14 Ways To Make Store-Bought Spaghetti Sauce Taste Better


There’s nothing even better than real, homemade spaghetti sauce. However, some people do not have much time to prepare in the kitchen; that’s why they find store-bought spaghetti sauces as their life savior.

Admit it or not, most pasta sauces are pretty dull and boring straight out from the jar. However, if you add a few key ingredients, you can level up and draw it closer near to a fresh, homemade spaghetti sauce.

To make store-bought spaghetti sauce taste better, you may start by sauteing it with some vegetables. Onions, peppers, carrots, and garlic are the common ingredients to make a spaghetti sauce even more delicious. Make sure to choose only fresh vegetables as they make the sauce look and taste homemade.

While many home cook enthusiasts might stick up their noses at store-bought pasta sauces, but at the end of a long tiring day, it is still the fastest way to get a bowl of red-sauced pasta.

Here are some ways to spice up your readymade spaghetti sauce.

How To Make Store-Bought Spaghetti Sauce Better

If you don’t want to share your secret recipe with anyone, here are the twelve ways to make store-bought spaghetti sauce taste even better.

Start With Sautéed Fresh Vegetables

Dice up some vegetables, such as onions, carrots, peppers, and garlic and saute them in a little oil before you add the sauce.

The vegetables that can be added are not limited to those mentioned; in fact, you can add anything you like.

The main goal here is to make your sauce taste and look like a fresh, homemade sauce, and you can achieve it by adding some vegetables.

Other veggies that you can add:

  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Fennel
  • Bell peppers
  • Shallots

Add Some Meat To Store Bought Sauce

To make it extra flavorful, adding meat to store-bought spaghetti sauce, such as ground beef, turkey, or even tiny slaves of sausages will do.

With this, your sauce will become heartier and meatier.

Just make sure that you drain the ground meat before you mix it into the ingredients as this can make your sauce a bit greasy.

Meat that you can add:

  • Leftover chicken
  • Ground chicken
  • Pulled pork
  • Ground bison
  • Diced pepperoni

Add A Few Herbs And Spices

Adding some herbs and spices will level up the mood and flavour to your premade sauce.

You may add a teaspoon of thyme, oregano, basil, and a pinch of red pepper flakes if you want to even more spice it up. Keep in mind that your store-bought sauce has already some of these ingredients, so don’t

Other herbs and spices that you can add

  • Black and green olives
  • Artichoke
  • Canned chiles
  • Canned mushroom

Deglaze Your Pan Using Stock Or Wine

If you already sauteed the vegetables and meat, pour a cup of stock or wine before adding the sauce.

This technique is called deglazing.

It helps in releasing any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. By doing this, it incorporates all the flavors and ingredients into your pasta sauce.

Add A Little Sugar

Though it may sound strange, adding a spoonful of sugar helps in balancing the flavours in the pasta sauce.

It neutralizes the acidity and enhances the natural sweetness of the premade sauce.

This step is optional since it depends on how acidic the sauce to start with; if so, adding a teaspoon to a spoonful of sugar should be enough to bring out the flavors of the sauce.

On the other hand, if the sauce tastes good already, you may not need any at all. Well, it’s just a matter of preference.

Add Some Whipping Cream

If you want to transform your sauce into a rich and creamy, you may want to add some cream.

Add whipping cream (regular or heavy) to your store-bought spaghetti sauce and then simmer until it thickens. Take note that heavy whipping cream is more stable than the regular one when heated.

Let The Sauce Simmer For A While

If you are not in a hurry, simmer your sauce for a while even if it’s just 20 minutes.

By doing so, it helps in enhancing the flavor of the sauce since it thickens and becomes more concentrated as you heat it.

Top It With Some Greens

Get an extra dose of fibres in your pasta sauce by adding some green leafy vegetables.

You may add a handful of spinach, chopped kale, and other leafy veggies a few minutes after you are done with the simmering. It creates a healthier, heartier sauce that is perfect for people who monitor their diet.

Add Lemon Or Balsamic Vinegar for Acidity

A squeeze of fresh lemon into the pasta sauce or a spoonful of balsamic vinegar into the marinara will brighten up your store-bought tomato sauce that’s either too bland or too heavy.

