Homemade spaghetti sauce is the perfect addition to your next plate of pasta. This from-scratch sauce recipe is made in a single stock pot and is filled with tomatoes, ground beef, onions, garlic, and bell pepper.
Making your own homemade spaghetti sauce is a must if you enjoy cooking at home. This spaghetti sauce is more flavorful than a store bought sauce, and easy to customize to suit your tastes.
This sauce is assembled in a single pot, then cooked down on the stovetop over several hours. The flavors develop and deepen the longer you let your sauce simmer, so it's worth the wait.
This sauce is filled with onion, garlic, and bell pepper. It's also lightly seasoned with basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Best of all, it's freezer friendly and will keep for up to three months.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Ground beef - I prefer the added flavor beef brings to this spaghetti sauce. Ground pork is a great substitute. You can also lighten up this recipe by using ground turkey or ground chicken.
- Olive oil - Can be substituted with any neutral flavored cooking oil you have on hand.
- Garlic - Adds depth of flavor to your sauce. I recommend mincing fresh garlic for this recipe for best flavor.
- Granulated sugar - A small amount of granulated sugar is added to this tomato sauce to balance the acidity of the tomatoes, as well as enhance the natural sweetness of the tomatoes. Your sauce will not taste sweet.
- Seasoning - Salt, pepper, oregano, and red pepper flakes add depth of flavor to your sauce. Oregano can be substituted with an Italian seasoning blend if you have it on hand.
- Onion - Adds flavor to your sauce.
- Bell pepper - Adds flavor and flecks of color to your sauce. Can me omitted if desired - or minced smaller to make it less noticeable (for picky eaters).
- Crushed tomatoes with basil - If you can't find crushed tomatoes with basil, substitute with plain crushed tomatoes and a tablespoon of dried basil.
How to make spaghetti sauce
First, you'll brown your ground beef, then your bell peppers, onions, and garlic. Last, you'll add your remaining ingredients to the pot, bring it to a simmer, and cover.
Your sauce will simmer for two and a half hours over low heat. During this time the tomatoes will cook down with the other ingredients and form a rich, flavorful spaghetti sauce.
I do not recommend trying to speed up this process. The low and slow method will give your vegetables time to cook down and flavors time to deepen.
Ways to use spaghetti sauce
Aside from topping a pile of spaghetti, I also like to use this spaghetti sauce to make lasagna or baked ziti. Simply replace the spaghetti sauce called for in any recipe with this sauce instead.
Freezing spaghetti sauce
If you're planning on freezing some or all of your sauce, allow it to come to room temperature first. Then, transfer to another container for freezing.
I like to store two portions in quart size freezer bags, or four to six portions in a gallon sized bag.
Transfer your frozen spaghetti sauce from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw overnight.
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1.5 pounds ground beef
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 112 ounces canned crushed tomatoes with basil
- 1.5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- In a large stock pot over medium heat, add olive oil. Once heated, crumble ground beef into pan and cook until browned. Remove beef from pan and set aside.
- Add diced onion and bell pepper to pan. Cook until lightly browned and onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds.
- Return ground beef to pan. Add crushed tomatoes, sugar, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes, and pepper. Stir to combine. When mixture begins to bubble, cover pot and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, remove lid and continue cooking for another 30 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.
- If freezing, allow sauce to cool completely before portioning into containers/bags.
- 112 ounces of canned tomatoes = four 28-ounce cans
- Sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- Frozen spaghetti sauce will keep for 3 months (or more) in a tightly sealed container or freezer safe bag. Move from the freezer to refrigerator the night before to thaw.
- Sauce can be served over prepared pasta like spaghetti, penne, or rotini.
- Sauce can also be used in other recipes that call for a beef spaghetti sauce, like lasagna or baked ziti.