What's Your Favorite Type Of Pasta Sauce To Make? - Exclusive Survey

Although fresh pasta isn't always better than dried, it's hard to imagine any pasta sauce for which the best version isn't one you can make yourself. Take Bolognese, for example. This richly layered tomato-based meat sauce notably benefits from lengthy simmering, and that's more workable if you're starting the sauce from scratch. Another example is carbonara. Sure, there might be some decent-enough jarred carbonara sauces out there. But can any jarred carbonara ever meaningfully compete with a fresh carbonara sauce – you know, that silken concoction you get from tossing egg yolks, bacon, and Parmesan cheese with hot pasta and a splash of pasta water?

Knowing how much our readers love cooking, we were bemused to learn neither Bolognese nor carbonara got much love from a recent Tasting Table survey — one asking respondents to name their favorite pasta sauce to make themselves. After all, here are two pasta sauces for which store-bought is at a significant disadvantage. On the other hand, we recognize other factors often get in the of people's ambitions for cooking at home — for example, the availability (or lack thereof) of time, ingredients, and/or money.

In any event, we gave our respondents a list of six popular pasta sauces: Alfredo, Bolognese, carbonara, marinara, pesto, and vodka. Then we instructed our respondents to pick only one they would make at home. What we did not instruct our respondents was that two-thirds of them should all pick the same one or two. But that's what happened, just the same.

Marinara and Alfredo are your favorite sauces to make

In an exclusive survey, Tasting Table asked 601 readers, "What's your favorite type of pasta sauce to make yourself?" while giving them the options of Alfredo, Bolognese, carbonara, marinara, pesto, and vodka.  

Of the 601 people who responded, 203 (33.78%) said marinara was their favorite pasta sauce to make at home. We can't say we're surprised, considering the popularity of marinara sauce, which despite its seafaring name, is not made of seafood, but tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Also, we had the benefit of already knowing the great esteem in which our readers hold marinara sauce among jarred sauces in general. 

Following very close behind marinara was Alfredo sauce, which 190 respondents (31.61%) said was their favorite pasta sauce to make. After marinara and Alfredo cleaned up, that left just over 300 votes to be shared among the remaining four. And share those votes they did, although not equally — not even close. Pesto sauce got 81 votes, or 13.4% of the total, followed by vodka sauce, with 59 (9.82%). 

Then we have Bolognese and carbonara bringing up the rear. Only 41 respondents say Bolognese is their favorite pasta sauce to make. That represents just 6.82% while carbonara sauce's share amounted to only 27 of our 601 respondents (4.49%). 

The results might have surprised us a little bit since Bolognese and carbonara sauce are well worth the effort to make at home, but, honestly, we're happy any time someone's cooking.