The rich, delicious flavor of this homemade spaghetti sauce is nothing short of amazing! Tried-and-true, this spaghetti sauce recipe really is the best.

The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Before we dive in to all things homemade spaghetti sauce, for those of you who have emailed and commented and begged recently for my favorite spaghetti sauce recipe to can (you know, like in jars and stuff)…never fear! I’m working on that as we speak, and if you can hang on to the last remains of summer garden tomatoes, I’ll hopefully be posting my perfected method/recipe later this week or early next.

Thanks for being patient! I have some lazy tomatoes that are taking their sweet time to ripen. I finally had to get serious and cut the water to show them who’s boss.

But today. Today, it’s all about the best homemade spaghetti sauce known to man. A quick glance through the comments below is proof that this spaghetti sauce is widely known, made and loved.

The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

For as much as I love to make new variations of recipes (seriously, I can’t be stopped with things like chocolate chip cookies and lasagna and brownies), I have not branched out and tried new spaghetti sauce recipes for nearly seven years, because this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe is perfect.

I’ve added some additional notes to the recipe below to reflect some very minor changes I’ve made over the years. While this sauce recipe makes a large batch (grab a big pot!), that’s one of the things I love about it, because I can make it once and stick half (if not a little more) in the freezer for a super easy dinner later.

In addition, I’ve also included a slow cooker variation to the notes of the recipe, because many a Sunday, the aroma of rich, flavorful homemade spaghetti sauce is exactly what we want to come home to. There may not be anything better.

This divine, homemade spaghetti sauce is comfort food at its finest! If the internet ever explodes and my blog disappears, you better believe I’ll have copies of this recipe hidden in secure, undisclosed locations so it can be passed down to future generations.

The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

What To ServeHot, cooked spaghetti noodles
Divine breadsticks
Simple green salad (or something more fancy like this Gourmet Green Salad)

The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Yield: Makes 16-20 servings (see note for halving or freezing)

The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

UPDATE: 9/12/16 After many years on my site, this recipe was in dire need of new photos and some updates. I didn’t change much of the original recipe except for the following: original recipe called for 3 tablespoons olive oil but over the years, I’ve used 1 tablespoon consistently; I often puree all the onions and pepper with good results (for those that don’t want onion pieces), I hardly ever use Italian-style diced tomatoes because I don’t keep them on hand so keep in mind that regular diced tomatoes work great, too (and on occasion, I’ve used fire-roasted diced tomatoes; delicious!).

The sauce may seem watery at first but will reduce to perfection after simmering for an hour. It can simmer for 2-3 hours (very low heat) with good results, especially if you want a super thick, flavorful sauce. I’ve also had good success making this in the slow cooker; I brown the meat ahead of time and throw everything (minus the olive oil and balsamic vinegar) in the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 or low for 7-9 hours. I add the balsamic vinegar 15 minutes before serving.

This sauce halves (or even quarters) great if you don’t want to make such a large batch. I have never tried canning it (but hopefully will figure out a canning recipe soon!).

Make Ahead Instructions: The sauce can be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. It also freezes beautifully. My favorite way to thaw/cook the sauce is to throw the heaping frozen mass of sauce in the slow cooker and cook it on low for about 5-6 hours. It thaws and heats up wonderfully well.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups onion, chopped and divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef or lean ground turkey
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 can (12-ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 cans (14-ounces each) Italian-style diced tomatoes or regular diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans (28-ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 8 ounces button or baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock or beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 cup of the chopped onions, and sauté until translucent and slightly browned, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, and cook, stirring constantly for a minute or so.
  2. Add beef, and cook, breaking into small pieces, until it is no longer pink, 6-7 minutes. Drain excess grease.
  3. In a blender or food processor, blend remaining 1 cup onion and the red pepper until smooth. Pour the mixture into the pot with the beef and onions.
  4. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and thyme, and cook for 1 minute, stirring until combined.
  5. Add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, mushrooms (if using), beef broth, and sugar. Stir until combined before adding the bay leaves.
  6. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in the balsamic vinegar and let the sauce rest for 10-15 minutes (for the flavor to absorb) before serving.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Originally posted October 21, 2009; updated with new pictures, commentary and recipe notes.Homemade Spaghetti Sauce - Perfected

236 Responses to The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

  1. Queen B. says:

    oooooooooooo yummmmmmmmmmmmmy !

  2. Leslie says:

    this does look like an amazing sauce

  3. JoAnn says:

    That looks scrumptious! It’s definitely going to be my next batch.

  4. pxilated says:

    Finally a recipe that calls for tomato paste and actually uses the entire can. Not that I haven’t made some interesting things simply to use up leftover paste, but still. Very exciting.

  5. grace says:

    don’t lie–you’ll keep tweaking it. it’s human nature. 🙂

  6. Lisa says:

    I can’t wait to try this…without the meat…sounds yummy!

  7. Julianne says:

    Excellent. I was just thinking last night, “I wish I had a good spaghetti sauce recipe” when I bought the store stuff. Thanks, I’ll let you know how it goes!

  8. Laura says:

    This looks great! Thank you.

  9. teresa says:

    i’m always looking for tips on skettie sauce, next time i make it, i’m trying this!

  10. rachel says:

    I have a deep love for spaghetti… but I always use the sauce in a jar and just add stuff to it. I am really excited about trying this recipe the next time we have pasta. It looks amAAAzing!

  11. Murphfam says:

    Can’t wait to try your new version. I have been making your old version for the past year except with ground turkey and no wine. The other thing I always add to my spaghetti sauce (courtesy of giada delaurentis) is 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter..always seems to finish it off. Thanks for the great recipes!

  12. Melanie says:

    Murphfam – glad you like the original spaghetti sauce. I’ve actually seen Giada de Laurentis do the butter thing and have never tried it, but I think I will next time based on your recommendation!

    Jen – I use a large stockpot, probably a 6-quart pot.

  13. Christy says:

    Ooooohh-your sauce looks delicious!! I can’t wait to try this recipe.

  14. Laurie says:

    I, too, cannot wait to make this recipe! It will have to wait for the weekend – I will let you know what the family says!

  15. Valerie says:

    I’ve never made spaghetti sauce with balsamic vinegar. Sounds good.

  16. Christy says:

    I came across your blog and love it! I made this tonight and my family couldn’t stop raving about it. Thank you so much for sharing this. It is a keeper!!!!

  17. Yardley Crew says:

    I recenly found you blog, and tried 3 of your recipes… all FABULOUS. Now all of our little town of Panguitch is finding out about you. You have many fans! Thanks for encouraging moms to try new things and be excited about it.

  18. Candice Beth says:

    This looks yummy! I’m on a search to find a GOOD Chicken Alfredo Pizza recipe! (i LOVE olive gardens) Any ideas?? 🙂

  19. Melanie says:

    Christy – I was looking forward to someone making this and letting me know what they thought. Thanks for being the first so far! I appreciate you letting me know you liked it.

