Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Whip up this hearty homemade spaghetti meat sauce and enjoy a comforting family dinner! Made with ground beef, Italian herbs, garlic, peppers, onions, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce, this sauce is brimming with bold, savory flavors. It’s the ultimate meat sauce for any type of pasta or lasagna. Dive into this easy recipe and find out how to make the best meat spaghetti sauce right in your kitchen.

Homemade meat sauce over spaghetti on a platter.

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Why This Meat Sauce for Spaghetti Is the Perfect Weeknight Dinner 

Pasta is a quick and easy weekday dinner, but it isn’t often a meal your family looks forward to eating. Even if you master how to cook pasta perfectly, most jarred sauces aren’t that great, and that can lead to disappointment at the table.

With this incredible homemade meat sauce recipe, you can turn eating at home into a restaurant-worthy experience. Everyone in your family will love pasta night when you serve this perfectly balanced, rich, and meaty red sauce. 

Why You Should Try This Recipe 

Sure, you can splurge on a jar of so-called premium pasta sauce, but none of them will ever equal the wonderful flavor of a sauce you make in your own kitchen. This spaghetti meat sauce recipe is straightforward enough to prepare.

You’ll be rewarded for the extra time and effort it takes with each bite. Keep plenty of extra on hand because it is going to be very popular!

Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce Ingredients 

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • Ground beef
  • Sweet onion
  • Green bell pepper
  • Tomato sauce
  • Stewed tomatoes, canned
  • Water
  • Chicken or beef bouillon cubes
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Chili powder
  • Parsley flakes
  • Garlic powder
  • Black pepper
  • Accent seasoning optional
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt, optional
  • Sugar, optional
Spaghetti meat sauce ingredients on a tray.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

In place of bouillon cubes, you can also use an alternative such as Better Than Bouillon

MSG products like Accent sometimes get a bad reputation, but they add a lot of flavor. If you choose not to use Accent, a dash or two of soy or Worcestershire sauce is all it takes for an extra umami kick.

You can substitute ground beef with ground chicken or ground turkey. You can also substitute half of the meat with Italian sausage.

Add a kick of heat with a little red pepper flakes.

How to Make the Best Spaghetti Meat Sauce Recipe

To make this easy meat sauce for spaghetti:

  1. Dice the sweet onions and green peppers. Reserve for later. 
  2. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the ground beef to the saucepan and break it up with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook the ground beef for a minute or two, then add the diced onions and green peppers. Brown the meat while stirring from time to time. If you want, you can drain any excess grease at this point. 
  4. Stir in the tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, water, bouillon cubes, and all the herbs and spices. If you are using Accent, add it at this step as well. 
Cooked ground beef, onions, and bell peppers in a skillet.
Spaghetti meat sauce in a pan.
  1. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Cook the meat sauce for 20 minutes, uncovered. Occasionally, stir the sauce and adjust the heat so it remains at a slow simmer. 
  2. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
  3. Taste the sauce and adjust the flavor with additional sugar or salt if necessary. 
Homemade meat sauce over spaghetti pasta on a white platter.

What to Serve With It? 

Use spaghetti or another type of pasta that is on the thicker side, like tagliatelle or pappardelle. The wider noodles give the meat sauce more surface area to cling to and provide a toothier bite. You can also serve it over spaghetti squash.

Serve the pasta garnished with fresh parsley along with a soup or salad, and don’t forget a crusty slice of Italian bread or garlic bread for mopping up any extra sauce.

Different Ways You Could Use This Meat Sauce

This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe makes enough sauce for a pound and a half of pasta. Since most packets of dried pasta are only a pound, you will have some leftovers. And that’s a good thing. Sure, you can make more pasta tomorrow night, but there are so many more options for using this meat sauce. Here are just a few:

  • Vegetable Casserole: Layer various sliced vegetables, such as eggplant, zucchini, and tomatoes, in a casserole dish. Spread the pasta sauce between each layer. Cook in the oven at 400 degrees until the vegetables are soft. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and serve. 
  • Hearty Vegetable Soup: Heat the leftover pasta sauce in a saucepan and thin it with chicken or beef stock. Simmer and serve with cooked egg noodles or cheese tortellini. 
  • Meaty Baked Potato: Split a baked potato and top it with this homemade meat sauce. Sprinkle on your shredded cheese, and enjoy. 

