After years of trying to create the best homemade spaghetti sauce, we’ve finally found the perfect recipe. This spaghetti sauce from scratch is a recipe we’re happy to eat over and over again!
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
After years of testing and retesting recipes for easy homemade spaghetti sauce, we finally have one that we want to shout from the rooftops. This spaghetti sauce recipe was a great springboard but we wanted one that wasn’t just a quick recipe, but one that would simmer and bubble all day until it’s flavors were irresistible.
Although this spaghetti sauce from scratch requires 3+ hours to develop its rich, hearty flavor, it’s very easy to make. The prep work takes all of 10 minutes to complete, and then you can walk away from the stove to tend to other chores around the house.
In this post, we walk you through how to make spaghetti sauce, and we also address a number of FAQs we’ve received about making homemade pasta sauce.
Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients
If you’ve already scrolled down to the recipe card to see what’s in this homemade spaghetti sauce, don’t be worried about the longer ingredient list. Most of the ingredients are herbs you already have in your pantry! Here’s what you’ll need to make this spaghetti sauce recipe:
- Fresh tomatoes
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Baby Bella mushrooms
- Red bell pepper
- Mild Italian sausage
- Fresh herbs
- Canned tomatoes
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Bay leaf
- Balsamic vinegar
- Parmesan rind
How to Make Spaghetti Sauce
This Italian spaghetti sauce requires minimal hands-on prep work but delivers big flavor. Here are the basic steps for how to make spaghetti sauce:
- Halve the fresh tomatoes and toss in olive oil.
- Place in baking pan with garlic and roast until softened.
- In a dutch oven, sauté the onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and more garlic.
- Add the sausage to the dutch oven and cook until browned.
- Add the rest of the spaghetti sauce ingredients to the pot and pop the lid on.
- Let the sauce simmer for at least 3 hours, or all day.
How to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce
A watery spaghetti sauce is almost always caused by a lack of tomato paste. Tomato paste will thicken the entire sauce without taking away from the tomato flavor. In fact, it’s concentrated enough that it really gives that oomph of tomato you need.
Can I Make Spaghetti Sauce in a Slow Cooker?
Yes, homemade spaghetti sauce is a great choice for your slow cooker. You can even start the meat in it but remember, it’s going to take longer to brown. Start on high heat and add the meat as well as veggies and herbs. Once browned, add your remaining ingredients and allow to simmer on the low setting all day, stirring occasionally.
Should I Peel and Deseed the Roasted Tomatoes?
After roasting the fresh tomatoes, we prefer adding them straight to the pot of sauce without removing their skins or seeds. We find that the roasted tomatoes break down even more in the spaghetti sauce, so there’s no need to add that extra prep work to this recipe.
Can I Omit the Ground Meat?
Absolutely! If you’re vegetarian or simply don’t have ground meat on hand, you’re welcome to leave it out. Your spaghetti sauce will still have plenty of flavor.
Is it Okay to Can Spaghetti Sauce?
Yes, we can this homemade spaghetti sauce in the summer when we have lots of tomatoes on hand.
Can You Freeze Spaghetti Sauce?
Very easily! The best way to freeze spaghetti sauce is to let it cool completely and then seal it in a food saver bag. We aren’t getting paid to say this, but we truly do love our Food Saver. It’s been amazing to freeze even cooked meats and soups and have them taste perfectly fresh two months later when we reheat. We like to use the Rolls so we can cut the bag to whatever size we want, but the Premade Bags are great too.
If you don’t have a Food Saver, you can store the spaghetti sauce in freezer-safe containers or bags. When you’re ready to eat the sauce, place it in your fridge overnight to thaw.
Tips for Making the Best Spaghetti Sauce
There are a few secrets to making a good spaghetti sauce, and they all have to do with the ingredients you use. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that high-quality ingredients are crucial to making a batch of truly amazing homemade pasta sauce.
Here’s what you should know about the key ingredients in this spaghetti sauce recipe:
Tomatoes — You’re going to want whole tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Our local grocery store sells San Marzano tomatoes and if you have not canned your own, I highly suggest this brand as it truly does taste like a far superior tomato.
If you can’t find them, try to watch for a good sale and buy the best canned tomatoes you can find. It’s worth it. I’ve linked to them so you can see what the can looks like. We try to freeze or can tomato sauce as well during the summer but it is the same rule as above.
Fresh Herbs — Herbs will create a more flavorful, fresh sauce. A combination of fresh and dry herbs or completely dry herbs will be okay as long as you bloom the herbs. By this, I mean you should add the herbs while you’re sautéing things in the hot pan so that the flavors wake up, so to speak.
Parmesan Rind — A Parmesan rind is the key ingredient to making the BEST spaghetti sauce. Don’t you dare ever throw out that Parmesan rind again. Toss it into your sauce and let it simmer to really allow the cheese to seep into the sauce. It doesn’t taste cheesy, but boy does it taste wonderful. Even as leftovers sit in the fridge, I allow that rind to be in there.
Time — A truly wonderful sauce needs time. I start mine in the morning and let it simmer all day. In fact, I sometimes make it a day ahead of time, let it sit in the fridge and then slowly bring it back to temperature the day of serving. Time is the only thing that can meld and fully bloom the flavors of the sauce.
Meat — You don’t need meat in a homemade spaghetti sauce, but if you do add meat I prefer to do half beef and half Italian sausage or all Italian sausage. These will really create more flavor in the sauce.
Other Italian Sauce Recipes:
Looking for more Italian Sauce recipes? Who doesn’t love Italian sauces!? Make sure you try these out the next time you are making that Italian dish:
- Authentic Bolognese Sauce
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Pizza Sauce
- Classic Pesto
- Garden Veggie Marinara Sauce
- Easy Beef Ragu
- Cilantro Pesto
Favorite Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- 4 Large Fresh Tomatoes or 6 Small
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 Diced Onion
- 1/3 Cup Minced Baby Bella Mushrooms
- 1/2 Cup Minced Red Bell Pepper
- 1 Pound Mild Italian Sausage
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley chopped (or 2 Tablespoons Dried)
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Rosemary chopped (or 1/2 Teaspoon Dried)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil chopped (or 1 1/2 Teaspoons Dried)
- 1 Teaspoon Fresh Oregano (or 1/2 Teaspoon Dried)
- 1 28 ounce can San Marzano Tomatoes
- 30 ounces Tomato Sauce * (about 2 cans)
- 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt plus more to taste
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 Teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 of a Rind from a Parmesan Cheese Wedge
- Heat an oven to 400 degrees F and drizzle a little oil on a cookie sheet.
- Slice the tomatoes in half and toss in the oil on the pan.
- Add the garlic, in it's skins and toss in the oil.
- Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the tomatoes are wilted.
- Press the garlic out of their papers, mince and set everything aside.
- Heat a dutch oven over medium heat and add a drizzle of oil.
- Add the onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and garlic and stir with a wooden spoon until the onions begin to turn translucent.
- Add the Italian sausage and break it up a little.
- As the meat browns, occasionally go back to the pan every minute or so and continue to break up the meat.
- Add the herbs and stir again to combine, allowing to cook for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomatoes, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.
- Stir to combine and sprinkle with kosher salt evenly over the sauce.
- Add the bay leaf, balsamic vinegar and parmesan rind.
- Stir to combine and allow to simmer for 3 hours or all day.
- Before serving, remove the bay leaf.
- We let the parmesan stay in until we've eaten all of the sauce, even with the leftovers in the fridge.