Homemade Pasta Sauce is one of our all time favorites and perfect served over 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!
This is hands down the BEST homemade pasta sauce I’ve ever had and even better, it’s healthy!
- Meat – This recipe uses either lean ground turkey or beef. You can substitute your favorite ground meat
- Seasonings – 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 sausage patties! Delicious!
- Sauce – Canned tomatoes provide great flavor and are a staple in Italian cuisine. Choose a good quality as this is the base flavor for your sauce. Water is added to the sauce to give all of the flavors a chance to blend.
Flavor Tip: Add the seasoning mix into the meat before cooking (I do the same with chili) to ensure every bite is full of flavor. Cook the meat with onions and garlic.
I find that using a meat chopper tool 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)!
The longer you cook this homemade pasta sauce, the thicker it will get so cook it as long as needed. If it gets too thick, reserve some of the pasta water when you drain your pasta and add it to the sauce.
Leftovers: As with most tomato based recipes, this is just delicious leftover if you’re lucky enough to have any… I usually double (or triple) the recipe and freeze the leftovers for a quick weeknight meal!
Tips For Perfect Homemade Pasta Sauce
- Seasoning: Mixing your seasonings into the raw meat infuses flavor into every bite. Don’t forget to salt your pasta water too.
- Meat: While I use ground turkey or beef, substitute some or all of it for veal, pork or sausage.
- 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.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter just before serving to add a bit of richness to your sauce.
Add some fresh herbs at the end for a nice fresh flavor (basil and parsley are favorites)!
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)!
Of course this goes well with Homemade Garlic Bread and an Italian Salad!
More Italian Inspired Favorites
- Easy Chicken Parmesan
- Spaghetti Carbonara
- Bucatini Amatriciana
- Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole
- Easy Homemade Lasagna
- Chicken Alfredo Bake
- Creamy Tomato Chicken Pasta
- Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce
Homemade Pasta Sauce
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef or turkey
- 1 large onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 large green bell pepper diced
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup water
- 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
- 28 ounces canned tomato sauce
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- ¼ cup fresh basil chopped
Meat Seasoning Mix
- 2 teaspoons sage
- 2 teaspoons fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- In a medium bowl combine seasoning & ground meat until well mixed. Brown meat, onion & garlic in a large pot over medium heat making sure to break up the meat very well. (Drain any fat if needed).
- Add remaining ingredients (except parsley & basil) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 1 hour or until desired consistency.
- Stir in parsley & basil.
- Remove bay leaves and serve over hot pasta.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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This is a fantastic recipe! It is the only one I’ve seen that makes turkey super flavorful and not bland. My kids love it and its my only go-to for turkey spaghetti sauce.
That is great Karen! Thanks for sharing :)
In 1994 my wife and I vacationed in Europe, and when we visited Florence, Italy we went to a winery. The trip included a wonderful dinner provided by the winery’s owners. They served their homemade pasta sauce which was incredible. I managed to have a conversation with the owners wife and got her recipe. It turns out your recipe is nearly identical with yours.
Today I make this recipe but utilize some short cuts. However, I let my sauce simmer for 3-hours to enhance the flavor.
Then I mix it with Rigatoni noodles, top with Mozzarella cheese and broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned. All in all your reeecipe is dead on.
So glad you enjoyed it, what a great memory you have!! Visiting Italy has been one of my all-time favorite experiences!
Hello, I’m a first timer for your recipes and I love them.
You seem to have important tips to the recipe. Is there some way to include them for
Unfortunately, I don’t have a print option for them at this time. Thank you for the suggestion.
Holly how can I print your recipes without the picture? Pictures use alo t of ink. Thanks
Sorry Marge, at this time all recipe automatically print with the photo attached.
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!
If you are looking for good quality canned tomatoes, you can look for Grade A tomatoes. Enjoy Ashley!
San Marzano tomatoes are a bit more expensive but worth every penny! Not San Marzano Style. theres a big difference. So sweet and delicious.
No sugar necessary with these tomatoes!
Thanks for the tip Noreen!
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……..you can teach an old dog new tricks !
You’re welcome Del! So glad that you are enjoying the site! :)
Is the garlic miniced, chopped, sliced, whole, or smashed?
Minced or put through a garlic press.
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.
Thank you so much Jim! I’m glad you love this sauce as much as I do! :)
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!
So glad you loved it!
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.
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!
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?
You can certainly give it a try or leave the sage out if it isn’t to your liking!
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!
Thank you for the tip Bob, sounds great, I’ll have to try it! Did you use ground beef or turkey?
I used beef and served over spaghetti squash for a different twist.
That sounds yummy!
what if i want meatballs would i use same ingrediants
I haven’t tried this mixture as meatballs so I’m not sure how it would work out.
If using the ground beef do you still use the seasoning or is that just for the turkey meat?
I use the seasoning with beef or turkey.
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. …
Great idea Deb! Thank you for sharing!
What brand of meat chopper do you own?
Mine is from Pampered Chef but I have also seen them at Walmart or on Amazon.
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!
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…
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.
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.
I agree. I found that review very rude.
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!
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.
So glad you enjoyed it Dorothy!
HOW DO I PRINT SOME RECIPES? I DO NOT WANT TO PRINT 10 PAGES WHEN I ONLY WANT THE INGREDIENT.
Under the small image next to the ingredients list you will see a print button.
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!