What Is The Best Tomato Sauce You Can Buy?

Joined Feb 19, 2003

I hope I'm not committing sacriledge here, but I was wondering what everyones favorite store bought tomato sauce in a jar is?

I find most woefully lacking in taste and texture. However, I found one in a store a little ways from my house recently that was quite good. It had rich flavor with complex notes, and a nice non-homogenous texture.

I forget what brand it was though. I will go back there and get some more when I get a chance.

Easy Way Out


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I'm assuming you mean the US-interpretation-of-italian kind, not just the processed tomato kind.

I've had a fair experience with Classico. But it's so easy to put a better one together with canned tomatoes, garlic and seasonings I haven't used it in years.

Joined Dec 4, 2001
When I use store bought tomato sauce it is typically Classico. It is not bad and it is convenient. Only I use it as an ingredient and only rarely as a "pasta sauce".

Joined Nov 20, 2000
I can only tell you with certainty what I don't use! That's Ragu. To me it tastes like sugar! I used to do okay with Hunts but I found after awhile that it was too acidy and watery.
But Phatch is right, that is the better way to go of course.
Joined May 26, 2001
I believe there is no shame in buying jarred sauce. As long as one doctors it ;) :D

I also buy Classico, which lists no added sweeteners, and Bertolli -- formerly called Five Brothers -- which does, but not as much as others like Ragù. These brands have decent flavor, and some character to their added ingredients ("fire-roasted tomatoes and garlic," for example).

The ones I absolutely refuse to try are the big-name ones that sell for $9 per 24 ounces. The nerve! Rao's, Lidia's -- I may be missing something wonderful, but for that money I could make a pretty wonderful sauce myself. :D


Founder of Cheftalk.com
Staff member
Joined Oct 5, 2001
I recently found Muir Glenn Organic and it is a fine product. It is produced by Small Planet Foods and you can check out the product on their website

Muir Glenn Tomato Sauces

I purchase mine at whole foods.
Joined Aug 29, 2000
I'd also buy Classico first. I haven't tried Bertolli, but I thought Barilla wasn't bad.

My first choice is Classico, though.

But you said "tomato sauce", not pasta sauce. I usually get Contadina, but I don't use that much of it. I hear Muir Glen products are often rated high in Consumer Reports and elsewhere.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I like Muir Glen tomatoes. They cost about twice as much though in my area so I don't always use them. Haven't seen their sauce.

Joined May 14, 2001
I usually keep a couple bottles of pasta sauce around. Like Suzanne I tend to doctor them but it's still handy to have them on hand....I really like the Muir Glen products mentioned. If you have a Trader Joe's near you they have some decent sauces. Two particular that we've liked are the Eggplant Siciliana sauce and the Organic Marinara. Also much less expenisve than most of the grocery store brands.
Joined Jul 31, 2000

I understand the reasoning behind this thread, BUT!!;) this is one of many things that should be made from scratch.

I have yet to taste a bottled sauce that impresses me. Even after being doctored because they are bottled without extended cooking in mind.
just my 2 cents.
Joined May 14, 2001
I can't imagine thinking bottled tastes as good as making your own...but I'll never convince my husband to try making his own sauce on nights I'm at work...so I at least try to make sure the bottled ones I keep on hand taste edible...and if he's willing to saute a little calamari and throw it in bottled sauce i figure that's a step up from the frozen meal he'd pull out otherwise....

He, too, of course prefers nights when i'm home to make fresh pasta sauce! :lol:
Joined Apr 30, 2001
Jarred sauce is never acceptable, doctored or not. Sorry.

I make a very large pot of sauce when I make it. It doesn't take any longer to make a big pot than to make a serving. Then I freeze it in pre-measured single serving containers. Those little ziploc one cup containers are perfect.

When I want sauce, I nuke a container.

Even hubby should be able to handle that.


Joined Apr 4, 2000
I have to agree with you on that one Nancy.

How have you been? Are you done with surgery? Out of the hospital for good?
Joined Dec 4, 2002
I admit that I am in the "no jar" camp, though up until the time I was of legal age, I loved the Muir and some other non-sugary types.
When at home, I like buying those small "boxes" of tomatoes to use for a base and going from there (i.e. fresh herbs, fresh ripe tomatoes (ONLY in season?), garlic, shallots, onions, olive oil,etc.). Easy enough and better and healthier. While you're cooking
the pasta, you have at least enough time to put this together. You don't need to simmer it for 6 days to get it right. I have to say, if I was single or cooking for one, I wouldn't bother either, but it is SO much more satisfying if you make a basic sauce. Freezes well.
There, I'm done.
And don't forget the red wine.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Mom's(small jar) with all the garlic and basil....when I'm sick garlic and onions in copious quantities help kick it.
I still have roasted San Marzanos in my freezer from last Summer/fall....saw seed catalogs yesterday and rifled through....it's almost planting time.YES!
Joined Dec 4, 2002
No fair "jarring" your own. That's still called "canning" right? So I guess that's OK. Those must be heavenly. I actually have experienced them in the winter time back on the farm in Ohio. Of course, I didn't really appreciate them and preferred the Chef Boyardee's.
Do you ship?
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