Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Why buy jarred sauce when you can make your own spaghetti sauce at home using simple ingredients? This homemade marinara sauce is great over pasta and tastes so much better than store-bought. It has a deliciously rich flavor, is easy to make, and uses real ingredients. If you make this sauce ahead of time, it is perfect for busy weeknights.

overhead view of homemade spaghetti sauce.

Easy Pasta Sauce Recipe

This easy pasta sauce recipe makes a wonderful tomato sauce. If you already have recipes for homemade sauce, you may want to get rid of them after trying this one! Give it a go, and you will see why I call it the best ever spaghetti sauce. You will never buy the jarred kind again!

Spaghetti sauce made from scratch makes an easy, delicious, filling, and economical meal when paired with pasta. The ingredients to make the best spaghetti sauce are tomatoes, onion, garlic, olive oil, sugar (yes sugar! – see notes below), and a mixture of herbs – basil, parsley, oregano. When you make this delicious sauce at home, you won’t ever want to go to the grocery store to buy a jar of sauce.

Recipe Tips for the Cook

  • One of the secrets to the best spaghetti sauce is good quality tomatoes – Tuttorosso , Muir Glen , San Marzano , Pastene , Pomi are all good brands. In addition, Pomi tomatoes come in a box rather than a can, which is nice if you’re looking to avoid BPA , which is still found in some canned foods.
  • Consider adding some fennel seed to take your spaghetti sauce recipe to a more authentic Italian level. If you’re a bit apprehensive about adding it, start by adding 1/4 teaspoon and build up from there!
  • For meat sauce, add one pound of cooked ground chuck when the tomato products are added.
  • You could also use Italian sausage or part beef and part sausage.
  • If you don’t want to use beef, try ground turkey – it adds a very different but dynamic flavor.
  • Sprinkle with freshly grated romano or parmesan cheese when serving this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe with your favorite pasta.

For a vegetarian “meat” sauce, add a plant-based meat product such as Beyond Beef or Beyond Sausage.

Should You Put Sugar in a Spaghetti Sauce Recipe?

Sugar is another secret to the easy spaghetti sauce recipe. Tomato sauce is quite acidic, and sugar serves to tone down the tartness of the tomatoes and balance the flavors. However, you can always cut back on the sugar if you choose.

  • If you don’t want to use any sugar, a trick is to add a pinch of baking soda. It neutralizes the acid of the tomatoes without making the sauce too sweet.

What Type of Pasta Goes Best With This Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe?

Generally, a thick, hearty cooked pasta shape is better suited to big, hearty sauces, whereas lighter and thinner noodles need to be treated with more finesse by pairing them with lighter style sauces.

Long, thin shapes are great for a tomato-based sauce. This homemade spaghetti sauce binds well with thin noodles like spaghetti, linguine, or angel hair.

If you add meat to this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe, the sauce will be more easily mopped up by tube-shaped kinds of pasta such as penne , rigatoni , or tortiglioni . The meat can enter the tubes, and the pasta acts as a great vehicle to carry the sauce.

If you want to understand more about pairing the right pasta shape with the right sauce, here’s a good link for you.

Tips for Cooking Pasta

  • Add about a teaspoon of olive oil to your salted water when you cook your pasta. It helps to prevent the pasta shapes from sticking together.
  • Taste the pasta to find the “sweet spot.”It’s ready when it feels soft on the outside but has an inner, more solid core. This is called al dente (at the tooth), and it is the right way to cook pasta from an Italian perspective.

Side Dishes for Your Pasta With Homemade Pasta Sauce

Tips for Making in Advance and Freezing Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

This spaghetti sauce can easily be made in advance. It can be stored in your fridge for 3 to 4 days, or you can freeze it. Before freezing, allow the sauce to cool completely. Label a gallon freezer bag and fill it with the red sauce (or divide it into smaller portions). It’s best placed on a flat surface, so it freezes in a flat shape for easy storage for up to 4-6 months. To use, simply place the frozen sauce in a pan and reheat it on the stove.

Best Spaghetti Sauce Recipe Ingredients

Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Onion – I recommend using white onion, the yellow onions tend to be too hot for this recipe.
  • Dried basil – the recipe is meant for dried herbs, but you can use fresh herbs. If you use fresh basil use twice the amount listed in the recipe card.
  • Dried parsley flakes – you can use fresh parsley use twice the amount listed in the recipe card.
  • Ground black pepper
  • Dried Oregano
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Canned crushed tomatoes – you do not need fresh tomatoes for this recipe, use a good quality brand of canned tomatoes.
  • Tomato puree – I think tomato paste is too thick and tastes too strong in this recipe.
homemade spaghetti sauce ingredients.

How to Make Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
  2. Add garlic. Stir and cook until golden brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add onion and cook until soft and golden, stirring frequently.
    cooked onions and garlic in a skillet.
  4. Add basil, parsley, pepper, oregano, sugar, crushed tomatoes, and tomato puree. Stir to combine.
    cooking homemade spaghetti sauce mixture in a pan
  5. Increase heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a boil, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent scorching.
  6. Reduce heat to low, cover loosely, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
homemade spaghetti sauce on pasta and in a bowl

Turn this into your favorite meat sauce!

You always need to have a great recipe for spaghetti meat sauce, it’s easy to turn this into a delicious sauce. Let’s go over what you need to do.

  • Add 1 1/2 pounds of cooked seasoned ground meat to this recipe when you simmer it.
  • You could add 1 1/2 pounds of cooked Italian sausage to the sauce when you simmer it.

