What is the Best Jar Curry Sauce? | 6 Jars Fully Reviewed

Sometimes we just don't have time to grind spices, make tasty base gravies, and make a curry from scratch. At times like these, convenience is king, and what could be more convenient than unscrewing a jar and making a quick curry? But which? Just what is the best jar curry sauce?

Worry not, my curry-loving chums, I've popped the lid on a few, and I'm happy to bring you the results. I'm going to tell you what they taste like, how authentic they are to the original, and even show you what goes into them so you can make your own mind up. Let's go….

Quick Answer | What is The Best Jar Curry Sauce

Patak's tend to make the best jar curry sauces. Patak's Balti jar curry sauce is as close to the real thing that you are going to get! 

They use quite a few authentic Indian cooking ingredients, plus they have been around for a while and are well versed in creating curries. So much, so that authentic Indian chefs also use them to supplement their curries from time to time.  

Pataks balti jar curry sauce

They also make some amazing spice pastes too.

You can find a full range of Patak's curry sauces and pastes here.

Jars of Curry Sauce | 6 Fully Reviewed

Right, much as I loathed to do it, I've given 6 store-bought curry sauces a try.

The results were…

…Interesting. With a couple of surprises.

Are any going to be as good as an authentic homemade curry sauce? Nope. Did any come close? Actually, yes, they did.

Listen, guys, a review trying just one type of curry is going to be no good to you. If you liked mild curry and all I went for was hot, or vice versa, then you'd have been out of luck.


Although I love curry, there is only so much bhuna a man can eat in a week.

Do you get me?

So, I tried a range of different companies. Below you'll find everything you need to know, including tasting notes, texture, ingredients, authenticity and, of course, whether they are good value for money.

Let's pop the top of a few jars of curry sauce and get stuck in...

Authenticity score

Accuracy of heat

Value for money

Taste and texture profile: Tomato, onions, slightly sweet, thick texture

sharwoods bhuna jar sauce

A nice medium bhuna?

Don't mind if I do…

These jars of curry sauce are seriously easy to use. Just fry your meat, tip your sauce in, heat it through, and you are done.

Sharwoods has been a big hitter in the curry sauce game for years now, so you'd expect it to be good.

I'm pleased to say this was actually a pretty decent stab at a bhuna.

You got the pleasant tang of tomatoes and onions, which is exactly what I want my bhuna to taste like. It's no surprise, really.

The main elements seem to be tomatoes, onions, and a small number of spices looking at the ingredients. The texture is pretty accurate, too, just the right side of thick.

That's good, but what about the bad?


There are a few things that I wasn't happy about.

First off, would I say this is a 'medium' curry?

Your gran might think so, but for anyone who can handle black pepper, you'll be fine. Looking at the ingredients, it contains red pepper.

Red pepper is different from 'chilli', of which this jar of curry sauce features absolutely none.

A 'medium' curry sauce without chilli?


My only other minor gripe is that this contains maize starch… For that, read 'corn flour'. This is a thickening agent, meaning that your rich and thick sauce (which is how bhuna should be) comes from something added.

Bhuna is meant to be a thick curry, sure. But this 'cheat' just feels a little unauthentic to me. But I guess it speeds up the cooking time.

Authenticity score

Accuracy of heat

Value for money

Taste and texture profile: Tomato, Onion, garlic and ginger, tangy. The texture is perfect, not too loose, not too thick

Pataks balti jar curry sauce

I couldn't write a review of the best jar curry sauces without including at least one from Patak's.

They are probably the most famous producers of jar curry sauce in the UK.

Want to know a secret?

Loads of Indian kitchens use their spice pastes to supplement their powders and spices.

With this in mind, I was expecting good things. And I wasn't disappointed.

The texture of this jar of curry sauce is spot on. And the flavour is darn good too.

You'll get a sharp tang of onions undercut by a slight tomato acidity. There are peppers in there, too, along with garlic and ginger notes.

Is it as good as the original curry? Not quite, but it is about as close as you'll get in a jar. The recipe also contains an appropriate mix of spices that you would find in a homemade or takeaway bought version. This includes things like coriander, methi, cumin and black pepper.

It still wasn't what I'd call 'medium' for the heat lovers, but unlike the Sharwoods bhuna, at least it does contain chilli.

Any downsides?

