While homemade pasta sauce is always better, a long day at the office or a lazy Sunday evening practically requires a high-quality jarred version to be stashed in your kitchen cupboard. When you head to the grocery store in search of the most authentic sauce on the shelves, professional chefs suggest grabbing Rao's Homemade marinara sauce.
"For something with a little more flavor and less cooking/seasoning than making your own requires, I really like the Rao's brand a lot," award-winning celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito told Insider. "Regarding quality, I look for no sugar added, low sodium, and a clean label that should just say tomatoes."
The second chef asked, Tony Mantuano of Top Chef Masters and owner of the Michelin-starred Spiaggia in Chicago, agreed with DiSpirito. "The best pasta sauce is your own, but Rao's is good in a pinch," he said. A good rule of thumb? "The ingredient list shouldn't have words you can't pronounce."
Finally, chef Nate Whiting of Ristorante Juliet in Charleston, South Carolina, sung Rao's Homemade's praises as well. "It has a pure, direct tomato flavor, full of umami, and the acidity is well balanced," he told the online publication. "The texture of the sauce is still somewhat rustic because it's made from whole tomatoes as opposed to a puree."
The best part? You can find Rao's brand at Walmart, Amazon Fresh, and Target (see below):
Head over to Insider for more, and share your go-to store-bought pasta sauce in the comments.