  20. Melanie says:

    Yardley Crew – wow, thanks for the referrals! And thanks for letting me know you’ve liked a few recipes so far. Seriously, making family meals can be the pits sometimes so I’m glad that there are moms out there who can use some good ideas! Thanks for checking in.

  21. Melanie says:

    Candice Beth – I’ve made a few alfredo pizzas in my time but I’m afraid they are nothing fancy. If I come across a stellar recipe, I’ll let you know!

  22. Anonymous says:

    This is a delicious recipe! I love the addition of the red pepper/onion puree and the touch of balsamic vinegar at the end! This was a hit! Unfortunately, now my husband will insist on having spaghetti at home rather than going out to an Italian restaurant. This recipe made enough to freeze enough sauce for another meal. from Sally Walter

  23. Amber says:

    This looks delicious! I’m going to go the store right now and get the ingredients! Thanks for posting…..

  24. Melanie says:

    Sally – I’m glad that you tried this and it was a hit with you and your husband. I am sorry it might mean more work for you, though, if you won’t be able to enjoy a restaurant now and then! 🙂 Thanks so much for letting me know.

  25. Melanie says:

    Julie – I’m glad you liked this! And I’m sorry you had to dirty so many skillets and pots to make this! At least the result was worth it, right?

  26. Julie says:

    I made this yesterday. I really wasn’t thinking much when I started with a regular sized skillet. I moved up to a larger pot, then had to go up to an even bigger one by the end. It makes a TON!! I didn’t have any basil or bay leaves. It was still wonderful. I did add a pinch of red pepper flakes to give it just a little kick. We had enough for supper last night. I froze enough for two more meals and put enough in the fridge to use on a pizza tonight and also had some for leftovers for lunch. I don’t think I’ll be buying jarred sauce again anytime soon! Thank you for a great recipe!

  27. Melanie says:

    Anonymous – thank you for letting me know you liked this!

  28. Anonymous says:

    This was just wonderful and easy to make!! Very yummmmmy!! Thank you!

  29. Barbi says:

    Hi! I have made this spaghetti sauce twice now and it is so delicious! I have been telling everyone about it. This second time around I added 1 lb sausage and 1 lb hamburger- so good! I also love that we get 4 meals out of it. And- I made your breadsticks to go along with it. They were also yummy!
    Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy your blog! 🙂

  30. Melanie says:

    Barbi – thanks for letting me know you like this spaghetti sauce! I love the addition of sausage – I bet it really spiced things up and added great flavor. Thanks for letting me know!

  31. Anonymous says:

    I made this sauce tonight, and my kids LOVED it. My 9 yr. old said it was the best spaghetti sauce ever! Huge complement to you! Thanks!


  32. Melanie says:

    Kara – thanks for all of your comments on the posts you’ve tried. I’m glad this spaghetti sauce was a hit! Tell your 9-year old he/she is the smartest kid ever!

  33. Danielle says:

    Wow, Melanie! You weren’t exaggerating about perfection. My husband took one bite, looked at me and said,”New recipe?” After a few more bites he said this is even better than his favorite pasta place.

    As a note, I had a crazy day so I made the sauce in the a.m. and simmered it in the crock pot all day. It was wonderful.

  34. Melanie says:

    Danielle – thanks for the tip about the crockpot. I’m really glad that your husband liked this so well!

  35. Jenny says:

    Fantastic!!!! I have never been a huge spaghetti fan but with THIS SAUCE I’m converted! My hubby and kids LOVED it! Thank you!

  36. Mel says:

    Thanks, Jenny! I’m so glad you liked this spaghetti sauce.

  37. Alicia says:

    Delicious! For variety, I took half the sauce and added about 1/2 cup heavy cream and some parmesan cheese. It makes a delicious, creamy and cheesy sauce. Then I let the kids choose what sauce they want. They love the creamy version as well as the original. Thanks. This is the first time I’ve made spaghetti sauce from scratch.

  38. Kina says:

    Hmm… I made this yesterday and thought it was good but I feel like I need to tweak it to suit our individual tastes…Hubby thought it had a lil’ too much oregano. It made a bunch so we’re having leftovers tonight and I plan to freeze the rest for a lasagna maybe at the end of the month. I will say that this is definitely better than my usual sauce so I plan to keep working with it until I love it! Thanks a bunch!

    • Mel says:

      Kina – glad you can tailor it to your liking – that’s what I hoped with this recipe is that people would take it and run with it on their own. Thanks for letting me know!

  39. Anona Davis says:

    I just made this tonight. And WOW it was wonderful!! I think it is the best spaghetti sauce I have ever had!!! I only had 1/2 lb of hamburger on hand so that was all I used and I really liked it not too meaty. You always have such Yummy recipes! Thanks so much for this wonderful blog!!!!

  40. Jessica says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I’ve started making it in triple or more batches and canning it for food storage and it works out really well! I love your site and knowing that I can always find awesome, no fail recipes!

    • Mel says:

      Jessica – you’ll have to give me your details on how you can this. I’ve never officially canned this sauce to put on my shelves but I would love to do that!

  41. Stephanie says:


    I made this last night and love it. I would really like to can it. I’m a beginner (as in, I’ve never, ever canned), but I’m getting a canner. Would I be able to make this and can it in a pressure canner and store it for awhile? If you know anything about that, I’d love your input. Thanks for many wonderful recipes!

  42. Jessica says:

    I’ve canned this sauce 3 times now…I just make a triple batch and then can it following the Ball’s blue book of canning directions for their meat sauce. It is quarts for 1 hour and 15 minutes in the pressure canner….and out of a triple batch i last got about 8 quarts. It takes a bit of work but it is so worth it to be able to dump it out of the jar and heat it up and already have the hamburger in it. Thanks again for the recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Jessica – ok, your input on canning is invaluable! Thank you so much for including your tips. I’ve actually been wanting to can this sauce, too, but have been kind of nervous to try it. You have finally convinced me! Thank you so much!

      Stephanie – it looks like Jessica answered both of our questions!

  43. Chavah says:

    Hey Mel! Just tried this tonight and it was sooo good! I tried it with this awesome french bread recipe:

    It was great. I stuck it in a crockpot for 4 hours (after I sauteed the onions, garlic, and meat & peppers). Turned out fantastic. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Chavah – glad you liked this sauce and I’m definitely going to throw it in my crockpot next time I make it! I think that may be the next french bread recipe I try, too!

  44. […] ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups) 2 (24-ounce) jars pasta sauce or use 6 cups of homemade sauce 12 no-boil lasagna noodles (I love the Barilla brand), or 12 regular lasagna noodles, boiled […]

  45. Zoe says:

    AHHH~~ finally found the perfect Spaghetti Sauce. Thanks Mel

  46. Zoe says:

    Can I use fresh tomatos instead of “CANNED TOMATOS”??

