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Taste test: pizza sauces, Part 2

Last week, we brought you three of our top picks from a sampling of nine brands of pizza sauce. With spring sports seasons ramping up, we expect a lot of families will be eating pizza the next few months. Instead of ordering takeout, our judges want to make more of their own pizzas at home. This week, we tried another nine brands of pizza sauce to see if any would work on a homemade pie after a busy day at work, school or a long practice.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
Rao's Homemade 68Del Grosso 52Ragu Traditional 50

Rao's offering of pizza sauce was described as festive by one of our judges. Another said it was bright and appealing with its big flecks of herbs. This sauce also was sweeter than most of the others. "It would go with a lot of different toppings," said one panelist. The sauce had a bold tomato flavor without being too pasty. Judges said this would be their go-to sauce for a "neutral" base onto which they would add multiple toppings.This sauce was the opposite of the sweet varieties. Judges appreciated the saltier flavor and chunky texture, saying it almost had a little crunch to the bite. "It's surprisingly good and would be great on its own or as a foundation for additives. I think it's got a great balance of acidic and salty flavors," said one judge. "I would love to use this to try to duplicate the anchovy and green olive pizza I had this summer in Venice," said another.This popular sauce brand was thick and shiny. Judges liked the ratio of tomato and herbs in the sauce. One particularly liked the deep, brick color of the sauce. Another compared the color and texture to barbecue sauce. Panelists suggested this sauce could support larger and spicier toppings from sausage to peppers.

they buy?
All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.Two of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information$5.49 for a 13-ounce jar from Publix.$3.49 for a 13.5-ounce jar from Publix.$1.54 for a 14-ounce jar from Walmart.

Also Sampled: Del Fratelli ($1.38 for a 15-ounce can from Walmart, 40 points); L.E. Roselli's (4.95 for a 15.5-ounce jar from Publix, 44 points); Great Value ($1.14 for a 14-ounce jar from Walmart, 49 points); Trader Giotto's ($1.99 for a 16-ounce jar from Trader Joe's, 34 points); Cucina Antica ($5.99 for a 16-ounce jar from the Fresh Market, 30 points); and Rustic Crust ($4.99 for a 12-ounce pouch from the Fresh Market, 40 points).

Panelists: Janet Keeler, assistant professor of journalism at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and editorial director of; John Hehn, foodie and owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; Mary Jane Park, executive director of the St. Petersburg Warehouse Arts District Association; and Laura Reiley, Times food critic. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving sizeOne-third cupOne-fourth cupOne-fourth cup
Fat/Fiber4g / 1g3g / 1g1.5g / 1g
Sugars/Sodium2g / 180mg2g / 210mg3g / 390mg
Carbs/Protein2g / 1g4g / 1g6g / 1g

Taste test: pizza sauces, Part 2 02/22/16 [Last modified: Monday, February 22, 2016 10:30am]
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