Spaghetti Sauce for Canning

I am a total glutton for punishment. I recently spent a whole day canning spaghetti sauce. I had went to the farmers market in Houston with friends Saturday morning. I had it in the back of my mind I wanted to can some more homemade spaghetti sauce. I love this sauce, its versatile in about 20 minutes; I can have a hot home made tasting dinner. If you walk to the back of the farmers market at Canino’s in Houston, you can get bulk produce for cheap. Feeling a rush of bargaining prowess, I angled for 50 pounds of tomatoes for 20 dollars. That’s a good deal. These were very nice and ripe tomatoes. It was 50 pounds and had I not learned my lesson last summer when I picked a bushel of peaches and made a variety of things from them last summer, no, I had not learned my lesson.

I also purchased some yellow onions and some inexpensive spices in bulk at the spice store across from Canino’s. So for less than 25 dollars, I was totally armed with everything I needed to make spaghetti sauce. I did have to run out and buy some new lids. But that entire purchase was about 4 dollars. So, 29 bucks had me going to make lots of spaghetti sauce. There are these preliminary steps in canning. The things people don’t tell you about. You need to get all of your jars together, wash, and sanitize them. Get your lids and rings in hot water as well. For me locating everything takes awhile. Today it took much longer, as my hallway closet shelves came out of alignment and things went crashing down. This added another good hour to this canning project, but I was a determined woman at this point.

I lugged my tomatoes upstairs. Washed the tomatoes, and began to locate all of the pots I would need. The canner, obviously, the pot to immerse the tomatoes into to get their skins off, a pot to put the chopped tomatoes into, and then a pot to put the tomato skins into. This is a messy proposition. I used the recipe from the Presto canning site, it is the one I used last year, and it turned out well.

They make this sound easy, I have a smaller galley kitchen, so that means washing the tomatoes then putting them into the boxes that they came out of, scoring them, pulling out the ones out of hot water, dunking other tomatoes into boiling water, then going over to the sink, peeling tomatoes and then chopping them up, and starting this process over again. This honestly takes awhile. You do get a moment to rest when the sauce is boiling away. That also means lining up your jars, and getting them ready.

I made two batches, starting around 1 pm, and finishing around 8 pm. I got 29 quarts 19 pints (I was very tired when I originally wrote this) out of this project, putting my cost at about a dollar a quart if we don’t add my labor. My kitchen will still take some cleaning; sauce overboiled briefly, tomatoes splash when you peel them, and water drips when tomatoes are in transit.

Right now my arms are sore, my skin on my hands feels like it has been through a wonderful skin peel. I am sure I won’t do this at least for a little while. Or at least until I come up with another great deal at the farmers market.

This post is not intended to be a guide on canning; this is merely my experience of that particular day. I highly recommend going to other sites for information about canning. I do not develop any canning recipes, and I don’t recommend doing anything other than following a recipe from an official canning or USDA website for canning. I have used this recipe a couple of times now in making spaghetti sauce, it isn’t my recipe, and I have had good luck with this recipe multiple times now. Please seek answers regarding canning from other resources; I am not an expert on canning, other resources are more authoritative on your canning questions.

Canning Resources
Home Canning

spaghetti sauce

My day of canning spaghetti sauce

Learn from my spaghetti sauce canning experience. 
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
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


  • Procedure: Caution: Do not increase the proportion of onions, peppers, or mushrooms. Wash tomatoes and dip in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds or until skins split. Dip in cold water and slip off skins. Remove cores and quarter tomatoes. 
  • Boil 20 minutes, uncovered, in a large saucepan. Put through 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.


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.

REVEALED: Copycat Secrets for 2023

free email bonus

Yes, you CAN make it at home! I'll show you how.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

homemade Olive Garden Asiago Torgelloni Alfredo with chicken on a plate

Copycat Recipe Secrets for 2023


Yes, you CAN make it at home! 
I'll show you how.