    • Mel says:

      Zoe – absolutely. If you are familiar with cooking with them, by all means, go ahead! Just blanch, peel and use the equivalent of what is called for in canned tomatoes. Also, you’ll want to taste test to make sure the salt level is ok since you won’t get the added salt from the canned tomatoes.

  47. Amy says:

    OH MY GOSH THIS IS FANTASTIC SAUCE!!! I have a friend who taught me how to make her sauce, her Italian mother-in-law passed it down to her, and this is just as good if not better!! Thanks so much for sharing.

  48. Melanie C says:

    Melanie!! have I told you lately that I love you?! seriously, you have SO MANY great recipes, and this is yet another one! I made this today, it literally filled up my large stock pot. It only took about 45 min to put it together, and then I let it simmer for about 2 hours. We ate it with spaghetti for dinner, and we ALL loved it, including my 4 year old son.
    I’m so happy to have all of this homemade meat sauce to freeze!! I think I’m going to freeze two separate containers. One for lasagna in a couple of weeks, and maybe another for “cheaters lasagna” (frozen ravioli, cheese, and sauce layered together and baked) a couple of weeks after that!
    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this great recipe!!

  49. MeganM says:

    Stupid Question Alert!!! What exactly do you mean by “red pepper”? Is that a bell pepper? I’m just uncertain what kind of pepper is being referred to.

  50. Patty M says:

    This is the best sauce ever!!! I just made another double batch. I use Italian sausage instead of the hamburger and it tastes great! I put mine in quart canning jars and freeze it. Thanks for the great recipe!

  51. Melanie G says:

    Wow- this was SO incredible! I made it at 11 am this morning and actually threw it in the crockpot on low. The taste was fantastic and my kids asked for seconds which is a first. Thank you again! Another “winner” as my 5 year old says.

    • Mel says:

      Melanie G – I love the crockpot trick and took that same tip from an earlier commenter. A lot of times I’ll freeze this sauce and then throw the frozen portion in the fridge overnight. The next morning when it is still frozen but thawed enough to chop into chunks, I throw it in the slow cooker and let it heat up for dinner. So glad you and the kids liked this!

  52. Carla says:

    I made this for the first time tonight and I couldn’t be more pleased. After years and years of searching I have finally found the spaghetti sauce recipe that is “the one”. My search is over. I could cry and dance, I am so happy!! Thank you thank you thank you!

  53. Katie says:

    Hi Mel,

    This sauce sounds incredible! What changes would I need to make if I just want to make a plain sauce (no meat in the sauce) My five-year old wants spaghetti and meatballs for his birthday dinner. Will the sauce still thicken up okay without the meat, and should I decrease the onion or the spices or something else…?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Katie – if you are looking for a basic red sauce for spaghetti and meatballs, I’d use this marinara recipe. It is delicious! If you are sure you want to make this spaghetti sauce recipe, I wouldn’t alter any ingredients except to take out the meat. You’ll probably need to simmer it slightly longer to let it thicken up.

  54. Jessie says:

    Wow. Sooo delicious. I have been trying out a few of your recipes, and they are soooo tasty!

  55. […] get tired of store bought spaghetti sauce, so when I saw this recipe on Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, I decided to try it. I will say, it was different, but good! I […]

  56. Carla says:

    I have commented on this recipe already but I have just made it again, omitting the meat and the pepper and adding zucchini and celery. It was delicious also. I now can use the same recipe marinara sauce and meat sauce! Life just keeps getting better!

    Thanks again!

  57. Eric B. says:

    The sauce was very good. I omitted the food processor and just added the red pepper and onion. I also put it all in the crockpot after browning the beef and vegetable mixture for about 4 hours on low.

  58. Jenna says:

    Another hit from your site, Mel. I love your recipes! I did omit the mushrooms and red pepper and used 1 lb. of italian sausage, but the results were fabulous! I was able to freeze two 48-oz. containers for future dinners. Thank you Thank you for such delicious recipes!

  59. BriAnn says:

    Totally going to try this, but something you could add that is delish (my moms sauce is really yummy and has this in it) is zucchini, and I’m sure squash would be good in it too. I love hiding veggies in everything.

  60. Nikki says:

    Made this last night using a trick I found on Cooks Country. Instead of simmering it on the stove, I put on the lid and put it in the oven at 300 degrees and let it cook for about 6 hours. I checked it about every 2 hours, afraid it would cook down too fast, but no! It reduced perfectly, and though I would’ve eaten it after 2 hours, it was even MORE perfect after all day in the oven. The meat (I use turkey) was also beautifully tender. Another thing I do that you may want to try, process two to four raw carrots and add that instead of sugar. Sweetens it naturally as well as adds vitamins and fiber.

  61. Melissa says:

    Oh my goodness. I made this weeks menu plan using your website. This was delicious! Thank you so much for a new family favorite. I just need to learn how to can now so I can be stocked up without spending a lot of time on it. It was worth every minute though. Yum.

  62. […] ounces Parmesan cheese, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)2 (24-ounce) jars pasta sauce or use 6 cups of homemade sauce12 no-boil lasagna noodles (I love the Barilla brand), or 12 regular lasagna noodles, boiled […]

  63. Anna says:

    Hi! I’m planning on making this in my crockpot. Will be using lean ground turkey instead of beef. Sorry if this is a silly question, but could I use chicken broth instead? And, would I add the balsamic vinegar near the end of cooking time or could I just add it in the beginning and let it simmer on low for the whole day?


    • Mel says:

      Anna – I think chicken broth should work ok although the sauce might have a slightly less deep flavor profile since beef stock/broth has a bit deeper flavor. I would still stir in the balsamic vinegar at the end. Let me know how it turns out!

  64. Melody says:


    I’ve made this twice now – I just finished a batch tonight. I forgot to add the balsamic vinegar last time but hopefully remember this time to see if I like the taste.

    I used it in lasagna the last time and got a thumbs up from my husband. I also used red & yellow bell pepper and added about double the brown sugar. I also used lower sodium beef stock, so not sure if that affects the taste. I like the vegetable ideas the other ladies have shared.

    As for the amount it makes it’s about 18 1/2 cup servings. I’ve not really calculated the cost per serving, though. Would be interesting to see how it compared to store bought.

  65. Nikki says:

    This sounds wonderful! I do have a question. Has anyone tried this minus the meat? Our family enjoys a good marinara and have found that we just don’t like meat in our Italian food…ever…except of course for something like chicken parm! I have a homemade spaghetti sauce recipe I do love that also freezes wonderfully, but like you, I’m always looking to tweak and improve! Thanks!

  66. Cris says:

    I halved this recipe and had enough for spaghetti and a lasagna.

    This sauce was amazing. I let it simmer for four hours and it seemed to get better overnight.

    Thank you!

  67. Aubree says:

    Atothemazing recipe!

  68. Karisa says:

    I’m about to make this delish recipe for the first time (super excited!) but have a question: I have no idea what beef stock is (there, I said it) I bought beef broth, will that work?
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  69. Mel says:

    Karisa – yep, beef broth will do just fine! That’s usually what I use. Beef stock has a bit more concentrated flavor but it won’t make a huge difference in this recipe.

