Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch
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One of our favorite staple meals is spaghetti. I think the best tasting spaghetti sauce comes from fresh tomatoes, garlic and herbs. There is something gratifying about making spaghetti sauce from scratch that elevates the flavor. Plus the aromatics that results from cooking with fresh ingredients certainly helps the overall experience. Your house will feel warm, fragrant and inviting, much like an Italian restaurant.
Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch
Spaghetti can be a delicious and simple meal to make, even if you do make it with jarred tomatoes from the store. But nothing beats the delicious taste of spaghetti sauce from scratch that is made with fresh, homegrown tomatoes.
If you love simple recipes like this one? You may really enjoy my book, Little House Living: The Make Your Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life. It’s filled with over 130 mix and DIY recipes and projects that are easy to make.
Tips for Making the Best Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch
- If you like a chunkier sauce, you can serve it as is and toss it with fresh pasta. If you like a smooth sauce, simply pour the mix into a blender and blend until smooth. As you can see in the pictures here, we prefer a smooth sauce so I placed it in the blender and pulsed it for a few seconds. BE CAREFUL. The sauce will be very hot.
- This spaghetti sauce from scratch will have a bolder, more flavorful taste than it’s store-bought counterpart, especially if you used homegrown tomatoes. You could also use Home Canned Tomatoes in this recipe if you don’t have fresh on hand in the winter. Either is a better option than canned tomato paste or tomato sauce from the store.
- If your family needs meat in the meal, simply cook up a pound of ground beef or turkey and add it into the sauce while it’s cooking on the stove. This will help to make a hearty meal that the whole family will enjoy!
- For an extra special kick of flavor to this sauce, add in a handful of Sun Dried Tomatoes. SO good!
- The longer you simmer this sauce, the more flavor it will have. If you have time, let it cook a while longer.
What’s the difference between marinara sauce, spaghetti sauce, and pizza sauce?
While all of these sauces are similar and tomato based, they differ in a few ways. A marinara sauce is generally less complex and uses fewer herbs. Spaghetti Sauce is just like you see here, it can contain meat and is typically simmered for a while to help the flavors come together. A pizza sauce is made with a slightly different set of herbs and is used for topping a pizza but isn’t the star of the dish. Here’s our favorite Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe.
What do you serve with Spaghetti?
Here are some yummy sides to round out this meal!
- Make Ahead Breadsticks
- Fresh Green Bean Recipes
- Make Ahead Meatballs
- Salad with a Basic Salad Dressing
- Cheesy French Bread
Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch Recipe
Makes 4 servings
What You Need:
- 3 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, diced
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves (optional)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
If you do not have fresh herbs or cannot find any that look good at the store, dried herbs will work just fine. Just be sure to use about half of the amount that is recommended for fresh herbs in your sauce.
Remove the cores and roughly dice the tomatoes. I love using my Tomato Slicer for jobs like this! It makes quick work of any tomato or soft produce dicing. You don’t need to peel the tomatoes unless you absolutely want to.
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, thyme and basil, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to let the spices permeate the flavor of the dish. Using a spatula, periodically press down on the tomatoes to help break them down. Add salt and pepper to taste.
15 minutes before serving, warm up your salted water and cook the pasta or spaghetti noodles according to package directions.
How to Preserve Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch
- Freeze this sauce by placing the portion your family uses for one meal in a freezer bag or freezer container. I love these!
- You can preserve this recipe by canning. Since it does not contain extra acid and is mostly tomatoes, you will need to add that first (vinegar or lemon juice, see the amounts per size of jar here). After adding the acid you can pressure can the sauce. Here are the guidelines for pressure canning spaghetti sauce without meat.
Need to print the Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch recipe? Get the printable version below:
Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch
- 3 pounds Tomatoes
- 1/8 cup Olive Oil
- 1 Large Onion diced
- 6 cloves Garlic diced
- 3 tablespoon Fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped optional
- 1/4 cup Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
Remove the cores and roughly dice the tomatoes.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomatoes, thyme and basil, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. Using a spatula, periodically press down on the tomatoes to help break them down. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the sauce from heat and blend. BE CAREFUL, sauce will be very hot. Can use an immersion blender. Return the sauce to the pan on a low heat.
15 minutes before serving, warm up water and cook the pasta according to package directions.
Strain the pasta and place sauce on top. Serve warm and enjoy!
This sauce has a fresh, rich flavor that stands up on its own with pasta. It also pairs nicely with cooked ground beef or sausage, if your family likes a meat sauce.
To round out a full meal, we like to serve our Spaghetti Sauce and pasta with a salad and some olives.
Short on time? Try this Quick Spaghetti Sauce Recipe.
If you need more help with planning frugal, from-scratch meals for your family? Check out my ebook Meal Planning Made Simple to learn how to make the best meal plan for your family and lifestyle.
Some other homemade sauce recipes you might enjoy!
- Easy Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe
- Homemade Hot Sauce Recipe
- Homemade Worcestershire Sauce Recipe
- Homemade Soy Sauce Recipe
- Sweet and Sour Sauce Recipe
Have you ever made spaghetti sauce from scratch? What do you like to put spaghetti sauce on besides pasta?
This Spaghetti Sauce from Scratch recipe was originally posted on Little House Living in September 2013. It has been updated as of August 2022.
Will this sauce freeze well?
This does freeze well! I made quite a few batches with the tomatoes from my garden last year. I froze the sauce in quart-sized freezer bags and used it within 6 months, and it tasted great!
Do you make yours with meat in it? The pictures look like you do. If so, does it freeze well with the meat in the sauce, or do you just freeze the sauce, then add the meat when you’re making spaghetti?
It looks delicious! Ironically, I’m making spaghetti tonight for my parents, but they only like Prego. This really makes me want to try a homemade sauce for hubby though. Thanks for the inspirtion 🙂
All the best,
I love the recipe on YouTube by “depression cooking with Clara”. There’s no peeling!!! Unless you make your own tomato paste. That is the only can I buy. I also LOVE to hide veggies in my sauce. I sauté the onion along with a bunch of finely chopped carrots and zucchini and then pretty much follow the “Clara” recipe. My kids love it.
Love Clara too. Bought her little cook book for my mom a few Christmases ago. She reminds me of some of my relatives (now passed) on my dad’s side. I love her YouTube videos.
This is pretty much how I make my sauce, which with the trouble I’ve had with tomatoes this year I won’t be canning any and think I’ll make sauce! I also have used cherry or grape tomatoes as they cook down pretty well. Last year I had 100’s of grape and cherry ones I used, froze lots of them too. Thanks for the push! 🙂
Hey Deb, do you can or pressure cook your sauce? Everything I find says because of the acidity of tomatoes it has to be a pressure cooker. I have yet to get one. I swear there’s got to be a method out there that works w/ a hot bath method.
I use the water bath as long as the sauce is hot when you put it into your sterilized jars…I process it in a low boil water bath for 10 minutes. I do not use meat when I can only the sauce.
I use a steamer/juicer that I bought through Lehman’s.com. They also have many Amish made items. With this the pamphlet states that it’s not necessary to water bath after adding to hot sterilized jars. but for me I’d rather be safe than sorry, so I do water bath them for 10 minutes. As we like the pulp, I fill each jar half full with pulp then drain in the juice through the tube provided. I also make grape juice from our three grape arbors which can be made into grape jelly later. My steamer/juicer is 12 years old and is used every season. BTW Lehman’s still sells them.
We have sweet spag. recipe from the first year we were married and were invited to an elderly couples home. I had to have the recipe and it has stayed a favorite for 22yrs.
brown sugar, molasses, worcestershire sauce, red wine vinegar add into tom. sauce base. Wonderfully different!!!
Yummy, I would love that!
Would you be willing to share this recipe so some of us can try it 😃?
how much of the brown sugar, molasses, worcetershire sauce, red wine vinegar do you add to the tomatoe sauce base?
My spaghetti sauce is quite similar to your, with 2 exceptions. I do not care for basil or thyme, so I only add minced garlic & onions, & salt & pepper. I do not care for the texture or flavour of garlic & onion when fried however, so I simply add them around the time I start preparing the pasta. A more robust flavour, with a very slight bit of crunch from the onions.
Looks fantastic!! 🙂
This looks soooo yummy! I am definitely trying this!
Thanks! I added some ground beef (also from our farm) peppers and mushrooms!! Wonderful!! Oh, I also only used garlic, onion salt and pepper!!
Next time add a couple of cut up hot link sausage to give sauce a little kick….so good
I really like that you don’t add sugar to your sauce. I usually add a carrot to add some natural sweetness.
I did it! I finally got up the nerve to cook homemade spaghetti sauce. I had to, I no choice because I have tomatoes coming out my ears. So, I googled and found Little House Living. What a pleasant surprise! I love your site and love this recipe too. My picky 11 year old gave it a 7 on a scale of 1-10. This from a kid that only eats meat sauce! My tomatoes were super juicy, so I simmered it for 2 1/2 hours to reduce. So tasty! I’m glad a made a double batch, as now I have left overs to freeze. Yesterday was a big batch of homemade salsa, tomorrow…I think I’ll just simmer down all the rest of my tomatoes and puree them. I hope I have room in my freezer! Thank your Merissa for such a great recipe and blog site.
Welcome Deborah, I’m glad you found the site! I’m glad the recipe turned out for you and good luck on the tomato puree! 🙂
I purchased a Blendtec blender last year…I wash my tomatoes…core and quarter…blend on the whole juice cycle and pour into a pan. I cook it down to the desired consistency with the carrot, garlic and onion…amazing. From this stage freeze or can…when getting ready to serve…add what makes your family happy…
I own a Ninja blender and a juicer. Love what all you can do with it! It has a processer too, so perfect for spaghetti sauce 🙂
Can I can this sauce? I am also wanting to know about make homemade veggie soup to can for the winter. Do you have a recipe for that? Thank you .
You should be able to can this recipe but I’d leave out the olive oil. I’m not sure on times and temps though since I’ve never canned this particular recipe, I have another one that is our go-to and will be posting it soon. Here’s a recipe for Vegetable Soup you can try.
I asked a question and came back to see if you answered and it was gone. HUM! I will ask again.
I was asking if you can your sauces ? if so how long do I cook them.? and I would like to also know if you can veggie soup when all the veggies are coming in.? Do you have a recipe for canning veggie soup. I am new at all this. Thanks
Hi, I know this recipe was posted last year but I was wondering how many ounces does this recipe make? Thank you.
Once it’s cooked, it makes about 64 ounces. My family of 3 will use about half of it for a meal, and freeze the rest for a later date.
I put the tomatoes through my juicer to skip the boil and peel steps. Takes out the seeds and skins, leaves a nice pulpy juice. (Omega fruit & veggy Juicer). Also juiced a cucumber, hunk of zucchini, etc. to add some extra veggyness. Tip for making the sauce thicker- don’t take the time to boil it down, just toss in some dry pasta- it’ll soak up the water as it cooks. Also can thicken by adding low moisture cheeses like Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano.
…and one more- I add about a tablespoon of butter (not margarine!) – really mellows the acidic feel of the fresh tomatoe sauce.
I too have lots of tomatoes and found cooking them in a large crock pot with the lid off allows me to cook them down and not worry about scorching. I even leave it on overnight on low with the lid slightly ajar. It saves freezer space to reduce before you freeze. I have done this with or without milling. I cut tomatoes into small pieces and do not skin them. I found this site while looking for a spaghetti sauce recipe using fresh tomatoes, so that will be my next batch.
