The BEST EVER Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

By Mark
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    Growing up, we rarely used jarred tomato sauce because we always made our own homemade spaghetti sauce. Because I was young, I never thought anything of it. But when I had pasta at a friend's house and they used jarred sauce, I never liked it much. My dad was generally the one who always made our sauce; it was one of his favorite things to do on Sunday afternoons.

    Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

    This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe was passed down from my Sicilian grandma. It has been used for generations and you can't mess it up! It is really easy and tastes SO much better than the store bought sauce. You can do this in a crockpot too – in fact it is one of our favorite dump recipes.

    If you plan to can this sauce, omit the Parmesan cheese and add that when you warm up the sauce before eating. We often add ground beef or italian sausage to it as well (the one pictured has ground beef in it).  This just makes it that much better!

    If you love this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe, you will love some of our other Italian Recipes:

    Dump Recipes

    Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

    Slow Cooker Meat Sauce

    Slow Cooker Meat Sauce

    Alfredo Sauce Recipe

    Easy Alfredo Sauce Recipe

    In fact, you can find many of these recipes in our ALDI Meal Plans, where we teach you how to make 20 meals for under $160 in under 3 hours!

    Oh – and in case you're interested, I'd LOVE to send you a FREE Meal Plan! 10 super easy meals prepared in about 45 minutes for under $80! Sign up right below:

    Ok back to the recipe at hand…

    NOTE: If using fresh tomatoes:

    You can make this sauce with either cans of crushed tomatoes or fresh tomatoes.  If using fresh tomatoes, you would need about 12-15 medium sized tomatoes.  There is definitely more work involved when using fresh tomatoes, but it is worth it!

    First, you will need to get the skins off.  The easiest method for this is to score the skins with a sharp knife, and then boil them for about a minute and then place in cold water.You will want to do this in batches.

    Once you the tomatoes have cooled, the skins should peel off relatively easily.  Then chop them up, and blend in a food processor.  You can control how chunky or smooth you want the sauce by how long you blend them for.

    Once this step is done, follow the rest of the recipe using the tomatoes you just prepared as the crushed tomatoes. We hope you enjoy it!

    Homemade Italian Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
    Prep time: 
    Cook time: 
    Total time: 
    Serves: 8-10
    Here is my family spaghetti sauce recipe passed down from my grandmother in Italy - it is the best one you will ever cook - don't trust me - try it!
    • 3-4 cans of Crushed Tomatoes (either regular or with basil, oregano and garlic) 28 oz. sized cans OR 12-15 fresh tomatoes (peeled, chopped and blended in a food processor)
    • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • A bunch of dried basil (probably 3-5 Tbsp)
    • A bunch of black pepper ( probably 1 - 2 tsp)
    • 1 TBSP of Sugar (optional)
    • 2 TSBP olive oil
    • 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
    • Minced Green Peppers (optional)
    1. Heat the olive oil in a 5+ qt. pot over medium heat, and add the onion.
    2. Saute for 10 minutes or so, stirring often and being careful not to burn it.
    3. Add the chopped or pressed garlic.
    4. Heat for another one to two minutes, making sure not to burn the garlic, then add all the tomatoes, black pepper, basil and sugar. Stirring often, bring to a low boil.
    5. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours stirring often.
    6. For the first half of the simmer time, do so with the pot uncovered, then cover.
    7. Add the cheese, stir in and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or so.
    8. This will make the equivalent to 4-5 jars of sauce, and the cost is probably about half (and it tastes way better).

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    BEST EVER Homemade Italian Spaghetti Sauce Recipe - this was passed down from my Cicillian Grandma!

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  • Mmm…that recipe sounds great! I bet that grated cheese really makes it. Hunts is one of my favorite brands and the only canned tomato sauce that I will use. I like to use it as a base for pizza sauce and enchilada sauce.

  • Delicious! I added 1 large sweet onion whole and a pack of boneless ribs and about 3/4 lb of ground beef. I cooked it in the slow cooker from 9-3, then transferred it to the pot to cook down and threw in a little tomato paste. The onion falls apart as it cooks. At 3, I took it out and chopped it tiny and put it back in. If you add in the whole onion and ribs, it gets this sweet taste like it has seafood in it. After I transferred it to the pot, I tasted it. It was a little tart so I added a little baking soda, let it sit a little and retasted it. Perfect.