  70. Jennifer says:

    I have never made homemade spaghetti sauce before.. always thought it would be too hard. I made this on Sunday and not only was it pretty easy to follow the directions it was better than any spaghetti sauce I have ever had!! My husband and 14 month old son loved it too!! We have enough in the freezer for probably 3 more meals for our little family. Thank you SO much for your recipes I have tried a number of them and they have ALL been big hits and will be on the menu rotation forever!!

  71. Marissa says:

    This recipe rocks! I hv made this twice now. The first time i omitted the red pepper and let it simmer in the slow cooker for 4 hrs. The 2nd time i roasted the red pepper on the stove then blended it into the sauce, and i simmered the sauce on the stove top. I think it was better the 2nd time around. The roasted red pepper gave it a sweet smoky flavor and letting it simmer on the stove top reduced the sauce to a nice thick consistency (it was too watery in the slow cooker). I think the next time, I’ll blend some dried chiles to give it some heat!

  72. Amy says:

    I can’t say enough about this spaghetti sauce. I tried it for the first time tonight and loved it. I am glad it makes a lot!

  73. […] have a fave, try this one out.  It’s kind of a mish-mash of my own recipe with some ideas from Mel’s version.  Bon […]

  74. Amber says:

    I wish you people would STOP saying how great it LOOKS… Reviews are suppose to be AFTER you actually make and try a recipe, so it helps those of us wondering before cooking. I can’t stand it when people do that, it’s so dumb!!!!

  75. Annie says:

    I just finished making this, and unfortunately, I didn’t have any diced tomatoes on hand. So, I used a fresh tomato and instead of blanching it and peeling the skin, I coarsely chopped it and ran it through the food processor after the onions and peppers. It turned out really well! I also added some hot peppers to it, because we like our sauce on the spicy side!

    Thanks for a great recipe.

  76. Carrie says:

    I have made several sauces by scratch and would always go back to jarred because I didn’t like the acidic and very tomatoey taste it had, that overpowered the whole sauce. But I have finally found a keeper, I like the blending of the few veggies because I even snuck in some spinach and kids knew no better 🙂 next time I think I will add some more hidden vegetables to that blend! Also I don’t eat pasta but felt the need to scoop myself a scoop for dinner, it was just that yummy, not to pass up! Thank you 🙂

  77. Annie says:

    I made this sauce a few weeks ago and it was a hit with my husband, whom, after 22 years of marriage as never liked my homemade spaghetti sauce! The only change I did was run the beef in the food processor after I cooked it, and it gave the sauce a nice consistency! Thank you for a winner of a recipe … I am making more tomorrow!

  78. Hannah A. says:

    Rushed during my trial run of this tantalizing meat sauce (and admittedly distracted by both a toddler, a husband leaving for work, and leftover red pepper slices I immediately decided should be breakfast), I accidentally added the balsamic right along with the rest of the ingredients. *pause for dramatic gasps* Following a 2 hr. simmer, the resulting sauce had a slightly bitter undertone, thus I added the brown sugar I had originally omitted in favor of the natural sweetness of carrot and extra red pepper. My question: Do you suspect this bitterness was a product of bringing the balsamic to the party prematurely? Thank you! And thank you! 🙂

  79. Heidy says:

    MMMmmmm! Wonderful recipe. We made it tonight with tomatoes from our garden and couldn’t be happier with the results! Another keeper. 🙂

  80. Mel says:

    Hi Hannah…yes I think the bitterness was probably due to the balsamic coming in too soon. I hope it works out better if you try it again. I know how those rushed recipes go!

  81. Hannah A. says:

    I’m sure you’re quite familiar with rushed recipes! I’ve come again and again to your site but only recently took a moment to thoroughly read your About page (I thought I previously had, but no); when I discovered all the little ones you have running around your apron strings, my already good opinion of you grew! (That, and I felt silly for having taken up a moment of your time with my trivial question.) Now more than before, because I now have a better understanding of the sacrifice it means for you, I appreciate your taking the time not only to share your wonderful recipes and accompanying photos (the photos draw us in!), but also to respond to inquiries. You are kind. 🙂

    I was able to neutralize the bitterness with additional sugar and pinches of baking soda. Here’s to a more successful sauce next time, thanks to you. 🙂

  82. Dottie says:

    I have been looking at your spaghetti recipe & it looks wonderful. I like my sauce smooth. Should I put it in a blender in batches to smooth it like the Marinara sauce? Is that the best way to do it?

  83. Mel says:

    Dottie – sure, you could purée this. I’m not sure how I feel about puréed meat but if you are ok with it or are going to make it meatless, it should work fine.

  84. Dottie says:

    I would make it meatless. Thanks for the info

  85. Marie says:

    Just stumbled upon this recipe on Pinterest and gave it a try tonight. It was so delicious! I got rave reviews from my husband and the 2 college kids loved it. We ate it with penne pasta and there was plenty left over which I immediately froze for another meal. I’m thinking lasagna is in my near future!

  86. Laura says:

    We LOVE this sauce. Good flavor, and not too spicy for the kids. I just looked it up again, as I have oodles of garden tomatoes to use. Last year, I made LOTS with my tomatoes, and froze it in 2-3 cup containers, minus the vinegar. I would then thaw it in the fridge, simmer for an hour and add the vinegar at the end as the recipe directs. It did not lose any quality or flavor even after frozen for a long time.

  87. gloria says:

    I ask for home made but it is always with can tomatoes I want fresh tomatoes

  88. Beth says:

    I am sitting here in my kitchen while the sauce is simmering. This is my first time making it, and I am using beefsteak tomatoes from my garden. I keep tasting it because it is so yummy. My dad’s birthday is in a couple of days, so being the spaghetti lover that he is, he is going to get a batch of it.

  89. craig says:

    just about to make this for tomorrow night. definately lookin forward to it

  90. Meg says:

    Oh how we love this sauce! Yum!

  91. deb says:

    Awesome sauce!!! Best ‘from scratch’ I’ve ever made! Thanks!!

  92. Tiff says:

    Is it safe to can this with a waterbath?

  93. Mel says:

    Tiff, I don’t know…I’ve never canned this sauce.

  94. Katie says:

    Please, please, please! Where is the first sauce recipe you posted, with the red cooking wine and both chicken and beef bouillon? My family loves that one! I was just recently cleaning out my recipe drawer and my printed version is no longer with us. I can’t find it!! Can I have it again? Pretty please?

  95. Mel says:

    Katie – I don’t have that one anymore. Sorry! I haven’t used it in years and have been using this one instead.

