Quick Weeknight Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Who knew that you could make a rich and hearty spaghetti sauce in 20 minutes? Simple and flavorful, this quick homemade spaghetti sauce is perfect.

20-Minute Quick Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Well, what do you know? Miracles do exist!

Two recipe posts during spring break week! I am rewarding myself for getting this post up and running by diving headfirst into my well-hid (I’ll never tell) stash of dark chocolate.

My kids decided to have an epic Lego building battle for a couple hours this afternoon, which worked in my favor.

Actually, it works in your favor, because if you love homemade spaghetti like I love homemade spaghetti, you are going to fall head over heels for this recipe.

So simple, this 20-minute quick homemade spaghetti sauce is the answer when you want rich and hearty, flavorful spaghetti sauce without having to plan hours (or days) in advance…

…or without opening a jar.

Now before you revolt and feel attacked, we all know there’s no shame in popping open a jar of store bought spaghetti sauce, but if you get excited about from-scratch versions that are almost as easy as prepackaged, this recipe is for you. And me.

20-Minute Quick Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

I have a long-standing tried-and-true favorite homemade spaghetti sauce recipe here.

Hundreds of you have made it and loved it and saved the recipe to your forever files. It is hands down the best homemade spaghetti sauce ever.

It makes a lot, so I often freeze half of the batch, which makes for an exceptionally quick weeknight dinner. While the noodles boil, the sauce can be thawed and reheated.

But sometimes, there is no leftover frozen spaghetti sauce to be found. Nor do I have an hour or so to get it started and let it simmer.

That is when this killer quick homemade spaghetti sauce version jumps in to save the day.

Not only is it amazingly delicious, it is also a fabulous dinner solution for a crazy weeknight when you just need a healthy, tasty, filling dinner on the table fast.

Rich and hearty, there are a few key ingredients in this simple, weeknight spaghetti sauce that help replicate the flavor of a low and slow, long-simmered sauce.

Any idea what they are?

20-Minute Quick Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

First, tomato paste! The concentrated flavor of tomato paste adds a depth of flavor quickly without the need for special ingredients or longer cooking time.

I know it’s slightly annoying to open a can of tomato paste only to use a few tablespoons, so let me offer you two solutions:

1) Spoon the rest of the tomato paste into a small ziploc bag and freeze it to use another time

OR

2) Buy tomato paste in the squeezable tubes (kind of like toothpaste!); they are popping up in most stores these days and revolutionize using a tablespoon or two of tomato paste at a time.

Here’s a visual if you’ve never seen them before.

The second key ingredient might be a little surprising, but I promise it works: soy sauce.

You don’t need a lot – just a tablespoon, but that little dash of complexity does wonders for the overall flavor of this quick homemade spaghetti sauce.

{I haven’t tried it, but I’m guessing a gluten-free alternative, like tamari, might work, as well.}

20-Minute Quick Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

The real test of success for this sauce was when I made it a while ago but didn’t tell anyone in my family it was the fast and furious version instead of our longtime favorite homemade version.

While eating, one of the boys said: “I love mom’s spaghetti sauce” and Brian said “yep, there’s nothing that can beat it.”

I sat there beaming (trying to ignore the one child at the end of the table who was gagging on the Instant Pot brussels sprouts accompanying dinner).

I almost didn’t have the heart to tell everyone that I had kind of tricked them – subbing in this quick homemade spaghetti sauce for our beloved go-to spaghetti sauce.

I’m sure in a side-by-side taste test, they’d be able to pick out the long standing favorite, but we clearly love this weeknight version enough to make it over and over and over.

This week, during spring break, each of the boys have a night they are assigned to make dinner by themselves. When deciding the menu, they were arm wrestling over who got to make this easy homemade spaghetti sauce for their night.

In the end, we may enjoy it five days in a row just to keep the peace.

P.S. It kind of goes without saying that the Asiago bubble bread from earlier this week served with this spaghetti would be straight up phenomenal. #embracethecarbs

20-Minute Quick Homemade Spaghetti Sauce


Hot, cooked spaghetti noodles
Divine breadsticks or this Asiago pull-apart bread
Thrown together green salad

One Year Ago: Chocolate Chip Caramel Cookie Bars
Two Years Ago: Fudgy Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cake
Three Years Ago: Overnight Raised Waffles

Quick Weeknight Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef, ground turkey, or ground pork (or a combination)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • Hot, cooked noodles, for serving
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground meat, onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks, until the meat is not longer pink.
  2. Drain any excess grease.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for about a minute, until the mixture smells fragrant.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, brown sugar and soy sauce. Stir to combine.
  5. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes (or as long as you like/need).
  6. Serve over hot, cooked noodles.

Notes:

To get a full spaghetti meal on the table fast, cook the noodles while you make the sauce. It probably goes without saying, but you could use ground sausage, if that’s your preference, or experiment making this meatless. Also, I won’t tell if you decide to opt for 1/2 or so teaspoon garlic powder in place of the minced, fresh garlic.

Like I mention in the post above, since the recipe calls for two tablespoons of tomato paste, you can freeze the remaining tomato sauce (from a can) to use later OR look for the tomato paste in the squeezable tubes (life changing!).

This sauce is obviously delicious as a quick spaghetti meal, but it’s also wonderful subbed in a multitude of pasta dishes, like this manicotti or these lasagna rolls.

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe