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Savory Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Savory Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

This fresh-tasting spaghetti sauce is a real crowd-pleaser. I rely on this flavorful recipe often. It tastes especially good in the summer made with fresh garden herbs. —Anne Heinonen, Howell, Michigan
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 5 min. Cook: 70 min. YIELD:4-6 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano or 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Hot cooked spaghetti
  • Fresh oregano, optional


  • 1. In a Dutch oven, cook ground beef and onion until meat is no longer pink and onion is tender; drain. Add the next eight ingredients; bring to a boil.
  • 2. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf. Serve with spaghetti. Garnish with oregano if desired. Yield: 4-6 servings (about 1 quart).

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 cup) equals 182 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 50 mg cholesterol, 559 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 17 g protein.

Reviews for Savory Spaghetti Sauce

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Reviewed Feb. 5, 2016

"I echo the compliments for this recipe. Since I was aiming for a thick and spicy sauce, I added a little more seasoning than the recipe called for (3-4 garlic cloves, 1.5 tsp. dried basil, 1.25 tsp. dried oregano, 3/4 tsp. ground black pepper; I kept the measurements for salt, sugar and bay leaf the same as listed above), added a variety of meats (1/2 lb. ground hamburger, 2/3 lb. boneless chicken breasts, 2 mild Italian sausages, 24 pepperoni slices, cut into quarters), and reduced the amount of tomato sauce (one 15 oz. and one 8 oz. can). The spaghetti sauce turned out exactly as I had hoped."

Reviewed Sep. 2, 2015

"Good and very easy"

Reviewed Jun. 22, 2015

"Loved the simplicity of this recipe! It's really flavorful, but also really easy to prepare."

Reviewed May. 19, 2014

"This is a very good spaghetti sauce recipe. I went a little heavier, however, with the spices to add some additional flavor. I couldn't find fresh oregano at my grocery store so I opted for fresh basil. The recipe calls for just a teaspoon of fresh basil, however, I added approximately 3/4 of a cup. I like my sauces extra sweet, so I added 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, rather than the 2 teaspoons of sugar called for in the recipe. All in all, it was a spicy, delicious sauce that was enjoyed by the whole family."

Reviewed Apr. 10, 2014 Edited Sep. 16, 2015


Reviewed Nov. 4, 2013

"Excellent! Didn't change a thing and it was perfect! Even better the 2nd day so try to double the batch."

Reviewed Oct. 2, 2013

"I've been making this meat sauce ever since it appeared in the TOH in '94. My family really enjoys the flavors of the meat sauce. We love to dip the garlic bread in the sauce."

Reviewed Aug. 7, 2013

"Its a great sauce! I'll definatly make it again but double the batch. I made it adding 1/3 cup of sugar as suggested but will probably only add 1/4 cup next time."

Reviewed Aug. 6, 2013

"Great basic recipe, I do like my spaghetti savory. However it seemed to be lacking, as we like our spaghetti bold and chunky. So I added extra garlic, a bell pepper, and a sprinkle of Montreal, and sautéed those with the beef. Then I threw in a freshly diced tomato, some chopped portobello mushroom, a few olives, and a 1/4 cup of dry white wine. It really jazzed up the dish, and it tastes wonderful."

Reviewed Jul. 25, 2013

"My husband said it was the best spaghetti he's ever had! Wasn't sure whether to be excited or mad! Haha! Definitely a keeper, wouldn't change a thing!"

Reviewed Jul. 20, 2013 Edited Dec. 2, 2014

"Very tasty and simple...saved to recipes and probably will be my staple from now on!"

Reviewed Jul. 8, 2013

"Just finished making this sauce and it is really good! I love the flavor!"

Reviewed Jun. 20, 2013 Edited Dec. 2, 2014

"Awesome =-) No leftovers"

Reviewed Apr. 26, 2013

"I mostly made this as written, but I added three additional garlic cloves. It was loved by all. Will definitely make again with my one modification - oh & I used a Visalia onion cause that's what I had."

Reviewed Apr. 4, 2013

"Very good recipe, especially if you add hot italian sausage."

Reviewed Mar. 5, 2013

"This recipe was good, but not great. Made as written including the optional oregano, I was surprised to find it a bit too salty, too sweet and too acidic all at once. But with a few tweaks, if could be as good as my usual all-day recipe. I would replace the tomato sauce with tomato paste + water to reduce the acid, use half the sugar and then salt to taste right before serving. I'd also add more garlic, personal preference. With those simple tweaks I think it will be outstanding and will replace my all-day sauce. Thanks, Anne!"

Reviewed Mar. 1, 2013

"This recipe was delicious! I will never buy spaghetti sauce off the shelf again. This recipe is the recipe I will always use.

