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This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe is incredibly flavorful and comforting. It makes a huge batch that’s ideal for freezing so your family can grab a cozy meal anytime!

Try my Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce or Crockpot Ragu for similar recipes with different cooking methods.

close-up of a shallow bowl with homemade spaghetti sauce over top of spaghetti

Why you’ll love it

This spaghetti sauce is by no means difficult, but investing a little bit of time initially on a Sunday afternoon means a big payoff in the form of at least 10 irresistible freezer meals! I always keep some in my freezer so that a quick, tasty, and hot dinner is only a few minutes away.

I’m such a fan of this meat sauce for spaghetti that I don’t even measure anything out anymore. I’ve made it that many times. This recipe is forgiving, and you can definitely use what you’ve got on hand and it’ll still be delicious. Most of the cooking time is inactive, hands-off simmering.

Is this Bolognese sauce?

  • We’ll say that this pasta sauce is Bolognese inspired. Mine is basically my mom’s recipe that I grew up on and have very fond memories of. It’s a ragu (meat sauce) that has some elements of Bolognese, but the classic version has a very specific set of ingredients.

What you’ll need

  • Olive oil – for sautéing
  • Onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and mushrooms – this is our finely chopped veggie base to the sauce
  • Meat – we’re using a 50/50 mix of ground beef and ground pork. If you don’t use lean ground beef, you may need to skim some fat off the top of the sauce once it’s done simmering. 
  • Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce – two of my favorite flavor enhancers for a deeper and richer savory dimension. You don’t taste these components individually, so don’t worry!
  • Italian seasoning and dried oregano – our blend of classic Italian herbs
  • Tomatoes – using a trio of tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and tomato sauce ensures we get all that fabulous concentrated tomato flavor with the best consistency
  • Beef broth – for even more richness
  • Wine – I recommend a dry white wine like pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, or chardonnay, but dry red wine would certainly work in here. Make sure it’s one you’d enjoy drinking and not a cooking wine. You could also replace it with an additional cup of beef broth.
  • Heavy cream – a touch of cream is stirred in at the end to make this sauce a little creamy and next-level delicious
ingredients for homemade spaghetti sauce in prep bowls

How to make spaghetti sauce

This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

making the vegetable base for spaghetti sauce in a large pot

In a large pot, sauté the onions, celery, and carrots for 10 minutes, and then add in the garlic and mushrooms and continue sautéing until the mushrooms have cooked down.

adding in ground meat to make spaghetti sauce

Add in the meat and cook. Stir in the Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and dried herbs followed by the tomatoes, wine, and beef broth. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to build the flavors. Stir in the cream, and season with salt & pepper!

Pro tips

  • As with any recipe, cooking times are a guideline and pots and stoves vary. You can definitely simmer the sauce for longer than 45 minutes to build even more flavor or to reduce the liquid a bit longer if needed. I don’t recommend going too much under the suggested cooking time, however. 
  • I used my 5.5 quart Staub Dutch oven to make this sauce, and the pot was quite full. You definitely want to use a fairly large pot for this recipe!

Substitutions and variations

  • This recipe is forgiving, so if you don’t have an ingredient or the quantities are slightly off, don’t worry about it too much. For example, if you don’t keep Dijon mustard in your fridge, you don’t have to go out and buy a jar just for this recipe.
  • Don’t like diced tomatoes? Sub with crushed tomatoes if you prefer. The sauce will thicken up a bit faster if you use crushed tomatoes.
  • For my UK readers, use tomato passata if you can’t find canned tomato sauce.
  • You can use a mix of ground veal and ground beef instead of the pork or even use sausage meat, but then be sure to drain out any excess fat before continuing on with the sauce.

What to serve with it

  • Spaghetti is the usual choice, but any shape of pasta you’ve got kicking around your pantry will work just fine with this sauce.
  • I love to garnish it with freshly grated parmesan and chopped fresh parsley or basil.
  • For pairing it with sides, breadsticks or a slice of Cheesy Garlic Bread along with a side salad dressed up in this copycat Olive Garden Salad Dressing makes for one mouthwatering dinner.

Leftovers and storage

  • This spaghetti sauce will last several days in the fridge, but I recommend letting it cool for a bit first then transferring it to separate containers for individual portions and freezing it for up to 6 months.
  • To reheat, simply add a frozen portion to a covered saucepan and reheat slowly on a low heat. Add a splash more cream or beef broth if desired, and boil up some fresh spaghetti for an easy meal anytime!
homemade spaghetti sauce in a pot

Questions about this homemade spaghetti sauce? Let me know in the comments below, and I’d love to hear from you if you made it!

close-up of a shallow bowl with homemade spaghetti sauce over top of spaghetti
5 from 6 votes

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe is incredibly flavorful and comforting. It makes a huge batch that's ideal for freezing so your family can grab a cozy meal anytime!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4 sticks celery chopped small
  • 3 medium-to-large carrots peeled & chopped small
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 16 ounces mushrooms (I used cremini) chopped small
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard optional
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (28 fluid ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices
  • 1 (14 fluid ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 cup dry white wine or red wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy/whipping cream or more, to taste (optional but recommended)
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Serve with: spaghetti, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh parsley and/or basil (optional)

Instructions 

  • Add the oil, onion, celery, and carrots to a large pot over medium-high heat. Sauté for about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and mushrooms, and continue sautéing for another 5-7 minutes or until the mushrooms release their water and cook down a bit.
  • Add in the beef and pork and break the meats up with your spoon. Continue cooking, stirring fairly often, until the meats change color (about 10 minutes).
  • Stir in the Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, and oregano.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, and wine.
  • Increase the heat to high and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Give it a good stir, then reduce the heat and simmer (you want a steady bubble but not a furious boil) for 45 minutes, pot covered with the lid slightly ajar. I recommend checking on it periodically. This sauce should cook fairly slowly so the flavors infuse, but you don't want the liquid to get too low. Add a splash more beef broth or wine if this happens.
  • Stir in the cream and give the sauce a taste and season with salt & pepper as needed.
  • Serve over spaghetti and then top with parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil and/or parsley.

Notes

  • This sauce is quite forgiving, so don’t worry about exact measurements, and feel free to play with it a bit. Blog post contains more info on substitutions.
  • Makes around 10-12+ portions, but depending on portion size this can vary. This sauce freezes well.
  • As with any recipe, cooking times are a guideline and pots and stoves vary. You can definitely simmer the sauce for longer than 45 minutes to develop even more flavor or to reduce the liquid a bit longer if needed. I don’t recommend going too much under that suggested cooking time, however.
  • This sauce is inspired by my mom’s recipe that I grew up with.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
     

Nutrition

Calories: 257kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 18g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 64mg, Sodium: 449mg, Potassium: 739mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 2971IU, Vitamin C: 12mg, Calcium: 62mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

© Salt & Lavender Inc. Content and photographs are copyrighted. Sharing this blog post is much appreciated, but copying and pasting full recipes without authorization to social media is strictly prohibited.

Leave a star rating and comment below!

This recipe was originally published on October 14, 2015. It’s been updated with new photos and better instructions but is the same great recipe!


Hi! I’m Natasha.

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19 Comments

  1. Nancy says:

    5 stars
    Hi Natasha,

    I can’t thank you enough for always sharing great recipes. I have become more creative with cooking because of you. I appreciate you!💞💞

    1. Natasha says:

      Aww thank you, Nancy!! 😀 Your comment made my morning!! XO

  2. Alexandra says:

    5 stars
    This is THE spaghetti recipe. It’s similar to my mom’s but a few tweaks that make it a superstar. I don’t always add the cream but it does make it extra delicious. Whenever I have a busy week ahead I make this on Sunday afternoon!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s great!! I’m so happy it’s a favorite.

  3. Shannon Hrehirchuk says:

    5 stars
    Loved this recipe. My first time combining ground pork and ground beef. The base of vegetables is very similar to my tomato sauce which makes this a favorite for me. Delicious.

    1. Natasha says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Shannon!! 🙂 Thank you for your review!

  4. Cecilia says:

    Can this be made in a slow cooker?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! You could give it a try. You may want to still do the sautéing steps on the stove, however.

  5. V says:

    If I’m freezing, should I omit the heavy cream and wait to add when I reheat? Or is it alright? Thanks! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

    1. Natasha says:

      I usually just freeze it with the cream. It’s a small quantity relative to the sauce, so I don’t find it goes weird at all when I thaw it. I sometimes even add a little extra cream once thawed when I’m reheating it when I’m in the mood for it to be extra rich. Hope you enjoy the recipe! 🙂

  6. Bob says:

    Hi! Can ground turkey be substituted?

    1. Natasha says:

      Hi! In a nutshell, it can, but it will end up drier, and I would say not as tasty overall. The beef/pork mix will be more flavorful, have a better color, and overall the sauce will be more moist. I love ground turkey for some things, but a sauce that’s stewed for this long is better with the beef/pork in my opinion. I do have a quick turkey sauce here that you may like: https://bit.ly/3hpJuIe

    2. Cynthia Wallin says:

      5 stars
      Bob (and Natasha)

      I can’t eat beef for medical reasons so I used ground turkey breast with the pork and I think it’s fantastic!

      Give it a try 😉

  7. Anna says:

    5 stars
    Turned out to be relly nice and creamy, my family loved it

    1. Natasha says:

      Wonderful!! 🙂

  8. Manny says:

    5 stars
    This was soooooo good. Will never use a different recipe again. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    1. Natasha says:

      You are so welcome, Manny! Thanks for your kind comment!

  9. Marissa says:

    What a fun twist on Bolognese! I love the addition of Dijon mustard – must try this. 🙂

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you Marissa 🙂 it just sort of came together after trying different things. Let me know if you do make it.