  96. jessica says:

    it came out perfect! defenetly worth the time and effort, its delicious 🙂 i omited the ddried basil and crushed tomatoes, because i dont like it too tomatoe like. it is a wonderful meal 🙂

  97. Lauren says:

    I don’t normally comment… But I have to say, since discovering this recipe and your site about a month ago- I’ve made this sauce at least 5 times now. We always have a stash of containers stacked in the freezer for weekday lunches and dinners. I’ve even turned half the batch into chili by omitting the balsamic and adding beans and additional spices. It’s a fantastic recipe to help people understand how simple and delicious a homemade sauce can be… A wonderful way to help understand what each step brings to the dish. It’s made me a little more creative in the kitchen and I wanted to say ‘Thanks!’…
    So, thanks!

  98. Mallory says:

    I don’t have a blender. Do you have any suggestions as to how I should add the pepper and extra onion? Should I steam and mash them?

  99. Mel says:

    Mallory – do you have a food processor? If not, just cook them until they are really soft and tender. Your sauce may be a bit chunkier but the flavor will still be there. Mashing might be a good idea, too.

  100. Geoff says:

    If I am going to freeze some sauce do I add the balsamic vinegar to the whole batch or just what I am using for the meal? Thanks

  101. Jen says:

    I love this sauce! My husband and I make a huge batch of sauce every couple months and freeze it for any night we don’t feel like cooking. This is definitely the best one we’ve made! The second batch is simmering now. We have done some of our own tweaking though. I add pound of italian sausage in addition to the beef. We like our sauce meaty! We also add way way way way more garlic (almost a whole bulb) because we are both complete garlic lovers! Thank you for such an awesome recipe!!

  102. Lisa says:

    Try this with tomato juice instead of sauce. let it simmer all day and then add the tomoatoe paste to thcken to your liking. Its magnifique!

  103. JenE says:

    My family LOVED this! I have two small boys and they gobbled it up. I will definitely be making this again and again. I have tried a few of your recipes and I have loved every one of them! Thanks!

  104. Erica Williams says:

    This was delish! And it made so much… Can’t wait for leftover night! Thanks for all of your yummy recipes, they never disappoint!

  105. Debbie R says:

    Hi Mel – I just have to tell you how much I love your spaghetti sauce recipe! I have tried for years to make my own sauce and have always gone back to Prego because I could not make one that tasted any better until today. My whole family really liked it. I am not Italian but live in community with lots of wonderful Italian cooks who could not believe I didn’t make my own sauce. I am happy to say that now I can thanks to you. I also made your ham recipe in the crockpot for Christmas and it turned out wonderfully. I won’t bother to make it in the oven again. Thanks and I am so glad to have found your blog. I look forward to trying many more of your recipes!

  106. […] Hobby Lobby is closed on Sundays. Dinner, to be more precise. What’s on the menu you ask? Meat spaghetti pulled from this pin, garlic knots discovered on this pin, and my own personal spinach salad. As […]

  107. Judith Swiger says:

    Is the red pepper in your spaghetti sauce a hot pepper or mild?

  108. Mel says:

    Judith – it’s a red bell pepper.

  109. Nadia says:

    It was absolutely delicious – like every other recipe I have tried from your blog!! Thank You!

  110. Stephanie says:

    I just made this sauce and it was yummy. I didn’t have all the ingredients and tweaked it a little bit to use what I had at home. I used 3 cans of diced tomatoes, minced garlic (in the jar), 2 beef boullon cubes (didn’t have any broth in the can), brown sugar, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and my husband added a little bit of regular sugar. I browned my meat and added some tony chachere’s. It was so good! I cooked some whole grain rotini and it was perfect!

  111. […] Spaghetti Sauce- on spaghetti noodles and Rosemary Artisan […]

  112. […] Spaghetti Sauce (from freezer)- on spaghetti noodles and green beans for […]

  113. […] (NS for Ada) Breakfast: Leftover biscuits/toast & butter w/oranges Lunch: Ada w/Terry Dinner: Spaghetti w/garlic toasts *Extra* Breakfast granola…I think I’m gonna change up the flavor profile this […]

  114. Beth says:

    Really, really great. Thanks for taking the time to share.

  115. […] Spaghetti Sauce (from freezer)- on spaghetti noodles and green beans for side. -didn’t make last […]

  116. Karen Wilson says:

    I have two questions for you. Can you email me back with the answers? I would sure appreciate it.

    1. What kind or brand of flour tortilla’s did/do you use with your honey lime enchilda’s? And why no recipe for enchilada sauce?

    2. Does the ground beef you use in your spaghetti sauce also come out tasting like over-done hard pieces of beef? I don’t know why the ground beef I use always comes out tough, flavorless, hard, and over-done. It really irks me too, because my sauce is really fantastic and everyone loves it, but when I add ground beef it just ruins it, and I love having beef in my sauce. Does yours turn out the same way?

    Please let me know.


  117. melissa says:

    I made this and took it in to work. They loved it so much, they accused me of just buying a jar of spaghetti sauce. thanks! lol

  118. Samantha says:

    Made it meatless! So yummy. Thanks 🙂

  119. Stephen Webb says:

    I am really enjoying your posts and recipes. I started with your Spaghetti Pie, now your Red Sauce. We are in the middle of the biggest heat waves in years and can not wait to get in the kitchen and start cooking!

  120. john says:

    How many ounces fresh slices mushrooms?

    B sugar two tbsp packed or loose?


    • Mel says:

      Hi John – I use about 8 – 16 ounces fresh mushrooms. Yes, I seed and core and stem the pepper. And the brown sugar is lightly packed.

  121. john says:

    Is this with packed b sugar or loose?

    Is the b pepper seeded and stemmed?

  122. Katie says:

    This was delicious…the whole family loved it! A very unique sauce, I loved the balsamic vinegar in it. Thanks for yet another winner!!

  123. Stephanie says:

    Mel, I love your recipes, and am truly excited that I am going to give this one a try. I have one question. Since it makes so much, and I will be freezing it, like recommended, do I still stir in the balsamic 15 minutes before I finish cooking it, or will that give the frozen remainder a bitter taste when I reheat it in a slow cooker another day? Thanks!!! 🙂

  124. Stacey says:

    I tried this sauce for a casual spaghetti dinner with friends and it did not disappoint! Not that I thought it would….that’s why I pulled it from Mel’s site. She never does me wrong. It was so good! My go-to meat sauce from now on!

  125. Christina says:

    I have this simmering on my stovetop now. I am curious though, why do we purée the onion and pepper?

  126. Momof7 says:

    My fiancée and I have been debating for a while now to make a homemade sauce instead of store bought. We have stared really looking at ingredients and it is unbelievable what our foods are actually made of! So she decided today that we need to make a homemade sauce…And I found you! Your sauce looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it on my pick fiancée and children! I definitely will be back to let you know how it went! Thanks!

  127. Lynda says:

    This may be the best homemade spaghetti sauce I’ve ever had, and definitely the best that I’ve ever made. So, so good.

    It definitely makes a lot … We had generous helpings for dinner and I still put a bunch in the freezer for another time!

