How To Make It
See recipe card below this post for ingredient quantities and full instructions.
Soften the onions and cook/crumble the ground beef. Drain grease and add the garlic/bell peppers. Cook for 3 minutes, then deglaze the pot with red wine. Reduce for 5-6 minutes, then add the seasonings, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and sugar. Toss to coat.
Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and bay leaves.
Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cover partially and let the sauce simmer, reduce, and concentrate for 45 minutes, or until desired thickness/consistency is obtained. Serve with pasta of choice and garlic bread with cheese.
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.
Guys. We are pretty much checking off every single box in the easy dinner qualification list.
To Cook The Best Spaghetti We Have A Few Simple Tricks
Check the package directions of the spaghetti you plan to cook. On the box, there should be an approximate cook time for al-dente, which means the pasta will be tender, but not mushy. It will still have a bit of a bite, which is perfect.
When you know the suggested cook time, set a timer for a minute or so before it. So if the box suggests 10 minutes, set a timer for 8 minutes.
This way, at the 8-minute mark, you can check on the spaghetti to make sure it isnt done already. The box directions are a helpful guide, but its always a good idea to check the pasta early!
Cook the spaghetti in salted water. The water should taste salty. This seasons the pasta as it cooks and is necessary for the best-tasting pasta.
Toss the cooked spaghetti with a flavorful sauce like our homemade spaghetti sauce. Dont just spoon the sauce on top of the pasta.
If you were looking to reduce the carbohydrates in your dish, swap half or all of the pasta with zucchini noodles. Heres our recipe for zucchini noodles pasta.
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How To Make Nanas Easy Meat Sauce
Pro Tip: The ground sausage and canned tomatoes are both quite salty. Its best to let the sauce cook a little while at least 30 minutes before deciding if you want to salt it.
Keep homemade Meat Sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. The flavors keep getting better the longer all of the ingredients sit together!
Can Meat Sauce Be Frozen
My Easy Homemade Meat Sauce recipe makes a lot of sauce. This recipe easily makes 6-8 servings, depending on how hungry you are.
For many families, thats probably at least 2 meals out of one batch of sauce!
In my experience, meat sauce will keep for about 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you plan to use all of the sauce within a few days, storing in the refrigerator is the way to go.
If you want to think of longer-term storage, turn to your freezer. Meat sauce freezes perfectly for future meals.
Just store the sauce in a freezer-safe container, label and date, and freeze for up to a few months.
When youre ready to enjoy, just let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight, reheat in the slow cooker or on the stove, and serve on cooked pasta alongside Garlic Parmesan Pull-Apart Bread or Garlic and Herb Beer Bread Rolls.
Because this sauce keeps so well, I like to make it when friends have babies or otherwise need a meal. I make a batch of sauce, put both freezing and reheating instructions on the container, and include a box of pasta, salad greens, and garlic bread in the basket.
Enjoy Easy Homemade Meat Sauce the night you make it or a few weeks later as an easy freezer meal. I know your family will gobble it up either way!
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You’ll Love These Other Family Favorite Pasta Dinner Recipes
Easy Garlic Parmesan Pasta – My kids call this ‘white pasta’ and I make it weekly! So good, kid-friendly, and easy to keep the ingredients on hand.
Creamy Tomato Beef Pasta – Pasta covered in a creamy ground beef sauce.
Perfect Instant Pot Baked Ziti – This really is ‘perfect’ each time! This is a no-fail Instant Pot recipe.
What To Add To Meat Sauce
- Diced carrots and celery make a great addition to the onions in this sauce, similarly to how you would start off Spaghetti Bolognese.
- Mushrooms also make a great addition to this sauce: I like to sauté them separately and add them to the sauce at the end, this allows them to release liquid, concentrate their flavor, and obtain a nice golden color and ideal texture.
- A combination of ground sausage, pork, and veal can be combined with the ground beef in this recipe.
- Up to 4 oz. of softened cream cheese is a really nice addition to this sauce, it balances everything out. Up to ¾ cup heavy cream can also be added.
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Make Meat Sauce With Store Bought Pasta Sauce
Recipe to make an easy meat sauce that is quick for when you dont have the time to make a 100% homemade sauce.
Ive never found a store bought meat sauce that I really liked. Seriously they say meat flavored and there isnt much meat.
Heres how you can turn a jar of store bought pasta sauce into a good meat sauce youll enjoy by adding meat and some spices.
