The best homemade meat sauce recipe that is so simple to feed your family on a busy night with three cooking options.
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Homemade Meat Sauce Recipe
I am not sure where my mom got this recipe, but it's the one sauce that she has been making since we were kids.
When I got married back almost 32 years ago, this was the first recipe that I asked her to write down for me. I still have it on the very same now dirty and dog-eared recipe card that she gave me all those years ago.
Mom's homemade spaghetti meat sauce recipe is one of the most requested meals in my family. My husband just requested it for his birthday.
Have you ever heard easy and homemade used in the same sentence? You will here. Yes, this recipe is very simple to make.
The spaghetti meat sauce is definitely one of those comfort foods. We rarely go to Italian restaurants. It's one of those dishes that we enjoy making and eating at home.
Would you believe that I also use this same spaghetti meat sauce when I make lasagna? I need to share that recipe soon as well.
Make sure you check out the other recipes for the month from my blogging friends after the printable recipe!
- lean ground beef
- ground sausage
- minced garlic
- olive oil
- can of sliced mushrooms (optional)
- oregano leaves
- Italian seasoning
- tomato paste
- whole tomatoes
- bay leaf
First, you will heat olive oil on medium heat in a dutch oven. Saute your minced garlic and onion until golden and the onion is translucent. I'll toss in a dash of salt.
Next, brown your ground meat and sausage until cooked. Scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan and stir with the meats and onion.
You can use 2 pounds of ground beef as opposed to sausage.
The sausage gives it a wonderful flavor.
Either use Italian sausage or the kind that you buy in the tubelike Jimmy Dean in regular. I'd not select one with maple or sage flavoring.
In a blender, you will blend your whole tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices except the bay leaf and mushrooms. This will make a fragrant tomato sauce.
Carefully, combine the sauce and cooked meats together in your Dutch oven. Add in the bay leaf, canned mushrooms (if using), and 1 cup of water. Simmer for 2 hours. Check frequently to stir and add additional water as necessary. I've been known to add a bit of red wine.
Make sure you remove and discard the bay leaf before serving.
Serve over thin spaghetti.
Spaghetti Tip: Heavily salt your boiling water. Do not overcook. Do not rinse your noodles. After you drain it, place it in a metal bowl or back in the stockpot. Toss with a very small about of olive oil. This will keep it from sticking and clumping together.
Options to Cook
Below are 3 options that I have used to gook my meat sauce through the years.
I recently cooked the meat sauce on the stove in a dutch oven, and it has an amazing aroma. You will simmer the sauce once it is all combined for 2-3 hours. Stir frequently to make sure it is not sticking on the bottom. You may occasionally have to add a bit of water here and there. I've also been known to add a bit of red win.
Consider cooking the meat sauce the day before. Let the pot cool and place in the fridge. About 30 minutes before serving reheat on the stove for about 30 minutes.
I cook it the most in the slow cooker. You saute the onion and garlic on the stove and brown the meats. Then transfer it to your slow cooker. I cook on low for about 6 hours on up to 8.
The Instant Pot allows you to cook the entire dish in one pot. Use the saute button for the onion, garlic, and meats. Add in your tomato sauce and cook under high pressure for 20 minutes.
Tips and Tricks
- San Marzano whole tomatoes are my tomatoes of choice. I learned more about them from watching Stanley Tucci's Italy show and have never gone back.
- You can use 2 pounds of ground beef if you'd prefer not to use sausage. I recenlty cooked it this way, and it was fabulous.
- I prefer to use Italian sausage and Jimmy Dean Regular sausage. I stay away from sage and maple sausages. It's not the flavor comination that we are going for with an Italian dish.
- This is so easy to double for larger crowds.
- Don't want to fool with the blender on a busy night? Substitute whole tomatoes for a can of tomato sauce instead. I do this on occasion.
- Leftovers or extra batches freeze very well. I usually freeze for 4-6 months. It's really nice to pull it out on a busy night.
- This same sauce can be used when making lasagna.
- Leave out the meat and use the sauce for Chicken Parmesan.
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 lb ground sausage
- 1 Large onion (finely chopped)
- 1 teaspoon garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 can sliced mushrooms (size of your choice (optional))
- 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2-6 ounce cans tomato paste
- 1-28 ounce can whole tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 1 bay leaf
- Saute olive oil with onion and garlic for a couple of minutes. Add the ground beef and sausage. Brown them.
- In a blender, blend the salt and remaining ingredients except for the cup of water.
- Combine meat mixture, canned mushrooms (optional), bay leaf, and sauce in a large stockpot.
- Cook on low heat simmering for 2-3 hours. Add water as needed to get the degree of thickness you desire. It will cook down so check regularly.
- Slow Cooker option which I use: Cook on low for 6-8 hours or basically all day. Add your water just once to get desired thickness.
- Remove the bay leaf before serving.
Make extra batches and freeze for that busy night!
You can also make the sauce the night before and cook all day the next day in a slow cooker!
Swap out whole tomatoes for tomato sauce for a blender-free option.
Freeze leftovers for 4-6 months.
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Ninja Mega Kitchen System (BL770) Blender/Food Processor with 1500W Auto-iQ Base, 72 Oz Pitcher, 64 Oz Processor Bowl, (2) 16 Oz Cup for Smoothies, Dough & More
Farberware Professional Heat Resistant Nylon Meat/Potato Masher - Safe for Non-Stick Cookware, Pack of 1, Black
Zyliss Classic Rotary Cheese Grater-NSF Restaurant Certified, White
STAUB Cast Iron Round Cocotte Dutch Oven, 5.5-quart, White, Made in France
Reynolds Kitchens Slow Cooker Liners, Regular, 6 Count (Pack of 1)
Pressure Cooker Accessories - Insta Pot Cheat Sheet Magnet Set - Instant Pot Times Cookbook
Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Steamer, Saute, Yogurt Maker, and Warmer|6 Quart|White|11 One-Touch Programs, 6-QT
Crock Pot Slow Cooker|8 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker with Digital Countdown Timer, Black Stainless Steel - SCCPVFC800-DS
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 401Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 1079mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 26g
The nutrition values have been autogenerated for the recipe. I do not claim this as accurate or tested.