  128. Rutie says:

    Best sauce EVER ! My whole family and my best friend LOVED it !!!!! I had to promise I would always use this recipe. None of this sauce made it to the freezer….my son even had it the next day COLD from the frig for his breakfast.

  129. Jenny says:

    Hi there, love the website and the fantastic recipes! I have wanted to make my own spaghetti sauce for so long, but none of them ever fit the bill. This tastes fabulous, but I just have one or two questions. Can you leave the meat out of it so you can use it for chicken (or veggie meals)? Also apart from going getting a canning machine, could you just keep it in a sterilised and airtight jar when there is no meat in it? Or should I just stick to freezing regardless? Much thanks and love from Ireland! 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hi Jenny – yes, you could definitely leave the meat out of this for a vegetarian option. It wouldn’t be shelf stable unless it was canned according to the official ‘canning rules’ – so if you want to make large batches, I’d encourage freezing or figuring out how it will can (I believe others have left comments above saying they’ve canned it). Hope that helps a bit!

  130. CAC says:

    I have made this sauce multiple times yet every time I think it’s better than before. I’m looking in to making it without canned tomatoes/paste — any idea as to how many tomatoes would be needed for the amounts called for?

  131. Kath says:

    I thought I’d give this a try, was thinking to myself “this could be just another site with all great reviews only to discover the dish tastes ordinary” as I have been searching for the best bolognaise recipe for years and THIS IS IT, THIS IS THE ONE! This recipe is superb, even satisfied my hard to please husband. I have also tried your sweet and sour chicken – fantastic!!! This is my go-to site for all things FOOD. Mel you are amazing! Thankyou from Australia!

  132. Melissa says:

    Mel, your website has become my new recipe box! I love everything on your site, and it all turns out delicious!! I’ve always loved cooking, but I love it even more now that I have access to all your amazing recipes. I made this spaghetti sauce last night–TO DIE FOR!! So good! Like many of the others, I too have been searching for that perfect spaghetti sauce recipe. This is the one.

  133. Kelly says:

    Another hit! My 2 year old daughter asked for seconds…and then thirds! Made with your divine breadsticks. So good!

  134. Shaun says:

    This turned out great, just a tip for everyone make sure to use real San Marzano tomatos imported from Italy, makes a big difference 🙂

  135. Tatia White says:

    Today is my second time making this and I LOVE it. My entire family does. Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I’m used to using Hunts sauce and tweaking it a little bit. I love this so much better!

  136. Pamela says:

    Made this for dinner tonight. Absolutely fabulous, Dh declared prego would never be allowed in the house again LOL This was so easy to make and it tasted like you stood over the stove all day long. Not a big hit with 3 of the kids, but they prefer butter, garlic and parm. on their spaghetti so no surprise there.
    Kind of glad they don’t like it because there was enough left to put a container in the fridge and 2 in the freezer for us to eat later. Thank you for such a yummy addition to our recipes 🙂

  137. Joyce says:

    I’ve been cooking since I was six. I’m a grandmother with 13 grandchildren now and still love to cook for others. While I was checking on different recipes, I came across your sauce recipe. Since I canned tomatoes, I wanted to experiment with a new recipe. I chose your sauce to make tonight. Before I put in the vinegar both my husband and I tasted it, and we both liked it. However, we both thought the taste was richer after I added the vinegar. I used a quart of my tomatoes, a large can of seasoned tomatoes, and a large can of sauce, plus the tomato paste. It cooked on low for two hours and then set for another hour while I prepared the rest of the spaghetti pie. I still have enough sauce for two more pies! I love the red pepper in it! I added mushrooms as well. You get an A+ for this recipe! Thank you for sharing.

  138. Sara says:

    I made this tonight for a bunch of friends – it was a BIG hit w/ everyone. I followed the recipe almost exactly – I had ground pork, so did half ground beef, half pork. And I received various frozen peppers in my meat share, so used a variety of green/red/yellow peppers. Other than that, I did everything as prescribed – and it was fantastic!!!

  139. jessica says:

    I used ground turkey only and fresh tomatoes instead of canned sliced. Threw everything in the crockpot on lowvand turned out amazing

  140. […] 2 (24-ounce) jars pasta sauce or use 6 cups of homemade sauce […]

  141. Gus Hamilton says:

    I saw this and am making it for the first time. It’s a really easy recipe. I may have made a mistake, though. I always use red wine in my spaghetti sauce, and before I realized it, I poured a cup of red wine into the the sauce along with the beef stock. I am not sure whether I need to add the balsamic at the end. I will try it both ways (with and without the balsamic-there’s definitely more than enough sauce in the pot to experiment with some of it) and hope for the best. But it smells fantastic!!!!! My grandkids keep running into the kitchen asking when will dinner be ready?

  142. Gus Hamilton says:

    I also forgot to ask: I may have added a little too stock to the mixture-it’s hard to say because there’s a lot of sauce. Do I just simmer it a little linger to evaporate the excess liquid? And, do I let it simmer covered or uncovered?

  143. Gus Hamilton says:

    Tried it with and without the balsamic. The flavor definitely deepened after I added it. It is really good. I can’t wait until tomorrow to eat some more-spaghetti sauce, like greens, is a dish that definitely improves in flavor after being on the refrigerator overnight.

  144. Shellice M says:

    This is my second time making your sauce and my house smells awesome. The first time I did a meatless sauce, and this time I am adding the ground beef. My teenage daughter and I love to cook together. And we have made some great memories in the kitchen from many of your recipes. I can’t thank you enough for that. ♥

  145. Mike O says:

    Mel – After several attempts to make a home made sauce to my liking, I was thrilled with this recipe. Perfect consistency of the sauce, delicious flavor. I called an audible and used a combo of pork, veal and beef, but otherwise, followed it to a T. This recipe is now part of my arsenal! thanks

  146. Debbie H says:

    I made this spaghetti sauce today for dinner tonight. It was absolutely delicious!!
    My husband who is not a huge fan of italian even commented on how good the sauce was. I followed the recipe exactly but next time I will chop the italian stewed tomatoes into smaller pieces. I prefer smaller chunks of tomatoes in my sauce. I allowed it to simmer about 2 hours. The house smelled so good while it was simmering.
    The recipe made a big 6 quart pot of sauce so after the sauce cooled I distributed it in 1 quart jars with seal and ring and froze the sauce. It will be the just right for recipes that call for a 28 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce. After eating this sauce I will never use jarred sauce again!!
    Thank you so much for sharing this great recipe!

    • Debbie H says:

      I forgot to mention. I used 1 lb. ground beef and 1 lb. mild Italian sausage and it was great! I bought Italian stewed tomatoes accidentally instead of the Italian diced tomatoes so that is why I had chunky sauce. The sauce is GREAT!!

  147. Janet says:

    Love this recipe! I will make up batches of this yummy sauce and freeze for the future. I recently found your website and have enjoyed every recipe I’ve tried. You’ve got it down! Thank you!