This Sauce is Perfect for Meal Prep

You can make this recipe ahead of time, and store it in an airtight container for use during the week. You can also freeze this sauce for up to three months in either freezer bags or airtight containers. I feel like this sauce tastes even better the next day. You could use this sauce in many casseroles, for spaghetti sauce, and it makes a great pizza sauce!

How to Store Leftover Spaghetti Sauce

You should store spaghetti sauce in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container. You can freeze leftover spaghetti sauce for up to six months in either a ziplock bag or an airtight container. To defrost the sauce simply remove the sauce from the freezer and allow it to thaw in your refrigerator for about 12 hours.

I hope you give this easy recipe a try soon! I know you will find it the best sauce. It’s so easy to make and so flavorful, I know after making this sauce just once you will want to make your own sauce from now on.

homemade spaghetti sauce in a bowl and on top of spaghetti pasta.

Love spaghetti? Try these recipes!

Favorite Italian Recipes

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

The recipe comes from Sue A. Mertens Minick from Hazelwood, MO. She actually found this site on the internet! And yes, she is family 🙂

overhead view of homemade spaghetti sauce.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Don't buy sauce in a jar when you can make homemade easily and with simple ingredients.
4.80 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Sauces
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Homemade Spaghetti Sauce, Spaghetti Sauce
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 131kcal


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon. oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 29 ounces tomato puree (2 14.5-ounce cans)


  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
  • Add onion and cook until soft and golden, stirring frequently.
  • Add garlic. Stir and cook until golden brown. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Add seasonings, tomato products, and sugar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  •  Reduce heat to low,cover loosely, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.


For meat sauce, add one pound of cooked ground beef chuck when the tomato products are added.


Calories: 131kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 451mg | Potassium: 756mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 735IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 3.2mg

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. Joe Bounce

    I’ve been making spaghetti sauce my whole life and sometimes it is too acid. I have added sugar and I just don’t like the taste. So this morning I made a large pot with canned tomato from Italy, ground chuck and of course my regular seasonings. Simmered for hours, it tasted pretty good but a little tart. I thought I’d try your idea of baking soda instead of sugar, so I put in a tablespoon like the article said because it was a large pot. Huge mistake, it started to bubble up and I tried to spoon it off the top, It tasted like garbage, so I added more garlic and spices and a big can off hunts spaghetti sauce. I couldn’t eat it so the whole pot got dumped. Please take the baking soda idea off your recipe so it doesn’t ruin anyone else’s dinner.

  2. Steeler Nation

    why is a slow cooker used instead of stove top and I think Locatelli is the best cheese to use.My grandmother always put in a whole peeled carrot to help with bitterness

    • Stephanie Manley

      You could use a stove top if you desire. I think for longer cooking that we aren’t physically there to watch, a slow cooker is a great alternative. I appreciate your tip on the cheese! Love your tip about the addition of the carrot.

  3. Judy Carter

    I do not get it….if you make “home made spaghetti sauce from cans of tomatoes, how is it different than buying it in a can. If it was made from fresh tomatoes I would get it.

    • Stephanie Manley

      Thank you for your comment. I think canned tomatoes are consistent, and you know exactly what you are getting each time. Fresh tomatoes can vary a bit from season to season. You also can’t get the prized San Marzano fresh, those will only come canned. Even when I have had fresh tomatoes, I have often canned them, and then made spaghetti sauce. I appreciate your comment, and you have given me something to think through.

    • Ann Wilson

      3 lbs hamburger
      1 Lg onion minced
      4 cloves garlic minced
      3 cans 14.5 oz whole tomatoes
      2 lg 12 oz cans tom paste
      1 sm 6 oz can tom paste
      2 lg 12 oz tomato sauce
      1 cup granulated sugar
      Brown hamburger with onion & garlic till no longer pink…do NOT drain!!!
      In a large slow cooker put rest of ingredients except sugar.
      Add hamburger even hamburger grease.
      Stir completely.
      With scissors cut tom’s in half. (if you want, you can do this beforehand).
      Add sugar and stir completely.
      Cover and cook on low for at least 6 hours..(I cook mine sometimes 8 to 10) till it gets a glistening oil floating on top edges. The oil will make it taste SOOOOOO rich that you will not be able to eat a whole lot….lol
      Smaller family or you don’t care to have leftovers (Better the second day reheated…lol), you can half the recipe. This recipe is from my Pennsylvania side of the family. Probably at least 100 years old….I’m 73 and I learned it from my mom when I was small. She learned it from HER mom and so on and so on and so on. If you DO make this …lemme know what you think. Oh and also the leftover makes a dynamite lasagna.

  4. Steelerfan75

    5 stars
    We have many recipes for homemade sauce, and after trying this one, my wife said to get rid of ALL of them ! This sauce was absolutely delicious. You can always cut back on the sugar, and we used fresh grated Romano cheese, instead of parmesan, and that was so much better. We’ll make it again, often, but triple the sauce, so it can be frozen.

    • stephaniemanley

      Thank you for your lovely compliment. This is a really good sauce. I bet this would be great canned as well. Thank you for dropping by and checking out this recipe.

      • Billie Koetting

        5 stars
        Great sauce thank you. If you thinly cut a carrot and then chop it small. Add to the sauce, it takes the place of sugar and and also reduces the tomato acid. The finely chopped up carrot completely cooks up and you don’t even know it was ever

4.80 from 10 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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