10 Prego Sauces, Ranked

If you want to make the best possible pasta sauce at home, preparing it from scratch is the way to go. But on those nights when you just can't imagine chopping up a clove of garlic — let alone standing over a simmering pot for 45 minutes — store-bought pasta sauces will do the trick. One brand you'll likely see at most grocery stores is Prego, which offers an easy and accessible way to dress up a bowl of pasta when you don't have much time to cook.

Frankly, it's not really surprising Prego trounced the competition in a Tasting Table survey of store-bought pasta sauces. The brand boasts a wide variety of flavors ranging from red sauces, like marinara, to white sauces, such as Alfredo. Of course, if you're just starting to dip your toe into the Prego sauce pool, you may be unsure about where to begin.

Well, worry no more. I taste-tested — and then ranked — 10 popular Prego premade sauce flavors. After heating each sauce up, I sampled them on their own (to really hone in on the different textures and flavors present), and with small portions of freshly cooked rotini to see how each performs with pasta. Without further ado, here are 10 Prego pasta sauces ranked from worst to best.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer/distributor/etc.

10. Homestyle Alfredo

Prego may not have the worst jarred Alfredo in the world. Then again, Alfredo sauce doesn't necessarily taste very good much of the time, either. It's often super creamy, but lacks the flavor that really makes a sauce interesting. That's definitely the case when it comes to Prego Homestyle Alfredo, which is why it's ranked in last place.

This white sauce actually looks good at first glance. It's velvety-looking appearance is immediately appealing when you open the jar. Although that texture is lovely when it's combined with pasta, that's really all the sauce has going for it. There's a cheesy quality present when it comes to flavor, but the garlic is barely perceptible. After a few bites, it starts to taste exceptionally bland, basically begging for some hot sauce or freshly cracked black pepper.

While you can always add additional seasoning, the whole point of a jarred pasta sauce is to reduce the need for those normally required efforts. Given that, anyone who prefers more complex tasting and acidic sauces will find Prego Homestyle Alfredo doesn't cut it. Since it can't top any of the brand's other premade sauces, it comes in last.

9. Creamy Parmesan Pesto

If you're looking for a sauce that's just creamy (with not much else going on), you're best off opting for Prego Creamy Parmesan Pesto rather than its Homestyle Alfredo. This isn't the best sauce in the brand's lineup by any means, as it's lacking a lot of flavor — which is why its near the bottom of this list. But you can taste the Parmesan, and there's also a lovely, floral hint of basil. However, that basil flavor is mostly overpowered by the sauce itself, which is just ... creamy.

This sauce is truly all about texture. It's extremely smooth, and it really fills your mouth, so you don't need or want to use too much of it. Of course, that may be exactly what some people are looking for in a sauce — certain folks prefer something super basic for dinner, after all. If you're looking for bold, intense flavor, though, Prego Creamy Parmesan Pesto probably isn't for you. It's best for those who tend to favor blander, less intense flavors, which doesn't make it a bad sauce, per se — just a fairly uninteresting one.

8. Creamy Basil Pesto

If you're buying a product that says "pesto" on the label, you presumably want to actually taste basil. Now, you won't get an overwhelmingly strong basil note from Prego Creamy Parmesan Pesto (and certainly not the great flavor of fresh, hand-torn basil). But when you opt for the brand's Creamy Basil Pesto, instead, you'll be able to pick up that herbal note quite a bit more.

This sauce is a great choice for those who are always adding more basil to their homemade pasta sauces. The flavor is bold and intense, but it's not completely overwhelming. Of course, you shouldn't expect a typical pesto sauce here. Rather, this is more of an Alfredo-style sauce with a strong pesto flavor. It's a nice replacement for an otherwise boring white sauce — which is why it ranks above the bottom two sauces — although it's not as light, fresh, or herbal as a traditional pesto.

The main problem with this sauce is the lack of acidity. There's nothing to cut through that intensely creamy texture, so after a few bites, you might be craving a salad that features lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, or pickles to balance out all that fattiness. Overall, the sauce isn't bad, it's just far from the best that Prego offers, so it comes near the bottom.

7. Traditional

Sometimes, you don't want anything fancy or out of the ordinary. When you just prefer an old standby that you can be enjoyed on even the most casual nights, that's where Prego Traditional sauce comes in. This classic red sauce is as unfussy as it gets. It tastes like olive oil, fresh tomatoes, and garlic, though none of these flavors are too intense or overwhelming. There's a nice acidity here from the tomatoes, too, but it's balanced by the other flavors present in the sauce. Nothing jumps out at you — it's simple to the core.

This kind of sauce is great to have on hand, especially if you're planning on adding other ingredients to a pasta dish. Prego Traditional sauce isn't going to clash with any savory ingredients and works well in the background, too, which is why it ranks ahead of the bottom three entries.

That being said, this isn't the most interesting sauce in the Prego lineup, and there are other red sauces that pack more of a punch in terms of both texture and flavor. Simply put, when you're looking for the basics, Prego Traditional Sauce has you covered. Otherwise, there are better options from the brand to explore.

6. Creamy Roasted Garlic Pesto

Looking for a creamy, pesto-based sauce that packs just enough flavor into every bite? You may want to check out Prego Creamy Roasted Garlic Pesto. In general, I found the brand's creamier sauces to be a bit boring, but the roasted garlic used in this recipe takes this particular variety to a whole new level.

The garlic flavor is pronounced, which gives this creamy sauce the kick of flavor it needs to reach new heights of deliciousness. Plus, the roasted garlic adds a touch of sweetness to any dish, which will certainly be the case when you use this sauce in your favorite pasta recipe.

