I Tried Every Frozen Entrée That Rao’s Makes — I’ll Be Stocking One of Them in My Freezer from Now On

published Sep 4, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Rao's frozen meals

Back in the fall of 2019, Rao’s had some big (no, huge!) new releases. The brand, known for its ridiculously amazing pasta sauces, launched soups and frozen entrées. I tried the soups right away and my mind was blown. (It will surprise no one to learn that the Tomato Basil is ridiculously good.) But then life got busy and I, ironically, forgot all about the frozen dinners. It’s ironic because they probably could have helped me find some much-needed extra time during the workweek, if only I had remembered them! The other day, though, I was walking through my local Hannaford and I noticed them for the first time. I was instantly reminded that I meant to give these a try. Yes, years ago, but that’s not important.

I figured they had to be good because I trust this brand explicitly. Rao’s makes the only jarred pasta sauce that Kitchn editors can agree on. (It’s so good it repeatedly earns a spot on our list of Kitchn Essentials.) I frequently have to resist the urge to eat their Alfredo sauce with a spoon. And I’m a fan of their noodles, too. So I did what any rational human would do: I bought every option. I brought them all home and made them all at once. (What? I was making up for lost time!) Then I held an official taste test with my husband.

Turns out, they’re all great. Honestly. We had low expectations for the Penne Alla Vodka, which was a mistake. I made this one in the microwave (they all come with directions for either microwave or oven cooking), and good gosh! The noodles cook up perfectly al dente — like, better than how I do it myself sometimes. The sauce was flavorful and rich, as you’d expect from Rao’s (the first ingredient listed is Italian whole peeled tomatoes!). We thought we’d stop eating after a few forkfuls, but we polished off the whole thing. We also really loved the Chicken Parmesan, and the Meat Lasagna. But one frozen entrée really stood out from the rest.

The Meatballs & Sauce! First of all, these pork and beef meatballs are giant. Oftentimes, giant meatballs can mean dense meatballs — especially when you’re talking about frozen ones. But these were oh-so soft, juicy, and just as good as homemade (says my husband, who means no offense toward his Italian mother!).

Buy: Meatballs & Sauce, $10.99 at Target

While I would certainly buy (and enjoy!) any of these frozen entrées again, I’m going to make it a habit to stock these meatballs in my freezer. Armed with them I know I’ll always be able to pull together some kind of meal. They’ll work great in a meatball sub, they’ll dress up an otherwise boring pile of spaghetti, and they’ll round out an Emergency Ziti in a pinch. Pro tip: These are best when baked in the oven, so you do need 50 minutes for them to cook, but it’s still faster and easier than making them from scratch! I just wish I had tried these meatballs a year ago!

Have you tried any of the Rao’s frozen entrées? What’d you think? Tell us in the comments below!