The Best Homemade Pasta Sauce

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Homemade Pasta Sauce is one of our all time favorites and perfect on any type of pasta from spaghetti to Baked Rigatoni!

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!

Homemade pasta sauce over a plate of spaghetti noodles

Healthy, Homemade and Delicious!

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 pasta sauce 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!

Achieve That Perfect Texture

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.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter just before serving to add a bit of richness to your sauce.

Fork full of spaghetti with Homemade Pasta Sauce

More Tips for your Homemade Pasta Sauce

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 this homemade pasta sauce, the thicker it will get so cook it as long as needed.

I’ve served this over spaghetti but as you’d expect, this homemade meat sauce is very versatile. It’s amazing used as a sauce for homemade lasagna or if you’d like to keep it low carb, serve it over spaghetti squash or Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles)!

Once you try it, this will be the very last pasta sauce recipe you will ever need!

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

Cooked spaghetti on a plate with homemade pasta sauce on top
4.67 from 3 votes
Review Recipe

The Best Homemade Pasta Sauce

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine Italian
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!


  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef or turkey
  • 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 teaspoon allspice

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  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
Nutrition Information
Calories: 130, Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 46mg, Sodium: 340mg, Potassium: 521mg, Carbohydrates: 8g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g, Protein: 21g, Vitamin A: 415%, Vitamin C: 26%, Calcium: 61%, Iron: 2.3%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword homemade pasta sauce

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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!
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! #spendwithpennies #pastasauce #homemadepastasauce #homemadesauce #easyrecipe #dinnerrecipe #fromscratch #groundbeefrecipe

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About the author


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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!

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  1. Hi there! I was just wondering what a good quality canned tomato brand might be? I tend to shop at Walmart (guilty), but can venture elsewhere if need be. Thank you for your help!

      1. San Marzano tomatoes are a bit more expensive but worth every penny! Not San Marzano Style. theres a big difference. So sweet and delicious.

  2. Hi Holly. This sounds delish and I will be making it very soon…..I plan to use beef and pork mince which works for me and we cant buy minced turkey here in S.Africa………I got shot of my mincer decades back.
    Thank you for your recipes, tips etc…… can teach an old dog new tricks !

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

          1. 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

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

  5. 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?

      1. Holly i tried your sauce and while letting it simmer i kept taste testing it and i thought it was missing something and finally put my finger on it and it was beef bouillon,other than that it was fantastic full of so much flavor.Sharing and will make again!

  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. 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!

  8. 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.
    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.
    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…

    1. Do you have a recipe that you like better? Please share. One of the differences I would make is to use fresh tomatoes if possible.

    2. Can you say “judgemental?” For goodness sake, it’s a recipe. Everyone has different tastes and opinions. Don’t like the name “THE BEST” move on.

        1. He’s just being honest. I found his opinion useful in that he said it was good. That’s all I need to hear so I’m going to make it today and see for myself. I’m sure it’ll be delicious!

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

    1. 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!