Big Joe ranks 12th in Best Potted Tomato Sauces

When I saw this article about jarred tomato sauce, as a red-blooded New Jerseyan who has to make his own sauce, I cringed a bit.

Most Jersey cooks think it’s sacrilege to think of opening a jar of tomato sauce to use on your pasta, lasagna, sausage and peppers or whatever dish you’re making.

When we were all in the pandemic and staying home with most of our favorite restaurants closed, we had time to make our tomato sauce from scratch.

Now, with busier schedules, back to school, and most events in full swing, the time to cook and enjoy homemade tomato sauce is getting tougher. Some cooks put any dish with tomato sauce on hold until they have more time to make the sauce from scratch.

Well, I’ve broken down and tasted some of these sauce brands and agree with this survey posted by TastingTable.

Here’s a pretty amazing fact: here in the United States, we consume over 6 million pounds of pasta each year and many have no choice but to use pot sauce. So if you’re one of the family members who uses pot sauce, here’s TastingTable’s worst to best choice for a good pot tomato sauce. Enjoy your meal.

Brand of pasta with tomato sauce (Barilla)


12. Barrel

Barilla is a big name for pasta – you know them for their blue box and their many pasta varieties. Barilla pasta received high marks. Barilla sauce has none. Barilla sauce does not contain sugar, but it tastes like going into a diabetic coma because of the sweetness of the sauce that it is unrecognizable as tomato sauce. Stick with the Barilla pasta and leave the Barilla tomato sauce on the shelf.

11. Ragu

Everyone remembers Ragu sauce. It was a staple in many homes years ago. The sauce was created by a married couple, immigrants from Italy, who started making their sauce in their home and selling it in 1937. In the 1950s and 60s, Ragu was a staple in most households. The flavor was good back then, but the years have not been kind to the Ragu brand. It became tasteless and watered down. It’s not your mother’s Ragu. Stay away.

10. Bertoli

TastingTable calls this sauce “watered down ketchup.” I agree. Bertolli spends quite a bit of money on the label with the whimsical writing and the gondola making it clear that it’s the “real deal”. It’s not the real deal, it’s a real disappointment. Don’t fall for the branding and advertising of this product.

Tomato sauce brand (Prego)


9. Pregnant

You’d think the second bestselling tomato sauce in the world would be pretty decent and something you’d want to use on your pasta. It’s not. They use a lot of garlic which will mask the blandness of the sauce. Don’t waste your time with this brand.

8. Kitchen Antica

In all transparency I have not tried this sauce, so I will defer to Tasting table overview of Cucina Antica. They said you would be happy with this sauce because they use imported tomatoes from southern Italy. While the taste is good, the price is not. You will pay through the nose at over $23 a pot. Wow! $23 a jar. That’s why it’s number 8 on the list.

7. Newman’s

The Newman’s Own brand has donated millions and millions to charity through the sale of their salad dressings, cookies and all products. They are to be commended for such great work in the global community. They shouldn’t be praised for their tomato sauce. I agree with TastingTable, that Newman’s Own Marinara is very bland and unassuming and I wouldn’t want it on my pasta.

Tomato sauce (Classic)


6. Classic

Finally a sauce that hits all the cylinders. Classico’s tomato and basil sauce is pretty good. The basil in the sauce is prominent and you can taste it in every bite. The jars and design are quite modest, but the price is right for a good sauce at a bargain price. The availability of this sauce in all major stores also makes it a good product. Try Classic.

5. Trader Joe’s

This is one sauce where TastingTable and I disagree. They love Trader Joe’s vodka sauce. The vodka sauce is okay and completely organic, but I don’t like any of the varieties offered by Trader Joe’s. I had the base sauce and with basil and to be honest I was not a fan. I wouldn’t waste the money.

4. Whole Foods 365

It’s no surprise that Whole Foods is closer to the top of the list than the bottom. They have many organic based pasta sauces, most of which are okay, but the Whole Foods 365 has a pretty good flavor because it doesn’t contain any artificial ingredients. The sauce is also very healthy and not bad for those of you on a keto diet.



3. The Meatball Shop

I have never tasted the Meatball Shop sauce. Based on the New York restaurant that opened in 2010, TastingTable says this sauce is very good and there are a few varieties we should try. I am. The Meatball Shop Sauce is available online. I need to try.


A good homemade tomato sauce is made from fresh ingredients. This is the case with Victoria’s sauce which I found very tasty and a good alternative to making my own sauce. TastingTable says of this sauce “It will remind you of the sauce your Italian grandmother used to make”.

Tomato sauce (


1. Rao’s Homemade

This is the sauce I use if I’m in a tight spot. This is an excellent sauce with exceptional flavor. I absolutely agree that this sauce belongs at the top of the list. When you open a jar of Rao’s you will notice the texture and thickness of the sauce and the aroma will definitely let you know you have a great sauce on hand. I’ve used this sauce when I’m in a hurry and haven’t had the three to four hours it takes to make my own sauce to add to chicken parmesan, lasagna, or other dishes that require good sauce. He’s a big winner. Make it part of your grocery list.

I know some of you have never used pot sauce, but if you ever feel the need, use this guide to help you choose a winner for your meal.

The above post reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. All opinions expressed are those of Big Joe.

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