Canned Spaghetti Sauce

Experience the joy of homemade Italian cuisine with this easy canned spaghetti sauce recipe! Made with fresh tomatoes, aromatic herbs, and a touch of garlic, this sauce brings the rich and robust flavors of an Italian grandmother’s kitchen to your pantry. The secret? An easy canning guide that leads you through the process of how to make and can spaghetti sauce. No preservatives, no additives, just pure, delicious homemade goodness that’s ready whenever you are.

Homemade canned spaghetti sauce in a mason jar.

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Canning Spaghetti Sauce

Canning spaghetti sauce is the perfect way to preserve all those tomatoes ripening on the vine in your garden. Don’t worry; if you don’t have a garden, you can go out and buy ripe tomatoes in bulk and save a ton of money over buying spaghetti sauce in the store.

Why You Should Try This Best Canned Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

This is a tried-and-true spaghetti sauce recipe you can rely on to be perfect for canning. Canning spaghetti sauce made with fresh ripe tomatoes in your own kitchen is way better than any sauce you can buy in a store. Homemade canned spaghetti sauce is within your reach, and you’ll love this recipe’s rich, savory flavor.

Canned Spaghetti Sauce Recipe – Ingredients You Will Need

Homemade canned spaghetti sauce means you will always have a jar of this delicious sauce handy. Here are the ingredients:

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions 
  • Garlic
  • Celery or green pepper
  • Mushrooms (optional)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Oregano
  • Fresh parsley
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Brown sugar
Canned spaghetti sauce ingredients on a marble surface.

Equipment Needed

How to Prepare Spaghetti Sauce for Canning

This is how to make this homemade spaghetti sauce canning recipe:

  1. Dip the tomatoes in boiling water to split the skins.
  2. Dip them in cold water and peel off the skins. Remove the cores and cut the tomatoes into quarters.
  3. Boil the tomatoes for 20 minutes over medium-high heat, then strain them through a sieve.
Collage of preparing tomatoes for homemade spaghetti sauce.
  1. Sauté the onions, garlic, celery or pepper, and mushrooms (if desired) until tender.
  2. Combine the vegetables, tomatoes, salt, oregano, parsley, black pepper, and sugar in a large stockpot and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer, stirring frequently, until you have a thick sauce.
Collage of making homemade spaghetti sauce for canning.

How to Can Spaghetti Sauce

  1. Sterilize your jars by boiling them in a large pot for 10 minutes (the water should cover the jars). Keep them hot until you’re ready to use them.
  2. Using a canning funnel, fill the jars with the hot spaghetti sauce, leaving about 1 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust the headspace, if necessary, by adding or removing sauce.
  3. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, place the lids on, and screw on the rings until they’re finger-tight.
  4. Using a jar lifter, carefully lower the jars into the pot of boiling water, making sure they’re fully submerged and at least 1 inch of water is over the tops of the jars. Boil for 35 minutes for pint jars and 40 minutes for quart jars.
  5. Using the jar lifter, carefully remove the jars and place them on a towel or cooling rack on the counter. Leave them undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. You’ll hear a popping sound as they cool, which means they’re sealing.
  6. After they’re cool, check the seal by pressing the center of each lid. If it doesn’t pop back, it’s sealed. If a jar doesn’t seal, store it in the fridge and use it within a week.
Collage of canning homemade spaghetti sauce.

Remember, these instructions are for canning high-acid foods using a water bath canning method. Always follow safety guidelines to ensure you’re preserving food safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which tomatoes are best for this home-canned spaghetti sauce recipe?

Tomatoes come in many different varieties. Some tomatoes are best for slicing, while others make more flavorful tomato sauce. See this guide to the ten best tomatoes for tomato sauce.

What’s the difference between pressure canning and water bath canning?

Water bath canning involves immersing jars in boiling water to kill most organisms that cause food spoilage, suitable for high-acid foods like jams and pickles. Pressure canning utilizes high temperature (above boiling point) achievable under pressure to kill more resistant bacteria and spores, making it appropriate for low-acid foods such as meats and vegetables.

