8 Store-Bought Vegan Creamy Pasta Sauces, Ranked Worst To Best

8 sauce jars on table
8 sauce jars on table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

While more and more vegan grocery products have been appearing on the shelves over the years, they're still not as widespread as traditional options, and creamy pasta sauce is no exception. There are several ways to add creaminess without using animal products if you're trying to make one at home. You can make creamy vegan sauce with beans or base a non-dairy pasta sauce on blended cashews. Pesto lovers will find that extra-firm tofu is key to making plant-based pesto.

But sometimes, you want the convenience of grabbing a jar of store-bought, ready-to-eat sauce. Vegan pasta sauces aren't that hard to find. Many regular jarred sauces from common brands are actually vegan. Bolognese, five-cheese, and traditional vodka sauces certainly contain animal products, but tomato- and vegetable-based sauces like marinara, tomato and basil, mushroom, and garlic and herb sauces often are vegan, even though they're not marketed specifically as such.

On the other hand, finding sauces that are both vegan and creamy on the supermarket shelf is harder. But many people who avoid dairy love a creamy bite of pasta, too. If you're thinking of trying these, it may be hard to tell which ones to buy. We tasted a selection of sauces available in local stores and online to try to provide some helpful information. We based our ranking primarily on taste, but we considered some other factors like color, texture, and creaminess as well. More information about our methodology can be found at the end of this article.

Read more: 44 Types Of Pasta And When You Should Be Using Them

8. Primal Kitchen No Dairy Alfredo Sauce

vegan alfredo sauce on table
vegan alfredo sauce on table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

This sauce, unfortunately, takes last place. We can only describe the odor as unpleasant. It was perhaps a bit garlicky, but it was hard to tell. Visually, the color was a mix between beige and gray, which didn't bother us at first because we understand that a vegan Alfredo recipe won't necessarily have the bright white color of a traditional Alfredo sauce made with cream. However, we found the chunky texture and the way the sauce stuck together to be unappealing. When we turned the can upside down, all of the sauce moved to the other end of the jar in a solid mass, and it retained the shape of the jar just like canned cranberry sauce does, perhaps because of the included tapioca starch, which is very binding. We needed to break up the sauce with a spoon before we could get it out.

We thought that heating it would smooth out the texture, and it did melt a little, but the chunks remained. It also filled the kitchen with an unpleasant smell as it warmed up. The taste was strong, with a sharp flavor we would describe as lemony, but the overall flavor was not pleasant. The tangy flavor may have come from the nutritional yeast, which some people love but not everyone appreciates. We didn't like the texture either, which was chunky and a bit slimy. We only managed one small taste.

7. Credo Foods Roasted Garlic Alfredo

jarred alfredo sauce on table
jarred alfredo sauce on table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

We had to order the Credo sauces online, so they weren't as easy to find as the ones we picked up in local stores. The jar of roasted garlic Alfredo sauce from Credo had cute illustrations on the label, and the sauce had a creamy beige color, which looked nice. Unfortunately, after opening the jar, we noticed a sharp, unpleasant odor. The texture was smooth and creamy and on the heavier side, which could have been nice, but it was also a bit slimy and greasy. Instead of falling off of the spoon easily, it clung to it and dripped off slowly.

We didn't find the taste pleasant. It was sharp, with an unusual flavor. The ingredients include cashew butter, nutritional yeast, and tapioca flour, which seemed responsible for some taste and creaminess. We wanted to like it because of the cute packaging and the company philosophy, but it was hard to find something positive to say about the taste and the smell. After we finished trying some of the test bowls, the taste clung to the tongue and left a strange tingling sensation, and we didn't want to try more.

6. Credo Foods Plant-Based Alfredo Rosa Sauce

pink alfredo sauce in jar
pink alfredo sauce in jar - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

The Alfredo rosa sauce from Credo came in the same cute jar as their roasted garlic Alfredo sauce in the ranking right behind this one, and it also had to be ordered online. First, the color was nice. It was a pale mix of beige and orange with some red and dark brown speckles. The texture was smooth and creamy but not light. The ingredients include pumpkin seed butter, tapioca flour, and nutritional yeast, which contribute to the taste and creamy texture.

We were excited to try this one because Alfredo Rosa seemed like a delicious idea (Rosa means pink in Italian). What's not to love about combining a creamy sauce with tomato sauce? Unfortunately, we didn't enjoy the smell or the taste. It didn't have a good smell – in fact, it was quite strong and unpleasant. The same was true for the taste, which was strong and biting. We tasted a small amount but had to stop there.

5. Victoria Fine Foods Original Vegan Alfredo Sauce

white jarred sauce on table
white jarred sauce on table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

The appearance of this sauce was close to traditional Alfredo sauce. It was white, creamy, and thick and dropped off the spoon like a classic Alfredo sauce too. The difference was it had some very small, gritty pieces in it, which we assumed were ground nuts. Checking the label after the tasting, we saw the first ingredient was cashew cream, which is commonly used to make vegan dishes creamy and has a fairly neutral taste on its own. We liked all of the above.

