The Best Homemade Pasta Sauce

Homemade Pasta Sauce is one of our all time favorites!  I’ve made this literally hundreds of times and it’s perfect every single time with tender meat and a silky flavorful sauce that is perfect on any kind of pasta dish! The BEST Homemade Pasta Sauce! This is literally the BEST Homemade Pasta Sauce you'll ever have! Made with ground turkey or beef, this rich tomato sauce is perfect over spaghetti or in lasagna!

How to Make The Best Homemade Pasta Sauce

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This is hands down the BEST homemade pasta sauce I’ve ever had and even better, it’s totally healthy (shhh… nobody will ever know)!!

This starts out with a base of lean ground turkey or beef cooked with some aromatics including onions and garlic but the real secret lies in the spice mixture. The combination may seem a little bit unusual but they’re the same seasonings I put in my homemade turkey sausage patties and it’s delish! Once combined, I mix the seasonings into the meat before I even cook it and it adds amazing flavor to the dish. You can use lean beef or pork but I almost always use ground turkey in this recipe!

I find that using a meat chopper tool (what do I even call that thing?) is the best tool for this dish!  Not only does it make the meat the perfect texture, but it also can help chop the tomatoes slightly (in fact, I never make any ground meat without it)!  As with most tomato based recipes, this is just delicious leftover if you’re lucky enough to have any left… I usually double (or triple) the recipe and freeze the leftovers for a perfect quick weeknight meal!

Tips For Perfect Homemade Pasta Sauce

  • Mixing your seasonings into the raw meat infuses flavor into every bite.
  • While I use ground turkey, subbing in 1/3 lb ground beef, veal or pork will add additional flavor.
  • Canned tomatoes provide excellent flavor and are a staple in authentic Italian cuisine (learned a lot about this in cooking classes in Italy). Choose a good quality as this is the base flavor for your sauce.
  • Time = flavor.  In the case of this delicious homemade pasta sauce recipe, the flavor changes and is incredible after it’s simmered for at least one hour.
  • No matter how much flavor your sauce has, don’t forget to salt your pasta water.
  • Fresh herbs are best.  They will cook down if added early on so be sure to stir in a handful just before serving.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter just before serving to add a bit of richness to your sauce.

Homemade Pasta Sauce is one of our all time favorites!  I've made this literally hundreds of times and it's perfect every single time with tender meat and a silky flavorful sauce that is perfect on any kind of pasta dish! 

Love easy pasta dishes? Here are a few more of my favorites:

If possible, use fresh herbs in this recipe for the best flavor.  Of course they cook down so I always throw a handful in right before serving and a little sprinkle on top too! The longer you cook it, the thicker it will get so you cook it as long as needed.

I’ve served sauce over spaghetti but as you’d expect, this homemade meat sauce is very versatile.  It’s amazing used as a homemade lasagna sauce or even over spaghetti squash for a really satisfying & healthy meal! Once you try it, this will be the very last pasta sauce recipe you will ever need!

The Best Homemade Pasta Sauce

Homemade Pasta Sauce is one of our all time favorites!  I’ve made this literally hundreds of times and it’s perfect every single time with tender meat and a silky flavorful sauce that is perfect on any kind of pasta dish!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground turkey (or beef)
  • 1 large onion , diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 large green bell pepper , diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can (28oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (approx. 28 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley , chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil , chopped

Meat Seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons sage
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 ⁄8 teaspoon allspice

Directions:

  1. Combine seasoning & ground meat until well mixed. Brown meat, onion & garlic over medium heat making sure to break up the meat very well. (Drain any fat if needed).
  2. Add remaining ingredients (except parsley & basil) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 1 hour or until desired consistency.
  3. Stir in parsley & basil.
  4. Remove bay leaves and serve over hot pasta

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The BEST Homemade Pasta Sauce! This is literally the BEST Homemade Pasta Sauce you'll ever have! Made with ground turkey or beef, this rich tomato sauce is perfect over spaghetti or in lasagna!

