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My Favorite Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

A recipe for my favorite spaghetti sauce. This spaghetti sauce is thick, hearty and richly flavored and freezes well

I can’t believe that in six plus years of writing this blog that I haven’t shared my favorite homemade spaghetti sauce recipe with you!

A recipe for my favorite spaghetti sauce. This spaghetti sauce is thick, hearty and richly flavored and freezes well

I started making this recipe my first year out of college when I was in my first “real world” job and apartment. I can vividly remember sitting in my apartment and reading through Southern Living’s “Our Reader’s Top Rated Recipes” that was given to me by my grandmother. Her name and address is in the front of the cookbook along with a handwritten note that reads, “Jennifer keep this.

Southern Living Cookbook

I have made this recipe so many times now that the cookbook automatically opens to page 79. While I have this recipe mostly committed to memory and have made a few changes to the original, there’s just something so nostalgic about pulling my old cookbooks out of the bookcase and having my favorite recipes out while I’m cooking. Call me old fashioned. 🙂

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

While the recipe is easy and straightforward, you do need some time to make it. I like to let my sauce simmer for a good 3-4 hours so it’s a good Sunday afternoon cooking project.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

I always make this recipe in my big Le Creuset Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It’s just the best for soups, sauces, stews and anything that needs a long, slow cook. I keep this guy out on my stove top at all times and use it regularly. I even use it to bake my sourdough in! I have the 7.25 quart size FYI.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Something that is a little different about this recipe is that you brown the ground beef and Italian sausage with onions and garlic and then remove them from the pan and place them in a separate bowl while you make your tomato sauce. The tomato sauce cooks for about an hour on its own before you add the meat mixture back in.

Spaghetti Sauce Spices

The spices are pretty simple here. I use a heaping of Italian seasoning along with a bit of cayenne pepper. I love it when my spaghetti sauce has a little kick but if that’s not your thing you can totally use just a tiny pinch or omit it.


Let’s take a moment to talk about mushrooms. I LOVE fresh mushrooms in my spaghetti sauce. It reminds me so much of the spaghetti sauce my dad made growing up.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Once the tomato sauce has done its thing, you add the meat mixture and the mushrooms to the pot and cook for another couple of hours.

A recipe for my favorite spaghetti sauce. This spaghetti sauce is thick, hearty and richly flavored and freezes well

The result is a thick and flavorful spaghetti sauce that is hearty, so richly flavored and delicious.


I always make a huge pot of the sauce so that I can have leftovers to give away or freeze. This sauce freezes extremely well. It would be a great thing to send to a friend in need of a meal.

A recipe for my favorite spaghetti sauce. This spaghetti sauce is thick, hearty and richly flavored and freezes well

And then depending on your preference you can serve the sauce over traditional spaghetti noodles, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. We’ve tried it all three ways and it’s so good no matter how you dish it up.

A recipe for my favorite spaghetti sauce. This spaghetti sauce is thick, hearty and richly flavored and freezes well

Top it off with a sprinkle of freshly grated parm and fresh basil if you happen to have some on hand. Bon appetit! 🙂

My Favorite Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: 10-12 servingsTotal:

A thick, hearty and richly flavored homemade spaghetti sauce that freezes well.

You'll Need...

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1 pound of Italian sausage (mild or spicy)
  • 2 medium white or sweet onions, diced
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6-ounce) can Italian style tomato paste
  • 5 cups water (may need up to a cup more as the mixture cooks and thickens)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2-3 cups sliced white mushrooms (depending on how much you want to add!)


  1. Remove casings from sausage and discard. Cook sausage and ground beef in a dutch oven over medium heat for about 5 minutes, working to break up and crumble meat with your spoon/spatula. Add onion and garlic and continue to cook for about 5 more minutes, stirring often.
  2. Drain the meat and onion mixture and place in a separate bowl. Wipe out dutch oven.
  3. Combine tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, salt, Italian seasoning and cayenne in your dutch oven and cook, stirring occasionally, on low heat for 1 hour.
  4. Add meat mixture and mushrooms and continue to cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for another 90 minutes to 2 hours. Add a little more water if mixture seems to thicken up too quickly. You can also cover it for an hour or so and then uncover it for the last part of cooking. Mixture will start out relatively watery and should thicken up nicely as it cooks.
  5. Serve over pasta, zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash and sprinkle with parmesan. Freeze any leftovers you have to enjoy later.

Additional Notes

Recipe adapted from Southern Living's Our Readers Top-Rated Recipes cookbook.


{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Sarah November 30, 2016, 12:06 am

    This looks so much like the “recipe” I use (mostly just a combination of recipes that I’ve turned into my own over the years)! I love adding shredded carrot into my sauce. I shred a carrot or two (or buy the pre-shredded, whatever you prefer) and throw it in when you put the tomatoes in. It has a meatiness to it that you don’t even notice it’s there. Even veggie hating kids will still eat it! I’ll have to try your version next!

  • Angela November 30, 2016, 1:08 pm

    I am shocked with no bay leaf! I can’t wait to try!! Have you ever tried once you mix it together in a crockpot? I just hate to leave the stove going for hours.

  • Michelle November 30, 2016, 2:17 pm

    That looks like a really delicious recipe and I’m going to try it this weekend. I was wondering about the 1/3 cup of sugar. It seems like a lot and I know sugar is used to cut the acidity of tomatoes. Do you notice some sweetness from that much sugar?

  • Nathaly November 30, 2016, 8:35 pm

    This looks delicious and I’m so hungry right now!

  • mandy December 6, 2016, 10:14 pm

    Thank you for posting this recipe! Ive been in a total food rut and this was a delicious new meal that my family devoured. 🙂

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