Rich and Hearty Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

vHomemade Spaghetti Sauce

Is there anything better than a nice, thick, flavorful spaghetti sauce ladled over a heap of steaming pasta? Probably not.

Unless that plate is set right next to a chunk of buttery garlic bread and a bowl of Caesar salad.

But really, let’s be honest. If the sauce isn’t up to par you might as well push that plate aside and save the calories for an extra piece or 3 of garlic bread. It’s just not worth it.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

But this sauce, this sauce IS quality. Thick and rich, brimming with tomatoes, herbs, and meat. So good you almost don’t miss the garlic bread.


Homemade Spaghetti SauceThis is a recipe I adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe that I’ve been making for the past few years. Besides the fact that this sauce is delicious, I love that this recipe makes a TON. We generally eat it for dinner once, spoon enough of it into a freezer bag for another meal somewhere down the road, and save a few cups of it in the fridge for easy leftovers or other kitchen endeavors. Next week I’ll be sharing a completely spaghetti-unrelated recipe that uses this sauce as a base. It’s double-duty recipes like these that I love to keep on hand for busy school nights and whenever my motivation to cook dinner runs dry.

See you next week!

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups onion, chopped and divided
  • 1 red pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound italian sausage
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 12 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 3 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 14-oz. cans Italian-style stewed tomatoes
  • 2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • ¼ C brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  1. Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add ½ of the onions and saute until translucent and slightly browned. Add garlic and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add beef and sausage and cook until no red remains. Drain excess fat off of the cooked meat and return to the pan
  2. Place the remaining onions and red pepper in a blender or food processor and blend until mostly smooth. Add mixture to the garlic, onions and beef and stir to combine, cooking for another minute. Add tomato paste and spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring until combined. Add tomatoes, beef broth, sugar and mushrooms. Stir until combined and add the bay leaves and balsamic vinegar.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low and simmer for 1 hour up to 3-4. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will get. The sauce will seem watery at first, but as it simmers it will thicken.


  1. J. Wagner says

    I’ve always wanted to make spaghetti sauce from scratch but never saw a recipe that seemed to appeal to me. One thing I don’t like is chunks of tomatoes and this one doesn’t look that bad.

    Another trick I’ve learned with spaghetti sauce is to add shredded carrots to it. They add very little in terms of flavor but it’s a great way to get some additional veggies in your diet.

    • Heather says

      I often add carrots into my pasta sauces too! It adds a nice sweetness and you can’t tell that they’re there usually. You could even sub italian petite diced tomatoes to this if you didn’t like the size of the stewed tomatoes.

  2. Laura says

    Just made this and it is now sitting on my stove! A bit more work than i anticipated but hopefully the end results will be worth it!! My husband tried some already and said it was pretty good! Thanks

    • Heather says

      For sure. Just brown the meat with the onion and garlicand throw it all in the crock pot to simmer for a while. The longer it cooks, the more flavor it will have!

  3. Cheri says

    This recipe does make a big pot of sauce. I filled two large containers and put them in the freezer for future meals. No complaints on the sauce. Everyone liked it and went back for seconds.

  4. Vanessa says

    I made this and loved it. The only thing I did wrong was bought ground thyme and I think using 1.5 teaspoons was too much since it was ground. I will def. make this again, but will season the sauce to my taste to make sure it is perfect next time :) Did you use ground thyme or another? I thought it was the only thyme available..LOL! Oops.

    • Heather says

      Oh no! Yeah, ground thyme will make the whole thing taste like thyme sauce! I used whole dried thyme- it’s not nearly as concentrated.

  5. Vanessa says

    Thanks for replying Heather. Now, I know what I did wrong and what spice was too overpowering. I cannot wait to make it again. I froze half of it and then used it the other day. It was still great :)

  6. Susan Ward says

    This sauce is absolutely the best! Is is delicious!!! I always make a mess in my kitchen when cooking but this recipe is well worth it!! Thanks!

  7. Sue says

    would this be good if you made 1/2 the amount. it sounds like it makes too much for us but would love to try it.

  8. Lenzi says

    Made this spaghetti sauce last night & it’s SOOOO GOOD! My super chef-y husband got home from work, tried it & immediately grabbed bread & started dipping it into the pot on the stove. I’m saving it and using it in the Tortellini Soup recipe tonight. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes! Thanks for sharing!!

  9. Lindsey says

    I made this recipe last night! It was awesome! When I prepared the onion/red pepper mixture I only used about a tablespoon because I have a mild allergy to peppers (mostly when cooking them). I also did about half of the mushrooms. Turned out awesome! For people who might not like the chunks of tomatoes (I don’t either!), I chopped mine up with the spatula like you would ground beef and they were much less chunky.
    Thanks a ton!

  10. Christine says

    I have made this sauce about 4 times already and we love it. Although I leave out the red pepper since I don’t like red pepper. After eating this sauce, I can’t even eat spaghetti at a restaurant anymore, because this is so much better. I also use diced Italian tomatoes instead of stewed Italian tomatoes cause I like the smaller chunks of diced. So glad I found this recipe. And it makes enough to freeze some for later.

  11. Debbie H says

    I made this spaghetti sauce today for dinner tonight. It was absolutely delicious!!
    My husband who is not a huge fan of italian even commented on how good the sauce was. I followed the recipe exactly but next time I will chop the italian stewed tomatoes into smaller pieces. I prefer smaller chunks of tomatoes in my sauce. I allowed it to simmer about 2 hours. The house smelled so good while it was simmering.
    The recipe made a big 6 quart pot of sauce so after the sauce cooled I distributed it in 1 quart jars with seal and ring and froze the sauce. It will be the just right for recipes that call for a 28 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce. After eating this sauce I will never use jarred sauce again!!
    Thank you so much for sharing this great recipe!

  12. portia says

    i’ve been making this recipe for the last year and i LOVE it. i can’t fathom going back to jarred sauces ever again. it makes plenty so i always freeze half and use it for lasagna later. sometimes i use all italian sausage for some umph and i cut back on the sugar. but my family loves it. especially my picky toddler. thanks so much for sharing this.


Leave a Reply

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

Rate this recipe: