12 Fall-Themed Pasta Sauces, Ranked Worst To Best

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Fall is well underway, meaning that it's still pumpkin season for as long as our favorite pumpkin and squash-flavored items are on store shelves. If you're the kind of person who lives for the taste of this gourd, whether it's in spiced coffee, pumpkin pie, or in roasted and buttery form, we think you'll surely enjoy some fall-flavored pasta sauces as well. We've rounded up a dozen pasta sauces that are pumpkin or squash-based. And, what's more, they're available this fall for you to take your love of the season all the way.

But we understand that not everyone in your household might be as pumpkin-obsessed as we are. To that end, we've included sauces that are heavy on the squashes, too, as well as several that are still tomato-forward if you're looking for a more classic pasta flavor. Many are rich and creamy, while others are veggie-heavy and even sometimes vegan. There is also a good variety of sauces that can be dressed up to your specific tastes or perfectly seasoned straight out of the jar. 

To save you the hassle of trying to hunt down your new favorite pasta sauce, we've also chosen pasta sauces that we were able to lay our hands on in-person or find easily online. Keep reading to see which fall-themed pasta sauces you absolutely have to try, and which ones you can pass by.

12. Do Anything Foods Creamy Butternut Squash Sauce

Do Anything Foods makes a small selection of five sauces that can and should be used for as many different meals as you can think of. Those sauces include a Kale Pesto, Savory Tomato Veggie, Cauliflower Alfredo, Beet Pesto, and the Creamy Butternut Squash that we're especially interested in here. All of the sauces are organic and made without GMOs, while the creamy butternut squash sauce is also gluten-free and vegan. The star of the sauce is, of course, the titular butternut squash, but it's also boosted with classic flavors like vegetable stock, leeks, and mushrooms. You're getting a straightforward butternut squash sauce here that's a versatile base for lots of cooking projects.

The label suggests using the sauce for mac and cheese, the base for a soup, and as a casserole sauce. But the one thing we're not really sure it's good for right out of the jar is pouring straight onto some pasta, given the heavy vegetable profile that could turn some diners off. 

Instead, we think this sauce is best for someone who likes to add their own special touch to a dish before serving it. It also comes in a much smaller size than many of the other pasta sauces we've found, only available in 15.6-ounce jars for nearly $10. We think for that price and size, we can find something else that's ready to please straight out of the jar.

11. Sonoma Gourmet Organic Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

The Sonoma Gourmet Organic Butternut Squash pasta sauce is vegan, but that's not the only big attraction here. It's completely organic, with no sugar added, while it's also keto friendly, gluten-free, and Whole 30 friendly. The calorie content is also on the lower end of the pasta sauce spectrum, with just 60 calories per ½ cup serving. 

We found this sauce to be a bit thinner than some of the other pasta sauces on this list, which actually makes it ideal for baked pasta dishes that you don't want to get overly dry in the oven, such as baked ziti or lasagna. That said, it's a good idea to taste this sauce first and then season it to your liking. Since it's mostly vegetables, you might want to add some red pepper flakes, vegan cheese, or even some fresh herbs to the sauce to boost the complexity. 

All told, we found that the sauce by itself is a good base, but a little on the boring side when it comes to those beautiful aromomatic fall herbs and spices that we're accustomed to.

10. Good & Gather Signature Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Target knows what the people want, and so it's typically a few steps ahead of everyone when it comes to seasonal favorites. Do you want festive autumn pasta sauce? They've got one that's possibly going to satisfy those warm and cozy fall cravings. Much like several of the other pasta sauces on this list, the main ingredient in the Good & Gather Signature Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce is unsurprisingly enough, butternut squash. That star ingredient has been fortified with tomato paste, stock vegetables, light cream, and butter. Additional sugar has been added to this pasta sauce in the form of honey, which we think is a nice touch. It's also got the added bonus of including parmesan cheese and sage, which we think really takes it up a notch.

But all of that additional dairy comes at a price, nutritionally speaking. A mere ½ cup serving of this pasta sauce packs in 170 calories, which is definitely on the higher end of the pasta sauces in this collection. While it certainly makes the sauce taste wonderful, it's so rich that it may overpower your pasta. Now, if you're just enjoying it with a bowl of spaghetti, that's probably fine. But if you're having delicately flavored tortellini or an already dense lasagna, this particular sauce may be too much of an attention-grabber, leaving you with a stomach ache instead of a warm and fuzzy feeling.

9. Vegan Red Lentil Spirals with Sweet Potato & Pumpkin

Annie's Organic boxed pasta mixes have become a big competition to the classic Kraft blue box, whether you're reaching for the brand's incredibly popular Shells & White Cheddar or a vegan version of its popular mac and cheeses, like the Red Lentil Sweet Potato Pumpkin Pasta. First of all, we're delighted to have a pumpkin-flavored bowl of pasta that takes next to no effort to make. And even though we're excited to enjoy this particular pasta in the fall, it's actually sold year-round if you can't quite shake the autumnal vibes in other seasons.

