This delicious spaghetti and meat sauce is the perfect way to start a meal. It’s perfect served over your favorite pasta noodles, and will become a family favorite in no time!
Ingredients Needed to make Spaghetti Sauce:
This is a quick overview of the ingredients you’ll need for this Spaghetti Sauce recipe. Specific measurements and full recipe instructions are in the printable recipe card below.
- ground beef – this can also be substituted for ground sausage, turkey, or meatballs
- yellow onion – this adds so much flavor and depth to the sauce
- minced garlic – a must for Italian cooking
- tomato sauce – I use a plain tomato sauce, to let the herbs shine
- dried parsley, basil, and oregano – these add so much flavor to our sauce
- granulated sugar – some people leave sugar out of their spaghetti sauce, I only add a little to help balance the flavors, and cut the acidity. You can taste it before adding and decide what you think.
- salt and pepper – for that perfect savory flavor.
- beef broth – This adds a stronger meaty flavor, it can be left out if you don’t have time to simmer your sauce.
How to make Spaghetti Sauce?
- Sauté your ground beef in a large pot (and deep) skillet until it starts to brown. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until they start to soften and the beef is cooked through. Drain off the extra grease.
- Add in the tomato sauce, dried herbs, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir in the beef broth.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the temperature to let it simmer, for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours.
- Serve this homemade sauce over your favorite cooked pasta! I love it over spaghetti noodles. Top with some fresh parmesan cheese, fresh basil, or fresh parsley if desired.
Tips to make the best Spaghetti Sauce:
- Add more veggies to your dish, by dicing up some vegetables, like carrots, mushrooms, green peppers, or zucchini into tiny pieces, and adding to your sauce by sautéing them for a few minutes in the pan with the onions. Carrots will need longer than other vegetables.
- Instead of ground beef you can use your favorite ground meat – add ground Italian sausage, or ground turkey meat, cooked the same way. I like to do half a pound of ground beef, and half a pound of ground sausage for a little more flavor.
- You can also serve this sauce over meatballs, just leave the ground beef out, and heat the meatballs according to recipe/package directions. Add them to the sauce at the end of simmering, or serve sauce over the top of hot meatballs.
- The sauce flavors really develop when left to simmer, but if you don’t have time, just simmer the sauce for 10 minutes and serve. You can leave out the beef broth, or lower the amount if you aren’t going to be simmering the sauce as long (you won’t need as much liquid as it won’t be evaporating over time). I’ve done this plenty of times, and the results are still delicious.
- You can also add the sauce once ready to simmer to a slow cooker over high heat and let it simmer there, so it’s easier to set and forget, than the stove.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How to store Spaghetti Sauce?
Leftover spaghetti sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can store the sauce on it’s own, or mixed in with any leftover pasta. Reheat it over noodles in the microwave until warm, or on the stove top over medium low heat until warm throughout.
Can you freeze spaghetti sauce?
You can also freeze spaghetti sauce. Make sure to let the sauce cool, then spoon it into freezer safe zip-top bags, or other freezer safe containers. Lay bags flat on a baking sheet until frozen solid to freeze them flat, then you can take them off the baking pan and freeze in whatever space your freezer allows.
Thaw in the fridge until soft enough to add to a pot to reheat on the stove, or a bowl for the microwave.
Is spaghetti sauce the same as marinara sauce?
A tomato-based spaghetti sauce is thicker than a marinara sauce. Spaghetti sauce usually has a richer flavor and is full of meat.
Marinara sauce is usually thinner, made of tomato sauce with garlic and herbs. And is used as a dipping sauce, or possibly a pizza sauce. If you want to serve a sauce over noodles with another meat like chicken or seafood then I recommend a white sauce like alfredo sauce or a marinara sauce.
What to serve with spaghetti?
Spaghetti is practically a full meal in one with carbs, protein, veggies, etc. but it’s still delicious with some favorite sides as well. Here are some I love.
- Garlic Bread Sticks
- Homemade Bread or a loaf of French Bread
- Roasted Vegetables (like parmesan zucchini, roasted broccoli, or asparagus)
- Side Salad (a basic salad with tomatoes, and carrots, or a Caesar salad are great)
- Creamy Broccoli Salad
- Fruit Salad
This spaghetti is one of our family favorite meals, and will quickly become one of your repeat meals as well. It’s delicious, easy, and perfect for any day of the year!
More easy pasta recipes:
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- 16 oz ground beef
- 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 TBS minced garlic
- 28 oz tomato sauce
- 1 TBS dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (to taste)
- 1 cup beef broth (can be substituted for chicken broth, or water)
- Add your ground beef to a large skillet over medium heat. Crumble the beef into small pieces and let it start to brown.
- Add in the onion and garlic and cook another few minutes until they start to soften and the ground beef is cooked through. Drain off any excess grease.
- Add in the tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir it all together.
- Stir in the beef broth.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
- Lower the temperature to medium low, or low and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes, up to 2 hours.
- Serve over your choice of cooked pasta noodles. Topped with fresh chopped basil if desired.
This spaghetti sauce recipe was first posted on February 9, 2010. The photos and text were updated for clarity on August 15, 2022.
I Save most of your recipes because they are so great.