My spaghetti meat sauce recipe is sure to put the YUM into your next Itali-YUM dinner!
Yeah, that was a bad pun. But can you blame me? Anytime pasta recipes are on the menu, I lose myself in dreams of the perfect spaghetti sauce recipes, with visions of Italian seasonings dancing in my head. Whether you reach for pasta sauce recipes to spice up a fancy dinner or give your comfort a kick, I promise that my spaghetti meat sauce recipe will have you dreaming in oregano.
Tie on your napkins and let’s get to it!
For every big ol’ Italian family, there’s a different spaghetti meat sauce recipe. What makes this one so perfect?
- Easy prep and cook. I promise.
- Bold, hearty spices
- Three steps! Seriously, EASY.
- One pot!
When most people have spaghetti with meat sauce on their dinner menu, they reach for store-bought jars. Not that there’s anything wrong with the time-saving wonder of premade sauce — but the flavor you get in my spaghetti meat sauce recipe is incomparable. And with one pan, you can have enough sauce to feed the Italian peninsula!
Spaghetti Ingredients Notes
Dried vs Fresh: I’ve often waxed poetic about the importance of fresh herbs — but for dishes that simmer for a long time, like spaghetti sauce with meat, you’ll actually want dried. Thanks to the lengthy simmering process, the sauce will get infused with the rich flavors of the dried herbs over time.
Crushed not Sauced? If this is a spaghetti meat sauce recipe, why not go straight for canned tomato sauce instead of crushed tomatoes? Believe it or not, there’s a difference in the plethora of canned tomato products!
For this recipe, I like using crushed to leave hearty chunks of tomato in the finished dish. If you like a smoother final product, you can opt for canned tomato sauce!
Sausage Differences: You might think “Italian sausage” includes all types of processed Italian meats — wrong! For my spaghetti meat sauce recipe, you’ll definitely want to go for the raw Italian sausage you find in the sausage aisle. Things like pancetta or prosciutto, while delicious, will lose their structure as the sauce simmers.
Spaghetti Sauce Storing Tips
Want to stock your pantry with homemade spaghetti sauce? To help you package your precious cargo carefully, I’ve pulled together all the best info!
Can You Freeze This?
Yes! My spaghetti meat sauce recipe is very freezer-friendly. I’ve found it helps to freeze any easy meat sauce recipe in pre-portioned batches, so you don’t have to thaw a whole huge tub of sauce in one go. You can save your portions in the freezer for up to three months.
But be sure to cool your sauce first! Storing it while still hot will lower the temp of your freezer, threatening the safety of the other things you have stored there, and may lead to freezer burn. Definitely not Itali-YUM!
Quick Meat Sauce Make Ahead Tips
Alas, this spaghetti meat sauce recipe is not exactly “make-ahead friendly,” in that all that yummy flavor comes with at least an hour of simmering.
But! It does store remarkably well in the fridge, so:
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Once you’ve made your sauce, you can store it in the fridge for up to four days in an airtight container. Any longer, and the oils from the meat will start to separate, plus you risk yucky things growing in your sauce.
If you served this sauce over noodles, I’d store the sauce and pasta separately in the fridge. The longer noodles sit in sauce, the more liquid they absorb, turning them mushy and losing their structure.
My spaghetti meat sauce recipe is your canvas — let’s make art!
Can I Use Other Tomatoes?
I have avid canning-spaghetti-sauce friends who love experimenting with different types of tomatoes. Roma, San Marzano, heirloom. Get wild!
Or if you live in a proper climate, you can try growing your own — homemade spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes is always a treat. I love making it with cherry tomatoes, actually! They give such a sweet pop of flavor (and totally beat out any of those store-bought spaghetti sauce brands!).
Can I Add Liquor To This Recipe?
I like your style! And yes, alcohol and Italian food pair deliciously together. I, personally, could eat vodka pasta sauce straight out of the jar. For another option, try white wine pasta sauce — something about it feels so classy and fancy! It’s a perfect date night dish.
Can I Make Another Sauce From Leftovers Of This Recipe?
Another reason to save your Italian leftovers — variations!
Layer my spaghetti meat sauce recipe between ricotta and lasagna noodles, and ta-da! It’s now lasagna sauce!
Fry up some mozzarella sticks and you have the perfect marinara sauce recipe to dip in!
Toss in some white wine and chopped veggies for a play on bolognese!
Can I Add Cheese?
YES. Always. Cheese is always the best addition to everything. Tell me I’m wrong.
Cheese sauce for pasta is the ultimate eyes-roll-back-in-your-head comfort food. And hello, who doesn’t love mac and cheese sauce? Whether you add parmesan, cheddar, or even chunks of mozzarella, you’re in for a treat!
Can I Add Alfredo Sauce?
I adore combining alfredo sauce with my spaghetti meat sauce recipe to make this delightfully creamy tomato lovechild sauce. The tomatoes create a light alfredo sauce. It’s all very reminiscent of Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce mixed with their meat sauce in that delicious neverending pasta bowl — only it’s at your house!
Spaghetti Meat Sauce
- 1/2 pound ground beef 80/20
- 1/2 pound Italian sausage loose
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon granulated sugar, optional
- Brown ground beef and Italian sausage in a large pot over medium heat. Drain excess fat.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together. Increase heat to high just until sauce begins to boil. Reduce heat and maintain a simmer stirring occasionally, for 1-hour minimum or longer, up to 4 hours develops better flavor.
- Serve over cooked spaghetti.
Got bit by the Italian cooking bug? There’s no cure — but to make more Italian dishes!
- Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce – Longer simmer, bigger flavor!
- Italian Spaghetti Sauce – A recipe classic.
- Carbonara Sauce – Simple and delicious.
- Cream Sauce For Pasta – Bring on the seconds!
- Pesto Sauce – Nuts, cheese, and basil in harmony.
I make my spaghetti meat sauce recipe for special birthday dinners. I make it liven up busy weeknights. I make it to pretend I’m in Italy, carefully tending an homage to centuries of deliciousness. No matter the reason, I’m always glad I did!
What did you make spaghetti meat sauce for? Tell me in the comments!