Save A Few Tablespoons Of Pasta Water

Once you are done cooking the pasta, save some of the water you used to boil it and add some tablespoons at a time to your pasta sauce.

It is because the starchiness of the pasta water helps in improving the texture and making it more concentrated.

Add Some Dairy (Mascarpone Or Parmesan)

Adding some milk just before you serve the sauce will give a silkiness to the texture and coat the pasta even better.

You may add some cream cheese or mascarpone, depending on the availability of your ingredients.

You can also add a rind of Parmesan, or if you don’t have one, you can use cheddar, mozzarella, or whatever you like, as this can add complexity to the flavor.

Melt Some Butter For Rich Flavor

When your sauce is heated enough, and you are ready to remove it from the stove, stir in some butter.

It may sound strange, but even professional chefs use this technique to make the flavor richer and make the texture smoother, as it helps in toning down the acidity.

Bake It

In an oven-safe container, add your jarred pasta sauce to your uncooked tubular pasta like rigatoni and some water.

The pasta will then absorb the liquid from both the sauce and water, helping it cook even better. The steam created will keep everything moist.

Garnish It With Dried Herbs And Leaves

To make it more appealing, the vibrant green leaves of fresh herbs, like basil leaves, can add a lovely pop of colour to your pasta sauce.

Wait to garnish the dish right before serving so that the herbs will not wilt immediately.

Related Post: How To Store Poblano Peppers The Right Way

How To Choose The Best Pasta Sauce: A Buyers Guide

Store-bought spaghetti sauce is the perfect solution if you want to make quick pasta dishes.

However, for people who are on a clean eating diet, choosing the best spaghetti sauce brands at the grocery store can be overwhelming. There are so many labels to read, though it’s not hard, it a bit time-consuming.

Let’s face it; sometimes, it is easier to pick up a jar at the store without even reading the nutritional contents of the product.

Don’t worry, though, since I have taken care of the work for you. But, before we proceed, you need to know first how to choose a pasta sauce that’s good for you.

Look At The Ingredients

You can easily find the ingredients on the nutrition label.

Keep in mind that the ingredients are listed according to weight, with the highest amount listed first.

Choose pasta sauces that are made with tomatoes and other vegetables, herbs, and spices. Skip on white sauces or those with already added meat and cheese as these can be high in fat, sodium, and calories.

Many sauces have already added oil. Look for a sauce that uses extra virgin olive oil, instead of vegetable oils.

It is because extra virgin olive oil provides healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which is good cholesterol than oils with soybean or sunflower oil that are higher in omega-6 fatty acids.

You can also see in the ingredients if there’s any added sugar. However, the word sugar is not always listed as “sugar” in the ingredient list.

Other common names for sugar include sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, corn syrup, rice syrup, and more. Choose a sauce that indicates no added sugar.

Look At The Nutrition Facts

The next thing to look for is the nutrition facts.

You should see that the serving size for pasta sauce is ½ c for instance; well, it does not mean that you need to use ½ c for every serving. It’s just the nutrient levels listed on the label are based on ½ cup of sauce.

So, if you eat less than that, you will get less of the nutrients listed, and if you eat more, you will consume more of the nutrients listed.

This part also tells you how many calories are there per serving, as well as how much fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrate, and other nutrients are present in the sauce.

There are three major nutrients that I paid attention to fat, sodium, and sugar.

Fat

Let’s look at fat first.

On the label, you will see the total amount per serving as well the amount of saturated fat and trans-fat.

Choose a sauce with less than 2 grams or less of saturated fat. Look for brands that use extra virgin olive oil for their fat instead of other types of fat.

Sodium

Another thing to check for is the sodium content of the sauce since many pasta sauces are filled with excess sodium.

According to the U.S Dietary Guidelines, the recommended sodium intake must be less than 2,300 per day, which is equivalent to one teaspoon of salt.

However, some pasta sauces contain more than 500 mg per ½ cup alone. That’s a lot of sodium in one serving, right? So, what can you do to lessen your salt intake?

You need to look for a sauce that contains 350 to 400 mg of sodium or less. If you think it’s too bland and needs more flavor, you can always add more herbs and spices at home, while keeping the sodium within the minimal range.

