The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
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.
This has been my go-to spaghetti sauce for years. I make a batch, freeze half, and we have several meals to look forward to!
The flavor in this spaghetti sauce is out of this world delicious.
How to Make Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
This sauce begins by building levels of flavor.
First: throw a chopped onion and red pepper in a blender and process until mostly smooth.
Doing this gives the sauce loads of flavor with minimal texture (making it especially kid-friendly!).
Second: brown ground beef (or a combination of ground beef, ground pork, or ground sausage) with lots of garlic and add the following.
- tomato paste
- blended onion and red pepper
- dried basil, oregano and thyme
- salt and pepper
Cook that mixture until sizzling and fragrant.
Third: add the “saucy” ingredients and a few more ingredients for flavor.
- diced tomatoes
- crushed tomatoes
- beef broth or stock
- brown sugar
- bay leaves
A Boost of Flavor
Cook the sauce at a low simmer for about an hour. It will reduce and thicken as it cooks.
Also: your house is going to smell amazing!
When it’s done cooking, stir in 1-2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar. Why? This balances out the sauce while adding a rich depth of flavor.
Slow Cooker Variation
This sauce can easily be made in a slow cooker for even easier prep!
Slow Cooker Instructions: cook the meat and garlic in a skillet on the stove. Drain the grease. Then add the cooked meat and everything else (minus the olive oil and balsamic vinegar) to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-6 or low for 7-9 hours. Stir in the balsamic vinegar about 15 minutes before serving.
A Family Favorite
This sauce has been our go-to homemade spaghetti sauce for over ten years. It’s perfect for spaghetti. But it can also be used for baked ziti, manicotti, and many other pasta dishes!
So many of you have become lifelong fans of this recipe as well.
Elizabeth says: This sauce is so good. I made everything exactly to a T. AMAZING!
Jorene says: I have been making this sauce for a couple years now. It truly is the best recipe. Everybody that eats it loves it. My sister asked for the recipe. That says a lot. I keep it in my freezer all the time.
Christy says: Omg! I haven’t made homemade sauce in over 20 years and I’m here to tell you that this is by far the best sauce I’ve ever tasted or made. Love it and wouldn’t change a thing. Thank you.
FAQ for Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Yes, it’s delicious meatless, too (you can also use it for spaghetti and meatballs – add cooked meatballs toward the end after the sauce has simmered and let the meatballs heat through in the sauce).
I haven’t canned this recipe, but here’s another option!
The flavor is a bit different than this homemade spaghetti sauce (in order for the sauce to be safe for canning), but it’s super tasty.
I simmer partially covered.
Yes I do that all the time!
The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- 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 (12-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 3 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 ½ 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 ½ cups beef stock or beef broth
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 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.
- Add beef, and cook, breaking into small pieces, until it is no longer pink, 6-7 minutes. Drain excess grease.
- 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.
- Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, basil and thyme, and cook for 1 minute, stirring until combined.
- Add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, mushrooms (if using), beef broth, and sugar. Stir until combined before adding the bay leaves.
- 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
Recipe originally published September 2016; updated September 2022 with additional photos, notes, etc (did not change the recipe).