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Pan containing spaghetti and meat sauce, serving spoons in pan.
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5 from 1 vote

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

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 homemade sauce over zoodles! 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 20 mins
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 590kcal
Author: Amanda Mason


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1.5 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme, ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 6oz Can tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3-4 cups water, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar,
  • 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 all the sauce ingredients (excluding the noodles) and 2 cups of water to the skillet and stir until combined. Your sauce will be very watery at this point.
  • Cook at a slow rolling boil on medium-low heat for about 3 hours. 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 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. If you want "al dente" style pasta, boil the noodles for 10 minutes. For more tender pasta, boil for an addition 1-2 minutes.
  • Top with fresh grated parmesan cheese, fresh chopped basil, or parsley.


  • The sauce freezes really well. Let it completely cool before freezing. Once cooled, pour it into a gallon freezer bag. Lay it on a flat surface in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you're ready to use it, place the bag of frozen spaghetti sauce in a pot of water and reheat until warm.
  • If you want that authentic homemade flavor, allow time to let the sauce simmer. By simmering for a long period of time, it really allows the sauce to develop a lot of flavor. Ideally, I let it simmer for 3-4 hours, adding water as needed. If you don't have that much time, 1.5-2 hours will work. 
  • There are many types of pasta noodles you can use, but my favorite brand is Barilla. They cook PERFECTLY every time. And they also make a gluten free noodles.
  • You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Make sure to store the noodles and the sauce in separate containers so it doesn't dry out.
  • The brown sugar is a key ingredient. Don't leave it out. I prefer dark brown sugar over light brown sugar, but either will work.
  • Sometimes I add a fresh tomato. Spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes is delicious. You can also add a can of diced tomatoes if you want more of a "tomato" flavor.
  • Top the spaghetti with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil or parsley.


Calories: 590kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 542mg | Potassium: 494mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 10IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 3mg