Everyone loves pizza night. But what do you do when you don’t want to spend a small fortune on takeout or fast food pizza from one of the big chains? You make homemade pizza, of course. Making homemade pizza is fun for the whole family. When homemade pizza night rolls around, it pays to have delicious ingredients. That’s where knowing your options for the best pizza sauce comes into play.
Pizza is one of the most popular foods in the world. Everyone loves a cheesy slice of pizza. According to a recent study, the average person can eat over half a pizza alone in one sitting. A survey of 5,000 Americans found that people eat pizza an average of three times per month. Over the course of a year, this amounts to enough pizza to fill a large suitcase. The fascination with pizza goes even further as nearly three-quarters of respondents say they’re willing to eat pizza at any time of day, including breakfast.
If all that pizza sounds like a bad health choice, consider another study that found men can occasionally eat all the pizza they want without serious impacts on their health. Researchers from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom found that young men especially can occasionally devour all the pizza they want without any serious health implications. Researchers found that men don’t suffer any immediate health issues when overindulging occasionally. Sounds like a great reason to throw a pizza party!
So, which store-bought brands should you have on hand for pizza night? StudyFinds did the research, consulting 10 foodie review websites in an effort to find to compile a list of best pizza sauces available. on the market today. Our list comprises the seven most frequently listed sauces from across these sites. Think our foodies missed a great store-bought pizza sauce? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!
The List: Best Pizza Sauce, According to Experts
The top spot on the list of the best pizza sauce belongs to Rao’s Homemade Pizza Sauce. This pizza sauce littered the pages of experts’ websites, and it’s an easy choice for your next homemade pizza night.
“Want a sauce that reminds you of your favorite fancy pizzeria? That store-bought sauce is Rao’s. Rao’s tasted the freshest and most homemade of any of the nine other options in this test. Is there any higher praise than that? When it comes to any store-bought item, we’re all craving scratch-made taste. What made Rao’s really stand out was the fresh tomato flavor as well as oregano and garlic. All these ingredients were visible in the sauce—even a few tomato seeds which made this brand feel like the real deal,” writes Taste of Home.
Rao’s also offers a great lineup of pasta sauces that work well for most Italian-style dishes you want to make at home. Rao’s Pizza Sauce is made with basic ingredients and uses olive oil which is almost a necessity for a quality pizza sauce.
“This is what I’m talking about. Rao’s Pizza Sauce feels super meaty, with a strong umami flavor that you don’t really get from other brands of pizza sauce. Lots of people dislike cooked pizza sauce, but not me. Cooking the tomatoes unlocks a deep savory flavor that I am fond of. Rao’s has olive oil in it too, so the luxury factor here is turned up even more. Plus, there’s a subtle garlic taste and some nuanced herbaceousness from the seemingly fresh basil and oregano. This is a great product. Rao’s just knows red sauce, dude,” raves Sporked.
Basil and oregano offer your homemade pizza some added flavor but Rao’s certainly doesn’t go overboard with the seasonings. Rao’s is also filled with chunks of tomatoes that don’t make this tasty pizza sauce hard to spread on your homemade pizza dough.
“Not everyone has the time or the will to make their own sauce, we get that. So if you want the best of the best with the lowest amount of effort, you’ve got to get a jar of Rao’s. I’m genuinely surprised at just how good this sauce is. If you told me you made it the morning you’re serving it, I’d believe it. It’s packed with a robust, nuanced flavor that is so good I’d even recommend it as a pasta sauce. Chunks of tomato can be seen in every spoonful of sauce, but it’s still easily spreadable. Of all the slices, this is the only one I ate fully, because I couldn’t get enough of the sauce. I took that as a strong sign that this was the best,” adds Uproxx.
Next up on the list of the best store-bought pizza sauce is Don Pepino pizza sauce. This sauce comes in a can that is designed in a way that screams delicious pizza sauce.
“Don Pepino’s pizza sauce is a bright and tangy sauce made with just five ingredients: Jersey fresh tomatoes, corn oil, salt, spices, and garlic powder. Importantly, it’s also free from many of the extra ingredients you find in store-bought products, including preservatives, starches, artificial sugar, added color, gums, and citric acid. It also has a winning consistency—one that isn’t watery or overly chunky. We also can’t help but notice the packaging, which is a fun, retro-looking can that’s easier to store than big, bulky glass jars,” writes The Spruce Eats.
Don Pepino’s sauce keeps it simple and doesn’t include a lot of extra fillers the way most store-bought pizza sauces will. They understand that simple ingredients make the best pizza sauce.
