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!

Cooked spaghetti on a plate with homemade pasta sauce on top


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.

Perfect Consistency

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.

closeup of Homemade Pasta Sauce with spaghetti on a fork

Serve with…

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

plated Homemade Pasta Sauce on spaghetti with parmesan
4.96 from 25 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Homemade Pasta Sauce

This rich meaty tomato sauce is perfect when served over any type of pasta or added to lasagna!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 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
  • 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.


Leftover pasta sauce can be stored in a covered container in the fridge for up to 7 days. Freeze cooled portions in zippered bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge or reheat from frozen on the stovetop over medium heat. 
4.96 from 25 votes

Nutrition Information

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

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

Course Main Course, Pasta, Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian

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About the author

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 Holly,
    I like your recipes and the good tips you give :)
    For the pasta sauce, is it better to use diced tomatoes or whole tomatoes and break them in the cooking?

  2. I must be missing something. All I can see writin is how good it is an how to use it. No ingredients or directions. Hungry an Confused in Oklahoma.

    1. Hi Kelly, to view the recipe in full you can scroll to the bottom or use the jump to recipe button at the top of the page.