This Spaghetti Meat Sauce recipe is an easy and quick recipe that can be the beginning of an easy weeknight dinner. Make this 30 minute meat sauce and watch your family fall in love!
The other day, as I was planning what dinner recipes I’m going to make for you this fall, I asked on my personal Facebook page, what people consider “easy” dinners. Oh my gosh. For a busy day in the life of working parents, so many chimed in! It was everything from number of ingredients, to how many pots and pans are used, to how long it takes to make.
I made this for supper tonight and OMG it is soooo good!! Fiancé said to buy this brand again. LOL! So definitely will make it again.
What Makes This Spaghetti Meat Sauce Recipe so Easy
Based on everything that my family, friends, and neighbors told me, this Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce Recipe is easy. A simple riff on my Homemade Spaghetti sauce, let me tell you why this is so easy.
- This spaghetti meat sauce is done in just one pot. Yes, if you are serving it with spaghetti you need to use one more pot. But when all is said and done, not very many dishes.
- Your new favorite meat sauce is done in 30 minutes. For so many of the people I talked to, this was a big key to the easy dinner label.
- There are no complicated ingredients in this meat sauce recipe. In fact, all but one ingredient can be bought in bulk and stored in your pantry ready for use. That was a huge factor for a lot of friends.
How to Make Meat Sauce
This is a brief overview to show you how easy it is to make this sauce. For the full recipe with all of the measurements, see the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Measure your ingredients. Normally I am a measure as I go person. But this recipe moves quickly. I suggest measuring everything out before you start cooking.
- Brown the meat. Break up the ground beef and brown it in a dutch oven. Once browned, drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the beef.
- Add the tomatoes. Stir in the canned tomatoes and spices.
- Simmer the sauce. Now bring it all to a boil, and then reduce it to a simmer. Simmering for 15 minutes brings all the flavors together.
- Adjust the seasonings. At the end of the 15 minutes, taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper to taste.
Additions and Substitutions
Another key to easy dinners that someone mentioned was flexibility. They like recipes that are flexible. You can take things out, add other things, and it’s not going to make a huge difference in the final product. Ding ding ding! This meat sauce wins again!
- Add in onions! My husband doesn’t like onions, so I left them out. And I love that nothing here needs to be diced. But if you love them, throw them in right after the meat is browned but before you drain off the fat.
- Make it less chunky! If your family doesn’t like tomato chunks, substitute one can of crushed tomatoes for the can of diced tomatoes (making it two cans of crushed tomatoes).
- Bring more heat to your spaghetti meat sauce recipe. Add in more crushed red pepper flakes. This recipe only calls for 1/8 a teaspoon. That is perfect for my kids who can’t tolerate spice. Bump it up to 1/4 teaspoon or even a little more to add some heat.
- Use ground turkey! If your family doesn’t care for the taste of beef, make your homemade spaghetti meat sauce with ground turkey instead. If you find that there isn’t 2 tablespoons worth of grease at the end, add a little olive oil in before adding your garlic.
If you change things up and find a variation that you love, leave me a comment and let me know!
Why Add Sugar To Spaghetti Sauce
When you are making spaghetti sauce using canned tomatoes, like we are doing here, they add quite a bid of acidity to the recipe. A small pinch of sugar will balance this acidity without making the sauce taste sweet. If you are nervous about doing this, start with 1 teaspoon of sugar, taste the sauce and add more as you feel it is needed.
An alternative to adding sugar is to add a whole carrot cut up in large pieces. It will balance the acidity of the tomatoes as the sauce cooks and the carrots can be pulled out at the end.
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Leftovers
Because of the ground beef in this sauce recipe, you can keep left overs in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Reheat the sauce over medium low heat on the stove top, stirring often. Whatever sauce is reheated should be eaten or thrown away. This sauce should not be reheated more than once. As with all recipes, use your best discretion when it comes to leftovers.
This meat sauce will freeze perfectly. Once it has cooled, transfer it to a jar or freezer safe container. Make sure that you leave a solid 2 inches of room in the jar you put it in to account for expanding. Store it in the freezer for up to a month.
I would recommend about a cup and a half per person. This recipe, as listed, makes 7 cups. That means you will have enough for four servings with some left over.
I do not have experience with canning. Because this contains meat, proceed with caution. I suggest visiting the USDA’s website, specifically their section on canning meat.
No! For a smoother sauce, you can replace the can of diced tomatoes with a second can of crushed tomatoes.
Absolutely! You can add them when you are done browning the meat but before you drain the fat. Sauté them for 5 to 7 minutes.
What to Serve with Spaghetti Meat Sauce
This is technically a condiment, but once you boil some water and make some spaghetti, you almost have a full blown meal. Whip up a side item or two to make this a well rounded meal. I am listing a few below that I think would add very little hands on time and would compliment spaghetti with meat sauce by adding in some vegetables.
- Italian Chopped Salad: Easy to make and such a crowd pleaser, this is perfect!
- Garlic Bread: My garlic bread recipe is perfect to pair with this!
- Crispy Brussels Sprouts: Very little hands on time, and the end result is a side dish your family will love.
- Roasted Cauliflower Recipe: I’m adding this because it is our go to side on pasta night. All of my kids eat it up, and one of them even asks for seconds!
As always, if you make this spaghetti meat sauce recipe or any of my others, leave me a comment! I’d love to hear what you think.
Spaghetti Meat Sauce Recipe
- 1 pound ground beef (I used 80/20)
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons sugar (read about why we add sugar to spaghetti meat sauce)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon basil
- 1/8 red pepper flakes
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Before starting, measure out all of your spices and sugar and set them aside. Open your canned tomatoes and set them aside as well. (See note.)
- In a large dutch oven over medium heat, break up the beef. Cook until browned and no longer pink. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of grease from the pot.
- Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn.
- Add in the tomatoes (both cans). Then stir in the spices and salt.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook on low for about 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickens, stirring intermittently.
- Once finished, taste and add more salt and pepper (just a litlte at a time) to taste.