“Don Pepino Pizza Sauce proves there’s more than one way to make a phenomenal sauce, and it doesn’t always require a trip to Italy. Made with fresh-picked New Jersey tomatoes using a family recipe that hasn’t changed since 1950, this generational favorite has few naysayers, and we completely understand why. The only reason it falls just short of our top three best pizza sauces in 2023 is because it uses corn oil instead of extra virgin olive oil,” explains Mashed.
It is a bit disappointing to hear that Don Pepino uses corn oil instead of extra virgin olive oil, but it’s still a delicious pizza sauce nonetheless. The vine-ripened tomatoes picked straight from New Jersey more than makeup for the type of oil this pizza sauce contains.
“Don Pepino brand pizza sauce is a small batch sauce that comes in an easy-to-use container. This large 14.5-ounce container is ideal for a family dinner and will make about 5 pizzas. The nice thing about this jar of sauce is that it has a long shelf life and can be used for other cooking needs, such as pastas. The classic taste of this pizza sauce also makes it a great choice to pair with your favorite homemade crust or even the store-bought variety,” furthers Kitchen Substitute.
The third spot on the list of best store-bought pizza sauces belongs to Cento Fully Prepared Pizza Sauce. Cento is another traditional canned sauce that tastes great and is made from simple ingredients.
“This canned pizza sauce from Cento (one of the biggest names in canned tomatoes, we might add) was our favorite for many reasons, among them the fact that the sauce has a thick, smooth, structure consistency that makes it ultra-spreadable–one of the easiest to distribute evenly across a pizza dough,” writes The Daring Kitchen.
Cento also utilizes simple herbs and spices to create a tasty yet simple pizza sauce. “Cento Pizza Sauce is made from tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, and garlic. It’s a simple sauce with real ingredients and no preservatives. The basil gives it a slight sweetness, and the tomatoes taste super fresh and bright here, which is hard to find in a store-bought pizza sauce. The sauce has a thick, rich texture that keeps your crust from getting soggy as it bakes, even when you pile on the cheese and toppings,” furthers Shopfood.
Cento offers homemade pizza chefs an excellent store-bought pizza sauce to create the perfect pizza. “This sauce is thick and pureed, almost like a tomato paste but a little thinner. The taste is very condensed and contains a hint of sweetness. It’s basic, but I dig it, and it would go especially well with strong flavors (like anchovies and olives). The price is damn good, too,” adds Sporked.
The fourth spot on the list of the best store-bought pizza sauces belongs to Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce. This organic pizza sauce offers homemade pizza makers a thick tomato sauce that’s filled with traditional flavors.
“This sauce has strong tomato and well-balanced garlic flavors. The hearty pizza sauce at Muir Glen was thicker than most of the others we tasted, but this is in no way a negative. This sauce’s thicker consistency made it the perfect choice for topping a handmade crust,” writes Eat Pallet.
“If you’re in the market for a high-quality organic pizza sauce, you’ve just stumbled upon the only one on our list, and we’re pretty sure you’re going to love it as much as we do. For those who think organic products lack the bold flavors of less healthy options, Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce will quickly change minds… We also love that Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce isn’t among the most expensive sauces on this list, making healthier food options more accessible to all,” raves Mashed.
Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce is made from fresh ingredients and it won’t damage your budget, making it a win-win. A lot of organic tomato sauces lack flavor, but as the experts will tell you, Muir Glen’s organic sauce doesn’t compromise flavor in order to offer a healthier pizza sauce option.
“If you prefer to eat organic, try Muir Glen Organic Pizza Sauce. This sauce was packed with robust tomato flavor—almost as if the sauce was reduced a bit to really amp up the taste of the produce. But tomato isn’t the only flavor you’ll find inside this can. Testers noticed a great balance of garlic as well,” furthers Taste of Home.
Pomi offers an incredibly simple yet delicious and flavorful canned pizza sauce that’s worthy of being called one of the best. “There’s a ton of great flavor here. It’s easy to just take some sugar and dried herbs and add them to some tomatoes, but Pomi really went the extra mile. We all appreciated that ambition. There’s a deep umami flavor in this sauce that the additional olive oil enhanced even more. My guess is the sauce was cooked to achieve that lovely savory taste. Also, this is the only product here that also lists laurel (code for bay leaf) in the ingredients. As a result, there is a subtle piney, herby, peppery flavor. Pomi Pizza Sauce tastes like a fresh, homemade marinara sauce made with love and great ingredients,” explains Sporked.