When canning spaghetti sauce, is it ok to add ground beef?

You can add ground beef or ground Italian sausage only if you plan to pressure can your sauce. Do not add meat if you are going to use water-bath canning – it will not be safe to eat.

Can you freeze this spaghetti sauce instead of canning it?

Absolutely! This spaghetti sauce recipe freezes really well and lasts for several months in freezer bags or freezer-safe containers. If you want to add more random ingredients like ground beef or extra veggies, freezing is a good way to go if you are worried about acidity levels.

What tools do you need to can spaghetti sauce?

A lot depends on the type of canning process you choose. However, whichever way you go, you will need canning jars. See below for an equipment list.

How Can You Use Home-Canned Spaghetti Sauce?

Homemade canned spaghetti sauce is so versatile. The name may say spaghetti, but it’s sure to become one of your favorite staples and not just on pasta. Here are some dishes that are perfect for this sauce:

How Long Does Canned Spaghetti Sauce Last?

Unopened: You can store unopened spaghetti sauce in a cupboard for around 12 to 18 months.

Opened – Once opened, the sauce will generally stay fresh for a week in the refrigerator before the air starts to create a mold on top.

Home Canning Resources

Although this recipe is suited for canning with the water bath method, this post is not intended to be a guide on canning. Please go to other sites for detailed information about canning. Here are some sites to check out:

Stack of jars of homemade canned spaghetti sauce.

Favorite Sauce Recipes

Check out more of my easy sauce recipes and the best Italian recipes on CopyKat!

Homemade canned spaghetti sauce in a mason jar.

Canned Spaghetti Sauce

Homemade canned spaghetti sauce is great for pasta and more.
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Tomatoes
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 3 hours
Servings: 30
Calories: 112kcal


  • 30 pounds tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chopped celery or green pepper
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 4 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


  • Wash tomatoes and dip them in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until the skins split. Dip in cold water and slip off the skins. Remove cores and quarter tomatoes. 
  • Boil the tomatoes for 20 minutes, uncovered, in a large saucepan. Put through a food mill or sieve. Sauté onions, garlic, celery or peppers, and mushrooms (if desired) in vegetable oil until tender. Combine sautéed vegetables, tomatoes, salt, oregano, parsley, black pepper, and sugar. Bring to a boil. 
  • Simmer uncovered, until thick enough for serving. At this time the initial volume will have been reduced by nearly one-half. Stir frequently to avoid burning. Fill jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids.
  • Dial Gauge Canner – Process at 11 pounds pressure – Pints 20 minutes and Quarts 25 minutes.
    Weighted Gauge Canner – Process at 10 pounds pressure – Pints 20 minutes and Quarts 25 minutes.


Caution: Do not increase the proportion of onions, peppers, or mushrooms. If you do, you will affect the sauce’s acidity, and it will be necessary to use a pressure canner.


Calories: 112kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 79mg | Potassium: 1153mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 3845IU | Vitamin C: 63.9mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1.5mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. JRJ

    5 stars
    I recently discovered “The Ninja”. I’m a fan. My tomato sauce has been enriched by plunking the WHOLE tomato in along with the other ingredients, pushing the doo-dad on top and waiting until that nifty little machine had turned everything into a smooth, delicious sauce. I opted to add cooked hamburger to mine and pressure cook it. I really like being able to avoid the dreaded “dunk-the-tomatoes-into-boiling-water-then-into-cold-water” part. The skins now become a more healthy alternative to that messy step. This sauce can now be for pizza, spaghetti, lasagna, anything requiring yummy tomato sauce. I also do not need as many tomatoes to make the sauce, so it is cheaper.

    • Stephanie

      5 stars
      I wish I would have had your ninja when I made all of this spaghetti sauce. That was the summer I will remember for a lifetime. I had so many tomatoes that year. I had never really planted a garden before on that scale and basically had no conception of how much it would be. I think I had about 40 plants. I had tomatoes from the time until they set on until frost. Massive quantities were to be had that summer.