The only adjustment I did was using 6 garlic cloves since I am a garlic lover. First, I sautéed half of the minced garlic (3 cloves), just until fragrant. Then I added the onions. I added the rest of the garlic when I added the rest of the ingredients, which was after the ground beef was cooked. For future recipes, I will add less sugar. I personally, do not like much sweetness in my spaghetti sauce, so I had to add more salt and black pepper to get the right balance of savory and sweet.
Other than that, this recipe will not let you down."

Reviewed Jan. 27, 2013

"This is my first time making homemade spaghetti sauce, and most likely my last time buying it off the shelf. Did a few tweaks like add some parsley, sage and rosemary. I also was short 4 oz. of beef so I made it up with pepperoni! Fabulous!"

Reviewed Dec. 3, 2012

"This is a staple in my house! I dislike the sugary-sweet type sauces, and prefer instead a more salty, savory one like this one. I frequently use venison instead of ground beef, and it tastes just as good. I also like to add 1/2 tsp liquid smoke for a different twist on the flavor."

Reviewed Nov. 17, 2012


Reviewed Sep. 21, 2012

"It was good, but not fantastic."

Reviewed Sep. 5, 2012

"This is it, I will never buy jar sauce ever again,no also made a few changes

I added a red pepper, 4 extra tea spoons of sugar, as it was a bit bitter for my taste, and I used a 22oz tin of diced tomatoes after cooking for 30 min, I blendedn(removed the bay leaf), took back to the cooker for a little bit longer (I put the bay leaf back on again)
I also didn't had the basil and oregano separate but I just used an all in seasoning I had in the cupboard. Ohh not to forget I also I added a tea spoon of tomato paste."

Reviewed Aug. 21, 2012

"This is a great, easy recipe! The whole family enjoyed it! I did use 1 cup of Ajvar vegetable spread in place of 1 cup tomato sauce (improvising as I was short a cup of tomato sauce). Very good! Just be sure to plan ahead for the hour to simmer."

Reviewed Jul. 4, 2012

"My family's new all-time favorite sauce! Doubled the garlic and fresh herbs (like another rater suggested)."

Reviewed May. 22, 2012

"I altered the recipe a little to suit our tastes...I doubled the recipe, but only used 1 3/4 pounds of ground beef (that's all I had on hand), 2 cans (15 oz.) tomato sauce, 2 cans (14 1/2 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained and 12 oz. tomato paste. I did not change (other than doubling) the spices. Was not sweet like some jarred sauces, but I did not think it was too sour either."

Reviewed May. 15, 2012

"Wow, finally an easy and flavorful weeknight spaghetti sauce! I did make a few adjustments: I used ground venison and doubled the garlic and herbs. I also added 2 teaspoons each of fresh parsley and fresh rosemary, set aside 1 teaspoon each of the fresh herbs and stirred them in just before serving - FANTASTIC! This would be a great recipe to make a large batch and freeze some for later."

Reviewed Mar. 28, 2012

"It was too sour. I had to put much sugar to hide sour."

Reviewed Mar. 23, 2012

"I am never buying sauce from the jar again!!! This was amazing! I doubled the recipe. Instead of using 2 pounds of hamburger, I used 1 pound of Italian Sausage and 1 pound of hamburger. OMG!!! Will most definately make this again!"

Reviewed Feb. 8, 2012

"This is an excellent sauce recipe. I made it just as the recipe said to, and my boyfriend LOVED it. He used to buy an expensive brand name sauce when he wanted spaghetti, but after trying this recipe, this is the only one he likes and will eat. Thank you for an excellent recipe."

Reviewed Feb. 3, 2012

"This is an excellent recipe! I've been looking for a hearty, tasty spaghetti sauce to make whenever we have spaghetti and I think this is it. I did make a few changes though. Instead of using the 2 cans of tomato sauce I used canned diced tomatoes and tomato paste."

Reviewed Oct. 30, 2011

"This is one of my favorite recipes for pasta sauce. I actually made this for a friend when she had a baby! I will make again and again!"

Reviewed Sep. 21, 2011

"Since trying this recipe, I never make spaghetti sauce any other way. My family loves this sauce! I always double it so we have plenty to reheat the next night. Very delicious!"

Reviewed Sep. 15, 2011

"Excellent flavor. The bowl was licked clean. I made the sauce without meat, froze it, then added the thawed sauce to the browned beef and put it in the crock pot on low about 4 hours before serving."

Reviewed Aug. 4, 2011

"I use a mix of sweet and spicy sausage for the meat, instead of ground beef, and it's makes all the difference in this recipe."

