Best Pasta Sauces: Top 5 Italian Food Favorites Most Recommended By Experts

A good pasta sauce can make or break a dish. The good news is that you don’t need to cook your own from scratch to make your dish taste like it came straight out of Rome. We did some work to help you find the best pasta sauces on the market, according to experts.

Tomatoes boast anti-cancer properties called lycopene, a compound that is abundant in them. Research has reported that lycopene has been effective against lung, skin, and prostate cancers. It’s a good thing that most pasta sauces include tomato as the base!

Science may have also just taken the health benefits of tomatoes to the next level, genetically engineering a “super” tomato that can fight against neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The tomato is rich in vitamin D, which can also help support the bones, teeth, and muscles. The researchers believe that these findings help support overall nutritional adequacy, especially among vegans and vegetarians. But this is great news for pasta marinara lovers of any dietary background!

In even better news for pasta lovers, a recent study reports that pasta eaters have better overall diet quality. The study pulled data tens of thousands of American children and adults using the government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and discovered that those who eat pasta regularly are more likely to eat more nutrient-dense foods overall compared to those who don’t. So next time you feel like you’ve eaten too much Italian, maybe don’t feel so bad!

All that said, you’re going to need to top your Italian favorites with the best pasta sauces to fit your culinary desires. In our quest to help you, Study Finds visited 10 expert websites and collected the five most recommended jars across these sites. If you have your own suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

sliced lasagna on white ceramic plate
Lasagna (Photo by Karolina Kołodziejczak)

The List: Best Pasta Sauces, According To Experts

1. Raos Marinara

This sauce ranks highest on the list for it’s simplistic, yet rich and authentic flavor that brings you right to Italy the moment you open the jar. “Simple, balanced, with strong tomato flavor and generous with the olive oil, it leaves a nice greasy slick on the spoon. The texture is saucy without being pasty and has the occasional big, satisfying tomato chunk. It’s a bulletproof choice for any pasta,” mentions LA Times.

Raos Marinara pasta sauce.
Raos Marinara pasta sauce. (Credit: Raos)

The brand’s history also makes them well-respected. Originally, the Rao family owned a popular Italian restaurant in New York, which is where the idea to sell their first jar of sauce in 1992 was born. “Their incredible house-made sauces and pasta were so popular that founder Frank Pellegrino launched a line of jarred marinara sauces using the same premium ingredients,” adds Restaurant Clicks.

2. Whole Foods 365 Marinara

Though not name brand, this Whole Foods brand sauce doesn’t skimp out on flavor, and it doesn’t break the bank. “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,” says Delish.

Whole Foods 365 Marinara Sauce
Whole Foods 365 Marinara (Credit: Whole Foods)

This sauce is also a fantastic choice for those interested in buying health-conscious products made with organic ingredients. “This organic pasta sauce is made with USDA organic ingredients, including Extra Virgin olive oil, herbs, diced tomatoes, and tomato puree,” adds Restaurant Clicks. “Not only is it completely organic, the sauce is vegetarian-friendly, vegan-friendly, paleo-friendly, dairy-free, and low-fat,” notes Tasting Table.

3. Victoria Marinara

This sauce not only has a rich tomato taste, but a rich history. “Founded by an Italian immigrant family in Brooklyn in 1929, Victoria epitomizes the American dream. They claim that authentic Italian sauces revolve around the authenticity of their ingredients,” writes Restaurant Clicks.

Victoria Marinara Sauce.
Victoria Marinara Sauce (Credit: Victoria)

Victoria is not only a delicious option for pasta, but its smooth texture and high-quality ingredients make it great for other foods too. “Whether it’s mozzarella sticks or plain ol’ breadsticks, this is the one sauce you’ll always want to have handy. Heavy on the tomato flavoring, it’s a perfect cheese pairing, no matter what the cheese,” says Delish.

4. La San Marzano Marinara

Made from San Marzano tomatoes, this sauce brings a deep flavor with a thinner texture compared to others on this list. “The ingredients are simple, clean with no added sugar, giving a homemade taste. It is made from peeled tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh onions, sea salt, and fresh sliced garlic, black pepper, oregano, and fresh basil. The texture of this sauce is thinner, but it is rich in flavor, leaving an authentic taste. It makes a perfect pair in pasta, salad, and can be used as a dipping sauce,” points out Food and Wine.

La San Marzano Marinara Pasta Sauce
La San Marzano Marinara Pasta Sauce (Credit: La San Marzano)

The company is also all about tradition, still sourcing their ingredients from Italy as they did from the beginning over 40 years ago. “La San Marzano is an Italian company using 100% Italian ingredients sourced from Mediterranean soils. La San Marzano Marinara Pasta Sauce is the purest form of this centuries-old Italian culinary tradition,” mentions Restaurant Clicks.