Ultimately, this is still a cream-based sauce that lacks the acidity offered by a good tomato-based sauce, which is why it places in the middle of the rankings. But if you're craving a rich, indulgent white sauce that's not too basic or bland, the Creamy Roasted Garlic Pesto is worth grabbing. Don't be afraid to sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top to highlight that cheesy note, as well.

5. Chunky Garden Combo

When you want to enjoy a bowl of pasta that tastes at least somewhat light and healthy, but aren't up for chopping up a bunch of vegetables while the pasta is boiling, Prego Chunky Garden Combo sauce is probably just what you're looking for. This is one of Prego's most veggie-forward sauce options, which you can taste as soon as you take a bite. The sauce is filled with vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, green peppers, onions, and tomatoes, which are all broken down into chunks in the sauce.

Consequently, the vegetables are actually visible in the sauce, which really allows you to pick out the individual flavors and ingredients. Now, although this sauce is undoubtedly Italian-inspired, it's also somewhat salsa adjacent when you consider its chunky texture, which is why it ranks below the top four options. Still, it's light, fresh, and just what you want on a day when pasta sounds delicious and a rich, creamy sauce won't make the cut. You can even add other vegetables to the mix, or just use this sauce on its own for an incredibly easy (and relatively healthy) pasta experience.

4. Sweet Sausage and Roasted Peppers

Many jarred and canned pasta sauce brands don't contain any meat, and those that do tend to give you very insubstantial quantities. Yet that's not the case with Prego Sweet Sausage and Roasted Peppers sauce. This is definitely one of the better flavors in this ranking, with its generous hunks of sausage, chunky tomatoes, onions, and roasted peppers providing a palpable sweetness. Unlike so many other store-bought pasta sauces on the market, this one actually feels hearty — and somewhat akin to a homemade recipe.

Although the Sweet Sausage and Roasted Peppers sauce was definitely one of my faves from Prego, it falls short of third place thanks to just how sweet it is. This can be really nice, since it balances out the acidity of the tomatoes. But for a lot of pasta eaters, that sweetness might be too much. Balance it out with plenty of salt, then, or consider opting for one of the three top-ranked sauces instead.

3. Roasted Garlic & Herb

When you choose Prego Roasted Garlic & Herb sauce, you're getting something that packs a lot of punch in terms of flavor, while remaining versatile enough to be layered with other ingredients. Now, Prego definitely didn't skimp on the garlic in this recipe, and you can smell an intense garlicky scent as soon as you open the jar. Yet it also has a lovely floral, vegetal aroma — the type you would expect from an herb-focused sauce, helping it rank third.

While there's a lot of flavor in this sauce already, it still works really well with other additions such as meat or vegetables. Additionally, although the Roasted Garlic & Herb sauce is delicious, it's also pretty simple in terms of ingredients. It's something that's likely easy to make at home (such as using garlic butter for a simple yet flavorful sauce), so this option is best when you don't want to put any extra effort into a pasta dish. Prego may offer a pair of sauce options that are more interesting and difficult to replicate, but the Roasted Garlic & Herb is still one of its best.

2. Garlic & Caramelized Onion Alfredo

As mentioned, there are a lot of very average Alfredo sauces on the market. For example, most of the creamier options on this list are more about texture than flavor, which probably isn't what most pasta lovers are looking for. But Prego Garlic & Caramelized Onion Alfredo sauce comes in second place because it proves that a strong, bold flavor and a lovely, creamy texture can coexist.

The caramelized onion in this sauce is a really nice touch, as it offers both a savory and a sweet note to the sauce. Those notes are accompanied by a strong touch of garlic, which shouldn't disappoint even the most avowed garlic lover. The result is intensely creamy and flavorful — in other words, a sauce that doesn't need a bunch of extra herbs or seasonings.

Is this a pasta sauce that's as essential or as versatile as a tomato-based sauce? No. I'll always place creamy sauces second to tomato ones when it comes to pasta. But this sauce is about as good as Alfredo ever gets, and it just misses the top spot as a result. It's definitely worth a try if you don't have the time or energy to make a tasty sauce from scratch.

1. Spicy Marinara

It's true that spicy pasta sauces aren't for everyone. If you have an intolerance towards (or a distaste for) spicy foods in general, then Prego Spicy Marinara is definitely not for you. Still, it's one of the better jarred spicy marinara sauces on the market, and the best sauce that Prego offers, period.

Vine-ripened tomatoes make for a slightly sweet but mostly acidic base, with just the right amount of heat causing your tongue to tingle with every bite of pasta. Admittedly, this is probably not the spiciest pasta sauce you'll ever have, so if you really love spicy foods? You might want to add some dried chili flakes, too, just to up the heat factor a bit.

Then again, the spice level in Prego Spicy Marinara is ideal for appealing to a wide audience, which is probably what the brand was looking to accomplish with this recipe. With a thick, noodle-coating texture and herby, fresh background flavors, this sauce was definitely the best of the bunch from Prego.


I taste-tested all 10 pasta sauces on the same day before ranking them. First, I heated them on the stove, then tried them on their own to determine what they tasted like without any additional ingredients. Next, I combined the sauce with small portions of freshly cooked quinoa and brown rice rotini (cooked separately from the sauces) to get a better sense of how they tasted in their intended format.

I chose this type of pasta because the ridges in the noodles hold onto sauce well, and this pasta has a fairly innocuous flavor. The particular flavors for this ranking were selected and sent to me by Prego, though this did not influence the rankings. The rankings and opinions are based on my own firsthand experience.