However, we didn't like the smell of this sauce. The taste was a little strange, and we didn't enjoy it. We could tolerate the taste, which wasn't very bad, but we couldn't see ourselves eating a whole bowl. Although we didn't like the smell or taste, it didn't have a really strong, sharp smell like the ones we ranked below this one, and it also didn't have any particular bad taste that stood out, so we gave it a medium ranking.

4. Victoria Fine Foods Roasted Pepper Vegan Alfredo Sauce

red alfredo sauce in jar
red alfredo sauce in jar - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

We liked the visual appeal of this sauce, which had a pretty medium orange color. It was nice and creamy, and like the other Victoria sauce ranked just above it, it contained small gritty bits we assumed were nuts. Checking the label after the tasting, we saw it contained cashew cream as the first ingredient, which made it creamy. We found the aroma to be neutral. We gave this sauce a medium position in our ranking but ranked it higher than the other sauce with a medium ranking (the Victoria Alfredo sauce just behind this one) since we didn't find the smell unpleasant.

We noticed a slightly nutty taste, as well as a particular vegetable taste that we were sure wasn't tomato, but we weren't exactly sure what it was because an aftertaste partially covered it. Looking at the jar after the tasting, we realized this taste came from the roasted red peppers, which were the second ingredient. The flavor was okay – it wasn't bad, but the aftertaste kept it from being good.

3. Livwell Foods Creamy Roman Cauliflower Alfredo Plant-Based Pasta Sauce

pasta and sauce on table
pasta and sauce on table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

This is the first sauce with a high ranking on our list. We were very curious to try it since the first ingredient was cauliflower – making it unique – and it contained an ingredient list of just a few whole foods (plus citric acid). The cauliflower gave it a creamy white color similar to the color of the Victoria original vegan Alfredo sauce above. It was textured, with small pieces of cauliflower that were consistent throughout the sauce. We found the texture pleasant, as it seemed light and fluffy, achieving creaminess without heaviness.

We considered the smell to be good. It certainly was not unpleasant or neutral, but we wouldn't call it great. The same went for the taste. We thought it tasted good, with a lemony, almost sweet taste (in fact, the ingredients include onion and lemon). It wasn't our favorite sauce, but we could enjoy it, and it grew on us the more we ate it. It didn't have any strange odors or flavors.

2. Livwell Foods Creamy Tuscan Vegetable & Herb Plant-Based Pasta Sauce

jarred vegetable sauce on table
jarred vegetable sauce on table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

This sauce, like the Livwell cauliflower Alfredo just above it, also had an ingredient list of whole foods plus citric acid and contained cashews for creaminess. It had a beautiful, vivid orange color. It was thick and creamy with a nice texture that included small gritty bits from the ground cashews. We liked the aroma of this sauce, too, which was bright and smelled of tomatoes and vegetables.

The flavor was also good. It tasted like a tomato sauce with added complexity from other vegetables, which, after checking the label, we saw were garlic, onion, zucchini, carrots, roasted peppers, spinach, and basil. We finished the testing bowl without any problems, and while it wasn't as good as a homemade sauce, we could see ourselves eating this again.

1. Primal Kitchen No Dairy Vodka Sauce Made With Avocado Oil

vodka sauce jar on table
vodka sauce jar on table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

Hands down, this was the sauce we enjoyed the most, which is curious since Primal Kitchen's sauces achieved both first and last place. It had a beautiful deep red color and smelled great. It was slightly chunky, with a medium thickness. It was a little thicker and creamier than a regular tomato sauce but not as heavy as a traditional vodka sauce made with cream. The creaminess in this sauce came from pumpkin seed butter.

We found the flavor to be delicious. It tasted mostly of tomatoes, but since it was thick and creamy, we didn't feel like we were eating regular tomato sauce. We did notice a very slight astringent aftertaste, but after the beginning of the tasting, we didn't notice it anymore. Besides the citric acid and organic vodka, the ingredient list only contained whole foods. We happily finished the testing bowl and looked forward to finishing the jar in time. It was easy to place this sauce in the top position.

We love vegan food in general, but we were a little surprised when we only ranked this one sauce as great. We're excited to see what vegan products are offered in the future, but in the meantime, perhaps trying some homemade vegan pasta sauce recipes using fresh foods and choosing from these dairy-free ingredients for creamy dishes would be nice.


8 sauce jars on table
8 sauce jars on table - Michelle Bottalico/Tasting Table

We wanted to do an objective tasting of these sauces, so we set up a partial blind taste test. By partial, we mean that half of the sauces were red and half were white, so we had to taste them in two batches. Also, since the color and texture varied among sauces of the same color, and we were both pouring the sample sauces and tasting them ourselves, we couldn't help but remember the way some of them looked. That said, we love vegan food and were excited to try them all, so we don't think that hurt our objectivity. We tasted each sauce first by itself and then with pasta, and the pasta was the same for every sauce.

Taste was the most important factor in creating our ranking. Other criteria we considered were aroma, color, texture, and consistency. Finally, we considered how creamy the sauces were and took a look at which ingredients contributed to making these sauces more or less creamy.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.