This homemade meat sauce, aka, "spaghetti sauce" is a great recipe. It's quick and easy. Perfect for busy weeknights. But most of all, it's absolutely delicious. I wasn't a fan of spaghetti until I perfected this sauce. I'm sure you'll love it!
I ADORE this meat sauce. I'm serious when I said I wasn't really a fan of spaghetti until I perfected this recipe.
If this is your first time making homemade meat sauce or haven't made spaghetti sauce in long time, or just plain tired of the jarred meat sauces, or maybe you need to find a better meat sauce recipe, then this is the recipe for you. This homemade meat sauce is super simple and so good, you'll want to eat it straight from the pot!
Meat Sauce Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need for your homemade meat sauce:
- Olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef
- Minced fresh garlic
- Yellow onion
- Garlic cloves (minced)
- Tomato paste
- Crushed tomatoes
- Fresh basil
- Hint of Better than Bouillon beef base (for a little depth of flavor but don't add too much)
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Crushed red peppers
Ground beef is perfect for a classic meat sauce. It has great flavor, and I usually have it on hand. Avoid using a lean ground beef. Use 80-85% fat ground beef. As the sauce cooks down, the beef will make the sauce incredibly rich and flavorful.
For this recipe, you won’t be using fresh tomatoes, but you will be using 2 tbsp of tomato paste and a large can (28 oz) of crushed tomatoes.I like to use Hunts crushed tomatoes. You should be able to find it at your local grocery store.
If you have fresh basil, use it! I can’t stress how much better this is going to taste if you have fresh basil leaves to add.
It will make it so fresh and so tasty. But if you can't find it, use slightly dried basil. But if all you have is dried basil it works in a pinch. Remember, this is an easy recipe. There’s no need to stress about the ingredients.
Better Than Bouillon Beef Base
For extra flavor I like to use a hint of Better Than Bouillon Beef Base because I don’t simmer my sauce for hours. Although I use a small about. The beef base will make a huge difference flavor wise, in less time!
I know, sugar in a meat sauce recipe seems counterintuitive. But it’s a really important ingredient! This is going to balance out the flavor. Start with just a bit if you’re unsure, but add a little bit more and you’ll taste the difference.
This easy spaghetti recipe calls for a variety of tasty spices. Garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, crushed red peppers, bay leaf, hint of sugar, crushed red peppers, salt and black pepper all make for a beautiful, bright blend.
There’s something so comforting about meat sauce and noodles, especially when those noodles are spaghetti.
I love to use spaghetti noodles with meat sauce, but you can use something different if you’d like.
Try swapping zucchini noodles for a healthier twist, or pour it over angel hair spaghetti or rigatoni. It's equally delicious with lasagna as well.
You can even use half beef and half Italian sausage if you like. Thats the good thing about this sauce. You can literally use it on all kinds of pasta. You can make all kinds of delicious food with this meat sauce.
How to Make Meat Sauce
- In a large skillet or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and ground beef. Cook until it's no longer pink. Add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- To make the pasta sauce, add the water, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, Better than Bouillon Beef Base, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, bay leaf, butter, sugar, salt and pepper to the pot. With your wooden spoon, mix well.
- Cook on low heat for about 30 minutes.
- Use 1 box (16 oz) of spaghetti. Cook until al dente
- Serve meat sauce over spaghetti and top with fresh herbs like basil or fresh parsley. Top with Parmesan cheese if you like.
We love to use thin spaghetti or angel hair spaghetti.
How do I lower the acidity of the tomatoes?
With so much tomato in meat sauce, especially when using crushed tomatoes and a can of tomato paste, it’s no surprise there’s lots of acidity.
This can give your meat sauce a bit of a bitter flavor, and it can be hard on your stomach. To lower the acidity of the tomatoes in meat and tomato sauce and to add just a little bit of sweetness, add a little bit of sugar. It’s not only good for flavor, it’s good for balance.
How to Reheat Meat Sauce
Reheating spaghetti sauce is very simple. When I’m feeling a little lazy, I like to just toss it in the microwave. It heats up in about 90 seconds or less. Make sure to give the sauce a little stir a couple times so that it can heat evenly.
When I have some extra time, I toss it back in a saucepan and heat it on the stovetop over low to medium heat, add a bit of water and stir occasionally until it's heated through. Stir occasionally so that the bottom of the pan doesn't burn.
How to Freeze
To use this sauce for future use you can freeze it. Make sure the sauce it cooled down to room temperature first. Do not place hot sauce into the container and freeze. Once it’s cool, put it in a freezer-safe container.
Label it with the date you made it and put it in your freezer. Bam! Just like that you have frozen meat and tomato sauce! It should stay good for about 4-6 months.
How long does meat sauce last in the fridge?
Stored in an airtight container, homemade meat sauce will last up to a week in the fridge. It will be at its freshest for a couple of days, and after a week it could start to get moldy.
I promise this sauce won’t last that long, though, because everyone in your house will be begging for leftovers!
Other Uses For Meat Sauce
This homemade meat sauce because it can be used in so many different recipes. I love that if I make the sauce early in the week, it’ll last me all week, especially if I double or triple the batch.
No one even notices that I’m using the same meat and tomato sauce, because I always switch up my recipe just a bit.
One of my favorite recipes to use this spaghetti sauce in is my Lazy Lasagna. It’s such an easy meal but it’s even easier when you have the meat sauce prepared ahead of time! Here are some of my other favorite ways to use my homemade meat sauce:
- Over pappardelle noodles
- Meatball subs
- On top of ravioli
- Chicken Parmesan
- Over angel hair spaghetti
These are just some of the ways to enjoy homemade meat sauce. This spaghetti sauce is perfect with all kinds of pasta dishes. It's so good, you won't have any leftover spaghetti. If you try it please let me know in the comments below!
Foolproof Meat Sauce
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef chuck Use 80% fat
- 1 cup yellow onions diced
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tbsp tomato paste I used Cento brand
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes Hunts brand
- ¼ tsp beef base I used Better than Bouillon beef base
- ½ tbsp dried oregano
- ¾ tsp garlic powder or more for taste
- ¾ tsp onion powder or more for taste
- ¼ tsp crushed red peppers or more for taste
- 1 tbsp fresh basil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ tsp granulated white sugar Or up to 1 tbsp or more for taste (this helps to balance the flavor of the tomato sauce)
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 ½ tsp salt This is an estimate. I usually add a bit more.
- ½ tsp pepper or more for taste
- 16 oz box of spaghetti cooked al dente and drained
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and ground beef. Cook until it's no longer pink. Add minced garlic. Cook until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add the water, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, Better than Bouillon Beef Base, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, bay leaf, butter, sugar, salt and pepper to the pot.
- Mix well and cover with a tight fitted lid. Cook for about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if you like. Serve hot over spaghetti. Enjoy!
Ground beef:I used chuck ground beef 80%. If you deviate from this recipe the flavor of this dish will taste totally different. I have tried to deviate from this recipe by using different brands of sauces but I always find myself coming back to this exact recipe.
Meat Sauce:Make sure to use Hunts crushed tomato sauce. Recipe was slightly updated and added more notes on 3/11/2022
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