5. Newman’s Own Alfredo

Though Newman’s Own marinara is ranked as average compared to those above, Newman’s Alfredo sauce is a different story and deserves a spot on the list. “If you’re in the market for an Alfredo pasta sauce, Newman’s Own has you covered. The Alfredo sauce is outstanding, especially when you factor in the reasonable price. It has a deep, rich flavor and an enjoyable texture,” writes Tasting Table.

Newman's Own Alfredo Sauce
(Credit: Newman’s Own)

It’s also not everyday that you find a top-ranking pasta sauce brand that was created by a huge movie star with a philanthropic mission. “It takes a cool hand to be one of history’s biggest movie stars and have your own food business. But Paul Newman wasn’t just interested in the color of money. There’s an absence of malice in his wading into pizza, dressings and sauces, and the funds raised for charity prove he’s no hustler,” adds LA Times.

“Founder and famous actor Paul Newman used his celebrity to found the company, whose charitable donations have reached over 500 million dollars,” Restaurant Clicks.

You might also be interested in:


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

About the Author

Shyla Cadogan

Shyla Cadogan is a recent graduate from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutrition and Food Science. She is on her way to becoming a Registered Dietitian, with next steps being completion of a dietetic internship at the University of Maryland Medical Center where she currently is gaining experience with various populations and areas of medical nutrition such as Pediatrics, Oncology, GI surgery, and liver and renal transplant. Shyla also has extensive research experience in food composition analysis and food resource management.

The contents of this website do not constitute advice and are provided for informational purposes only. See our full disclaimer


  1. Living on Australia makes it impossible to benefit from American & British advertising. Can we have some Australian information – that would be really helpful as there is interest. Bella.

  2. Why is Mezzetta not on this list?

    It is somewhat different than any of the others in that it packs a rather intense rich tomato flavor. You can use one jar of Mezzetta and two jars of something rather good if cheap such as Safeway Select, and the tomato richness of the Mezzetta is still noticable despite the adulteration with less expensive sauce. Rao’s is good but it doesn’t carry enough flavor like the Mezzetta to pull the flavor up when mixed with more affordable sauces.

    1. I like the texture of Victoria’s Marinara, but difficult to find. I ordered 6 jars and received 6 broken bottles.
      I’m in Palm Springs California, where is it sold?
      Any relation to Victoria’s Restaurant near Mayo Clinic Rochester Mn? Great place for dinner!

  3. Nothing beats homemade Sauce and Marinara. Recipes handed down from our Italian mother & grandmother. So delicious 😋 I can it and give as gifts 🎁 to family and friends. And always have a supply in my house.

    1. Well said CaDessart. Indeed nothing beats home made sauce handed to us by our grandparents, may their souls rest in peace.
      Stockholm – Sweden.

    2. Well said CaDessart, nothing beats home made sauce handed to us by our grand parents, may their soul rest in peace.
      Stockholm – Sweden.

    1. Has anyone ever tried Dell’Amore Marinara sauces made by a small company in Vermont? They offer a variety of flavors which include a spicy version of their original recipe and our personal favorite, Sweet,Basil Garlic! They also make a delicious pizza sauce. In my opinion their sauces are the best and have a fresh homemade taste. I highly recommend you give them a try.

  4. My all time favorite is Cascone’s marinara sauce as well as any of their Italian sauces. Problem is that it’s a local Kansas City Italian restaurant’s sauces which are bottled and sold in all local markets. We live in Oklahoma now and cannot get it here. Whenever a friend from KC comes to visit, we get stocked up!!!

  5. I used to make pasta sauce from scratch but have gotten lazy in my old age.
    I’m probably going to get a lot of hate mail from the foodies out there, but I tried the Rao marina. At 8 bucks a pop, I found it not worth it compared to the $2 Ragu to which I add some oregano, basil, olive oil and fresh ground Malabar pepper.

    1. My first impression was Michaels of Brooklyn’s has to be right up there and shockingly disappointed and agree not making the list as a travesty…. Victoria is over Michael’s ?hardly

  6. We like Paesana sauce yet it never makes any best lists. It is as close to homemade as possible. We think it is better than Rao’s and less expensive.

  7. Raos sauce is the absolute worst from a health standpoint because it has approximately 570 mg of salt per serving which is an astronomical number. And that’s exactly why Raos tastes better than most other pastas.
    Folks, read the labels before you purchase anything!

    1. We feel at home when having La Dolce Vita marinara…yes the real sweet life is not out of a jar!

  8. Silver palate low sodium marinara is the best…fresh tomato taste…
    Classico roasted tomato with garlic or tomato and basil…..

  9. To me, Prego farm fresh marinara, taste about like Raos.. it’s not like regular Prego at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *