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Published January 10, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
Get in on my famous Italian family’s recipe for homemade spaghetti meat sauce that is hands down the best Ragu around.
Spaghetti sauce is one of those staple Italian family recipes passed down from generation to generation. There really is no need ever to buy this pre-made because it’s incredibly easy to make and far better than anything from the store. Homemade food from scratch just tastes so much better.
What’s the Difference Between This and Marinara?
The biggest difference between this and a marinara sauce is that marinara is vegetarian and has fewer ingredients. While a spaghetti sauce can also be meatless, it tends to have a few more items, such as:
- Balsamic Vinegar (optional)
How Long Does It Take to Make?
Just like with soup, this sauce will get better with time. It can simply be ready to eat in under 70 minutes, but if you let it simmer for several hours over low heat, the ingredients will have more time to infuse, making the overall flavor more intense and delicious. It will be far better the next day if you can wait that long.
How to Make Spaghetti Sauce
Follow these very easy steps below:
- Caramelize the medium diced onions in olive oil for 30-35 minutes or until very browned on low heat.
- Add minced garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until you smell it.
- Deglaze with red wine and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by ½.
- Add in the Italian sausage and ground sirloin and turn the heat to medium and cook until no pink is in it. Stir often to break up any large chunks.
- Add in plum tomatoes, dry basil, and dry oregano and stew over low heat for as little as 10 minutes and as much as 8 hours.
- Finish by adding grated cheeses, chopped parsley, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. You also may need to thicken it with tomato paste to get it to your desired thickness.
- Toss with cooked spaghetti noodles and serve.
I cannot stress enough that the longer it cooks, the better it will taste. Also, note that the thickness of it the sauce is completely up to you.
Spaghetti Sauce Made With No Meat
To make a sauce with no meat, simply skip over the procedure of adding meat and go right into adding tomatoes. Simply work the rest of the way through the recipe procedures.
In addition, if you’re looking for a basic tomato sauce, please check out my Pomodoro sauce recipe.
Make-Ahead and Storage
How to Reheat: Add your desired amount to a medium-size pot and cook over low heat until hot. You can also reheat in a microwave-safe bowl until hot.
How to Store: To store the spaghetti sauce, cool it in an ice bath in your sink or transfer to a refrigerator and cool it uncovered until it is cold, about 3-4 hours. Cover it and keep it in there for up to 5 days.
How to Freeze: This will also freeze well covered for up to 3 months. Thaw for 1 day in the refrigerator before reheating.
Make-Ahead: You can make this up to 2 days before serving it. Keep it in the refrigerator until 1 hour before serving it, and reheat it until hot in a pot.
chef notes + tips
- This recipe makes a lot, so please hover your mouse over the servings amount and scale it up or down to fit your desired needs.
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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 peeled and medium diced white onions
- 10 cloves of finely minced garlic
- 1 cup cabernet sauvignon
- 2 pounds loose mild Italian sausage
- 2 pounds ground sirloin
- 109 ounces san Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons dry oregano
- ¼ cup dry basil
- 1 ½ cups each grated pecorino Romano and parmigiana Reggiano cheese
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
- sugar to taste
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- optional ½ cup tomato paste
- Add the olive oil to a very large pot over low heat and cook the onions until they are deep brown and caramelized, which takes about 30 minutes.
- Add in the garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Deglaze with red wine and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by one-half, about 5-7 minutes.
- Place in the sausage and ground sirloin and cook over medium heat until it is cooked throughout. There should be no pink while stirring often to break up any large chunks.
- While the meat is cooking, crush the whole peeled tomatoes with your hands to bite size pieces.
- Put in the tomatoes, oregano, and basil and cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
- Finish by stirring in the cheeses, parsley, and balsamic vinegar and adjusting the seasonings with salt and pepper as well as sugar, if needed.
- Lastly, thicken it by stirring in tomato paste until it is to your desired thickness. This is optional.
- Toss with cooked spaghetti and serve.
Absolutely fabulous thank you again for your recipes every thing I’ve tried came out just perfect
thank you so kindly!!
I have made this spaghetti sauce a couple times & I’m making it again today, it is so good. It’s pretty close to the sauce that my grandmother and dad taught me, The differences is they didn’t add the balsamic vinegar or the cheese which I think adds great flavor to it. Plus I can’t eat red meat or pork anymore so I made it using Italian ground Turkey sausage. I know it doesn’t come out exactly the same but it turns out so good thank you Chef Billy for sharing all your great recipes I’ve made quite a few of them already.
I’ve made it several times now and have perfected it! I LOVE Chef Billy’s techniques!
I have made this recipe several times if not more, it’s a massive hit with my family and I love the idea that it can be made in large quantities and frozen. I would definitely recommend anyone to try it.
I’ve made a million Spaghetti sauce recipes and they were always meh. This is the first one my family said to make again! It’s our go to recipe now.
Thank you so kindly!!
Wonderful spaghetti sauce !! This one will now be my ‘go-to’ sauce!! It made so much that I put some in the freezer (only 2 of us old folks here), And shared some with a neighbor and her whole family also loved it!! Your recipes and tips are well written, easy to follow! Thanks for yet another great recipe Chef !
thanks for giving it a shot!!
Whole family loved it … onions took a while longer to sauté … but it was well worth it !
It is the best sauce. My Italian husband even thinks so!
thanks for giving it a shot!!
I made this recipe for my family and they loved it! Such a great recipe. Thank you Chef!
thanks for giving it a shot!!
I have searched and tried and cooked and canned many spaghetti sauce recipes. This is my all time favorite. I love his recipes!
Love this recipe!!
thanks for giving it a shot!!
Absolutely amazing recipe! Super tasty 😋
This is my new standard for sauce!
I picked up a few new tricks from your recipe, and followed it pretty much to the letter. Sent some of the sauce to daughter and son in law who are serious foodies. They wouldn’t stop talking about how good it was. Thanks for the way you inspire us to continue to cook.
This sauce is simply delicious. I was a bit afraid of the use of so much wine when making it for a family group including people who do not drink wine but it was a huge hit. This has made it onto my top list of sauce…
thanks for giving it a shot!!
Made a double batch of this, and froze half. It was just as good out of the freezer as it was fresh. Absolutely delicious.
Will definitely be doing this again and adding mushrooms. This sauce is great. I cut it in half since I’m single and still had some jars to give away.
A number of years ago my best friends Italian mother in law gave me a lesson in making her family’s sauce and meatballs. One day I saw this recipe and decided I’d try something different. This sauce was a huge hit….everybody simply loved it. It’s now a standard in our house….
This is now one of my go-to’s. My family loves it and its so easy when your not sure what to throw together. The cheese is such a nice addition, would have never thought to do that before reading your recipe!! 🧀
I make my sauce almost the same but plus the peeled Marzano I also add equal crushed tomatoes is it better to just add peeled tomatoes
I absolutely loved this! I always make my own sauce, but I wanted to really try yours and am so glad I did! I served it over stuffed shells, but I really want to try it with lasagna next. Thank you, Chef Billy!
This recipe is fabulous! So very tasty! I made a few modifications but the basics were there, so it came out great in my opinion. I will be using it in a lasagna recipe later this week when my family comes for dinner. I can’t wait.
Absolutely delicious thank you very much for this recipe The family loved it I will definitely be making this all the time. Your videos are users friendly .
This was the best sauce ever easy I will never make another sauce again!!
Looks great! would you ever add heavy cream or milk to the sauce?
Best spaghetti I have ever had! This is the one that my family and I always crave. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe as it is now out family traditional dinner.
This was very good sauce but it took for-ever to caramelize the onions. I added a touch of salt, then sugar, as I read that might speed up the process. It took over an hour for the onions. I will certainly make it again, but will maybe do the onions way earlier in the day before making the sauce. Hubby liked it!
I’ve been making ragout for as long as I can remember, but I tried this technique and it’s fantastic! I think the order of caramelizing the onions, adding garlic and then reducing the wine is the secret to this sauce. I don’t add cheese, however – it’s delicious without it, and I add the cheese to the pasta and sauce when serving. The balsamic vinegar hit also enhances. Great stuff.
I’ve made this recipe several times and can’t seem to make enough. My entire family and my friends and neighbors all absolutely Love this sauce!! Thank you so much for sharing it with everyone.