How to Store Easy Meat Sauce For Spaghetti

Cool the leftover spaghetti sauce to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container with a lid. Put it in the refrigerator or the freezer. 

How Long Does The Meat Sauce Last?

The meat sauce will keep fresh for about three days in the fridge or around a month when frozen. 

Overhead view of homemade spaghetti meat sauce over spaghetti pasta on a platter.

Favorite Sauce Recipes

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

Thanks to Columbiamo for sharing this spaghetti recipe.

Homemade meat sauce over spaghetti on a platter.

Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Make the best homemade spaghetti sauce with meat for dinner.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Spaghetti Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 518kcal


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 sweet onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • 24 ounces tomato sauce
  • 14.5 ounces canned stewed tomatoes
  • 14.5 ounces water
  • 4 chicken or beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Accent seasoning optional
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pinch salt optional
  • 1 pinch sugar optional
  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti noodles to serve


  • In a pot over medium-high heat, sauté the ground beef, onion, and bell pepper until the meat is browned. Add the tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, water, bouillon cubes, and all the herbs and spices. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Add the Parmesan to the pot and stir. Taste the soup and add a bit of salt and/or sugar, if necessary.
  • To serve, boil 4 quarts of water. Add the spaghetti to the boiling water and stir until the water returns to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for 8 to 9 minutes, until the noodles reach the desired tenderness. Drain the spaghetti and serve alongside the sauce.


Because of the bouillon cubes make sure you taste the sauce before adding salt.
You may find some tomatoes and tomato sauce a little more acidic than others. This of course depends on the brand being used. If this turns out to be the case, add a wee bit of sugar or baking soda.


Calories: 518kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 791mg | Potassium: 789mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 790IU | Vitamin C: 10.3mg | Calcium: 120mg | Iron: 4.8mg

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. MarkD

    5 stars
    Loved this spaghetti sauce. I served it with some Caesar salad, and a nice bottle of Italian Chianti, and played Vivaldi’s four seasons while I dined.

  2. David Grant

    Warning: this is super high in sodium. 4 bouillon cubes is 400% of an adult’s daily intake of salt. Other sources of salt here include the tomato sauce (if canned), the stewed tomatoes (if canned), chili powder, parmesan cheese, and the Accent powder (MSG contains sodium, not as NaCl of course; about half as much as table salt).

    I do 1 can tomato sauce, 2 cans stewed tomatos, 1 can tomato paste, 2 lbs ground beef and 2 bouillon cubes and 1 Tbsp Clubhouse Italian seasoning. Probably about more than half the sodium as your recipe, yet it is definitely salty enough. Sometimes I even just use 1 bouillon cube.

  3. Candace

    This is the best spagetti sauce I have ever had!! From now on I will be skipping the canned/jar sauces and just making this!! It was the perfect sauce!! I served mine with homemade rolls and a salad! Yum!

  4. Frank Laratta

    WHAT? Sugar in Spaghetti Sauce NEVER

    Most Italians wont allow it
    Just simmer the sauce long enough and the sweetness of the tomato will come through

    • Candace

      I don’t know if you have ever watched Kitchen Boss with Buddy Vilastro but he is as italian as they come and he puts sugar in his sauces sometimes!

  5. JennB

    I used this recipe, but used a meat substitute (LifeLight Simply Ground) and omitted the bouillon cubes. LOVED all the spices and flavor. Probably the best spaghetti ever!

  6. Ronald R. Flinders

    This is a recipe that I developed and really enjoy. However, the pepper should be 1/4 teaspoon instead of a teaspoon and my user name is Columbiamo. You can adjust the pepper to taste and I am sure you will love the recipe.

  7. Brett

    I’m looking forward to suggesting this recipe next time we have spaghetti for dinner. It’s always amazing to try new recipes like this that add a flavorful twist 🙂

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