Instead of wheat-based pasta, the spirals are made of red lentils. The box says that the noodles should be cooked for four to six minutes, but many tasters recommend only cooking them for 3 minutes max. Lentil-made noodles (especially those made up in a spiral shape) have a tendency to get soft very quickly and turn into mush, which we'd like to avoid. 

The orange "cheese" powder is, of course, not actually cheese but dehydrated pumpkin and sweet potato with paprika, onion, and garlic thrown in for additional flavor. While some may like this boxed mix, know that it doesn't taste exactly like typical boxed macaroni and cheese. Then again, given that we're in it for the pumpkin, we don't really want it to anyway. It's super quick and easy to make, and ideal for a warm lunch on a chilly fall afternoon.

8. Dave's Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

Dave's Gourmet claims to have created the very first butternut squash pasta sauce on the market, which was even awarded the Gold Medal in 2009 for Outstanding Pasta Sauce at the Speciality Outstanding Food Innovation Awards. Many pasta sauces have since taken notes from this variety, and maybe even improved on it some. While it's got butter in it, it's not quite as creamy as some of the other squash-based sauces, instead getting a boost of vegetal flavor and color from tomato and red bell peppers. The sauce contains the typical seasonings of onion, garlic, salt, and black pepper, but doesn't include any herbs. It's also got a touch of added sugar, making this sauce a little sweeter than some of the comparable entrants on the market.

It's because of that additional sweetness and lack of herbs that it's not our absolute favorite sauce. But if you're the kind of cook who likes to dress-up store-bought sauces with your own seasoning, this may be a good base sauce for you to start with. The website even recommends serving it with pork chops, which we think would be a nice alternative to apple sauce in the fall. Dave's Gourmet pasta sauces can be found in plenty of grocery stores and online, but some outlets sell them for more than others. On Amazon and through the Dave's Gourmet website the butternut squash sells for over $12 a jar, whereas it's about $6 at World Market.

7. The Vine Butternut Marinara

The Vine Butternut Marinara is one of a few vegan fall-themed pasta sauces on our list, given that most of the other sauces are made with butter or heavy cream. Instead, The Vine uses organic extra virgin olive oil, as well as a full jar of completely organic ingredients. Organic butternut squash is the leading ingredient, but the sauce is fortified with tomato paste, onions, carrots, and garlic. It's also seasoned with the hint of nutmeg, which we think is a great addition to the butternut squash. For those with specific dietary needs, this sauce also has no added sugar, is low sodium, and is gluten-free. One serving of this sauce will only cost you about 60 calories, where several other sauces in our roundup are closer to 100 calories per serving.

The ingredient list is very straightforward with few frills, so this sauce would be ideal for adding some of your favorite herbs or pairing with a specialty pasta dish of your choice. But be warned that, because it isn't made with additional sugar, salts, or fats, you might want to taste the sauce before committing it to a whole pot of pasta. The sauce might not be as rich as you're used to and the butternut squash is definitely a different flavor experience than the usual. We suggest tasting the sauce, adjusting it as you like, before adding it to your favorite pasta.

6. Orange Pumpkin Pesto Sauce by Wicked Kitchen

Wicked Kitchen originated in the U.K. but has since made its way across the Atlantic and onto American grocery store shelves. The brand primarily makes spicy and plant-based packaged foods, meal kits, and prepared dinners, but also offers sauces, marinades, and mayonnaise. And their Orange Pumpkin Pesto Sauce is truly a unique offering. Nearly 40% of this sauce is made with pumpkin, followed by red and yellow peppers, cashews, lemon peel, and a curry powder that's made with about 15 different spices. All told, this is not your ordinary pumpkin sauce.

"It did smell so much of curry, but the taste itself was much sweeter than expected from the smell," says Life with Jupiter & Dann. "The taste of the pesto is slightly spiced, but mainly just a punch of pumpkin, with a touch of sweetness. It was easy to spoon out some of the pesto onto warm pasta, and the texture was wonderful on the pasta." 

You can expect to use this pesto-style sauce straight out of the jar for a quick dressing on your pasta of choice. We'd suggest keeping it simple with your pasta, using linguine, farfalle, or ziti style pasta to really let the sauce shine.

5. Stonewall Kitchen Butternut Squash Sauce Pasta

Stonewall Kitchen has become a popular brand for pasta sauces, but also a plethora of other offerings like jams, jellies, curds, condiments, baking mixes, salsas, beverages, and so much more. They've got such an incredible variety of flavors, that it's really no surprise that they'd have a seasonal pasta sauce as well. The Stonewall Kitchen Butternut Squash pasta sauce is definitely a little different than many of the other pasta sauces on this list. As a matter of fact, it's the only pasta sauce that includes apples and brown sugar, which makes the sauce somewhat sweeter than some of its competitors. It's got some butter in it to keep the final result creamy but has fewer spices overall than many of the other autumn sauces we've tried.