Reviewed Jun. 5, 2011

"I have another recipe that I use for my famous lasagna but when I want a simple delicious Spaghetti sauce with a little kick, this is the recipe I always go to."

Reviewed Mar. 16, 2011

"I've made this a few times, and it's a wonderful sauce! My family loves it. I actually made it tonight, and added a splash of white wine and about a cup of bottled spaghetti sauce, which enhanced the flavor. I'll make this many times, thanks for a great recipe :-)"

Reviewed Mar. 14, 2011

"I make this over and over again and freeze small batches for my daughter at college. All she has to do is boil spaghetti to enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal."

Reviewed Mar. 5, 2011

"I used little sausage balls that I had frozen, and split the recipe in half...It was a good, light sauce over spaghetti."

Reviewed Feb. 9, 2011

"This was super easy and delicious! Definitely never going to buy jarred spaghetti sauce again!"

Reviewed Jan. 30, 2011

"The best sauce ever!!!"

Reviewed Dec. 21, 2010

"A stand-by favorite! We love this one!!"

Reviewed Dec. 7, 2010

"I was really surprised by how tasty something could be that was so simple. I wasn't expecting fireworks, but bam! Try it."

Reviewed Dec. 5, 2010

"From now on, I'll double the recipe. My family of 5 gobbled it right up and wanted more!!"

Reviewed Sep. 13, 2010

"I am not a big fan of Spaghetti but I totally love this recipe - I add 1/2 T. of Italian seasoning and 1/3 cup of sugar to it."

Reviewed Sep. 2, 2010

"a keeper!"

Reviewed Aug. 16, 2010

"Enjoyed this recipe. Didn't have ground beef so I used ground turkey. Used two small can of tomato sauce and one can of diced tomatoes. I slightly puree the diced tomatoes. Used 1 tsp of oregano. I love garlic so I put 2 cloves. A hit at our house."

Reviewed Jul. 23, 2010

"It was a little too spicy for my husband. We had to add a few extra teaspoons sugar."

Reviewed Jun. 23, 2010

"I have made this recipe before (as is) and then i made it again last night and it was FANTASTIC, but only because i made a slight change... Instead of ground beef I went ahead and used Sweet Italian Sausage. Great big difference it makes and in a FANTASTIC way!! And the other adjustment I did was I added another ingredient and that was fennel seed. For something this size only 1/4 tsp is needed; and with the tomato sauce as salty it already is I did not use but a tiny pinch of salt. All in all My husband and his friends went back for the rest of what was left."

Reviewed Jun. 9, 2010

"This was unbelievably delicious. I had company coming, so I put all of the ingredients into a crockpot the day before I cooked it. This gave the flavors time to meld. Then I put it on low heat for five hours. My boyfriend was hungry before the guests arrived, so he took a scoop of the sauce and dipped a nice rustic sourdough bread into it, and proclaimed it a meal in itself. I would have to agree. I think I used over a pound of ground beef, so the sauce was almost like chili, and so very, very delicious. I used the fresh herbs from our garden. It's the best recipe ever, and I agree that there is no going back to canned spaghetti sauce. This was very easy, and satisfying to every palette. In a word: YUMMY!!!"

Reviewed Jun. 7, 2010

"Very easy and incredibly surprising. The taste is just right; not too strong and not too subtle. My family loved it, from the picky three year old to the even pickier grandfather. Great recipe!!"

Reviewed Apr. 17, 2010

"I have never made homemade spaghetti sauce before. I figured with such a good review it would be good. My family loves this sauce and I will always use this recipe. I have no desire to try another one."

Reviewed Mar. 20, 2010

"OMG! Just made this tonight, And I honestly believe you are wasting your money if you buy pre made spaghetti sauce again! This is going into my book of fav recipe's for sure!"

Reviewed Nov. 22, 2009

"I love this spaghetti sauce. My husband is not a big fan of spaghetti but he LOVED this sauce. I add red pepper flake to give it a kick. This will be "My" spaghetti sauce of choice from now on!"

Reviewed Sep. 1, 2009

"I have been making this sauce sincebefore my daughter was born. She just turned 17. It is a requested meal now from extended family and friends. I don't add salt because the tomato sauce seems salty enough. Excellent recipe. Try it and you will be getting requests too."

Reviewed Aug. 20, 2009

"This was very good and easy, but I'm going to try Italian sausage instead of the ground beef next time. Needed a little more zest."

Reviewed Jul. 24, 2009

"This is an awesome spaghetti sauce! Beats my mom's recipe! If you like garlic, you may want to add another clove. I also put in about 1/4 t onion powder and sausage and eliminated the ground beef and onion."

Reviewed Mar. 19, 2008

"Fabulous spaghetti sauce!"

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Wine Pairings

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel.