In a perfect world, we’d spend the whole day traipsing around the house and humming while our homemade tomato sauce simmers on the stove for 12 hours. In reality, we’re lucky if we have 30 seconds to crack open a jar of pasta sauce and dump it on top of some spaghetti. Luckily, these five stellar grocery store sauces are doing the heavy lifting for us.

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tomato sauce lidias

Tastes Like Your Grandma Made It: Lidia’s Marinara Sauce

OK, our grandma was a native New Yorker who didn’t know how to boil water, but someone’s grandma probably makes a sauce just like this. Celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich has bottled her famous sauce recipe, and she doesn’t skimp on the high-quality ingredients (ooh, Italian plum tomatoes). But warning: It’s a little garlicky, so you might want to chew some gum afterward.

Buy the sauce ($8)

Newman’s Own

Sauce That Gives Back: Newman’s Own Organic Tomato and Basil

While you’re watching Netflix on the couch with a bowl of ravioli, you could also be helping kids in need. This tangy, hearty sauce is delicious enough to stand on its own, but it gets extra bonus points because 100 percent of the profits are donated to the Newman’s Own Foundation, a charitable organization created by the late actor Paul Newman.

Buy the Sauce ($3)

tomato sauce wholefoods
Whole Foods

If You’re Trying to Eat Healthier: Whole Foods 365 Organic Marinara

You know when it’s Wednesday night, and you know you really should be eating chicken breast with steamed vegetables, but you really, really want spaghetti? Cook some whole-wheat noodles in this totally-good-for-you sauce, made with organic tomatoes and extra-virgin olive oil. It’s basically a salad. 

Buy the Sauce ($3)

tomato sauce joes
Trader Joe’s

Best Buy: Trader Giotto’s Organic Marinara Sauce

Honestly? We have a gigantic crush on Trader Joe. So naturally, his Italian alter-ego’s tomato sauce is up there on our list. Best of all, it’s really, really cheap. So don’t feel bad about filling a whole cupboard with this rich, no-frills pasta sauce. It’ll be your reliable standby. 

Buy the Sauce ($2)

tomato sauce raos

Favorite Splurge: Rao’s Marinara Sauce

If you ever see this stuff on sale, stock up. It’s our favorite overall in both taste and consistency, but it’s definitely more than we’d like to pay for a jar of sauce. Still, this slow-cooked gravy from the iconic invite-only restaurant in New York City is last-meal good. The depth of flavor is so complex (mmm, sweet, salty, basily), you could easily fool anyone into thinking it’s homemade. So on a special occasion, it’s definitely worth the splurge.

Buy the sauce ($11)

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