Skip to content

Get 5 Secrets to Make Homemade Taste Food Better + New Recipes Weekly!

    Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

    Published January 5, 2024. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This delicious homemade spaghetti sauce recipe is loaded with beef, Italian sausage, and tomatoes for the ultimate ragu. You will love this family recipe, and I hope it quickly becomes a favorite for you and yours.

    We obviously love Italian food because I’m clearly Italian, see Parisi.  If you are looking to try out some new dishes from my beloved ancestorial country, then try out my Gnudi Recipe or Sicilian-style Grilled Swordfish.

    a bowl of fresh spaghetti and sauce with cheese and parsley


     

    Spaghetti Sauce

    Spaghetti sauce, also called ragu, gravy, or Sunday sauce, is a tomato-based sauce with meat such as chunks of beef, ground beef, meatballs, sausage, or a combination of all. There are many variations to a sauce like this depending on where you are and who is making it.

    This 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. I believe that there is no wrong to make this sauce, but there are ways to improve upon it using classical cooking techniques, which is what I did. Be sure to watch the video below.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    • Oil – I believe olive or extra virgin olive oil is the best for cooking Italian food. However, you can use avocado oil, lard, or beef tallow.
    • Onions – This spaghetti sauce can use white, sweet, red, or yellow onions. In addition, you will need some fresh garlic cloves.
    • Wine – Dry red wine like cabernet sauvignon, merlot, shiraz, or chianti will all work. You can also use a dry white wine instead, like chardonnay or Pinot Grigio.
    • Sausage – I prefer sweet or mild Italian Sausage in my sauce. You can also use hot Italian sausage if you like your sauce to be spicier. In addition, I prefer the sausage not to be cased.
    • Meat – Ground sirloin or ground chuck is best to use. I prefer leaner ground beef like sirloin, which has a 90/10 lean-to-fat ratio since the oil and sausage contain plenty of fat.
    • Tomatoes – I believe canned San Marzano tomatoes are the best to use as they are the sweetest, least acidic tomatoes. However, you can use any Canned Tomatoes or even fresh ones that are blended until slightly chunky.
    • Herbs – Dry oregano and dry basil are the classic herbs to use. Since this sauce improves with time, I believe dry herbs are best. In addition, I finish the spaghetti sauce with minced fresh parsley for freshness.
    • Cheese – I finish the sauce with a combination of Pecorino Romao and Parmigiano Reggiano. You can use either or both, as I did.
    • Vinegar – Balsamic vinegar is added to the end to provide an extremely complimenting flavor to the tomatoes to help intensify their flavors. You can also use white distilled, white white, or red wine vinegar.
    • Sugar – This is optional, but you can use granulated sugar to help sweeten the tomatoes for a more succulent sauce.

    How to Make Spaghetti Sauce

    1. Caramelize the medium diced onions in olive oil for 30-35 minutes or until very browned on low heat.
    2. Add minced garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes or until you smell it.
    pot of caramelized onions and garlic
    1. Deglaze with red wine and cook until the amount of liquid is reduced by ½.
    2. 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.
    adding red wine to a large pot with ground beef and italian sausage
    1. 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.
    2. Finish by adding grated cheese, chopped parsley, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. You also may need to thicken it with tomato paste to get it to your desired thickness.
    tomato sauce in a big pot with grated cheese
    1. Toss with cooked spaghetti pasta and serve. The longer it cooks, the better it will taste.

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    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 in a large pot until it is hot.

    How to Store: To store the spaghetti sauce, cool it in an ice bath in your sink or transfer it to a refrigerator and cool it uncovered until it is cold, which takes about 3-4 hours. Cover it and keep it in there for up to 5 days. This will also freeze, covered for up to 3 months. Thaw for 1 day in the refrigerator before reheating.

    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.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    chef notes + tips

    • This recipe makes a lot, so please hover your mouse over the serving amount and scale it up or down to fit your desired needs.
    • The difference between a spaghetti sauce 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.
    • 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 to wait that long the next day.
    • If you like an extremely thick sauce, I recommend stirring in 3 to 4 tablespoons of tomato paste once it is finished cooking.

    More Amazing Italian Recipes

    Share this Post

    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

    5 from 117 votes
    This delicious homemade spaghetti sauce recipe is loaded with beef, Italian sausage, and tomatoes for the ultimate ragu.
    Servings: 30
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 3 peeled and medium diced white onions
    • 10 cloves finely minced garlic
    • 1 cup cabernet sauvignon
    • 2 pounds loose mild Italian sausage
    • 2 pounds ground beef
    • 109 ounces San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
    • 3 tablespoons dry oregano
    • ¼ cup dry basil
    • 1 ½ cups grated parmigiano Reggiano cheese
    • 1 1/2 cups grated pecorino Romano
    • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
    • sugar to taste
    • coarse salt and pepper to taste
    • optional ½ cup tomato paste

    Instructions

    • 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 to 40 minutes.
    • Add the garlic and cook for 3o to 45 seconds or until fragrant.
    • Deglaze with red wine and cook over low to medium heat 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 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-sized 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 and 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.

    Notes

    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 in a large pot until it is hot.
    How to Store: To store the spaghetti sauce, cool it in an ice bath in your sink or transfer it to a refrigerator and cool it uncovered until it is cold, which takes about 3-4 hours. Cover it and keep it in there for up to 5 days. This will also freeze, covered for up to 3 months. Thaw for 1 day in the refrigerator before reheating.
    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.
    This recipe makes a lot, so please hover your mouse over the serving amount and scale it up or down to fit your desired needs.
    The difference between a spaghetti sauce 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.
    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 to wait that long the next day.
    If you like an extremely thick sauce, I recommend stirring in 3 to 4 tablespoons of tomato paste once it is finished cooking.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 240kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 15gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 428mgPotassium: 369mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 226IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 135mgIron: 2mg
    Course: Main
    Cuisine: Italian