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January 30, 2024

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Rich with mushrooms, three kinds of meat, and four types of canned tomatoes, this classic, meaty spaghetti sauce is a beloved family recipe, and it blows the jarred stuff out of the water.


homemade spaghetti sauce tossed with pasta and sausage on a white platter with serving spoon

Bob’s Sauce is The Best Spaghetti Sauce, Ever.

But who is Bob? And what makes his sauce so great? Well, Bob is Natalie’s dad—you might remember him from another of his recipes, the delicious Award-Winning Chili—and he makes the best spaghetti meat sauce (no ground turkey here!) on earth. Yes, we’re biased. But just wait until you make a batch of this deeply flavored, slow-cooked, meat-loaded homemade spaghetti sauce. Even just a peek at the ingredients will probably give you a clue to how incredible it is.

ground pork, beef and sausage, mushrooms, olive oil, garlic, canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions, salt and pepper

A Maximalist Approach to Spaghetti Sauce Ingredients

One of the reasons that Bob’s spaghetti sauce recipe is so, so good is that it brims with ingredients that deliver umami—the “5th taste,” translated from Japanese as meaning “deliciousness.” Mushrooms, tomatoes (and particularly tomato paste) and meat are all sources of umami, and all three of those things are included in this dreamy red sauce. However, there’s nothing especially fancy about any of these ingredients—they’re easy to come by, and not even particularly expensive. In addition to the usual oil, herbs, salt and pepper, here’s the ingredients that go into homemade spaghetti sauce:

  • Onions

  • Mushrooms (leave them out if you aren't a big fan)

  • Garlic

  • Ground beef

  • Ground pork

  • Italian sausage links

  • Tomato paste

  • Canned, crushed tomatoes

  • Canned tomato sauce

  • Canned, diced tomatoes

  • Italian seasoning

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • Sugar

diced onions, sliced mushrooms and minced garlic sautéed in olive oil in a pot
ground beef, ground pork, sliced mushrooms, diced onions and minced garlic cooking together in a pot
ground beef, ground pork, mushrooms, onions and garlic in a pot with sausage links, spices, tomatoes and tomato sauce
ground beef, ground pork, mushrooms, onions and garlic cooked in a pot with sausage links, spices, tomatoes and tomato sauce

A Philosophy Lesson in Red Sauce

When it comes to Italian red sauce, there's a lot of variety. In addition to spaghetti sauce, there's pizza sauce, (which is kind of in a category of its own), marinara sauce, and tomato sauce. All marinara is spaghetti sauce, but not the other way around. Okay, it's complicated, but what is the difference between marinara sauce and spaghetti sauce? Ask an Italian, and an entire day might pass without coming to a conclusion. Marinara sauce is meant to be a sauce that you can easily cook, with a can of tomatoes (like those San Marzano tomatoes!), fresh basil and oregano. You can check out our recipe for Homemade Marinara Sauce or our Dairy Free Mac and Cheese for more dairy free recipes. Spaghetti sauce is technically anything you would put on spaghetti noodles (like Pesto or Alfredo), but what we mean is a rich, meat-filled sauce that takes us multiple hours to prepare. So put a pot on the stove, and grate some parmesan cheese, because you're in for a treat. You can also go full monty and make our Spaghetti and Meatballs!!

homemade spaghetti sauce in a pot

How To Make Bob's Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

According to Bob himself, the most important thing about this sauce is the long simmer. Is it worth it to make your own spaghetti sauce? One hundred percent! Everything will cook down and the flavors will intensify, so give it as much time as you’re reasonably able. You just can't get this kind of flavor from a jar. Two hours is the minimum, and up to eight hours if you’ve got the patience. Other than that, this is one darn easy spaghetti sauce recipe. Here’s how simple it is:

  1. Sauté onions and mushrooms in olive oil, and then add some garlic.

  2. Add the beef and pork and keep on stirring and sautéing.

  3. When the meat is cooked, pour in the tomato paste, Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, and halved sausage links.

  4. Bring to a boil, then let it bubble away at a low simmer for at least 2 hours or up to 8.

homemade spaghetti sauce shown in a large pot with sausage and mushrooms.

What Should I Serve with Spaghetti?

For the ultimate, Italian-American feast, we’d serve this ultra meaty spaghetti sauce accompanied by:

Can I Freeze This Spaghetti Sauce?

Yes! This sauce freezes beautifully. Whether you’re making it ahead of time for yourself, or filling a friends’ freezer for a meal train, you can definitely freeze this sauce. Just let it cool a bit, and then pour into freezer-safe containers and freeze! It’ll keep for up to two months in the freezer.

homemade spaghetti sauce with pasta noodles and sausage on a white platter with serving spoon

Tools You’ll Need

More Pasta Sauce Recipes To Try

The only barrier to making this sauce at home is the amount of time it takes. If you’re short on time, though, you can still have a delicious homemade pasta sauce. What can I put on pasta when I have no sauce? We've got ideas for that too! Try one of these:

homemade spaghetti sauce with noodles and sausage on a white platter with serving spoon
homemade spaghetti sauce with noodles and sausage on a white platter with serving spoon

Sunday is Sauce Day

This spaghetti sauce is the ultimate Sunday, simmer-all-day sauce. If you make it, let us know how you like it! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  2 hrs 30 min
  • Calories: 314


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound cremini or white mushrooms, ends trimmed, halved
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 4 links Italian sausage, halved
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 (13-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (13-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (13-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 pound cooked spaghetti, for serving


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the onion and mushrooms and sauté until softened, 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

  2. Add the ground beef and pork and cook, breaking up the meat with a spoon, until browned.

  3. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the Italian seasoning, worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, tomatoes, salt, pepper, sugar, and sausage; stir to combine.

  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.

Note: The longer the sauce simmers, the better. Be patient, friends.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories314
  • Protein27 g
  • Carbohydrates15 g
  • Total Fat17 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol69 mg
  • sodium663 mg
  • Total Sugars6 g

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Denise

    Not to quibble as the recipe looks delicious, but there does not appear to be any meatballs in the recipe, despite the title.

    This is just a spaghetti sauce recipe. We do have a recipe titled "Spaghetti and Meatballs" if you'd rather give that one a try. Hope you enjoy!

  • Melody

    Looks delicious! Gonna attempt on Sunday. My question is…no need to drain after meat is cooked?


  • jenn

    Could I cook the first part in a skillet, then put it all in a crock pot to simmer instead?

    We haven't tried that but imagine it should be ok as long as it can actually reach a simmer.

  • Jake

    For this recipe, when it is simmering, do you cover with a lid? Thank you!

    No need to cover, hope you enjoy Jake!

  • Virginia

    Can you can this sauce?

    Yes, you should be able to can it.

  • Tori


    Thank you, so glad you loved it Tori!

  • Lonna

    My family loves it and I like that it’s easy to make! Beautifully simple and flavorful! Thanks!

    Thanks Lonna, so glad you and the family enjoy eating it and making it!

  • Jenn

    This was great, whole family loved it!

    Thanks Jenn, glad you loved it!