Great for making spaghetti, lasagna, baked ziti, or whatever you want.
This Vessel Can Do Multiple Methods
A dutch oven is the optimal large pot for making a sauce. It provides plenty of space and high sides to execute multiple cooking methods. You can sear the surface of the meat to develop aromas and flavors. And the capacity is perfect for adding in the other liquid products. Finally, everything simmers in one pot to marry all of the ingredients together.
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Why Not Just Use A Jarred Sauce
You can, and I did for many years, as I learned to cook and expanded my kitchen skills.
While new cooks can be intimidated making a homemade meat sauce, opting for the jarred variety, but Im here to tell you its easy, my babies.
I pinky swear this is a simple meat sauce, is, umSIMPLE!
NO MORE JARRED SAUCE!
The Best Meat Sauce: A Special Family Recipe
This amazing meat sauce recipe hails from my father-in-laws kitchen and is everyones favorite. Its thick, hearty, and has phenomenal flavor thanks to a combination of beef, veal, and pork.
I think every family has a bona fide people pleaser. My grandma was ours.
She always wanted to please everyone, even if it meant creating much more work for herself. Case in point: Sunday dinner. She often made different versions of the same dish in order to appease everyones taste preferences. Lasagna was one such dish, and her sauce was the other. To accommodate those who didnt like chunks of anything in sauce, she typically made a simple marinara I always loved her sauce, even though I have a huge soft spot for a super chunky meat sauce.
Fast forward to my courtship with my husband. At some point in those early months, I had the chance to taste his dads meat sauce after it had spent a Sunday afternoon simmering away on the stove. I fell madly in love with that sauce.
Ive been enjoying it for years, and the second time that I made it, my husband walked into the kitchen as I was just getting it to a simmer and said that it smelled like his parents house on a Sunday.
If you prefer a meatless sauce, you can simply omit the meat and make the sauce as directed below. Ive done that multiple times when Ive made baked ziti, and its just as fabulous.
I urge you to run, not walk, into the kitchen and get a pot of this started.
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How Can I Enjoy Meat Sauce Made From Scratch
Serve this classic homemade Meat Sauce with spaghetti or ziti, in lasagna, or as the sauce with our Ricotta Stuffed Shells recipe. But before you start to boil the water, be sure to check out our guide for How to Cook Pasta !
Also, this Baked Spaghetti Pie is perfect for a fun and easy family meal.
Enjoy a gluten-free meal by pairing with baked polenta, or even enjoy over baked potatoes to mix things up.
Living low carb? Try the best Meat Sauce with Low Carb Spaghetti for a yummy and super healthy dinner.
Spaghetti Meat Sauce Recipe
Spaghetti Meat Sauce is beefy, juicy and so satisfying. It comes together fast so it is perfect for busy weeknights, and its freezer friendly. Meat sauce has all of the comforting flavors of Spaghetti and Meatballs, or traditional Bolognese but is much easier!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.
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How To Make Homemade Meat Sauce
- Cook ground meat in a hot cast iron pot breaking and stirring with spatula constantly. Takes about 5 minutes.
- Add onion, garlic and dried seasonings. Please note onion doesnt need to brown but herbs benefit from high heat to release maximum flavors.
- Add canned tomatoes and liquid seasonings. Stir, cover and cook on low-medium heat for about 30 minutes. Covering the pot prevents red splatters all over the stove.
- To thicken meat sauce: Open the lid a little bit to the side and cook for 15 minutes. Moisture will evaporate making perfect hearty and thick meat sauce.
Tip: You can also use this sauce for lasagna.
How To Defrost Meat Sauce
There are a few ways to defrost meat sauce. Once it is fully thawed, reheat over medium heat just until hot and simmering.
- Quick-thaw method: Place the sealed bag of meat sauce in a bowl under cold water until thawed.
- Slow-thaw method: Place the frozen meat sauce in the refrigerator overnight.
- For a camping trip: place packaged frozen meat sauce in a cooler with ice and let it thaw as in a refrigerator overnight.
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What Is The Difference Between Meat Sauce And Bolognese Sauce
Bolognese is a meat-based sauce that originated in Bologna, Italy. I have a recipe in our cookbook for Spaghetti Bolognese and in that recipe I use both ground beef and ground Italian sausage, as well as carrots.
In the much simpler meat sauce recipe featured here, we’re sharing a shortcut version or what I sometimes call, my “lazy version” and it’s fabulous! This simple meat sauce is very rich in tomato flavor and has a short cooking time.