Sugar

Figuring out how much sugar is present in your pasta sauce can be challenging.

Newer food labels directly indicate how much-added sugar is in their product, while some brands who haven’t switched yet to the new one will still have the total amount of sugar in one serving of their sauce.

Well, that can be worrisome since tomatoes, and other vegetables naturally contain sugar; therefore in the label, it will list an amount of sugar, including that naturally found in the ingredients together with the amount of added sugar.

Consider The Price And Taste

Aside from the sauce’s nutritional value, consider how much it cost and the quality of the taste.

Pasta sauces can range in price from as low as $1.50 to as high as $15 or more. That’s a big difference, and it’s okay to consider that, especially if you are tight on a budget yet you want to make quick pasta dishes.

In addition, check for the variations since different flavours with the same brand can also have other ingredients and nutritional stats, so better check the labels even when choosing between identical-looking sauces to avoid miscounting of calories and fats.

Top 7 Best Store-Bought Pasta Sauces

Mom’s Pasta Sauce, Garlic & Basil

If you are looking for a pasta sauce that tastes like homemade, why not try Mom’s pasta Sauce?

Mom’s Pasta Sauce uses only whole and fresh vegetables to just the right amount of herbs and spices, mixing and blending in to create authentic sauces rich in goodness.

Rest assured that each classic recipe is made only with the highest integrity having no guilty feeling.

This sauce is perfect if you have a very strict diet that requires low-fat consumption because it has 0% trans fat and saturated fat, which are known to be bad fats.

Another thing is that this sauce has no gluten, ideal for people who are sensitive to foods containing gluten. The Mom’s Pasta Sauce is made with lots of fresh whole garlic and fresh basil leaves that helps in prolonging its shelf-life.

Also, they use Sicilian olive oil and juicy sweet Californian tomatoes to create a unique and unforgettable dining experience that suits well with the Spaghetti.

You cannot find this sauce in just any local store, but you can check it out at Amazon for a hassle-free transaction.

Aside from garlic and basil, it has other flavours that you can choose from such as, garlic marinara, special marinara, puttanesca, and many more.

Pros:

  • Made from the finest ingredients
  • No added sugar and contains 0% trans and saturated fat
  • Homemade sauce with no artificial flavourings

Cons:

  • Cannot find on any local stores

Botticelli Pasta Sauce

It is made using traditional Italian recipes, Botticelli’s pasta sauce provides authentic Italian mouthwatering flavours to your favourite pasta dishes like Spaghetti, lasagna, meatball, seafood, and even on pizza.

You can enjoy your meals without feeling guilty since this sauce is low in sodium, low in carbs, sugar-free, does not contain trans and saturated fats, without sacrificing its rich and excellent flavor.

Each jar contains marinara sauce, tomato sauce with basil, and roasted garlic sauce that are carefully sealed and packaged to keep its freshness and overall quality so that it will not leak or break when delivered to your doorstep.

The best thing about this sauce is that the ingredients are carefully selected and cultivated to assure that only the finest ingredients will be contained in the jar. 

Just a bit background of the brand, Botticelli Foods USA is a family-owned business that started its operation in 2002.

Their main operation was originally in Puglia, Italy; that’s why if you notice they embody the Italian and Mediterranean flavor and traditions in their sauce.

Therefore, you should take pride in knowing that when you cook using Botticelli Pasta Sauce since you are using superior products made with authentic ingredients.

Pros:

  • Established in the food industry
  • Inspired with Italian and Mediterranean style
  • 100% money-back guarantee

Cons:

  • Need to add more herbs to enhance its rich flavour

BARILLA Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce Variety Pack

Another Italian-inspired sauce is BARILLA Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce.

It is made with fragrant, premium basil, 100% pure extra virgin olive oil and freshly-picked tomatoes, and the flavor of grilled or roasted chicken, boasting its natural, homemade taste of the sauce.

This premium BARILLA pasta sauce pack is a variety of two packs, including two jars of BARILLA Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce and two jars of BARILLA Traditional Pasta Sauce.

The difference between the two sauces is the tomato content, whereas the traditional pasta sauce has more diced tomatoes than the tomato and basil pasta sauce.

