We tested over 50 sauces to find the healthiest and tastiest options. Here’s what came out on top.

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Jarred tomato sauce is an excellent shortcut when you need help getting a meal on the table quickly. It can feel like a healthy no-brainer, but with a little sleuthing, we found that not all sauces are created equal, especially in terms of added sugar and salt. We checked the numbers on countless labels against our nutrition parameters and tasted more than 50 sauces (that's not a typo!). Here are the seven sauces that stood out in terms of flavor and nutrition. Plus, learn what to look for when reading the label of a jarred sauce.

Stacks of jars of tomato sauce
Credit: Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

What to Look for on the Label

Sugar

Sugar is often added to balance tomatoes' natural acidity. But many brands use the sweetness from vegetables, like carrots and onions, to get the job done. So, if you're watching your added sugar, stick to brands with 0 grams.

Salt

Sodium enhances the flavor of just about everything, but some marinara sauces on the market have as much as 570 milligrams per ½-cup serving—nearly a quarter of your daily recommended limit. In a perfect world, we'd opt for one with 300 mg or less, but we found they can be tricky to find. Plus, many lower-sodium options left a lot to be desired. If you pick a sauce that's on the higher side, consider balancing your salt intake by cutting back on sodium elsewhere in the day (check out these 9 easy ways to cut sodium in your diet).

7 Best Marinara Sauces

Related Items

Victoria Low-Sodium Marinara Sauce
Credit: Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

Victoria Low-Sodium Marinara Sauce

Best Low-Sodium

This pick packs all the classic marinara flavor with less than half the sodium of our recommended limit.

70 cal, 120mg sodium, 0g added sugar

Buy it: Amazon, $50 for a pack of six

Barilla Traditional Tomato Sauce
Credit: Barilla Traditional Tomato Sauce

Barilla Traditional Tomato Sauce

Great for Garlic Lovers

Plenty of onions and garlic give this classic-tasting tomato sauce super-savory flavor.

50 cal, 450mg sodium, 0g added sugar

Buy it: Walmart, $2

Ocean’s Balance Mariner’s Marinara
Credit: Ocean’s Balance

Ocean's Balance Mariner's Marinara

Best with a Mission

This one includes iron- and B6-rich kelp grown in the Gulf of Maine to help reduce ocean acidification and bolster the surrounding ecosystem.

110 cal, 380mg sodium, 0g added sugar

Buy it: Ocean's Balance, $8

Bove’s Marinara
Credit: Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

Bove's Marinara

For Herb Lovers

If old-school pizzeria tastes are your jam, this one's for you thanks to the herbs that season this aromatic sauce.

60 cal, 295mg sodium, 0g added sugar

Buy it: Amazon, $11 for a pack of 2

Ragú Simply Chunky Garden Vegetable
Credit: Amazon

Ragú Simply Chunky Garden Vegetable

Best with Added Veggies

Carrots, sweet potato, celery, green bell peppers and zucchini combine to add fresh flavor and extra natural sweetness.

70 cal, 520mg sodium, 0g added sugar

Buy it: Walmart, $2

Bertolli Traditional Marinara
Credit: burpy.com

Bertolli Traditional Marinara

For Those Who Like a Sweeter Sauce

Flavor-packed tomato paste and a touch of sugar add sweetness without going overboard on the added sugar.

70cal, 490mg sodium, 2g added sugar

Buy it: Walmart, $2

Rao’s Marinara
Credit: Ted + Chelsea Cavanaugh

Rao's Marinara

Best Premium Sauce

Chunks of juicy tomato dot this bright sauce that has a luxurious mouthfeel from the olive oil.

100 cal, 420mg sodium, 0g added sugar

Buy it: Walmart, $6

This article originally appeared in EatingWell Magazine, October 2021.