I used my expertise as a professional chef to review five brands of store-bought marinara sauce.
Classico's marinara seemed more appropriate for pizza and the Newman's Own sauce was just OK.
Rao's Sensitive marinara sauce, which doesn't contain onions or garlic, was my favorite.
First, I tasted the Classico Cabernet marinara with herbs.
Though I was intrigued by Classico's use of Cabernet, the sauce just didn't feel right on pasta.
Out of the jar, the sauce was completely smooth so it was probably pureed and strained before canning.
Classico's Cabernet marinara might be better as a pizza sauce.
When I tasted the sauce, I thought it had a strong sweetness that didn't pair well with pasta. I also prefer some texture in my pasta sauce so this was too smooth for me.
Because of its sweetness and texture, I think Classico's marinara might work better on pizza.
The 24-ounce jar cost $4.29.
The Newman's Own marinara was up next.
Unfortunately, I thought the Newman's Own marinara sauce didn't stack up in the flavor department compared to the others.
The sauce fell a little flat and had what I thought was an uninspiring, smooth, and almost watery texture.
The Newman's Own marinara was too thin for me.
Since the texture of the Newman's Own sauce was so watery, it didn't cling to the noodles very well.
However, I also saw a tomato-basil sauce from the brand when I was at the store, and that may have more promise.
I paid $3.99 for a 24-ounce jar.
I also tried Primal Kitchen's tomato-basil marinara sauce made with avocado oil.
The most expensive marinara I tried came from Primal Kitchen, which was made with avocado oil rather than the Italian standard, olive oil. To me, the addition of avocado oil in itself wasn't necessarily a benefit or worth paying more for.
When I poured some sauce into a bowl, I noticed it was quite chunky and thick with small pieces of diced onion and lots of herbs.
Primal Kitchen's marinara sauce was pretty tasty.
Despite my initial opinions about the avocado oil, the sauce was tasty. I think the avocado oil gave the marinara a richer, heartier flavor than the other sauces, which tasted brighter and more acidic in comparison.
The oregano and basil flavors were also prominent in this marinara.
You can get a 24-ounce jar for $11.99.
I tried Barilla's marinara next.
When I tried Barilla's marinara, which says it has "no sugar added," I was surprised by how tasty it was.
The texture was looser than some of the other sauces, with visible specks of herbs and onion and some larger chunks of tomato.
I thought Barilla's sauce had a good herb flavor.
I could certainly taste the basil and oregano but it wasn't overpowering the entire dish.
It separated a bit in the jar but came back together when stirred.
A 24-ounce jar cost $3.99.
Finally, I tried Rao's Homemade Sensitive marinara.
The difference between Rao's Sensitive marinara and the regular one is that the former is made without onion or garlic.
Out of the jar, the sauce was mostly smooth with a nice amount of larger crushed tomato pieces.
Out of all of the marinara I tried, Rao's sauce was my favorite of the bunch and is my personal go-to at home.
Rao's marinara had a slightly smoky flavor, perhaps from roasting the tomatoes. The concentrated-tomato flavor really was the most prominent taste in this jar, which I appreciated.
Rao's marinara had the flavor of a homemade sauce that had been simmering all day long.
I bought a 24-ounce jar for $7.99.