Nothing compares to Homemade Spaghetti Sauce! My spaghetti sauce recipe has been passed down through generations. It is rich, flavorful, and simple to make!
Nothing compares to Homemade Spaghetti Sauce! Whether slathered over homemade meatballs and spaghetti or used as a dipping sauce for Pizza Bread or Air Fryer Zucchini Fries, red sauce is an essential staple in my kitchen.
And this recipe for spaghetti sauce should be a staple recipe for your family as well.
This recipe uses canned tomatoes and dried herbs, and therefore it can be prepared right from pantry staples at any time. But the flavor tastes so rich and deep, it will be hard to believe it was made with such basic ingredients.
Notes on Ingredients
- Canned Tomatoes: I prefer canned crushed tomatoes for this recipe, but canned tomato puree or tomato sauce works as well.
- Tomato Paste: Tomato paste helps to thicken the sauce and also gives the spaghetti sauce a really pronounced tomato flavor.
- Sweetener: Spaghetti sauce needs a bit of sugar of some sort to help balance the acidity of the tomatoes. You can sweeten the sauce with a bit of honey, or white or brown sugar.
- Seasoning: This recipe calls for dried parsley, oregano, basil, bay leaves, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper.
- Fat: Adding a small amount of olive oil or butter to the sauce to help to round out the flavors. Butter will give the sauce a more rich taste, but the olive oil will keep this Pasta Sauce dairy-free.
Keys to the Best Spaghetti Sauce
- Simple is best. My recipe for tomato sauce for pasta is simple and tomato sauce should not be complicated. It is made with minimal spices, a bit of sweetness, and a bit of fat and canned tomatoes. It is easy to make this sauce using pantry staples.
- Cook low and slow. The longer you can let the sauce simmer the better, as the canned tomatoes need time to really cook down to develop a rich flavor, becoming a luxuriously rich red sauce worthy of an Italian restaurant. You can either prepare this spaghetti sauce on the stove and simmer for hours on low OR you can use my favorite method--cooking in the slow cooker. This method is hands-off and perfect if you are away from home all day.
Storing Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Homemade tomato sauce will last for 3-4 days in the fridge and for up to 5 months in the freezer.
I recommend making a large batch of spaghetti sauce and freeze in 1-2 cup portions for later use, as can be used in so many recipes ranging from soups, pizzas, casseroles, to just a dipping sauce.
To freeze spaghetti sauce, prepare the sauce as directed in the recipe and then allow it to cool to room temperature. Place in 1-2 cup portions in freezer-safe bags or containers. Freeze solid for up to 5 months. Defrost in the fridge before using.
- Add Wine: Replace ½ cup of water with dry red wine to the sauce for extra flavor and richness.
- Add Heat: Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes for a bit of heat. I absolutely love adding in ½ teaspoon for a bit more flavor and even my kids don't complain--and my daughter HATES spicy food.
- Add Veggies: You can also add a puree of orange vegetables to the spaghetti sauce for a dose of vitamins, fiber, and also a bit of natural sweetness. Add in ½ cup pureed sweet potato, carrot, or pumpkin. No one will ever know! In fact, my mom said she did this all the time to us kids as we were growing up.
- Make it Richer: Use a full stick of butter in the sauce for a really rich, luscious sauce.
- Sugar-Free: If you need this recipe to be sugar-free, simply omit the honey/sugar. I find that adding in ½ cup of carrot puree helps to naturally sweeten the sauce and balance out the acidity of the tomatoes without adding any sugar itself.
- Low-Sodium: Use salt-free canned tomato products and reduce the salt by half or omit the salt altogether.
Recipes that use Spaghetti Sauce
- Slow Cooker Ziti
- Air Fryer Eggplant Parmesan
- Baked Chicken Parmesan
- Instant Pot Lasagna
- Baked Ravioli Lasagna
If you enjoyed this recipe for Homemade Spaghetti Sauce I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 18 oz tomato paste
- 2 ¼ cups water
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons basil
- 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves
- 3 tablespoons parsley
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
- 2 bay leaves
- 5 cloves garlic smashed
- 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
Stove Top Directions
- Simmer all ingredients on low for 3-5 hours. Remove garlic cloves and bay leaves and serve as desired.
Slow Cooker Instructions
- When cooking the tomato sauce in the slow cooker, reduce the water to 1 ¾ cups instead of 2 ¼ cups. Cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours. Remove the garlic and bay leaves and use as desired.