  • I didn’t remove the seeds and regretted it. Looks like salsa. Lol. Next time I will remove the seeds. I also added tomato paste to help thicken the sauce.

      • Trey, there are recipe trolls on every post. Some do not understand that pork is not eaten by all.
        If you want to add pork or beef, add it but do not be critical.

    • There is nothing “authentic” about adding pork to “Italian sauce.” And by “Italian,” I believe that you mean ITALIAN AMERICAN, which is something different.

      When they arrived here, Italians used what they could afford, and often in much larger quantities than they ever had before. Every cook was, and is, different.

      • Absolutely correct every cook is different my uncle Dominick cook his sauce from scratch my grand mother use to make pasta noodles home made put both their receips together and and knock bones and home made Meat balls boy did we have a heck of a meal and don’t forget the salad we had so much food we had enough to feed an army or two

  • […] Pasta sauce. You will never go back. Even though there are only two of us, I make a huge batch of this stuff and we eat like kings. Tastes amazing, costs very little, and you can doctor the recipe according to your tastes and nutritional preferences. I prefer mine meaty, but you could easily adapt this to vegetarian tastes. Try this recipe–I like to add about a quarter-pound of Italian sausage to it for even more meaty  zest. […]

  • I have had no problems freezing sauce with ground meat. I have also defrosted first as well as heat from frozen. Both methods work.

    • I do not understand how you could get 6 jars from this recipe. Recipe. Confusing It first says 3/4 crushed tomatoes then all. This looks good but no instructions on adding meat or sausage. There is no way this would be 6 jars. Did I miss something

      • 3-4 means 3 or 4 cans of tomatoes
        3/4 means three quarters of a can.
        Maybe that will help?

    • Re. the homemade Italian spaghetti sauce recipe, and it being a favorite “dump-recipe”:
      How do the directions change when using the crockpot, as opposed to in the pan ,(which is how the website instructions read,)?
      Also, what meats (hamburger and/or sausage ? Pre-cooked or raw? Are ground chicken or turkey or turkey sausages possibilities ? ) and meat quantities are used for a batch of this size ?

    • No, what’s matter you! Gravy is what you put on mashed potatoes or turkey! What you put on spaghetti is called “SAUCE “

      • I believe it is called gravy on the East Coast. The rest of the country calls in spaghetti sauce.

    • You are both wrong..
      Any sauce which contains meat, is called and referred to as “gravy”. If your sauce doesn’t contain any meat, then its called sauce – hence marinara sauce.

  • with attitude like that …you need meds fool….wasting money? .30 for a pepper? YOUR times worth O (zero)arrogant snot.

  • What tomatoes do you recommend? My garden was quite the jungle this year and I have about a bushel of San Marzano tomatoes and then a much smaller amount of beefsteak and heirloom.

  • I learned a similar recipe from my mother. Some things to try:

    My mother taught me to add three primary ingredients (holy trinity) chopped/minced garlic, chopped onion, and chopped pepper.) I wonder if the onion is a Scottish thing (mom was born and raised in Glasgow, but worked for five years for an Italian family restaurant).

    Like the recipe says, the key is creating a base by sauteing the first ingredients at a low to medium heat in olive oil.

    I use only San Marzano canned tomatoes from Italy… I was told by an Italian friend that they are less acidic… Unless I get some good fresh tomatoes of course.

    i also add fresh basil leaves, lightly chopped towards the end of the simmer.

    I think it is best to make the day before you serve.. that lets the flavors blend.

    I never measure the seasonings… I add a little at a time until it tastes “right”

    Start with the recipe and then make it your own 😉

  • When my husband and I visited Italy a few years back, we had the privilege of eating spaghetti cooked by our Italian chef friend that was out of this world delicious and was the exact recipe that Lauren’s grandmother passed down to her. It is not the thick pasty tomatoey glob that overpowers American spaghetti so you can’t taste anything else. You can call it gravy or whatever you please…I call it fantastic and tasteful. I am so glad Lauren shared her culinary treasure!!! Love, Love, Love it!!!!

  • Thank you for this incredible recipe! I made this sauce for a spaghetti night with friends, and than used the remainder for a large batch of lasagna. Everyone raved about the flavor, and asked for the recipe. It’s incredibly delicious, and so easy to make. This URL is being bookmarked for eternity! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

  • The opening statements from ” Mark” tells of his grandmothers reciepe, then nothing.. no link no reciepe … IF YOUR GOING TO BRAG SOMETHING UP… AND NOT SHARE WHY ARE YOU HERE?? DF

  • Sounds great gonna try it Sunday My Sunday wouldent be complete without spaghetti dinner. But always used jar sauce So I want something more tastier How much ground beef or Italian sausage do you recommend for this recipe? One other thing is I read some negative posts about the recipe. That wasn’t nice when you took the time to share a family recipe Thank you.

  • Thanks for sharing! It’s somewhat similar to my grandmother’s sauce however with a few American twists, as she called it. She and my grandfather moved to the Brooklyn from Southern Italy in the 1950’s. The American twists in her sauce being oregano and onions, which she had added to her mother’s recipe.

  • My napoletan grandma added onion to the gravy my Sicilian grandma never did. I prefer without the onion never peppers. The basic recipe is the same brown the garlic in olive oil , add crushed tomatoes I like Cento , or tuttorosa or any imported from Italy they seem less watery, of course you can crush regular whole tomatoes as well. If you want meat sauce I add a few Italian and hot sausage, meatballs and porky ribs , sometimes a piece of steak, first add the tomatoes I use 4 or 5 cans to the lightly browned garlic stir let simmer 20 minutes, then add 20 oz can tomatoe sauce I like del monte or red pack stir add 2 tablespoons of sugar, salt, pepper, I use fresh basil leaves, stir let simmer 15 minutes then I add the meats you can just throw in they will cook in sauce, I used to brown meats first in tomatoe paste and garlic which adds more flavor , drain and then add to sauce need extra time for that. Let cook 3 to 4 hours on low stirring occasionally I always leave uncovered until last 45 minutes to thicken. This makes a lot so you always have leftover freeze in Tupperware .

  • Can’t wait to try. Am going to make a day ahead. and I will be adding meatballs towards the end. Been craving this!!

  • I have a quick question, how much green pepper should be added? Also, should it be added in the 2nd step along with all the other ingredients? Thank you very much in advance for your help!

    • Hi Linda. When I use green pepper, I use probably about 1/3 of a green pepper and dice it into very small pieces. Then I saute it with the onion. Hope that helps!

  • Hi Lauren,

    I found your recipe on the Internet back in August of 2015 and have been using it ever since, best Spaghetti sauce recipe I’ve ever made or tasted. Of course I doctor it up but the base is your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  • As an Italian restaurant owner for 50 years, spaghetti sauce is called sugo. Your receipt is pretty close to mine…simple and rich. The secret is in the humidity for the day. Longer if damp, but shorter and lower temp when dry, you can not rush flavor! Also sugo is better when it sets for a least 5 days (use stainless steel or glass). Freezing make is thick and rich.

  • Made this last night. Made a few changes (extra basil, sugar, onions, green pepper, mushrooms, chicken, and a little tomato paste to thicken). I love this recipe! Definitely my new go to recipe. Fed my husband and my neighbor. Both loved it.

  • Thanks, everybody — I always use ground beef (part sirloin) in spaghetti sauce. I brown it in a large pan and thereafter add everything else that’s going in the sauce. I don’t use onions, but just onion powder. (Somebody in my house doesn’t like “real” onions.) I generally use Tuttaroso canned sauce, but any other will do fine. Use lots of spices — your
    choice — and cook slowly, for at least an hour to blend everything. Delicious!

  • Very similar to recipe my Italian friends mother gave me years ago. She adds a splash of burgundy or other red wine. Adds Wow factor! I never use canned/jarred sauce. When hubby 1st tasted my home-made sauce he thought he had died and gone to Heaven! His mother, like mine, used a BOX mix! Ugh Ugh!! Always swore I would never use it, only home-made.

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