Easy homemade spaghetti sauce, using ingredients you probably already have in your pantry! This recipe is a family dinner staple!

Homemade spaghetti sauce in a saucepan with a wooden spoon.

Spaghetti Sauce

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!

A white bowl full of spaghetti noodles with homemade spaghetti sauce on top and fresh grated parmesan cheese and basil.

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,)

Side by side photos of a skillet with uncooked ground beef and onion, and then cooked and crumbled ground beef and onion.

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.

A saucepan with the ingredients to make homemade spaghetti sauce including tomato sauce, spices, ground beef, ground italian sausage, and onion, next to another photo of the sauce mixed together and water being added to it before it simmers.

I use this sauce all the time in my Spaghetti PieMillion Dollar SpaghettiSlow Cooker Lasagna and Instant Pot Spaghetti.

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.

Overhead photo of a saucepan filled with homemade spaghetti sauce.

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:

 

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Recipe

Homemade spaghetti sauce in a saucepan with a wooden spoon.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 30 mins
Total 40 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 303kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 18gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 814mgPotassium: 948mgFiber: 3gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 885IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 4mg

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Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

 

*I originally shared this recipe in September 2015. Updated July 2018.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe from TastesBetterFromScratch.com

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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  1. What is it about this simple sauce? It is excellent. I’m 63 and have been cooking dinner for 53 years. I’ve made dozens of different tomato sauces over the years and this is the best yet. This is why I think it works:
    1) grinding up the cooked beef and/or sausage is brilliant. I’d never thought of that before. It gives the sauce a thicker consistency.
    2) I think the Worcestershire sauce and sugar and garlic powder, with the other spices is spot on.
    3) the tomato paste with water in addition to the tomato sauce (not canned tomatoes) gives it a deep, tomato flavor. And in fact there is a lasagna recipe I use from a 1953 Betty Crocker cookbook that has a similar tomato sauce recipe and people always rave over my lasagna.

    I won’t change a thing. It is perfect as is. And I almost always tweak recipes. I made a huge stockpot of this sauce today (7x) the original recipe. My 5 yo grandson loves spaghetti and especially likes mommom’ s sauce. So I’m going to fill their freezer with 32 Oz containers of sauce. I’m also using this for some pans of ziti I’m freezing.

    Lauren, you hit this out of the park. I rarely write comments but I had to tell you how much I appreciate your talent and effort. Thank you.

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