Easy homemade spaghetti sauce, using ingredients you probably already have in your pantry! This recipe is a family dinner staple!
This spaghetti sauce recipe may be the first thing I learned to cook, completely by myself, when I was really young. As I got better at cooking and baking (and because I loved it so much) I can specifically remember two recipes my Mom would let me make all by myself: this homemade spaghetti sauce, and our family’s favorite Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.
She’d be nearby for supervision, but it was a huge confidence boost for me to cook all on my own! And an even bigger confidence boost when my older brothers said they liked the food 🙂
This Homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe has been a family staple for as long as I can remember. It’s really simple and the flavors are fantastic.
This is one of those meals that always tastes amazing–and it’s perfect for busy weeknights this time of year! Plus, there’s no picky eater that would ever say no to spaghetti!
How to make homemade spaghetti sauce:
First brown the beef and onion. Chop the ground beef finely as you go. After it’s browned I often like to add it to my food processor to pulse it once or twice so that it’s finely crumbled. It makes the sauce extra smooth (although some people like their spaghettie sauce with larger peices of meat in it,)
Next, add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, seasonings, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add water and simmer for 30 minutes or longer, to get more depth of flavor. The longer you simmer it, the more the flavors will blend together beautifully.
Spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce and pizza sauce; what’s the difference?
There is all sorts of confusion surrounding these terms, but spaghetti sauce, marinara sauce, and pizza sauce are usually all tomato based sauces. Marinara sauce, or pasta sauce is a slow-simmered sauce that is often made with tomatoes, garlic, and herbs. In America, we often refer to marinara as a meatless, tomato-based sauce.
Spaghetti sauce is essentially any sauce that you put on spaghetti. Traditional spaghetti sauce is often just a more complex marina sauce that has additional spices and may be made with meat, vegetables, cheese, etc.
Pizza sauce is typically uncooked and refers to any sauce you put on pizza. This sauce is usually simple, with few ingredients and is meant to cook with the pizza for added flavor.
Tips for making ahead and freezing spaghetti sauce:
This homemade spaghetti sauce can be easily made ahead of time. Store it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days or freeze it. Before freezing spaghetti sauce, allow the mixture to cool completely. Label a gallon freezer bag and fill it with the sauce. Store it on a flat surface so that it freezes into a flat shape that will store easily. Store it for up to 4-6 months. To use, place frozen sauce in a pot and reheat on the stove until warm.
Need a SIDE DISH? Some of my favorites include:
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- 1 pound ground beef (or ½ lb ground Italian sausage and ½ lb ground beef)
- salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- crushed red pepper flakes , to taste
- 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (optional)
- spaghetti noodles , for serving
- Season ground beef with salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet, add the beef and chopped onion and brown. Drain excess grease.
- Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, parsley, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, worcestershire, and sugar to the skillet.
- Stir well to combine and bring to a boil. Add water and stir well.
- Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add chopped basil before serving, if desired.
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*I originally shared this recipe in September 2015. Updated July 2018.