Easy Meat Sauce Recipe With A Jar Of Sauce
Heres the thing, I love our bolognese recipe and tomato sauce recipe so much, but as a new mom, I found myself wanting a borderline no-recipe recipe that was hearty, delicious, and easy. Enter: the easiest from a jar meat sauce.
It tastes restaurant-worthy with a big time-saving shortcut: a jar of really good marinara sauce!
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Instant Pot Meat Sauce Recipe
This Instant Pot meat sauce is thick, hearty, and flavorful. Make this pasta sauce recipe tonight for a quick and easy family favorite meal.
Homemade meat sauce is such a classic staple in so many kitchens. You can use it in so many different recipes or simply pour it over a big bowl of pasta for instant comfort food.
A big drawback to traditional sauces is that they can take so much time to make on the stovetop. Sometimes you need to throw together a meal quickly or make enough for a large group of people.
Pressure cooking this sauce saves you hours of simmering on the stove without losing all the extra flavor. I love using the Instant Pot to cook things that take a long simmer like Instant Pot Low-carb Cranberry Sauce as it is so flavourful but quick. Thats what makes this Instant Pot meat sauce so easy!
All you need is about 15 minutes of prep, then set it and forget it. Youll have a delicious sauce ready in under an hour.
How To Make A Meat Sauce For Pasta
Nanas Best Meat Sauce Recipe Zesty, savory, and terrifically meaty, this classic homemade Italian meat sauce recipe is perfect for enjoying with pasta and much more!
Nana knows a thing or two about home cooking.
Reading: how to make a meat sauce for pasta
If youve been following the blog for awhile, youve surely tried Nanas EPIC Creamy Potato Soup Recipe and Nanas Epic Chicken and Rice. If you havent yet STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING and go add these to your dinner menu for next week. Seriously.
Anyways, as I was saying, my mom Nana is my go-to guide for all things comfort food. So when I wanted to create a hearty, savory, Sunday dinner-worthy Spaghetti with Meat Sauce recipe, I of course turned to Nana
This fabulously easy and delicious sauce is a play off my moms old-timey spaghetti and meat sauce recipe. Its not meant to be an authentic Italian Bolognese recipe, but is more of a classic Italian-America bistro meat sauce thats heavy on the tomatoes. It is similar to Sunday Gravy but without the sausage links and peppers.
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Making Our Favorite Weeknight Spaghetti Sauce
We love incorporating as many healthy, fresh ingredients into our meals as possible, which is why we love making recipes from scratch. We also dont enjoy hovering over a hot stove for hours . Like you, we live busy lives and expect dinner on the table quickly.
Fortunately, this easy sauce fits right into our busy schedules! Homemade spaghetti sauce is easy to make and it can be made well in advance.
For a meatless version of spaghetti sauce, try our homemade marinara sauce. Its light, easy to make, and delicious. Or try our veggie spaghetti!
Ingredients You Will Need
- Ground beef and turkey: When it comes to meat for tomato meat sauce, I like a combination of grass-fed or organic ground beef and lean tender ground turkey. I feel 1.5 lbs is perfect amount, where as 1 lb of meat is not enough.
- Diced tomatoes and tomato paste: Which are the best and substitutes are in details below.
- Onion and garlic: These sauteed veggies is the first layer of flavor.
- Balsamic vinegar and rich olive oil: Both add richness and another layer of flavors.
- Seasonings: I add traditional dried herbs and bay leaves.
- Cinnamon: And one secret punch of flavor I got from my neighbor is a pinch of cinnamon. You will not believe that extra touch of sweetness and warmth it adds to this quick meat sauce. Just trust me!
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Difference Between Bolognese And Meat Sauce
Bolognese, also known as ragù bolognese, may contain milk or cream, the meat is either minced, ground, or chopped, and only a minimal amount of tomato is used for a stew-like consistency. Gelatin may be added to provide a velvety texture. White wine and tomatoes cut some of the richness. Its often served with thicker noodles like tagliatelle and pappardelle or layered in between sheets of lasagna.
Meat sauce, or ragù alla napoletana, has a more pronounced tomato base and contains no dairy. It has chunky pieces of meat or is braised with large cuts, which are removed before serving. Red wine is typically swapped for white wine. More herbs are used, especially fresh basil. My version is similar to this style.