than a sauce with the ability to cling to pasta.

Trader Joe's Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce

Carbone Marinara

Carbone Marinara surprised the team with its subtle roasted tomato flavor. While not as emulsified as others, it showcased the presence of real olive oil, which added depth to the sauce. However, our experts noted that it lacked complexity and tasted slightly undercooked.

Carbone Marinara

Prego Italian Sauce Traditional

Prego’s sauce was described as herbaceous, with a strong presence of dry herbs. Unfortunately, it veered too far on the sweet side, and our experts were disappointed to find that it contained tomato paste and water as its primary ingredients. It fell short in delivering a truly authentic Italian taste.

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Prego Italian Sauce Traditional

365 Organic Marinara Pasta Sauce

Organic does not always equate to superior taste, as evidenced by the 365 Organic Marinara Pasta Sauce. While it boasted a strong aroma of dry herbs, it failed to impress with its overpowering flavors of oregano and black pepper. Our experts deemed it inferior to other sauces on the market.

365 Organic Marinara Pasta Sauce

Newman’s Own Marinara

Newman’s Own stood out with its natural aroma and a touch of sweetness from fennel seeds. The texture was praised for its homemade feel, and the sauce avoided any funny business with its simple ingredient list. This sauce earned a well-deserved spot among the top contenders.

Newman's Own Marinara

Mutti Rossoro Tomato Marinara Pasta Sauce

Mutti Rossoro impressed the team with its potent tomato flavor and chunky texture. Made with high-quality ingredients, such as chopped tomatoes, garlic, and onion, this sauce delivered a truly homemade taste. Our experts appreciated the absence of excessive herbs and praised its overall authenticity.

Mutti Rossoro Tomato Marinara Pasta Sauce

The Top Three

After rigorous tasting and deliberation, the Hook’d Up team selected their top three supermarket marinara sauces:

In third place, we have Newman’s Own Marinara Sauce. With its unique touch of anise flavor, this sauce offered a homemade taste that impressed the experts. Its simplicity and natural ingredients earned it a well-deserved spot.

In second place, Rao’s Homemade Sauce took the stage with its exceptional texture and flavor. Made with real Italian whole peeled tomatoes, this sauce struck the perfect balance and showcased a list of pure ingredients, making it a standout among its competitors.

And finally, our winner is Mutti Rossoro Tomato Marinara Pasta Sauce. This sauce stole the show with its potent tomato flavor, chunky texture, and authentic taste. Its high-quality ingredients and careful craftsmanship made it the clear favorite among the Hook’d Up team.

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So, the next time you find yourself in the supermarket aisle searching for the perfect marinara sauce, remember to look beyond the flashy labels and consider the ingredients. With the insights provided by the experts at Hook’d Up Bar and Grill, you can make an informed choice and elevate your culinary creations to new heights.


Q: Can I use these sauces for other dishes besides pasta?
A: Absolutely! While marinara sauces are traditionally used with pasta, they can also be a versatile base for other dishes. Get creative and experiment with using them as a dipping sauce, pizza sauce, or even as a flavor enhancer in meatballs or stews.

Q: Are these sauces suitable for vegetarians or vegans?
A: It depends on the specific brand and ingredients. Some sauces may contain animal products such as cheese or meat-based flavorings, so it’s essential to read the packaging carefully or look for explicitly labeled vegetarian or vegan options.

Q: Can I enhance the flavors of these sauces with additional ingredients?
A: Absolutely! Feel free to customize your marinara sauce by adding fresh herbs, spices, or even a splash of red wine. Experimenting with different ingredients can help you create a sauce that perfectly complements your taste preferences.


Finding the perfect marinara sauce at the supermarket can be a daunting task, but with the expert guidance from the Hook’d Up team, you can make an informed decision. Remember to focus on quality ingredients, striking the right balance of flavors, and being open to experimentation. So, grab a jar of Mutti Rossoro Tomato Marinara Pasta Sauce, embrace your inner chef, and elevate your Italian creations to new heights. Happy cooking!

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