  148. Tara says:

    I made this last night when we had some visitors over. It was a huge hit! I almost forgot to add the balsamic, and am so glad I remembered, because it just put the flavor over the top. One of my guests even joked that they kind of just wanted to drink the sauce straight because it was so delicious. Thanks for another great recipe. I will definitely be making this again.

  149. Kandel says:

    Hi! Can you tell me if the brown sugar makes the sauce taste sweet at all? I prefer no sweet taste in my sauces 🙂 I can omit it if it does. Wasn’t sure if it had another purpose. Love all of your recipes! Your site is a go-to for anything I’m looking for!

    • Mel says:

      Kendel – Yes, this sauce does have a hint of sweetness so you may want to leave it out or cut back. Hope you like it if you try it!

  150. DENISE says:

    why add balsamic vinegar?

  151. Denise says:

    Best spaghetti sauce EVER!! Thanks for sharing

  152. Doug Mills says:

    Loved your spaghetti sauce!! I’ve always loved my own spaghetti sauce but love to experiment also. I made your sauce with a fee tweeks and loved the addition of the red pepper, balsamic and beef broth. I usually add cream sherry to my sauce it gives it some sweetness along with a hint of wine flavor.

    My question is this. You said you have finally perfected this sauce, I’m sure during this process you experimented with putting some sort of wine in it, what made you decide to leave it out in this recipe??

    I also made the spaghetti pie, WOW, that was a hit!! Love your website and recipes. You can really tell what a great talent and love you have for cooking.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Doug – thanks for your comment; happy to hear you are enjoying the recipes! About your question, I actually didn’t add wine during any of the variations mostly because I am not an alcohol drinker and usually don’t use it in my cooking, either. I know it imparts great flavor but since I never drink it, I don’t really know what I’m missing. 🙂 Thanks for checking in!

  153. Melissa Goodwin says:

    I followed the recipe but somehow ended up with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Any idea how I got that and how to avoid it next time? Otherwise, I really liked the taste and the texture. Thanks!

  154. Donna says:

    Wow…it is perfect

  155. Kristyn says:

    Made this today for my post-baby freezer stash and it’s lovely! Thanks for sharing, Mel!
    For those curious, this made about 12 – 13 cups. I filled up 2 quart mason jars and 2 pint-and-a-half jars. I left a good amount of headspace, since I plan to freeze them.
    Thanks, again!

  156. Brad Evans says:

    Just curious , what does the balsamic Vin do to it ? I’m making this today and was just wondering what it added to it

    • Mel says:

      Hi Brad – it helps balance out the flavors and adds a nice rich acidity. Some people have left it out, though, and liked the sauce just fine.

  157. Amy says:

    Hi Mel! I am so happy I found your blog… I have been using your recipes and my picky family has been very pleased. I do have a question about the spaghetti sauce. My family does not like to have chunks of tomato in their sauce, can I replace the diced tomatoes with tomato sauce or is there some other tweak you would suggest? I am really hoping to get away from prepackaged sauces. 🙂

  158. Robin G says:

    This was good, but definitely needed much more salt, at least for my taste. Much too sweet with the brown sugar, maybe I’ll add only a teaspoon next time. I think that’s why I needed much more salt, to counteract the sweetness. But a good recipe. I’ll try it again, and tweak it to my taste. Everybody’s tastes are different, that’s what makes the world go ’round 🙂

  159. Tracy says:

    Made this recipe last night and loved it! The balsamic and red pepper are a delicious addition. It does make a ton, so there is plenty to spare for the freezer and leftovers.

  160. Cali says:

    I used some that I had frozen (you’re right in saying this makes a lot!) to make Argentine Canelonis, which is basically a baked savory crepe. Delicious! I was SO glad to have saved so much time by having the sauce on hand. Thank you!

  161. Suzanne says:

    Am making this now and it smells yummy… I was a bit confused by your note that it might seem watery… mine is quite thick before starting to simmer… 12 oz of tomato paste and 2 X 48 oz cans of crushed tomato, even offset by the broth and diced tomato doesn’t equal a lot of excess liquid. I just added some water as the bottom was scorching as the sauce was simmering.

  162. Michelle says:

    How do I adapt this for the slow cooker?

    • Mel says:

      I’ve never made it in the slow cooker so you’ll have to experiment. Others may have reported back in the comments about how they’ve done it. I’ve made it on the stovetop before and kept it warm in the slow cooker but never done it start to finish that way.

  163. Alisha says:

    I’ve only made this recipe like a million times. I love it so much. Making it today with no canned tomatoes – all fresh from the garden. Can’t wait!

  164. Erin says:

    I’d love to make this using all the fresh tomatoes I have piling up from my garden. Any idea how many to use and how I would do that?

    • Mel says:

      I would add up the ounces of crushed and diced tomatoes in the recipe and substitute a similar amount of fresh tomatoes, blending the amount that would sub in for the crushed tomatoes. Good luck!

  165. Jennifer says:

    Do you happen to have a yummy spaghetti sauce recipe that uses fresh tomatoes? I have toms from my garden that I would like to use.


  166. Yogicfoodie says:

    Hi Mel,
    I stumbled upon your site last night. Made the sauce this morning… doubled the recipe in a massive 18qt. pot for my three kiddos play date tomorrow and for our meals. Everyone loved it! Thank you so much. My picky eater wiped the plate clean!

  167. Erin says:

    MY KIDS ATE DINNER!! I’m shouting and celebrating because dinner is routinely a difficult experience (I.e. I make dinner & they complain about eating it). But tonight I made this awesome sauce (puréed it for the kids) and served over low carb penne. Amazing! I followed the recipe exactly, except I quartered it because I only had a half pound of mild Italian sausage & no ground beef. When I finally got to the basalmic vinegar stage I was salivating in anticipation… I reached for my trusty old bottle and… It was gone! I had used it up and forgot to buy more. What??? I knew I needed something with a full, tangy flavor & finally decided on red plum sauce. Weird, but magnificently good! Thanks Mel, this one’s definitely a winner! (Can’t wait to try it with Basalmic)

  168. Lisa Rocco says:

    Looks like you’ve had plenty of comments about this sauce, but I’m gonna add my 2 cents. Been married to an Italian for 34 1/2 years. nearly every recipe I’ve tried has been okay, Made yours, and jack pot……………………he fell in love. Just perfect!!!!! He raves, which makes me smile. Thank you………………… Rock.

  169. Laura says:

    Hi Mel! I absolutely LOVE your site! It’s become my go-to for pretty much everything food wise.
    We also love this sauce! I replace one pound of the ground beef with one pound Italian sausage and we like it even more. SO yummy!

    Thank you so much for all you do! I appreciate you 🙂

    Have a Merry Christmas!

  170. Christina Strapp Lambert says:

    I just wanted to let you know I have been making this recipe for a while now. My family loves it and so does everyone that comes over. I have tried so many recipes and then found this one and it’s all I use.