I am so excited to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing. So many recipes supposedly from scratch call for all these cans of tomato based stuff to make them, I don’t buy anything in cans & mostly only eat organic foods. I make all of my bread products from scratch. It’s a little extra effort to make everything from scratch but food tastes so much better & is healthier. I also can things (to save fridge & freezer space) & was wondering if anybody has tried canning this recipe & how it all went?
Aren’t we special
Hi, you were asking about canning S.S.(spaghetti sauce) well I have been canning for a lot of years everything from jams,jellies,pickles and the likes. I learned a lesson when preserving S.S. Leave out the meat and mushrooms! They did not work! They foamed up and made a stinky mess after a couple of weeks in my cold room. This type of canning needs a VERY HOT seal. You must check on canning with meat. I canned just the sauce and I had no problems. I added the meat and mushrooms when making the finished product with the pasta. I hope this mistake of mine will prevent you from making the same one.
HINT, instead of using a hot water bath my Mom showed me how she used her oven instead. I always use my oven now as I loose a lot of juice or sauce in the baths. For an example doing pickled beets for instance,. Follow the receipe as stated till the Bath State. Pre heat oven to 300f place jars of beets on cookie sheet in the oven, not touching ea. other and lids loosely closed, not tight. Very Important! Set timer for 35min. Then watch for bubbling in jars or a small amount of escaping juice. When you see this remove from oven and seal jar lids tightly. As the cooling takes place you will hear the popping of the lids reassuring you they are sealed.
A really easy way to prepare the tomatoes is to cut them in half and grate them into a bowl. The peel just peels back. If you don’t want the seeds you can quickly remove them before grating the tomatoes. If chunky is desired, then follow the above recipe ?. I will try this recipe.
Just saw your recipe and will definitely try it out! I do not have a garden except for growing herbs and cherry tomatoes in pots. I buy everything else fresh from the farmers’ market. Last summer I had an over abundance of cherry tomatoes so I halved them and roasted them in the oven on parchment paper….then made a similar basic sauce. It was amazing! The roasting step adds another layer of richness and flavor….and yes, it takes a little time but if you are in the kitchen doing something else anyway……just thought I’d pass the idea on! Love your site!
I made spaghetti sauce from scratch for the very first time, and my family loved it. I will never buy spaghetti sauce again.
That’s awesome, I’m so glad your family loved it!
I am looking forward to reading your recipies
I am looking forwaed to reading your recipies
So funny that you posted this today…I made homemade chicken parm today, and pulled out a jar of tomatoes I’d frozen from our garden to make the sauce, ‘winging’ it, but a very similar recipe! I wasn’t sure how my experiment with freezing tomatoes would work, but how lovely to to have a taste of summer, as winter is moving in!
Makes my mouth water to think of garden fresh tomatoes! 🙂
We had a large dinner with family and friends and I did this recipe x’s 5….NAILED IT. Brought me back to Europe and had the entire house smelling like Mama;s Italian Restaurant. People were going back for 2nds and 3rds and asking to take home.
Wonderful to hear!
I just made this sauce. It was delicious. We don’t have home grown tomatoes so had to use tomatoes on the vine from our local supermarket. Thanks for sharing such an easy recipe with us!
Hello, just inquiring on about how much this recipe makes. I’d like to can some from my own homegrown tomatoes?
Thanks so much
In case anyone wonders about the calorie count. I googled calories for each item and based on 2 pounds or roughly 6 regular tomatoes, this recipe is about 450 calories. It is still all natural ingredients and a very healthy way to eat (sans pasta).
Thank you, thank you, thank you I love this post and I will definitely use it!
Can you use this sauce with meatballs?
Yes! I like to make this meatball recipe and then add them in to the sauce before serving. How to Make Make Ahead Meatballs
Made this for supper tonight with my abundance of tomatoes, so good, thanks for sharing this recipe with us!