  2. Sharon

    Last year I used this recipe and LOVED it! This year, I tweaked it just a bit-used a shortcut, and my family can’t get enough! After peeling and coring tomatoes, I slice them into pieces, then put in bowls, covered, in the fridge overnight. The next day, I pour off the excess liquid (or keep), and proceed with the base recipe. I add a 12 oz. can of tomato paste and a tbsp. of basil along with the oregano as it cooks and I don’t put the tomatoes through a food mill. (no celery or green bell pepper-just 1 cup chopped red bell instead). The result is a wonderful, thick and delicious chunky spaghetti sauce. THANK YOU!

  3. Patricia in Toledo

    I have canned spaghetti sauce for several years and your recipe sounds wonderful. I surf the internet every year to look for a recipe that may use ingredients I have not tried.
    I can sympathize with you as to the mess, but in the end it is all worth it.

    My husband and I pick tomatoes for $10.00 a bushel in the Toledo/lower Michigan area and we make spaghetti sauce, salsa, pizza sauce, stewed tomatoes, tomato soup chili sauce, and anything else we can think of. He is a huge help doing the picking and in the canning process.
    Thank you so much for your recipe and humor as you go through the process. Patricia in Toledo

  4. Normashelton60

    This is exactly what I was looking for. I have already canned 14 quarts of tomatoes but have lots left in the garden and want to make some homemade sause. At least someone tells it how it is. I had tomato juice and seeds everywhere, cut my thumb in the process and my kitchen was a mess. But, it was well worth it. The tomatoes taste great and look beautiful in my pantry. So next weekend it’s off to make spaghettii sauce. Because I work full time and have a very busy life, I do it in steps. First day, I will peel the tomatoes and get rid of the seeds. 2nd day I will make the sauce.

  5. tray

    i dont skin mine first, too much extra work!! i just cut them into small pieces and throw in a large pot, When theres enough to cover the bottom of the pot i mash them a little so there is some juice and then just keep adding the cut up tomatoes. I then let them simmer about 15-20 minutes then run them through the food mill to remove seeds, cores, and skins.

    • Teamlaura

      I have a Vitamix. I don;t skin them either. I wash and core them, toss them in the Vitamix and add fresh basil, ground garlic, salt, tyme, oregano, rosemary, and blend til smooth. I put all into a pot and cook without lid, simmering for about 1 hour. Cool and put into freezer bags for freezer. Very easy. After I thaw it, I add the olive oil and meat it helps thicken it. Love that summer taste!

  6. Janet B.

    Found an easier way to deal with the tomatoes, core them and then cut an X across the rounded bottom before dunking them into boiling water. When you pull these out after 30-45 seconds & dunk into cold water, once cool, you can grab the bottom of the tomato and squeeze and the meat of the potato pops right out without any work. You waste less of the tomato when you core them first.

  7. jrl

    Your recipe on canning the copycat spagetti recipe sounds good. Things I have learned Tomatoes are acidy, but when you add brown sugar you kill the acid. So don’t add it before canning and you do not have to use a pressure canner. Water bath is good. Sugar Bad! Celery is good, but be careful on how much you use or you will spoil the whole batch. A little at a time when you are cooking the sauce. Also why skin them? Then skins will disappear as you cook the sauce over low to medium heat. I start mine on medium then go to lower heat before it starts to stick to the bottom. I stir often. This works used this method for years.

    Thought I should explain in detail. By the way you do not have to go to so much trouble. When I pull the tomatoes off the plants try not to bruise them. Wash them then start coreing, cut off blemishes and any spots that are discolored. Put them into a food processor or blender. If you want chucky process a short time, if you want a puree’d process longer. Put in large pot or pots depending on batches you are making. Start cooking. Mine calls for 2hrs. others could be different. Add all spices and vegetables you want and there you are. Pour into or funnel into jars 1 inch below neck. Place warm lid on jar, then ring (Hand tightened). Put jars in rack and SLOWLY lower into water bath (The water should be boiling before lowering the jars). Water must be 1 inch over jars. The recipe I have says for 38 minutes after it come to a boil. When time is done, CAREFULLY get them out of hot water, by lifting rack out. CAREFULLY set them on towels and wait to hear pings. Let Cool and put away.