  171. Joyce T. says:

    Mel. I love your site.
    As luck would have it, I need to make a batch of Spaghetti Sauce for the freezer, and found your recipe. One of the comments, someone said to use San Marzano (sp?) canned tomatoes. Do you use a particular brand?
    Can’t wait to make your recipe.

    • Mel says:

      I’ve made this recipe with probably every brand on the market and to be honest, I think it’s great with everything from Hunt’s to San Marzano (those are hard to find in my neck of the woods).

  172. Carmin says:

    I made this without the meat and it made exactly 12 cups for me. Just for others who might wonder. What a yummy sauce!! Another win from Mel’s kitchen to mine.

  173. Lisa says:

    I miss the yummly option

  174. Dee says:

    I’m so pleased to have found this recipie. I made it to the letter the first time. Delish.I opened my patio door to let dogs out and my nbrs called to see what I was cooking. It smells fantastic. Lol I have some on the stove now and the only thing I changed was the thyme. We found it to be just a tad overpowering, but still very delish. This time I used some rosemary and maybe 1/8 of a tsp time. Cannot think you enough for this recipie it’s the best I have ever made and I have always made my own from scratch.
    I’m passing this recipie along to everyone. Ty again for this wonderful recipie. I’m hooked.

  175. Alisha says:

    Wanted to say hi while I had this window open. Thanks for this yummy spaghetti recipe from a girl who grew up with NOT homemade spaghetti. I made it again tonight and it’s always delish. 🙂

  176. Nicole says:

    Hi Mel, I have been making this awhile and this past week made an especially good batch of it- not sure what made the difference – maybe I sometimes forget the balsamic vinegar and I remembered it this time. SO good! And we grilled spaghetti squash to go with it (boiled a few elbow noodles to in case the kids needed some encouragement, but the adults mainly ate the spaghetti squash with sauce). It was amazingly good. Love this sauce!

  177. S.P. Bowers says:

    Eep. I was planning on making spag sauce to bottle today. I’d much rather use your recipe, wonder if my tomatoes will wait….

  178. heather says:

    For those quick pinch nights, we’ve been using Mel’s sauce for meatball subs. It is soooo good!!! I’m going to try this one, too.

  179. Alli says:

    We actually made a sauce similar to this but added diced zucchini, more bell peppers, and on occasion squash. We froze it and then took it camping with us. Worked well as an ice pack and a nice easy meal.

  180. Kristin says:

    Mel – quick question re: the mushrooms. I think mushrooms add amazing umami to recipes, but I cannot stand their texture (cooked or raw) – would adding them to the onion/pepper combo in the blender work? What do you think?

    • Mel says:

      Yes! Great point and I meant to add that to the note. They are delicious when blended with the onion and red pepper (very similar to the classic lasagna recipe red sauce I have on my site). Thanks for bringing that up!

  181. Lisa says:

    I discovered this recipe just a few months ago, and it is AMAZING! I love freezing it in single servings because it is so easy to take from frozen to heated through in the amount of time it takes to make some pasta. It is soooo good! I don’t like cooking ground beef in the slow cooker, so I throw everything in the slow cooker except for the ground beef and balsamic vinegar. Then when it’s almost time to eat, I brown the beef with a few spices and add it to the sauce with the vinegar. Yum, yum, yum!

  182. MrAnderson says:

    OMG,..I can’t imagine spaghetti or pizza without mushrooms. That’s the way my mom made them which was passed on from her mom. For me I can never get enough mushrooms, and I add them at the very end or they would shrink to almost nothing.

    @Allie- my signature go-to recipe is chicken cacciatore which I add zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms. What makes this my ace recipe when I want to impress is from the extra depth element from the brown bits by sauté chicken thighs/legs with skin 1st before adding the vegs. It’s the same effect browning the beef for beef stew.

  183. Sharon says:

    I love that you re-posted this. I was just thinking I needed to get this recipe in my collection and there it was at the top of your blog! Perfect timing!

  184. Emily says:

    Yum!! Have you tried to make it in the instant pot? I am newly obsessed with mine 🙂

  185. M'Lisa says:

    Hey Mel- I know you like to do some canning and I also know you have pizza a lot. I love your homemade sauce and I have been using it quite a bit! Now that my tomatoes are on (just in time for those cold Idaho Autumn days!) I am canning them and doing pasta and pizza sauces. I really love Mrs Wages sauce packets. You just prep about 20 tomatoes, add this sauce packet and a little sugar and simmer for 25 mins or so and then bottle them up! They are the tastiest sauces I have ever had. If you ever see them (usually found at Cal-ranch stores or even grocery stores that are Associated Foods) you should try them and tell me what you think. I just really love to can those two things because I’m lazy and hate that extra step when I’m cooking! Thanks for continually sharing your talents with us!

  186. Julie says:

    Made this a couple days ago – excellent!

  187. Edie says:

    What brand of balsamic vinegar do you prefer? I’ve never bought before.

    Thanks for what sounds like a awesome spaghetti sauce!

  188. Sara says:

    Hi Mel!I always follow you with your recipes but this isn’t an Italian recipe, maybe it is your idea of an italian sauce but it isn’t an italian sauce. We don’t use so much garlic and we don’t use vinegrar. If you want I could send you the right recipe like granny’s style.

    • Julie says:

      Hi Mel, I have to agree with Sara…this is not traditional Italian sauce by any means. My husband and I thought it was too sweet…probably half the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar would have made it more balanced??? I have a low tolerance for salt but had to add some extra to this sauce. I love every recipe I have made from this site and appreciate you sharing your awesome talent. Those looking for authentic Italian may be disappointed, others may love it as the positive reviews confirm.

      • Julie says:

        After eating leftovers the past couple days, there is more to say about this recipe. Husband and I both noticed a rather unpleasant aftertaste – was it the vinegar? In general, I love spaghetti sauce for its rich tomato flavor but the flavors in this sauce – overly sweet with aftertaste, masked the tomato flavor. The recipe may have turned South adding 2 TBS. of the last ingredient – the balsamic vinegar, and I also use a good brand from Costco.

        • Mel says:

          Hi Julie – thanks for your review(s). Sounds like this recipe isn’t for you; I genuinely hope you find one you love!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Sara – I bet your authentic recipe is delicious! Feel free to send it along! I never really claimed this to be authentic Italian – it’s just the homemade spaghetti sauce my family loves and prefers. 🙂

  189. Anna says:

    Mel – this was a great recipe. I loved the pureed bell pepper in it. I think next time I’ll reduce the amount of meat slightly and add more mushrooms, but otherwise it was just fantastic. And maybe one time I’ll try it meatless with like 2lbs of mushrooms – we are real mushroom lovers here. 🙂 (Note: I tried to make it in my crock pot and it was WAY too much sauce to fit in there and it’s a pretty standard size. Just a heads up to anyone else considering a crock pot, you’ll need a pretty large one. I ended up just cooking it on the stove in my stockpot and it was great.)

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