We like the Stonewall Kitchen Butternut Squash pasta sauce, but given its prominent sweetness, it might not be for everyone or for every pasta dish. We think it would be great served as a sauce with pork chops or poultry and on top of meat-filled stuffed pasta. We can also see it pairing well with types of pasta that have stronger cheese fillings such as goat cheese with herbs or funky blue cheese. Ultimately, it's a one-of-a-kind pasta sauce that's worth trying out, even if it's not your go-to weekly choice.

4. Trader Joe's Autumnal Harvest Creamy Pasta Sauce

Perhaps you're all about pumpkin season, but everyone you share a meal with is a bit more skeptical about squash in your sauce. If so, the Trader Joe's Autumnal Harvest Creamy Pasta Sauce is a fantastic entry point for those who want to celebrate the season, but maybe don't want to go overboard with it. 

This sauce is still primarily tomato-based but is fortified with pumpkin and butternut squash. It's not weirdly sweet, nor does it mimic pumpkin pie, but is instead reminiscent of a savory tomato-squash soup. We tried it on regular spaghetti with some ground beef, as well as plain on top of Trader Joe's Caprese Ravioli, and loved it both ways. Trader Joe's even suggests using it in a seasonal vegetable lasagna, which we think also sounds amazing. But be warned that this isn't an especially lightweight sauce. It's made with both heavy cream and butter, which adds a beautiful depth of flavor and richness to the sauce, but adds a few extra calories to the mix as well.

We adore this creamy, dreamy pasta sauce, but if you're looking for something really pumpkin forward, this particular brand might not be enough for you. You can definitely tell that the squashes are there, but it's more of a traditionally balanced sauce that will appeal to a wider range of people — perhaps leaving pumpkin fanatics wanting more.

3. Mia's Kitchen Pasta Sauce, Butternut Bourbon

Mia's Kitchen pasta sauces can finally be found in grocery stores from coast to coast, but the Butternut Bourbon pasta sauce is so popular this time of year that sometimes it's difficult to lay your hands on. With the addition of bourbon, you might even be able to serve it to the naysayers who think that pumpkin and squash-flavored foods this time of year are too basic for their elevated tastes. 

The sauce leads with butternut squash but is also made with a healthy portion of tomatoes to balance things out, as well as onions, carrots, the namesake bourbon, cream, olive oil, red peppers, garlic, maple syrup, salt, and spices. We think that this sauce has just the right amount of stuff going on to make it a special treat or a regular weeknight favorite. And we especially enjoyed how balanced it tastes, with a flavor that comes in somewhere between sweet and savory, oaky and acidic. 

The label doesn't specifically mention it, but we think the bourbon is cooked into the sauce, releasing any of the alcohol content it may have. At any rate, we didn't have to show identification to buy a jar of it. And don't worry if you can't find it in the store, as you're very likely to be able to pick up a jar online.

2. World Market Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce

If you thought World Market was strictly for the eclectic home goods with a global flair, you're missing out on some of the coolest things the store offers — its endlessly interesting selection of foods, drinks, and pantry staples. And while many of the foods they offer might be difficult to find elsewhere, the price tag is often very accessible.

As part of the seasonal lineup of food offerings, World Market is offering a butternut squash pasta sauce as part of its store brand. It's a straightforward creamy squash sauce, with butternut squash as the star, and cream, tomato, and Grana Padano cheese as supporting flavors. The butternut squash itself has a delicate natural sweetness to it, but there are no added sugars to overpower the palate. The sauce is seasoned with salt, black pepper, sage, and garlic, all part of a classic combination that won't scare the less adventurous diners away from your table. 

And at $5.99 for a 24.3-ounce jar, it's also priced pretty well for dinner any night of the week. Consider swapping out the tomato sauce a few times this season when making some cheesy ravioli, or even served with some tender gnocchi and roasted delicata squash with salted pumpkin seeds. We think a sauce like this is the perfect backdrop for a creative seasonal meal.

1. Cucina Antica Tuscany Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

Cucina Antica calling this pasta sauce "Tuscany Pumpkin" is very romantic and evocative, but it's actually still a pretty modest description of everything that's going on in this jar. A better description can be found on the back of the jar, reading, "This blend of peak-harvested pumpkin, flavorful San Marzano tomatoes, and aromatic spices are simmered with a touch of cream." The online description elaborates further, mentioning garlic, rosemary, and sage, along with the more traditional pasta sauce flavors of parsley and basil. It's also got a touch of cinnamon and honey. What could be more quintessentially fall than that? 

We love the way this sauce blends traditional Italian marinara sauce with a good deal of pumpkin, aromatic herbs, and a touch of spice to make this the ultimate pumpkin pasta sauce. While the Cucina Antica brand is available in plenty of grocery stores, you might want to stock up online and have it delivered in bulk, just so it can you through to springtime.