This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe is incredibly flavorful and comforting. This recipe makes a big batch that's perfect for freezing!
This post was originally published on October 14, 2015. It's been updated with new photos, additional info in the post text, and the recipe has been written more clearly.
I've been making this spaghetti meat sauce for many years now, and I don't even measure anything out anymore when I make it. This recipe is quite forgiving, and you can definitely use what you've got on hand and it'll still be delicious. I always like to keep some in my freezer so a quick and hot dinner is only a few minutes away.
This sauce is bolognese-inspired. This ragu sauce (meat sauce) has some elements of bolognese, but classic bolognese has a very specific set of ingredients (read about it here if you're interested).
This sauce has an onion/carrot/celery/mushroom veggie base and ground beef and ground pork for the meats. The sauce is tomato-based, and a touch of cream (optional but recommended) is stirred in at the end to make this sauce a little creamy and completely next-level delicious.
This isn't a quick recipe, but it's worthwhile since you get at least 10 servings out of it! The chopping is the most time-consuming active part of this recipe. Most of the cooking time involves it simmering away on the stove, which is pretty hands-off.
How to make homemade spaghetti sauce (summary)
In a large pot, sauté the onions/celery/carrots for 10 minutes, then add in the garlic and mushrooms and continue sautéing until the mushrooms have cooked down. The meats are then added in and cooked until they change color. Next, stir in the Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, and dried oregano, followed by the canned tomatoes, wine, and beef broth. Bring it to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to build those delicious flavors. Stir in the cream, season to taste, and serve over spaghetti. (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
Recipe notes & 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 that suggested cooking time, however.
- 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.
- UK readers: use tomato passata if you can't find canned tomato sauce.
- You may use a mix of ground veal and ground beef instead of the pork. You could even use sausage meat, but then be sure to drain out any excess fat before continuing on with the sauce.
- I prefer making this sauce with a dry white wine (using something like pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc or chardonnay), but dry red wine would certainly work in here. Don't drink? Replace it with a cup of beef broth.
- 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.
- Storage/leftovers: this sauce will last several days in the fridge, but I recommend letting it cool for a bit first then transferring it to individual portion (or 2+ portion size containers) 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 needed.
- I used my 5.5 quart Staub Dutch oven to make this sauce (the pot was quite full). You definitely want to use a fairly large pot for this recipe.
What to serve with spaghetti sauce?
Spaghetti is the usual, but any pasta will work just fine! Breadsticks or garlic bread/knots on the side and a green salad make for one excellent dinner.
More delicious pasta recipes to try:
- Easy Creamy Ground Beef Pasta
- Easy Baked Spaghetti
- Creamy Beef and Shells
- Simple Ground Beef Casserole
- Baked Tortellini (Tomato & Meat Sauce)
Questions about this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe? Let me know in the comments below.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.