Holly Nilsson

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

38 comments on “The Best Homemade Pasta Sauce”

  1. I saw a fresh Italian turkey sausages in the grocery store both mild and hot anyone try later anyone think it should be okay instead of flavoring my own which I know will be better but to save time?

    • I always buy medium or hot or both and mix….I wouldn’t even know how to season it myself.

    • Yes! I make pasta sauce with the hot Italian turkey sausage and it is amazing! I use just cheap sauce (Hunts) then Doctor it up with diced tomatoes Italian seasoning, a little sugar, and hot pepper flakes. My family loves it!

  2. I made a half recipe of this last night, I added fresh mushrooms and a nice taste of Malbec I omitted the water. This is the best sauce I have ever made.

  3. I found this recipe good. However, there are SO many just ‘good’ recipes available I’m afraid I took umbrage at the ‘best’ label applied to this particular one. This is head and shoulders above what one might eat at a school cafeteria. It is above nearly every ‘gourmet’ type recipe too… Those are usually pretty nasty.
    BUT…
    Given that I have a sorta negative opinion just on the name or this recipe, especially one using just common ingredients in common amounts cooked commonly. I will try to be honest here on the flavor of the recipe as it is listed here. I feel I should state my misgivings up front so I don’t give a false impression.
    Thus:
    I found this very acceptable and flavorful. I would serve again with maybe minor tweaks where my tastes might differ or when I know a certain ingredient is superior, and or suchlike. I do NOT feel this is worth a 5 of 5 rating. It is a solid 4 of 5 recommendable to anyone who likes pasta generally, but, doesn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on recipes like this one. Maybe this is perfect for those who think pizza was invented in Italy rather than Italians who migrated from there.
    Hehe… It is certainly perfect for those who cook for food network. It would teach way too many of their ‘cooks’ what flavor actually means. Hehe…

  4. So PastaLover what minor changes would you make? I’m making this recipe later in the week. I’m always curious to see what other cooks change in a recipe. Looks delicious!

  5. Hi Holly

    What brand of meat chopper do you own?

  6. I use one of the “squiggle” type potato mashers when I cook ground meat for a sauce like this. ..already have it and it works great. ..breaks up the meat as much as you desire. …

  7. If using the ground beef do you still use the seasoning or is that just for the turkey meat?

  8. what if i want meatballs would i use same ingrediants

  9. This recipe looks delicious. One thing though. We are not fans of sage but I have discovered a poultry season by Epicure Selections that I use instead of sage for turkey dressing. Do you think this would be good?

  10. is the “meat seasoning” suppose to be “Italian Seasoning”

    • No, the meat seasoning is almost like a sausage flavoring. The ingredients are listed below the title. :)

      • I have this simmering right now and can’t wait to try it but I do have a question. I only have the tube basil and wondering how much to use of that? I’m thinking I would only need a half of a 1/4 cup?

        • That sounds about right to me~

          • Holly i served this sauce yesterday for a fifty person luncheon and was told by multi people it was absolutely fantastic,some said it was the best they had ever tasted! I added a little beef bullion and used brown sugar in place of white sugar. Thanks

          • That is so awesome, we are happy to hear it! Brown sugar sounds like a tasty substitute, for sure!

  11. Hi Holly

    Can this recipe be frozen, if so, how?

    • Absolutely. I cook as directed and cool. You can either freeze in individual portions or in a family sized serving. I reheat on the stovetop.

  12. This is REALLY good. Lots of flavor for just an hour of simmer time. I used ground pork because that’s what I had on hand. Otherwise, I made this recipe exactly as written. I’ll definitely make it again. I try to cook from scratch whenever I can, and jarred sauces just taste gross to me now. This sauce is super tasty with minimal ingredients, and at just an hour of cook time, it is comparable to the ease of a premade sauce. Thanks for a keeper recipe!

  13. Hi Holly,
    I just want to let you know that your sauce is now the single go to for pasta sauce in your house. I make variations from time to time, but this is the best sauce I have ever had. You should be proud. Worth the work.

    Rating: 5

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