The most delicious homemade spaghetti sauce ever! This hearty recipe is rich and full of so much flavor. A delicious meat sauce that can be served over spaghetti noodles. Or if you're looking for a healthy alternative, serve this spaghetti sauce over zoodles or spaghetti squash!
Full of flavor and easy to make, this homemade spaghetti sauce will quickly become a family favorite recipe! Better than any restaurant version, this is one of those recipes you'll add to the dinner rotation!
Just like making pesto sauce from scratch, learning how to make homemade spaghetti sauce is actually a lot easier than you might think. And I use this same sauce as a base to my homemade lasagna. My mom used to make this recipe for me and my sister when we were growing up. She made it once a week, typically on Thursday nights, and just like her oven baked meatloaf with buttery mashed potatoes and southern style pot roast, we looked forward to spaghetti every week.
I don't know anyone who doesn't love a good pasta recipe, and this one won't disappoint! And while there are hundreds of different pasta dishes you can make, like this chicken Alfredo sauce pasta and this baked chicken parmesan, this happens to be my all time favorite!
🛒 Ingredients You'll Need
- Ground Beef - use 1 lb, thawed.
- Tomato Paste - the base of the spaghetti sauce.
- Brown Sugar - a key ingredient that adds a hint of sweetness. Use either light or dark.
- Onion - use a yellow or white onion. Adds a lot of flavor.
- Garlic - use fresh cloves, not the jar version. adds a rich depth of flavor.
- Thyme - use dried thyme. It compliments any tomato based sauce. Also adds a subtle earthy flavor and adds layers of flavor.
- Oregano - use dried oregano. It adds a burst of Italian flavor and adds depth to the sauce.
- Bay Leaves - dried bay leaves work best. They help balance the acidity in the tomato based sauce.
- Salt - used as a flavor enhancer. It's best to use table, kosher, or sea salt.
- Black Pepper - a flavor enhancer. Coarse or ground black pepper works best.
- Spaghetti Noodles - serve the sauce over cooked spaghetti noodles.
Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!
- Ground Beef - for added flavor, use a higher fat % such as 80% lean / 20% fat.
- Types of Meat - this homemade spaghetti sauce can be made with ground beef, turkey, or chicken, or Italian sausage!
- Tomatoes - sometimes I add a fresh tomato to this recipe. Spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes is delicious. Add the tomato at the same time you add the tomato paste. You can also add a can of petite diced tomatoes to add extra texture.
- Types of Noodles - use your favorite type of cooked noodle when serving this sauce.
- Vegetable Noodles - try serving the sauce over cooked spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles (zoodles).
🔪 Step-by-Step Recipe Instructions
Step 1: Start by dicing a small yellow onion on a cutting board.
Step 2: Add ground beef and the diced onion to a large skillet. Brown the beef over medium-high heat with the onion and add a dash of salt and pepper to season the meat. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Once done, drain in a colander.
Step 3: Once drained, add the beef back to the same skillet.
Step 4: Add in all the sauce ingredients (excluding the pasta) and 2 cups of water and stir until combined. The sauce will be very watery at this point.
Step 5: I nurse the sauce on medium-low heat for about 2-3 hours until it’s the perfect consistency. Even though this is a simple recipe, I put a lot of effort into perfecting it, by simmering, taste testing, and adjusting during the cook time. And it’s beyond AMAZING.
When this bubbly goodness thickens up, it provides an authentic Italian taste that people rave about.
Step 6: About 20 minutes before it's done, you can start making the spaghetti noodles. I love using thick spaghetti noodles, but thin spaghetti noodles also work well. In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to taste.
Step 7: Once the water is boiling, add the spaghetti noodles. If you want "al dente" style pasta, boil the noodles for 10 minutes. For more tender pasta, boil for an additional 1-2 minutes. Drain the noodles in a colander.
And now, your homemade spaghetti sauce is ready to eat! Add a serving of cooked pasta to a plate and top with the meat sauce, fresh grated parmesan cheese, fresh chopped basil, or parsley.
You can't beat a good spaghetti sauce recipe made from scratch and this one is over the top delicious! The perfect comfort food recipe, enjoy this family favorite any night of the week!
🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! This recipe freezes really well. You can freeze any leftovers or make a batch specifically for freezing purposes. Freezing it is easy to do. Once it has completely cooled, put the sauce in a freezer safe container and put it in the freezer for up to 3-4 months. Place it in the refrigerator to thaw and warm it up in the microwave or on the stove top.
Mushrooms, carrots, tomatoes, and a fresh chopped green bell pepper are some of my favorite vegetables to add to this spaghetti sauce recipe. A can of crushed tomatoes will not only add more of a tomato flavor, but it will also help thicken the sauce.
💭 Expert Tips
- If you want that authentic homemade flavor, allow time to let the sauce simmer. By simmering it for a certain length of time, it really allows for the development of layers of flavor. Ideally, I let it simmer on low for 2-3 hours, adding water as needed. For a thicker sauce, reduce the amount of water.
- You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Make sure to store the noodles and the sauce in separate containers so the noodles don't soak up the sauce.
- You can easily double or triple this recipe. I always have a batch in the freezer for those nights I'm in a hurry to get dinner on the table.
More Pasta Recipes
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, ground
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 6oz can tomato paste
- 3 garlic cloves
- 3-4 cups water, divided
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, light or dark
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lb box of spaghetti noodles
- Start off by dicing a small yellow onion on a cutting board. Add the diced onion to a large skillet.
- Place 1 lb of thawed ground beef into the skillet with the onion. Brown the ground beef, adding a pinch of salt and pepper to season the meat. Cook the ground beef until the meat is no longer pink.
- Once browned, drain the meat in a colander.
- Once the ground beef has been drained, add the beef back to the same skillet. Add in 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, 3 garlic cloves, 6 ounce can of tomato paste, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, 2 bay leaves, 3 cups of water. Stir to combine.Note: Your sauce will be very watery at this point.
- Cook at a slow rolling boil on medium-low heat for 2-3 hours, adding water as needed.Expert Tip: You'll probably find yourself adding more water as it cooks down. I typically add ½ cup of water 2-3 times during the 2-3 hour simmer.
- About 30 minutes before the sauce is done, you can start making the spaghetti noodles. In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt to taste. Once the water is boiling, add the spaghetti noodles. Note: If you want "al dente" style pasta, boil the noodles for 10 minutes. For more tender pasta, boil for an addition 1-2 minutes.
- Once the noodles are done, drain them and add a serving to a plate. Top with a serving of the spaghetti sauce.
- Top with fresh grated parmesan cheese, fresh chopped basil, or parsley. Enjoy!
- Simmering is Key: If you want that authentic homemade flavor, allow time to let the sauce simmer. By simmering it for a certain length of time, it really allows for the development of a lot flavor. Ideally, I let it simmer on low for 3-4 hours, adding water as needed. If you don't have that much time, simmering around 2-3 hours will work.
- Storing Leftovers: You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Make sure to store the noodles and the sauce in separate containers so the noodles don't soak up the sauce.
- To Freeze: It freezes really well. I often double or triple the recipe so that I always have a batch in the freezer for those nights I'm in a hurry to get dinner on the table. Before freezing, let it completely cool. Once cooled, pour it into a gallon freezer bag and seal. Lay the bag on a flat surface in the freezer and store for up to 6 months. Make sure you label the freezer bag with the date you placed it in the freezer. When you're ready to use it, place the frozen bag in a pot of water and reheat until warm.