Hi, I made this recipe yesterday and loved it. It is close to my recipe except for how you do the onions, added wine and using the Marzano tomatoes instead of sauce. Adding the balsamic was different but worked. Thank you and this will be my go to recipe when making spaghetti 😊😊
The sauce is just what I have been craving. The ability to adjust ingredients to meet personal needs is a stroke of genius.
Grateful for your other recipes, etc. Do you have any that are gluten free?
dang great sauce! and it freezes so well too. As for making a smaller batch – my neighbors won’t hear of it! Thanks Chef Parisi
Ok I am commenting because this recipe and chef deserves some pda!!! I’ve made this recipe sooo many times now. For several different gatherings and it is a hit!!! I send this recipe and all rave that all of my dishes are from chef Billy!! Love love love this. I do use four pounds of mild Italian as I dont like beef and danggg its so nourishing and delicious. Thanks for all your amazing tips chef!!
This recipe looks amazing, I have guests who are lactose intolerant. Can I make this without the cheese? If not would vegan cheeses be a good substitute? Thank you.
I think you could, but it will alter the flavor some.
Flavor of this sauce is out of this world.
I halved the recipe, cooked it per instructions and let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of days before eating. It had a really great flavor. We had leftovers for a couple of days and froze the remainder of the sauce. The recipe is going into our family recipe book. Thanks for sharing!
Made this for my family tonight, it is the best I have tasted. I will be making your meatballs with this sauce tomorrow for meatball subs for the family.
What can I substitute for the wine?
Unfortunately, there is no substitute when it comes to wine or alcohol, so my advice is always to skip it.
Oh my! Amazing! Made it tonight and it still simmering and already a 5 star dish! Thank you!
Can you fresh tomatoes? I have so many plum tomatoes and this recipe sounds so yummy.
yes, just need to cook them down more.
Odd question for you. When a recipe calls for say 3 onions, how can the varying sizes of onions add/detract from the recipe? Why don’t you say for example 3 cups of white onions. Seems like that would keep it consistent? TIA
Because in a recipe like this that has such a large amount it doesn’t matter how big they are. I’m usually specific when I need to be.
Can I use ground beef instead of ground sirloin
Yes, ground beef is usually chuck or sirloin
Making another batch today, seriously the best sauce ever, using part of it tonight for lasagna!
I made this today and it is amazing! Perfect for my big family.
MAde the sauce and it is great! I added fresh aregano to it – lovely sauce Chef Billy Parisi and my guests also enjoyed your blueberry crostata- now on eof my favorite desserts!!!
I am having guests next week and wanted to make my own family sauce BUT after seeing this, I will definitely try it out as I love experimenting with different recipes. thank you once again for all your easy to follow recipes!!!
Making this AGAIN as I type, this recipe is perfect, even my 14 year old who doesn’t like spaghetti sauce likes it!
You are so kind, thank you and so glad you all are digging it!
Making this as I write my review. Going for the low and slow. I usually do meatballs and sausage so I’m excited to try this!! I’ve never added onions to my sauce so I’m excited for that as well, I love caramelized onions. 🤞🏽
You got this!!
Thank you for the recipe!! This was absolutely delicious!! Love the balsamic vinegar touch!! Definitely going into my dinner rotation. If you ever go to Geneva, Il check out my cousins restaurant Osteria Bigolaro. It’s about a hour west of Chicago, beautiful area. Quaint, upscale town.
awesome, thanks so much for trying it!
I would love to make this recipe, but we are a family of (6). I reduced the measurements, but they look weird. Would it be possible for you to provide me the specific measurements for each ingredient for a family of (6)? It would be so helpful. Thank you in advance
The easiest thing to do when the recipe ingredients look off when scaling is simply round up and you’ll be good.
love this recipe! Super yummy
The BEST spaghetti sauce EVER!!!
Love this, thank you!
Chef BP. Not only does this look amazing. It’s a hearty delicious addition to pasta. But I also just ate it off the spoon straight out of the pot. (ummm no double dipping tho) Another great one for my family meal rotation!
Haha, love this and thank you so much trying it!!
Love your recipes….
Thank you so kindly, that is very sweet!