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EASY Homemade Spaghetti Sauce – I Heart Naptime


My family claims this is the BEST homemade spaghetti sauce! It’s simple to make, super flavorful and takes only 10 minutes to prep. Plus it’s freezer-friendly and can be easily doubled! 

There’s just something about making a sauce from scratch. It’s so flavorful and tastes way better than any jarred sauce you obtain from the grocery. This recipe is one of my favorite Italian sauces to make, as well as alfredo, bolognese, pesto and marinara.

homemade spaghetti on white plate

I just realized I’ve never posted my favorite homemade spaghetti sauce that is made from scratch. My kids always love when I make this and claim it the BEST spaghetti sauce ever. Everyone loves this recipe and we make it at least once a month!

It’s a lot easier than you think to make and only takes about 10 minutes to prep. If you don’t have whole tomatoes and want to just doctor up a jar of spaghetti sauce, you can always try this simple spaghetti recipe. But I promise, making it from scratch only takes a small bit longer.

spaghetti sauce ingredients

How to make spaghetti sauce

SAUTE. Cook the onions in a large skillet over medium heat until translucent. Add in garlic and cook for 1 more minute, then transfer the mixture to a bowl. Next, brown the meat. Remove any grease from the skillet, then pour the onion mixture back in.

SIMMER. Stir in the tomato paste and seasoning and cook for 1 minute. Then add in tomatoes and vinegar, breaking down the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer, then turn heat to low and cook for about 30 to 60 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, add 1/2 to 1 cup pasta water to lean it out.

SERVE. Serve the sauce over cooked spaghetti noodles with parmesan cheese and fresh basil on top.

making spaghetti sauce in pan

Cooking tips + variations

  • I love using the San Marzano whole tomatoes, they are the top. I found them at Trader Joe’s.
  • You can also substitute about 10-12 fresh tomatoes, or 2 pounds.
  • If you don’t have balsamic vinegar on hand, you can also use Worcestershire sauce or even soy sauce. Both will give a great depth of flavor.
  • You can omit the brown sugar or substitute it for granulated sugar. However, I do recommend it as it adds the great amount of sweetness.
  • If you prefer your sauce less chunky, use 1/2 pound of meat or double the other ingredients.
  • For even more flavor, add a combination of ground beef and ground sausage.

spaghetti sauce in pan

Doubling, freezing & reheating

To double: Simply double the ingredients and cook according to directions. The sauce is on the thicker side, so you could even double all ingredients except the hamburger (still use 1 pound) for more of a tomato sauce.

To freeze: Let the sauce cool completely, then pour into a freezer bag or container. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Reheating: Let thaw in the fridge overnight, then pour the sauce into a pan. Cook on the stove until warm.

What to serve with spaghetti:

spaghetti sauce and noodles on white plate

You can also use this sauce in these recipes:

spaghetti sauce and noodles on white plate

Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Course: Main Dish

Cuisine: Italian

Keyword: homemade spaghetti sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Simmer time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Servings: 6

Calories: 122

My family claims this is the BEST homemade spaghetti sauce! It’s simple to make, super flavorful and takes only 10 minutes to prep. Plus it’s freezer-friendly and can be easily doubled! 

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 pound lean ground beef, turkey or pork
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch red pepper flakes , optional
  • 28 ounce can whole tomatoes , I prefer San Marzano
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Pasta water , as needed

For serving: Cooked spaghetti, parmesan cheese, basil

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add in the garlic and cook another minute. Then remove to a bowl. Next, brown the meat. Remove any extra grease and then add onions back in.

  • Add in the tomato paste and seasoning. Stir and cook a minute. Then pour in tomatoes and vinegar. Break down the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Bring to a simmer and then turn to low until alert to serve. I like to let it simmer for about 30-60 minutes. The longer the better. Add 1/2-1 cup pasta water if desired to lean out.

  • Serve over cooked pasta with parmesan cheese and fresh basil if desired.

Doubling: This recipe easily doubles. It’s a pretty thick sauce, so you could even double the recipe (but still use 1 lb hamburger) for more of a tomato sauce.  Freezer friendly: This sauce freezes great. I love to double the batch and freeze half for later. Simply allow it to cool and then place in a zip top bag or freezer container. Freeze up to 3 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator over night. Reheat on the stove top. 

Calories: 122kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 465mg | Potassium: 545mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 255IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg

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meet Jamielyn Nye

Jamielyn Nye is the creative director and founder of I Heart Naptime. She is also the author of the I Heart Naptime Cookbook. When she’s not creating in the kitchen, Jamielyn loves to chase her four small monkeys and snuggle up on the couch with her man.

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