    I skinned the tomatoes before putting them into the sauce, because that is what the recipe called for, that summer of 2008, I canned my life away. My fiancee had just passed away, and we had planted a huge garden. I canned my way through a lot of grief that summer. I didn’t play with recipes, I just did them as written. I had always heard that you shouldn’t adapt canning recipes, so I didn’t make any adaptations on any of the recipes that I tried. ~Stephanie

  8. Lorrie

    Has anyone tried canning spaghetti sauce with meat? Also, I have a family recipe for spaghetti sauce. I would love to be able to can this but am quite scared at poisoning my family and friends. I’ve also noted that those who have canned state that they have their canned items “down” in food storage. Is it a requirement to have a basement? I would imagine living in Houston the temperature is just as hot as Tulsa Oklahoma. Don’t hate me for asking all these questions. I really want to learn to can. HELP ME!!!!!!!!
    I have canned spaghetti sauce with meat. I believe I got the recipe from a Ball Blue Book of canning, which I can not locate right now. It can be done, but buy yourself a reliable book on canning, it is safe, but I wouldn’t can anything without a good reliable source. ~ Stephanie

    • JRJ

      If you are using meat and low acidic veggie, you will need a pressure canner. If you do not have access to one, it would probably be best to just use the tomatoes and spices and the water/steam bath. Pressure canners are expensive, and unless you are planning on doing a lot of canning, you might not find it is worth it. Your county extension agency can give you recipes that are safe, test your canner, and other wonderful things. I can everything from chicken, deer meat, beef with my pressure canner. They are safe and help to save money by buying when things are cheaper and putting them in jars. You do not have to have a basement to store things in, BUT remember that the cooler/darker the storage area is, the longer the shelf life. Plan accordingly so you can use thing in a reasonable amount of time according to the temperature of where you life. Again, your county extension agency can help with those questions.

  9. Rebecca

    I like the looks of your recipe. What I would like to know is how you got 29 quarts out of two batches when the recipe says it makes 9 pints

    I have made multiple batches of this recipe. ~Stephanie

  10. Georgia Corbin

    Your recipe sounds good,if you live close
    to a high school that has a canning plant, it would save you a lot of time.
    i Live in Georgia and we go to the canning plant and can tomatoes.
    We put up about 130 quart in a day.

    I wished I had one of those around, I live in Houston, Texas, and those aren’t to be had. Next time I do this, I am gathering up some friends! Great idea if you can do go somewhere and can! – Stephanie

  11. Laurie

    I can so relate to this story! We also live in Houston and visit the Farmers’ Market on a regular basis. We have a rather large vegetable garden and take our purple hull and black-eyed peas over to Ray’s Produce (across from Canino’s) to have them shelled ($5 for about 30 pounds of peas is well worth the trip). Our home-grown green beans didn’t turn out for us this Fall, so we decided to buy a bushel from Ray. It literally took my husband and I two days to prepare the beans and can them, but we ended up with 38 pints of green beans and they are well worth the effort. Fresh is best, and canning gets easier once you get the hang of it. We just didn’t know what kind of project we were getting into when we came home with a bushel of green beans!

  12. DM

    Krista, I think its wonderful you’re canning. I have done it for years. My tomatos alone yield me home made tomato juice, salsa, and chili sauce. Next year I’m going to try your spaghetti sauce. Thank you for posting this recipe!!!
    Canning is so easy, and you know what your eating. Much healthier.

  13. Tawni

    There is an easier way to can tomatoes ( And spaghetti sauce for that matter ). And you dont even need to use whatever contraption you were using to seal the jars. You keep the jars and lids hot untill you pour your tomatoes into the jars, once you put the tomatoes in add a pinch of salt and close the lids very very tightly, use a rubber grip. And then flip them upside down on top of a towel. The heat from everything will cause a vacuum and it will make a nice seal. They will keep up to a year this way. Trust me thats a family canning secret at least 100+ years that I have just given to the world.