No, not really. For the money, it's a tasty jar of curry sauce and offers better value than Sharwoods effort above.

Authenticity score

Accuracy of heat

Value for money

Taste and texture profile: Sweet, slightly tomatoey, strong hints of red and green pepper. Not a fan of the consistency.

bens medium curry jar sauce

Ben's… Oh dear, what are we going to do with you?

They say you taste with your eyes. This bright yellow offering definitely wouldn't be my first choice. Getting over the look of this jar of curry sauce, the taste wasn't bad.

But that's where it ends.

It isn't unpalatable and is actually quite tasty.

So, what's my problem?

It simply doesn't taste like any curry I've ever made from scratch or ordered. You do get a hint of tomato and onion, but the overriding flavour for me was one of sweetness.

You know when you order curry from a chip shop, and it's got raisins in?

That kind of sweetness (just without the raisins).

That said, "Ben's" is owned by Mars, so I wouldn't expect anything different.

And it definitely wasn't medium either. I presume they account for the heat with the curry powder included on the list of ingredients. Whether this contains chilli is anyone's guess, but I think it is in very small qualities if it is there.

Looking at the ingredients, I noticed that ginger and garlic are last on the list. A curry sauce with more sugar than ginger and garlic?

Nope sorry, not authentic.

If you like sweet curries and aren't a fan of traditional 'Indian', this could be a good choice. Still, for proper curry devotees, I'd advise that you look elsewhere.

Authenticity score

Accuracy of heat

Value for money

Taste Profile: Onion, tomato, slightly tangy, a little warm. The texture is really nice

loyd grossman madras curry sauce jar

"Now, who stirs in a jar like this…."

That's a joke for the oldies who remember "through the keyhole".

What does an American/British TV presenter with a bit of a strange accent know about curry?

Well, it turns out quite a lot.

I'll say this for him, he makes really tasty sauces.

The good?

On opening the jar, I was met with a pleasing whiff of onions and curry.

Good start, Loyd!

Taste-wise it was fairly close to a madras. It isn't going to offer you that 8/10 hotness that you'd expect from a takeaway madras, and I thought the colour of the sauce needed to be a little darker, but that's where any minor gripes end.

On tasting, you get strong notes of onion and tomato, with just a little tanginess, which I think is roughly what I'd expect with a madras. On flipping the jar and seeing what was in it, I was impressed.

There are plenty of things in there that I want to see in a curry. Cumin, chilli, ginger, methi, even mustard powder… Happy days. I noticed that one of the main ingredients is curry paste, which means the flavour is pretty intense.

On the whole, a good score for Mr Grossman and his attempt at a madras. I do have a couple of downsides, though.

You get a little less in a jar than you would with any of the other store-bought curry sauce jars, and for the privilege, you might also pay a teeny bit extra. But I'll happily pay for taste over quantity any day of the week!

Authenticity score

Accuracy of heat

Value for money

Taste Profile: Mild and creamy tomato, with a sweet and savoury note. Texture was perfect

morrisons tikka masala sauce jar

When I first picked up this jar of Morrison's Tikka Sauce, I was a little dubious. This is definitely a budget selection.

But, all that said…

I was pleasantly surprised. You get a lot of sauce in this jar for the money, and its flavour profile was absolutely on point.

You thought I was going to rubbish it, didn't you?

There are things that Morrisons have got right with this sauce and one or two things that they haven't. First, let's look at the good.

If you know where Chicken Tikka Masala comes from, you'll already know that it was basically a mix of curried chunks of chicken combined with a tin of tomato soup.

This huge jar tastes pretty similar, and looking at the ingredients, it is easy to see why. It's mostly tomatoes in various forms, supplemented by a few other ingredients that you'd find in the real thing.

Such as?

It's got dairy in there (a great start), a little sugar, onions, coriander and garlic and ginger, and even a bit of lemon and methi.

Seriously Morrisons, I was impressed.

The things they didn't get, right?

Why, oh why would you emblazon "medium" on a jar of tikka masala sauce?

First off, tikka masala isn't meant to be medium. It's one of the mildest curries around; everyone knows that!

Second, if you are going to write 'medium' on the side (even if it is out of place), at least then go to the effort of making it medium. There's bugger all in here that would make this a medium curry.

I've marked it down severely for the accuracy of heat for the above reasons. But apart from that, it is actually a really decent attempt at a tikka masala. If you love mild curry, grab a jar of this. For the money, it's superb value too!

