My dream Homemade Meat Sauce is hearty, thick and easy to make with simple ingredients. And you are looking at it right now!
Spaghetti Meat Sauce
I feel like I finally perfected juicy, meaty and flavorful homemade meat sauce. Every cook should have meat sauce recipe in their back pocket.
Serve it over quality al dente pasta garnished with Parmesan cheese and a bottle of good red wine. And your guests will be knocking on your door next weekend. Maybe that’s not a good thing after all…
All right. So, here is how I do it.
Ingredients You Will Need
- Ground beef and turkey: When it comes to meat for tomato meat sauce, I like a combination of grass-fed or organic ground beef and lean tender ground turkey. I feel 1.5 lbs is perfect amount, where as 1 lb of meat is not enough.
- Diced tomatoes and tomato paste: Which are the best and substitutes are in details below.
- Onion and garlic: These sauteed veggies is the first layer of flavor.
- Balsamic vinegar and rich olive oil: Both add richness and another layer of flavors.
- Seasonings: I add traditional dried herbs and bay leaves.
- Cinnamon: And one secret punch of flavor I got from my neighbour is a pinch of cinnamon. You will not believe that extra touch of sweetness and warmth it adds to this quick meat sauce. Just trust me!
What Are the Best Tomatoes for Meat Sauce?
All right, tomatoes.
- Low sodium: I like to use what I always have on hand which are cases of organic low sodium canned tomatoes from Costco. Italians might argue it is not the best brand but I’m not Italian. I’m Ukrainian with a quarter heart of Italian for food.:)
- A mix: So I perfected this Italian meat sauce recipe using a combination of canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Each of them layers different texture on top of another texture making the best spaghetti meat sauce!
This meat sauce is thick, chunky and flavorful! It’s perfect!
How to Make Meat Sauce
- Cook ground meat in a hot cast iron pot breaking and stirring with spatula constantly. Takes about 5 minutes.
- Add onion, garlic and dried seasonings. Please note onion doesn’t need to brown but herbs benefit from high heat to release maximum flavors.
- Add canned tomatoes and liquid seasonings. Stir, cover and cook on low-medium heat for about 30 minutes. Covering the pot prevents red splatters all over the stove.
- To thicken meat sauce: Open the lid a little bit to the side and cook for 15 minutes. Moisture will evaporate making perfect hearty and thick meat sauce.
Tip: You can also use this sauce for lasagna.
What Is the Best Pasta for Meat Sauce?
- Long pasta: When it comes to pasta for meat sauce, the default is spaghetti.
- Pasta with holes: My personal preference is short pasta with holes or grooves to scoop up the sauce. Like penne, rigatoni, corkscrew or even macaroni.
- Healthy choices: I always try to buy whole grain and preferably organic pasta. But it’s real life and not every store carries it. So, I do what I can. It contains the bran and more fibre than traditional white pasta. Organic is the best to avoid consuming carcinogenic glyphosate.
Tip: Cook pasta in salted water to prevent sticking.
How to Store, Reheat and Freeze Meat Sauce
Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Reheat meat sauce in a skillet or saucepan with a splash of water. Simmer on low, half covered with a lid to prevent splashing and stirring occasionally. Shouldn’t take more than 5-7 minutes.
Freeze: Meat sauce is perfect for freezing because it doesn’t contain cooked starches or watery vegetables that become soggy once thawed. So make sure you don’t mix it with cooked spaghetti.
For up to 3 months in an airtight container. I prefer glass for health reasons and environment as much as I can. But real life strikes, I get it.
I promise you can make the best homemade meat sauce yourself!
More Family Pasta Dinners
- Spaghetti with tomato sauce
- Ground turkey and broccoli pasta
- Instant Pot bolognese sauce
- Penne and broccoli
- Crockpot chicken spaghetti
My dream Homemade Meat Sauce is hearty, thick and easy to make with simple ingredients. And you are looking at it right now! It tastes delicious in zucchini lasagna, spaghetti or zoodles. Better and cheaper than any Italian restaurant.
- Prep Time: 3 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Total Time: 58 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: DInner
- Method: Stove
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1.5 lbs mix of ground beef and turkey*
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp oregano, dried
- 1 tbsp basil, dried
- 1 tsp thyme, dried
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes, low sodium
- 14 oz can tomato sauce, low sodium
- 6 oz can tomato paste, low sodium
- Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- Whole grain pasta, for serving
- Preheat large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot on high heat and add ground beef and turkey. Cook breaking into small pieces and stirring with spatula constantly, for about 5 minutes.
- Add onion, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes , stirring a few times. Please note onion doesn’t need to brown but herbs benefit from high heat to release maximum flavors.
- Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and bay leaves. Stir, cover and cook on low-medium heat for about 30 minutes. Covering the pot prevents red splatters all over the stove.
- Open the lid a little bit to the side and cook for another 15 minutes. Moisture will evaporate making perfect hearty and thick meat sauce.
- Stir and serve hot over whole grain spaghetti or any tubular pasta, garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight or on a stovetop covered on low.
You can use all ground beef or all ground turkey if you wish.
Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.