Can jar sauce be as good as homemade? Consumer Reports says yes

Grandma may not agree but Consumer Reports say you can get great-tasting tomato sauce from a jar. Its taste-testers just tried more than three dozen varieties of store-bought sauce to find the ones worth buying.

“When we’re tasting tomato sauces, we are looking for a bold tomato flavor and well-balanced herbs that are fresh tasting and we don’t want any one ingredient to be overpowering all the others,” said Consumer Reports Nutritionist Amy Keating.

She says not surprisingly, brands with tomato purée or tomato paste as the main ingredient tended to score lower for taste. Also not surprising: The pricier jars tended to offer tastier sauce.

Watch below to see how Consumer Reports’ sensory panelists prepare to find the best-tasting tomato sauces:

When it comes to nutrition, tomato sauces can be healthy. “So, a healthier pasta sauce will use olive oil as its main type of fat, which is heart healthy, it will have minimum to no added sugars and the one thing you want to watch out for is the sodium content,” Keating said. Consumer Reports’ top sauces deliver on taste without overdoing it on sodium.

  • Both The Silver Palate Low Sodium Marinara 25-ounce jar for $6.40 and Victoria Low Sodium Marinara 24-ounce jar for $8.55 are low in sodium and have no added sugars.
  • If you want a sauce that’s closest to homemade, taster testers said Rao’s Homemade Marinara 24-ounce jar for $7.90 delivers.
  • For garlic lovers, try Lidia’s Marinara 25-ounce jar for $7.90 or Cucina Antica Garlic Marinara 25-ounce jar for $8.60.
  • If you prefer a basil hit, consider the Monte Bene Tomato Basil Sauce 24-ounce jar for $4.70.

Consumer Reports says you can jazz up your jarred sauce by adding ground meat, mushrooms, onions, fresh basil, or even wine.

Watch Consumer Reports’ video below that shows you how to enhance the flavor of your jarred sauce with those ingredients.


In our taste tests of tomato sauces, Rao’s Marinara came closest to homemade. But you can also shop sales and jazz up your jarred sauce with a few cooking tips. Learn more through the link in our bio. #foodtiktok #foodtok #tomatosauce #pastasauce #pasta

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