Authenticity score

Accuracy of heat

Value for money

Taste Profile: Very sweet and a very mild generic curry taste. Completely smooth sauce.

homepride jar curry sauce


I have really mixed feelings on this one.

On the one hand, it was tasty and really easy to make.


On the other hand, I'm not sure where the Homepride guys go for their Indian food because I've never tried anything on the menu like this.

I mean, after tomatoes, the second most used ingredient is pineapple. That's right… Pineapple.

This jar of curry sauce is sweet. In fact, for any genuine curry lover, I'd say it was too sweet. It might be nice if you've got someone coming around who doesn't know what a curry is, like someone from Venus.


It ain't.

In fact, checking the ingredients, there is practically nothing to make it a curry! There seems to be a lot of additives too. Colouring, sugar, dried coconut, sultanas… I could go on.

Anything good about it then?

Yeah. It doesn't taste half bad.

If you'd have blindfolded me and told me this was a korma, I might… Might, have believed you. I think this is what they've tried to achieve here. So if you are looking for a sweet and mild curry, it might be something you might want to try.

Jar Curry Sauces | FAQ

Still got questions about jarred curry sauces. I'm not surprised there are plenty out there. Here are the things that most people want to know…

Is Curry Sauce in a Jar Healthy?

Jarred Curry sauce isn't bad for you, but making your own from scratch is the way to go if you want to be health-conscious.


Take a look at the ingredients list of any shop-bought jar of curry sauce. Even the best jars of curry sauce tend to contain sugar, along with oil. Throw in a few other ingredients like maize starch (cornflour) and other additives, and the calorie count can go up without you realizing it.

The answer?

It's almost as quick to make your own curry. And if you plan ahead, it's even easier.

How Do You Make a Jar of Curry Sauce Taste Better?

Some of the best jar curry sauces aren't too bad to start off with, but you can tweak their flavour profile somewhat if you put in a little thought.

You'll have noticed above that I mostly complain about them not being hot enough. There is a simple solution, however.

Just add a teaspoon or so of chilli powder. Job done. The same is true of other spices too.

There are also other ways to make curry sauce hotter. This is well worth a look.

Which Brand Makes the Best Jar of Curry Sauce?

If I'm being honest, I think by far the best brand to go for is Patak's. They've been doing it for years and are well established. They also produce some amazing spice pastes that you can use in your own homemade curries.

How Do I Choose the Best Jar of Curry Sauce?

It's quite simple, really. First, choose one, regardless of brand, labelled as the type of curry you are looking for. Once you've found a couple, check the ingredients and see if they are roughly similar to what you'd expect to typically find in the curry. The closer a match you can get, the better.

Don't know what's supposed to be in a standard balti or a bhuna?

Well, you are in luck, my friends.

Head over to my main page, stick your curry in the search, and you'll see articles detailing exactly what is in them!

What is the Best Jar Curry Sauce | Final Thoughts

From my above list, I was a big fan of the Pataks jar of balti. Still, as a close second, I was pleasantly surprised by Morrisons own tikka masala sauce (even if they got the heat wrong). Check the ingredients, follow my advice and next time you find yourself short of time, a nice jar of curry sauce could come to the rescue. Have you tried any that you like? Let me know in the comments, and I'll see about giving them a go!

Enjoy Making Curry Yourself?

Hey folks, thanks for reading this article. I hope you found it useful, and that you learned something new allowing you to make your curry extra special. Here are a few things that can really elevate your curry game to the next level. 

These are affiliate links, so if you use them I receive a small commission, but this won't cost you any extra. In all honesty, I use very similar items myself, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them to my friends.

A Complete Curry Kit: - Literally, everything you'll need to make curry all in one place. Cookware, storage, utensils, even the spices! This is my dedicated guide to getting you up and running all for the price of few takeaways.

Curry pans: - You need one, and one only. A frying pan exactly like this is really easy to use, and is exactly the type that authentic Indian chefs use to make the type of curry that you'll have in your local takeaway. You can see my full reviews of several pans right here...

Spice Storage: - Being organised is half the battle in making great curry. Spices can be notoriously hard to keep tidy. That's why I tend to use a spice rack like this. You can arrange your spices by size, heat, or any way you choose. I've got a detailed review of several Indian spice racks in this guide.

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