Best Arrabbiata Sauce for a Spicy Pasta Dinner

I know drinking milk with dinner is weird unless you’re seven, but the best arrabbiata sauce makes regression seem like a good idea. If you’re not familiar, arrabbiata sauce is basically marinara with red pepper flakes added for heat. If you like spicy food and you like a big plate of pasta drenched in nice, oily red sauce, arrabbiata is a revelation. 

When we set out to find the best jarred arrabbiata sauce we basically wanted everything you’ll find in the best marinara sauce—deep, savory tomato flavor, garlic, basil, and fresh-tasting oil—but with a nice amount of heat. Could you just buy marinara sauce and add dried red pepper? Sure, but we think you should leave it to the experts. This is the best jarred arrabbiata sauce we found in an in-office taste test.

truff arrabbiata sauce review

Honorable Mention

Truff Black Truffle Arrabbiata

This was a little oily for my taste, but we decided it deserves a spot on this list, especially for people who like the umami, almost astringent flavor of black truffle oil. It makes sense that this sauce is oily, so it gets a pass. Also, my colleague Jordan Myrick absolutely loved it. Slickness aside, the sauce is a little chunky—serve this with rigatoni and it’ll nestle really nicely into the tubes. Basically, if you love truffles, this is the best arrabbiata by a mile. 

Credit: Merc / Walmart




michaels of brooklyn arrabbiata review

Best Pepper Flavor

Michaels of Brooklyn Arrabbiata

With a lot of arrabbiata sauce you get red pepper heat, but you don’t necessarily get red pepper flavor. But when I took a bite of this Michaels of Brooklyn arrabbiata, I got a nice, fresh red pepper flavor right away. In fact, hot peppers are the second ingredient listed on the jar. This jarred arrabbiata sauce made me crave a sausage and peppers sandwich. And this might sound nuts, but I really think you could add some heavy cream to this and eat it as a bisque. Worth noting: Michaels of Brooklyn sauces come in gigantic jars, perfect for lots of big meals. 

Credit: Merc / Vons




delallo arrabbiata review

Best Spicy

Delallo Spicy Arrabbiata

When you first take a bite of this sauce, you get big, sweet, fresh Roma tomato flavor. It’s delightful. But as you continue to eat, the capsaicin from the hot red red peppers really kicks in and heats up your mouth and lips. It’s the best arrabbiata sauce if you really want spice. 

Credit: Merc / Ralphs




best mild arrabbiata sauce

Best Mild

Carbone Arrabbiata

If you’re buying arrabbiata because you really want to wreck your tongue, Carbone Arrabbiata probably isn’t for you. It’s got spice, but not a lot. If you don’t love spicy food or you’re sensitive to pepper flakes in particular (my husband is), this is the best jarred arrabbiata sauce out there. Still, the red pepper is there, along with lots of oil and a rich garlic flavor. I’ve never made fried calamari from scratch, but if I ever did, this is what I’d buy to use as a dipping sauce. It’s delicious.

Credit: Merc / Vons




rao's arrabbiata review

Best of the Best

Rao’s Arrabbiata

I mean, is it too predictable that Rao’s is number one on this list? They make the best marinara sauce and the best jarred meat sauce, so, yeah, shocker, they make the best arrabbiata sauce, too. It has all the rich, savory flavor of the marinara with a satisfying burst of heat on the back. It’s more balanced than the other sauces on this list, too. It’s got a nice, subdued sweetness to counter the salt (some commenters have complained that Rao’s sauces can tend to be too salty, but I have to politely disagree). Whether you’re pairing this with pasta or chicken parm, it’s going to be great. And spicy. 

Credit: Merc / Target




Other products we tried: O Organics Arrabbiata, Signature Reserve Pasta Sauce, Porcini & Black Truffle Arrabbiata

About the Author

Gwynedd Stuart

Gwynedd Stuart, Sporked’s managing editor, is an L.A.-based writer and editor who spends way, way too much time at the grocery store. She’s never met an Old El Paso taco or mozzarella stick she didn’t like.