Nothing compares to homemade tomato sauce, but few of us have the time to make our own. The choices in the store seem endless-but are there sauces that really taste like homemade?
Consumer Reports just tested more than a dozen to find out.
Testers tried 20 from big names like Prego, Ragu, Bertolli, Barilla, and Francesco Rinaldi.
Also tested-two celebrity-chef sauces from Giada De Laurentis and Mario Batali. And to round things off...two store brands from Walmart and Whole Foods.
Amy Keating of Consumer Reports says, "We want to key in on things like tomato-intesity flavor, a level sourness, sweetness or saltiness, whether and herb is fresh or dried."
Testers at Consumer Reports spent weeks blind taste testing the sauces.
Keating says, "An excellent sauce should have a flavor of ripe tomatoes. It should have a freshly prepared impression, and the flavors should be balanced."
Tester results were mixed. For instance Hunt's traditional-the least expensive sauce-was the least tasty.
Keating says, "It had a sourness to it as well as a soapy, perfumey off-note."
And Whole Foods' 365 Everyday Value Classic Marinara Pasta Sauce wasn't much better.
Keating says, "The top sauces that we rated tasted freshly prepared and could pass for homemade or restaurant fare."
One of the best at a good price-Giada De Laurentiis' Tomato Basil Sauce from Target.
Keating says, "It's excellent. It's well balanced, tastes very fresh, and has a buttery richness."
If you don't have a Target near you, two other marinara sauces rated excellent from Victoria and Mario Batali.