Is Rao’s marinara sauce good?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Is Rao’s marinara sauce good? We will teach you how to make your own version of Rao marinara sauce, and what substitutes you can use for this delicious sauce. 

Is Rao’s marinara sauce good?

Rao’s marinara sauce is not only good, but it is literally the only sauce you will ever buy. There are two reasons for this: the first has to do with the quality of the sauce itself. It’s just that good. It has the perfect amount of flavor and seasoning, and the consistency is nice, as in, not too runny, not too thick. Basically, it’s their “super sauce.”

The ingredients are simple, and the line is exactly what you would find in a recipe for most homemade marinaras: Italian tomatoes, olive oil, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Unlike many canned tomato sauces, this one has no added sugar, preservatives, or colorants, so every small but powerful ingredient in the sauce has its moment in the limelight.

I  like to mix it with al dente penne or fusilli, along with frozen peas and small chunks of fresh mozzarella, it’s the most sublimely comforting dinner of the week. You can also use it to make manicotti, tomato soup, or as a dip for mozzarella sticks. (The sky’s the limit here folks).

The other reason it’s such a hit has to do with the mysterious allure of the legendary restaurant the sauce originated from Rao in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood.

But practically speaking, a jar of Rao’s marinara sauce (inspired by the original recipe used at the restaurant, confirmed by a company brand manager) is the closest thing I will probably have for dinner at Rao’s. And honestly, that’s fine with me. I’d rather be sitting comfortably at home in my pajamas, anyway, with a hot plate of pasta and the latest stranger episode most nights.

Homemade Rao Marinara Sauce

To make your own Rao Marinara sauce you will need:

  • Four 28-ounce cans of whole tomatoes with basil, preferably from San Marzano
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, torn (optional)
  • Pinch of dried oregano

Steps to follow:

  1. Remove tomatoes from the can and place in a large bowl, reserving juices. Crush the tomatoes with your hands; remove and discard the hardcore from the end of the stem, and any resistant layers and membranes; set aside.
  1. Place the oil in a large, non-reactive saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until soft and just starting to brown about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until soft, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and reserved juices; season with salt. Increase the heat and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 1 hour.
  1. Add the basil, if using, the oregano, and season with pepper; continue cooking 1 minute more. Remove from the fire and serve.

Other FAQs about Sauces which you may be interested in.

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The best marinara sauce brands

Marinara sauce can thus be served with pasta, but also crab, shrimp, pizzas, poultry and to coat poultry and meat croquettes. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for a week, and then you can freeze it.

In order to use it after defrosting, you will need to heat it until it boils and you can simmer for 5 minutes before serving. Note that it is also possible to take your sauce with you to keep it for the long term.

Some of the best marinara sauce brands that are worth mentioning are:

Marinara sauce is slightly spicy, sweet, sour, it is an ideal tomato sauce for everything, pasta, meatballs, even for those who fast with a peasant cake and why not for pizza.

Once you have to try it and you will suddenly fall in love with it. Simple to make with ingredients available to anyone, it will surely succeed even the most clumsy in the kitchen!

What can I use as a substitute for marinara sauce? 

If you are looking for a substitute for marinara sauce opt for tomato sauce combined with water. You just need to mix tomato sauce and water in equal parts in a bowl and mix well. This gives you a substitute for tomato juice. You can add a little pinch of salt to make it even better. 

Don’t have a heavy hand! This “homemade” derivative of tomato juice can then be consumed as a drink, or in a cocktail like real tomato juice. You can add celery salt, tabasco, or even Worcestershire sauce. There are many recipes that allow you to make homemade tomato juice. But the ideal remains the mixture of tomato sauce and water. 

Final thoughts

Marinara sauce is a popular Italian sauce, made with tomatoes, onions, and herbs, making it a bit spicier than other tomato sauces. You can easily reproduce this sauce at home. There are many alternatives to marinara sauce, four of them considered to be both delicious and healthy options! 

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.