Easy Meat Sauce

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This meat sauce packs so much flavor nobody will ever believe how easy it is to make!

A simple combination of ground beef and tomatoes are seasoned and simmered until rich and thick! Serve over pasta, use in lasagna or even spoon it over your favorite pizza crust.

Meat sauce being served

A Hearty All-Purpose Sauce

This recipe is a one-pot wonder that packs a big punch of flavor!

This sauce is budget-friendly and a great way to stretch a pound of ground beef to feed a crowd. Add extra veggies or tomatoes to make it go even further!

Simply brown the beef and let it simmer until thick and rich, this recipe is pretty much effortless yet tastes like you’ve been cooking all day long.

Double the recipe if you can, this sauce is one of those recipes that tastes even better the next day and it freezes well.

Meat sauce ingredients

Ingredients & Variations

This sauce is not only rich and savory, but this versatile sauce can be tweaked using whatever veggies are in the fridge or pantry!

  • Any canned tomatoes work well in this recipe but since it’s the base of the sauce, I do like to splurge and use good quality canned tomatoes. San Marzanos have a bright, bold flavor and while they may cost an extra dollar or two, it’s worth the splurge to me!
  • Don’t be afraid to switch up the recipe and use ground turkey or even Italian sausage in place of the beef!
  • No bell peppers? Use sliced or shredded mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, or spinach!
  • Fresh herbs are a great addition if you have some on hand. To preserve the flavor of fresh herbs, add them once the sauce is cooked, just before serving, or toss in a cube of pesto.

Meat sauce can also be used to layer into lasagna, eggplant parmesan, or even sloppy joes or over pappardelle pasta!

Overview of meat sauce ingredients in a saucepan

How to Make Meat Sauce

Making meat sauce always follows a few basic steps.

  1. Brown the beef, onions, and garlic.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer an hour with the lid on.
  3. Remove the lid and cook another 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Remember to discard the bay leaves before serving! If you have fresh herbs like basil and parsley, stir some extra in right before serving.

Easy Meat Sauce in a sauce pan

How to Store Meat Sauce

Homemade meat sauce will keep about a week in the refrigerator if it is covered. Just reheat on the stove and add a little extra garlic to refresh the flavors!

To freeze meat sauce, ladle it into zippered bags and lay them flat. Once frozen, stack them upright to save space in the freezer! The homemade sauce should last about 3 months in the freezer!

Easy Pasta Sauce Recipes

Did you love this easy Meat Sauce? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

Meat sauce being served
5 from 18 votes
Review Recipe

Easy Meat Sauce

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
This is an easy and versatile recipe that tastes great on pasta or used to prepare lasagna!


  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes with juices
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup dry red wine or beef broth
  • 1 green bell pepper diced
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 bay leaves

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  • In a large pot, brown ground beef, onions, and garlic. Drain any fat.
  • Add in all remaining ingredients. Simmer covered on low for 1-hour stirring occasionally. Remove lid and simmer an additional 15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  • Remove bay leaves before serving.

Recipe Notes

Make a large batch and freeze leftovers for a quick and easy weeknight meal!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 534, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 36g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 115mg, Sodium: 1267mg, Potassium: 1257mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 840IU, Vitamin C: 39.1mg, Calcium: 80mg, Iron: 6mg

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

Keyword Easy Meat Sauce, Homemade meat sauce, how to make meat sauce
Course Dinner, Pasta, Sauce
Cuisine American
Meat sauce in a sauce pan with writing
Meat sauce being served with text.
Meat sauce being served with writing
Top image - meat sauce being served. Bottom image - meat sauce ingredients with writing

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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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