If you are looking at the nutrition facts, this sauce does not contain any harmful fats but includes 2g of added sugar.

Nonetheless, these pasta sauces are Non-GMO project verified and do not contain artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives.

In addition, the sauce is gluten-free, vegan, and egg-free, so if you have some allergies or you follow a rigorous diet, this sauce is the right for you.

This pasta sauce, as mentioned a while ago, is inspired by the food of Central Italy, a region where you can get the finest ingredients that can perfectly pair with your pasta.

Just a gentle reminder when cooking the sauce, make sure to heat it gently and stir it occasionally. Do not microwave the jar.

Pros:

  • Comes in two variety pack
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Perfect for vegan

Cons:

  • Contains added sugar

Hunt’s Chunky Vegetable Pasta Sauce

Savor the powerful flavor of Hunt’s pasta sauce, made from sun-ripened garden vegetables and a unique blend of herbs that is perfect for Spaghetti, lasagna, and other pasta dishes.

If you are looking for quick dinner ideas, this can of pasta sauce will be your go-to as it inspires restaurant-quality meals at home.

For every purchase of this pack, you will get 12 cans, each containing 24 ounces of pasta sauce. You can make around five servings per can, offering the best value for your money.

No worries if you are following a strict low-fat diet since Hunt’s Chunky Vegetable Pasta Sauce does not contain any saturated fat or trans fat that can be harmful to your health.

There are many varieties of flavors you can choose from: traditional pasta sauce, garlic and herb, Italian sausage, mushroom, and zesty pasta sauce, which you can add to your pantry for quick pasta meal ideas.

The possibilities are endless, you can add it in a hearty beef stew, meatball dishes, or mouthwatering marinara meals.

With Hunt’s established brands, you can easily buy it at your local store or check it out on Amazon for a hassle-free purchase.

Hunt’s always believe that great tasting meals start with great ingredients, so rest assured that every can of it is filled with flavorful ingredients.

Pros:

  • Best value for the money: each pack contains 12 cans of pasta sauce (24 ounces/can)
  • Offers many varieties of flavour to choose from
  • Made from quality ingredients

Cons:

  • Contains added sugar
  • Cans are dented

Classico Pasta Sauce, Tomato and Basil

Are you looking for a pasta sauce that offers the best value?

Why not try this pasta sauce from Classico. When you buy this sauce, you’ll receive three, 32 ounces jars of pasta sauce.

Nutrition fact check, it does not contain harmful fats and no added sugar; instead, it is rich with vitamins and minerals. It does not have too much sodium so that you can adjust it based on your preference.

This pasta sauce is made from quality-rich ingredients, such as fresh tomatoes, olive oil, and some herbs/spices like basil, garlic, onions, and other natural spices.

This pasta sauce comes in different sizes, and not all sizes are available in the market. Usually, markets carry only the smaller size; nonetheless, all sizes are available on Amazon.

Pros:

  • Comes in a bigger size
  • Does not contain artificial flavours
  • High-content of lycopene

Cons:

  • Some people find the sauce bland and thin

Rao’s Homestyle Bolognese Pasta Sauce

Rao’s Homestyle Bolognese Sauce is a premium, tomato-based pasta sauce that uses classic Italian recipes made from 100% Italian tomatoes, ground beef, ground pork, onion, olive oil, and pancetta.

With this authentic recipe, this sauce does not contain any added sugar, so rest assured you can enjoy this delicious, flavorful pasta sauce without feeling guilty.

Each batch of this sauce is slowly cooked in small batches using only hand-selected ingredients, creating a well-balanced, luscious pasta sauce that is sure to please everyone sitting in the table.

Not only a low-carb and low-fat pasta sauce, but it also does not contain any tomato blends, tomato paste, starches, or added colors. A bit of background about the brand, Rao’s hails from New York but brings authentic Italian cooking wherever you are.

This pasta sauce will be your go-to sauce for all kinds of pasta from tagliatelle to rigatoni. Open this jar of hearty pasta sauce and use it in your pasta recipes, as Rao’s Homestyle believes that a meal can delight the heart and captivate the senses of the people.