    • Jenny

      Not so much of a secret the flipping them upside down on a towel, I thought that was the ONLY way to can as well as place towels ON TOP of the jars and around, to keep them warm. I grew up helping my mom can it never crossed my mind not to do it myself. I had a Ball Blue Book of my moms and just did it. I only really needed the book for the times, more than anything else. We always pulled the jars, lids and rings from the boiling water and filled them right then. This helps it seal better, once the jars begin to cool flip them back and wait for them to pop, most pop right when their flipped. Can’t wait until summer all this food is making my tummy growel for a BBQ (so sad SNOW on the ground 🙁

    • Mari

      This is soooooooo not safe. We learn more about food safety every year (thanks to the USDA’s National Center for Home Food Preservation, our tax dollars going for something sensible for once), and procedures that were considered perfectly fine back in, say, the 1970s, like jar flipping, paraffin seals, and oven canning are now known to be outright dangerous. It’s been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that “just because it’s sealed doesn’t mean it’s safe”, to quote a Certified Master Preserver I know. This recipe is not even safe to can in a water bath because of the oil and its reduced acidity from the added low-acid vegetables, it HAS to be canned in a pressure canner to kill the spores of Clostridium botulinum (the organism that causes botulism), which thrives in a low-acid, airless environment. You’re playing Russian roulette with your family’s health and just because “no one’s gotten sick yet” doesn’t mean it can’t happen – the operative word is “yet” here. Foodborne illness is becoming more and more common… so please be smart. Pressure canners are not that expensive – I just bought a basic 16-quart one for about $60 on sale at a local hardware store and with care it can last me for decades. My mom is still using a canner she bought in the late 1970s, and before I bought mine I borrowed a canner that had originally been purchased in 1964 – FIFTY years ago – and it worked just fine.

      • Lorrie

        Thanks Mari. You are correct. This recipe is not safe unless it’s processed using a pressure canner once the vegetables are sautéed in oil and sugar is added, neutralizing the acidity.
        Pressure canners don’t have to be expensive. Used canners are safe, just have them tested at your extension service. My first canner was a well-used 1958 Mirro-Matic that passed all safety checks and is still going strong.
        Just remember, everyone, COOKING IS AN ART BUT CANNING IS A SCIENCE

  14. Kim

    I live in Houston too! I love the Market on Airline, there is also a great new spice company across the street. They have wonderful fresh spices and hard to find items (not found in the common grocery stores here in Houston). You have inspired me to visit there this weekend to buy bulk tomatoes. Thanks

  15. Elaine

    Yesterday I went out into our garden to pick a couple of tomatoes and to my surprise found tons of ripe tomatoes!! Took me over an hour to pick them all because I had to keep coming inside to find more large bowls and sacks to keep filling. So this morning I have been canning tomatoes but then had the idea “why not make some homemade spaghetti sauce” – I made some a few years ago and everyone loves it, I still have some left downstairs in my food storage room. But found this recipe online and decided to use it. It looks like it will be yummy. Thanks. I love canning also just like Pam said above “it is so easy and you know what you’re eating” – I have done it for 25 years, tomatoes, peaches, applesauce, stewed apples, apple pie filling, spaghetti sauce. It’s the best and we have alot down in our food storage, so yeah we could live off what we have for a long time if we ever needed too.

  16. Pam

    Krista, I think its wonderful you’re canning. I have done it for years. My tomatos alone yield me home made tomato juice, salsa, and chili sauce. Next year I’m going to try your spaghetti sauce. Thank you for posting this recipe!!!
    Canning is so easy, and you know what your eating. Much healthier.

  17. Krista

    Canning again in DC this morning. I just got a bushel of tomatoes from some local farmers so, in addition to just canning some of them plain, I think I’m going to mess around with a recipe for tomato chutney.

5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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