This hearty Homemade Spaghetti Sauce, made with sausage, ground beef, and three kinds of tomatoes, is perfect over spaghetti or in lasagna!
Unintentionally, spaghetti has become our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. I think it was about seven years ago I served lasagna, which was great since I prepped it the night before. But there’s only four of us, and it was just too much. So the next year I made spaghetti and my favorite classic meatballs, since I always have a batch in the freezer! The following year, though, I simply served this homemade spaghetti sauce…and it’s stuck ever since.
I laugh every year I serve it, feeling like I should be making something extra special instead. Then without fail, both kids double check with me that morning, “Mom, you’re making spaghetti with the meat sauce, right?” Which is why I’ll be making it for eternity. Plus it’s so easy, delicious, and not ordinary!
Is there even a standard Christmas Eve meal? Turkey is synonymous with Thanksgiving and Prime Rib for Christmas, but everyone I know actually goes out to dinner, so I don’t even know what most people serve. Anyway, there are no rules, which is why I make a glazed ham for Thanksgiving. I’m such a rebel. HA.
Everyone should have a go-to homemade spaghetti sauce recipe in their arsenal. I know jarred sauce is so convenient, but there’s nothing like homemade sauce.
This is my favorite – maybe not considered a quick spaghetti sauce, since you really want it to simmer for several hours, which deepens the flavors, but definitely an easy spaghetti sauce. And also perfect to use as the sauce layer in lasagna!
Who knows, maybe this will become your traditional Christmas Eve dinner, too. If not, there’s 364 other days to enjoy it!
Is there a difference between spaghetti sauce and Bolognese sauce?
Yep! I know they look and smell the same, but marinara sauce is basically tomato sauce with herbs and onion, whereas Bolognese sauce is meat based and typically made with carrots, celery, wine and/or milk. This particular recipe is sort of a cross between the two!
Why use sugar in spaghetti sauce?
Sugar gets such an unfair rap these days. It’s not the enemy, friends. Sugar, like salt, is a great ingredient that gives balance to food and helps with overall flavor. It is especially needed in a spaghetti sauce to help cut the acidity from the tomatoes.
Can spaghetti sauce be made in advance and frozen?
Definitely! In fact, I recommend making it in advance. Start it in the morning and let it low simmer for hours. The longer it cooks, the better!
How long does spaghetti sauce last in the fridge? It can be made ahead and kept refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
Can you freeze spaghetti sauce? Yep! You can further extend its shelf life by freezing it, covered in an airtight container, for up to 4 months.
What to do with leftover spaghetti sauce
We love leftover spaghetti sauce and bank on their being some the next day. Here are a few great ways to use it:
- Make some homemade garlic bread instead of pasta and mop up the sauce with it!
- Top some roasted spaghetti squash with it for a delicious low-carb option.
- Swap out some of the ingredients in this American Goulash recipe for a scoop or two.
- Use it to make Skillet Lasagna.
Other Pasta Sauces you might enjoy!
Watch the video for Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
How to make spaghetti sauce
The Best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- 1 pound spicy Italian sausage
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 12 ounces tomato paste
- 15 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- In a large pot or pan, add in the sausage and beef over medium-high heat. Use a spoon to break up the meat into small pieces. Add in the onion and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the meat is browned and no pink remains. Drain off fat.
- Reduce heat to medium; add in the sugar, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and parsley. Add in the tomato paste and stir to combine.
- Pour in the diced tomatoes with their liquid, crushed tomatoes, and chicken broth. Stir well until combined; bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 1 hour (ideally 4)
- Use right away, refrigerate for later, or freeze for down the road!
- Isn’t this Bolognese sauce? Well, sort of, but not really. Bolognese sauce is meat based like this, but typically made with carrots, celery, wine and/or milk (which are not included here.) Marinara sauce is basically tomato sauce with herbs and onion. So this particular recipe is like a cross between the two!
- Don’t freak out over the sugar! Sugar, like salt, is a great ingredient that gives balance to food and helps with overall flavor. It is especially needed in a spaghetti sauce to help cut the acidity from the tomatoes.
- The longer this simmers the better the flavor. Low and slow, friends.
- It can be made ahead and kept refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. You can further extend its shelf life by freezing it, covered in an airtight container, for up to 4 months.