This hearty and flavorful homemade spaghetti sauce that uses simple pantry ingredients is sure to become a family favorite dinner staple. It’s freezer-friendly and is great over pasta or lasagna.
Today we’re making a lovingly simmered homemade spaghetti sauce made from scratch. While the store-bought jarred kind is pretty convenient, it is missing a whole lot of flavor you can get by building on a tomato base with a few extra ingredients. Add a few pantry staples like ground beef, onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes and some seasonings like Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano and Italian seasoning for the best go-to spaghetti sauce.
Serve with some garlic bread or garlic knots and enjoy a fun pasta night. If you like Italian-inspired recipes, try out this spinach and three cheese manicotti, lasagna roll-ups, creamy sun-dried tomato and spinach pasta, or some slow cooker spaghetti bolognese. Let’s start cooking!
HOMEMADE SPAGHETTI SAUCE RECIPE TIPS
Ground beef – You can substitute 1 lb. ground beef with 1/2 lb. ground beef and 1/2 lb. Italian sausage. I like using a meat smasher to break up any clumps.
Tomato paste – I used a can of Miur Glen tomato paste but if you prefer the tube kind, go with that instead. I use the Cento brand for tomato paste in a tube. We’re sauteing the tomato paste after the onions, garlic and peppers so that it caramelizes. This little secret makes a pasta sauce much more robust, with deeper flavors.
San Marzano tomatoes – San Marzano tomatoes are said to be sweeter than others so you’ll end up with a spaghetti sauce that isn’t too tart. If you’re not a fan, you can go with your favorite whole peeled tomatoes instead. The meat smasher I used to break up the ground beef comes in pretty handy to smash these whole peeled tomatoes as well. You can also use a wooden spoon, just get them mashed into the sauce. The only chunks you should have left are from the diced tomatoes.
Diced tomatoes – I used Hunt’s basil, garlic and oregano diced tomatoes for more flavor but any other kinds will work too. You do not need to drain the can.
Pasta water – Pasta water contains the starch from the pasta which helps thicken and bind the sauce. Save some of this and use it instead of beef broth or water! One cup of pasta water should be enough for this recipe.
Sugar – I like adding sugar to balance the tartness of the tomatoes. Feel free to adjust or leave out if needed.
Garnish – Garnish with freshly chopped basil leaves or parsley to add a pop of green when serving.
Simmering – The recipe calls for 30 minutes of simmering but you can simmer the sauce in a covered pot for up to a few hours. If you would like to simmer it even longer, try the slow cooker method instead.
Slow cooker method – Transfer the spaghetti sauce to the slow cooker after Step 6 and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
- Add more veggies – Bulk up the sauce a little with mushrooms, olives, or fresh spinach. Black olives go great with a red pasta sauce and so does baby spinach.
- Beef it up – I like adding some meatiness to the sauce with one or two crumbled beef bouillon cubes.
- Red wine – Add a splash of red wine to give the sauce some nuance.
What to Serve with Homemade Spaghetti
And that’s about it. Let me know how you liked it, what substitutions you made or what you paired it with in the comments below.
MORE MEATY PASTA RECIPES TO TRY
- Pepperoni and Olive Penne Pasta
- Cheesy Hot Italian Sausage Bake
- Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese
- Slow Cooker Beef and Cheese Pasta