Pros:

  • Tomato-based pasta sauce
  • Slowly-cooked in small batches using fresh ingredients
  • Perfect for all types of pasta noodles

Cons:

  • A bit expensive

Prego Pasta Sauce, Flavored with Meat

Prego Pasta Sauce is made with sweet vine-ripened tomatoes, savory herbs, and seasonings that you can taste in every bite.

Whether you are in the mood for a zesty and creamy tomato sauce, Prego will surely bring an irresistible taste that your whole family will love.

Another thing to love for this pasta sauce is its nutritional content that is low in fat and sodium. It is naturally gluten-free; therefore, people with allergies to gluten-based products can also enjoy this sauce.

With freshly-picked tomatoes as the number one ingredient, it is no wonder that each ½ cup serving delivers 40% of your daily vegetable needs.

Preparing this pasta sauce is simple and easy, saute the sauce in a pan with onion, carrots, bell pepper, and other herbs to enhance its flavor or you can use it as a base for your recipe.

Each jar contains 67 ounces of pasta sauce, quickly enough for multiple dinners and potluck. And with a variety of sauces to suit every diet, there’s something for everyone at the table.

Pros:

  • Made from vine-ripened tomatoes, herbs, flavorful meat, and other seasonings
  • Naturally gluten-free
  • Larger quantity

Cons:

  • Contains added sugar

How Long Does Spaghetti Sauce Last?

The shelf of spaghetti sauce, pasta sauce or tomato sauce depends on several factors, such as best by date, the preparation method, and the way how it is stored.

It is often tomato-based but also comes in a variety of other bases, like cream. Well, red pasta sauce comes in handy for use in many different dishes aside from Spaghetti.

Keep in mind that once spaghetti sauce is opened, whether it came from a can, jar, or homemade spaghetti sauce should be kept stored in the refrigerator and must be used within 5 to 10 days, depending on the brand of the sauce.

Most store-bought spaghetti sauce does not have any preservatives. Therefore, make sure to cook the sauce if it has been opened and stored in the fridge for more than five days.

Toss the sauce if it has been kept for more than ten days or if you see signs of mold formation.

Here is a quick timeline of how long can you store different pasta sauces, whether it’s unopened or opened.

PRODUCTUNOPENED (PANTRY)OPENED (REFRIGERATOR)
 Past Printed DateAfter Opening
Tomato-based pasta sauce1 year5 to 10 days
Cream-based pasta sauce6 to 8 months7 days
Oil-based pasta sauce1 year2 weeks

The most crucial thing with spaghetti sauce is that the jar lid must not be popped or raised before opening. If the cover is raised, you may ask for a refund to the store.

How To Tell If The Spaghetti Sauce Is Rotten Or Spoiled?

Maintaining proper hygiene and food safety techniques will help in preventing the growth of foodborne illness.

Spaghetti sauce will begin to darken from bright red to maroon color and will become thicker over time. After the eat by date has passed, it will start to form some molds, even in the refrigerator.

If there are any visible molds, the entire jar must be thrown away, even if you see it on the lid of the jar.

Of course, there are certain health risks associated with spoiled food, so make sure to practice food safety hygiene and enjoy the food before they expire.

How To Store Spaghetti Sauce To Extend Its Shelf Life?

You can prolong the shelf-life of spaghetti sauce by storing it in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container to prevent spoilage and contaminants. For a long term option, you can place the spaghetti sauce in heavy-duty freezer bags in the freezer.

There are some benefits of proper food storage, such as cutting food cost, eating healthier, and helping the environment through limited waste, so make sure to store the food properly.

Takeaway

Store-bought spaghetti sauces are your go-to if you want to create quick pasta dishes. Though they may taste bland at first, you can transform it into something even tastier with the additions of some seasoning like herbs, spices, meat, and cheese.

Different brands of pasta sauces have different nutritional facts, so make sure to check the label at the back to see the content of the sauce, whether it has high cholesterol content, sugar, or sodium.

Another thing to consider with store-bought pasta sauces are their storage, make sure to consume it before its expiry date; otherwise, it will be tossed in the trash can.

Photo credit: ©canva.com/Rus32, ©canva.com/Natasha Breen, ©canva.com/OksanaKiian

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