Bay leaf is an essential ingredient for a delicious homemade marinara or Bolognese sauce. The bay leaf adds extra flavor and gives tomato sauce an authentic taste, so it’s impressive that Pomi utilizes this underrated herb in its store-bought pizza sauce.
“This pizza sauce had a great, tangy tomato flavor that alone was exceptionally pleasing. It had testers thinking of fresh Roma tomatoes from the garden. The herbs in this sauce, though, were a bit milder. This works great if you plan to layer on a lot of additional flavors in your pizza or prefer to add fresh herbs from your garden to the sauce. Simply put: Pomi is the perfect canvas,” raves Taste of Home.
You can spruce up Pomi Pizza Sauce or use it as it comes out of the can, it’s your choice. Like many of the best pizza sauces on this list, Pomi’s recipe is simple and basic. “Sometimes the simplest products produce the greatest flavors as long as the ingredients are fresh and pure. Pomì Pizza Sauce follows the brand’s ethos that ‘perfection is simple,’ using only 100% fresh Italian tomatoes, olive oil, and seasonings in each can of sauce. Fans, including us, love the result,” writes Mashed.
The sixth spot on the list of the best pizza sauce on store shelves belongs to Williams Sonoma San Marzano Pizza Sauce. Okay, Williams Sonoma isn’t necessarily available on store shelves, so you’ll have to find this delicious pizza sauce from your favorite online store, but you won’t regret your decision.
“Is it the smoothest sauce? No, but that’s part of what makes this pizza sauce so appealing. The product, made from world-renowned San Marzano tomatoes, is well-balanced yet nuanced—a little bit sweet, a little bit tangy. It also has a consistency that strikes all of the right notes: thick and slightly chunky but consistent. You won’t get a thin sauce with large chunks in some spots. Instead, it spreads just right,” writes The Spruce Eats.
“If you’re looking to go gourmet with your homemade pizza night, you need a pizza sauce to match, and that’s exactly where this sauce from posh kitchen goods company Williams Sonoma comes into the picture. Their San Marzano Tomato Pizza Sauce is the only pizza sauce we found which was made from real San Marzano tomatoes–a variety of tomato grown in a certain region of Italy, prized for their rich flavor and low water content,” adds The Daring Kitchen.
San Marzano is a region in Italy known for its delicious plum tomatoes. San Marzano tomatoes are unique in that they’re grown in the nutrient-rich, volcanic soil of San Marzano, Italy.
“It is a high-quality store-bought pizza sauce made with San Marzano tomatoes known for its sweet, flavorful taste and low acidity. The volcanic dirt in Italy is where the tomatoes are grown, which makes them taste and look better. Extra-virgin olives, sea salt, and a mix of herbs make the sauce, giving this best store-bought pizza sauce a rich, spicy, and fresh taste,” furthers Eat Pallet.
Classico offers a wide variety of popular pasta sauces such as marinara sauce and alfredo sauce. So, it stands to reason that Classico delivers some of the best pizza sauce you’ll find on store shelves.
“Classico’s take on pizza sauce had a thick, rich texture and a deep red color that our Test Kitchen staff really appreciated. What was most notable, however, was the herb-forwardness of this sauce. Basil was the most prominent taste. Our crew also detected a great balance of oregano and black pepper. No tweaks needed to this sauce! Just grab a good pizza crust,” raves Taste of Home.
Basil helps make Classico’s sauce sweet but not so sweet that it makes your pizza taste bad. Classico focuses on flavor by utilizing a range of other spices and herbs.
“After jar after jar of bad to mediocre sauces, this is our first entry that is actually worth your money. It’s cheap, simple, and packed with rich tomato and garlic flavor. The consistency is very thick so a little will go a long way. Classico makes its sauce with a blend of purée and soybean oil, so it’s not the most high-quality sauce, but the focus on flavor makes up for it,” writes Uproxx.
“Classico’s Signature Recipes Traditional Pizza Sauce is made with diced tomato and olive oil for a thick, rich sauce. The texture is what stands out most here. It settles well onto the crust but isn’t so thick that you feel like you’re eating tomato paste. I think the thickness comes from the olive oil, which also lends richness to the sauce. You won’t be surprised to hear that the ingredients in this sauce include tomato puree, diced tomato, tomato juice, sugar, olive oil, and garlic,” furthers Shopfood.
You might also be interested in:
- Taste of Home
- The Spruce Eats
- Eat Pallet
- Wide Open Country
- The Daring Kitchen
- Kitchen Substitute
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. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.