Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Spaghetti Meat Sauce

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When I was a child, my grandmother used to make the most amazing spaghetti with meat sauce. It was a family favorite, especially during our Sunday gatherings. The aroma of simmering sauce filled the house, making our mouths water long before dinner was served. Now, I make a similar version for my family, and it’s always a hit. This spaghetti meat sauce recipe is straightforward and quick, perfect for busy weeknights or when you want to bring a taste of nostalgia to the table.

One thing I love about this recipe is its versatility. While the basic ingredients create a delicious and hearty sauce, there’s plenty of room for tweaks to suit your taste. For instance, I occasionally add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a bit of heat, or a splash of red wine to deepen the flavor. If you’re a fan of vegetables, you can throw in some diced bell peppers or mushrooms along with the onions.

I also recommend playing around with the seasonings. A touch of Italian seasoning or a few fresh basil leaves can add a new dimension to the sauce. And if you’re cooking for a crowd with diverse dietary preferences, consider using ground turkey or a plant-based meat substitute instead of ground beef.

This recipe not only brings back cherished memories but also offers endless possibilities for making new ones with your loved ones. I hope it becomes a beloved staple in your home, just as it has in mine.

How to Make Spaghetti Meat Sauce


  • 1 pound ground beef (15% fat)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped)
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • 12 ounces spaghetti (for serving)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional, to taste)


  1. Heat a pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the ground beef. Cook, breaking it up with a spatula, until it loses its pink color, about 5 minutes.
  2. Mix in the chopped onion, salt, cumin, and black pepper. Cook until the onion softens.
  3. Incorporate the minced garlic and cook for 1-2 more minutes until it becomes fragrant.
  4. Add the marinara sauce, water, and sugar. Stir everything together, cover, and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
  5. While the sauce simmers, cook the spaghetti in salted water following the package instructions. Once cooked, drain the pasta.
  6. Plate the cooked spaghetti and top with the meat sauce.

Making Spaghetti Meat Sauce


Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef for this meat sauce?

Yes, you can substitute ground turkey for ground beef in this recipe. Although the flavor might be slightly different, it will still be delicious and might be a bit leaner.

How can I make this spaghetti meat sauce spicier?

To make the sauce spicier, you can add red pepper flakes or a chopped jalapeño when you sauté the onions. Additionally, a pinch of cayenne pepper mixed into the sauce will increase the heat.

What type of marinara sauce should I use?

You can use any store-bought marinara sauce or homemade if you prefer. However, choosing a high-quality marinara sauce will enhance the overall flavor of the dish.

Can I prepare the meat sauce in advance?

Yes, the meat sauce can be made ahead of time. Simply cool it down, store it in an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat it on the stove before serving.

How do I prevent the spaghetti from sticking together?

After draining the cooked spaghetti, you can toss it with a little bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking. Additionally, ensure you stir the pasta occasionally while it’s cooking.

What other spices can I add to this meat sauce?

If you want to experiment with flavors, you can add dried oregano, basil, or thyme to the sauce. A bay leaf added during simmering can also add depth to the flavor.

Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Spaghetti Meat Sauce

Quick and hearty spaghetti meat sauce made with ground beef, onions, and marinara sauce. Serves 8.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 29 minutes
Course Sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • 1 lb ground beef 15% fat
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin optional, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 24 oz marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 12 oz spaghetti to serve


  • In a pot or Dutch oven over medium heat, add the ground beef. Sauté, breaking it up with a spatula until it's no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the diced onion, salt, cumin, and black pepper. Sauté until the onions are soft.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Pour in the marinara sauce, water, and sugar. Stir well, cover, and let it simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
  • While the sauce is simmering, cook the spaghetti in salted water according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta when it's done.
  • Serve the meat sauce over the cooked spaghetti.
Keyword spaghetti

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