Spaghetti Meat Sauce is beefy, juicy and so satisfying. It comes together fast so it is perfect for busy weeknights, and it’s freezer friendly. Meat sauce has all of the comforting flavors of Spaghetti and Meatballs, or traditional Bolognese but is much easier!

Serve this meat sauce over spaghetti with a generous amount of parmesan cheese, paired with asparagus and crusty French bread. P.S. You can also use this meat sauce to make the Best Lasagna.

Spaghetti meat sauce in a dutch oven with a mixing spoon

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Spaghetti Meat Sauce

This is my sister Svetlana’s ground beef meat sauce recipe. She uses an original Prego sauce and makes it for camping every year. You can use a homemade marinara sauce or your favorite store-bought marinara. I’ve gotten so many requests for her famous meat sauce recipe so here it is! This one rivals Olive Garden’s spaghetti and meat sauce.

Spaghetti meat sauce in a bowl of spaghetti garnished with parmesan cheese and basil

Which Pasta for Meat Sauce?

Here’s the beauty of this recipe – you can pair it with your favorite pasta! Meat Sauce for pasta is traditionally made with spaghetti, but it goes really well with any of these:

  • String Pastas – Spaghetti, Linguine, Fettuccine
  • Ribbon Pastas – Pappardelle or Tagliatelle
  • Tubular Pastas – Penne, Cannelloni, Rigatoni, Ziti
  • Corkscrew Pastas – Cavatappi

Spaghetti pasta for meat sauce with remaining ingredients

How to Make Spaghetti Meat Sauce:

The ingredients for this meat sauce recipe are pantry staples and we always keep a stash of ground beef in the freezer for the days we don’t have a lot of time to get dinner on the table. It comes together in 1 pot or dutch oven and really doesn’t get any easier than this. Seriously the best meat sauce!

  1. Sautee ground beef until no longer pink.
  2. Add chopped onion, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp pepper, cook until soft then add garlic and sautee until fragrant.
  3. Add marinara sauce, 1/4 cup water and 1 tsp sugar. Partially cover and simmer meat sauce 20 minutes. Done!

step by step how to make spaghetti meat sauce in a dutch oven

How to Freeze Meat Sauce:

Meat sauce will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. To store it longer, transfer meat sauce to a freezer-safe container, leaving just a slight amount of headroom at the top. We prefer freezing meat sauce in freezer ziploc bags because it lays flat in the freezer and can be quick-thawed under running water.

How to Defrost Meat Sauce?

There are a few ways to defrost meat sauce. Once it is fully thawed, reheat over medium heat just until hot and simmering.

  • Quick-thaw method: Place the sealed bag of meat sauce in a bowl under cold water until thawed.
  • Slow-thaw method: Place the frozen meat sauce in the refrigerator overnight.
  • For a camping trip: place packaged frozen meat sauce in a cooler with ice and let it thaw as in a refrigerator overnight.

Defrosted meat sauce reheated in a pot with mixing spoon

Family Friendly Pasta Dinners:

This Spaghetti Meat Sauce makes for an irresistibly good pasta dinner loved by all ages! It makes a big batch but you can easily freeze meat sauce for another night. I hope this ground beef meat sauce becomes a new favorite in your home!

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Spaghetti Meat Sauce

4.99 from 185 votes
Author: Natasha Kravchuk
Spaghetti meat sauce in a pot
Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce is beefy, juicy and so satisfying. This Meat Sauce recipe comes together fast so it is perfect for busy weeknights, and it's freezer friendly.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 8 people
  • 1 lb ground beef, 15% fat
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin, optional, or added 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

Instructions

  • Place a pot or dutch oven over medium heat, add 1 lb ground beef and sautee, breaking it up with a spatula until no longer pink (5 minutes).
  • Add chopped onion, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground cumin 1/4 tsp pepper and sautee until onions are soft.
  • Add garlic and sautee another 1-2 minutes until fragrant then pour in 1 jar of marinara sauce, 1/4 cup water and 1 tsp sugar. Cover and simmer over low heat 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook 12 oz of spaghetti in salted water to desired doneness according to package instructions then drain. Serve sauce with cooked pasta.

Notes

There are 2 ways to serve spaghetti and meat sauce: Add drained spaghetti to the finished sauce and toss to coat. Or, Add pasta to warm pasta bowls and top with meat sauce.

Nutrition Per Serving

309kcal Calories38g Carbs17g Protein9g Fat3g Saturated Fat38mg Cholesterol777mg Sodium563mg Potassium2g Fiber5g Sugar370IU Vitamin A7.2mg Vitamin C33mg Calcium2.7mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Spaghetti Meat Sauce
Amount per Serving
Calories
309
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
9
g
14
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Cholesterol
 
38
mg
13
%
Sodium
 
777
mg
34
%
Potassium
 
563
mg
16
%
Carbohydrates
 
38
g
13
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
5
g
6
%
Protein
 
17
g
34
%
Vitamin A
 
370
IU
7
%
Vitamin C
 
7.2
mg
9
%
Calcium
 
33
mg
3
%
Iron
 
2.7
mg
15
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: meat sauce, spaghetti meat sauce
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 309

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Paul
    May 15, 2024

    Simply delicious!

    Reply

  • Marie Lemieux
    April 16, 2024

    Hi Natasha
    Made your spaghetti sauce with one lb of deer meat, one lb of beef and 1/2 lb sausage and its cooking as I write. I love all your recipes.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 16, 2024

      That’s great, Marie! I’m happy you’re enjoying them.

      Reply

  • Aehvlyn
    April 3, 2024

    Our weekly Spaghetti meat sauce recipe but no cumin powder kid’s doesn’t like it. It’s quick to make and it’s delicious. Im happy Natashas Kitchen is my everyday recipe. It’s a WINNER🏆

    Reply

  • Terri
    March 14, 2024

    You’ve done it again Natasha! I have tried your recipes before and am always happy with the results. Love the addition of cumin! I plan on freezing the rest of the sauce and use it in my lasagna. Yummmy and quick to make!

    Reply

  • Brooke
    February 22, 2024

    I absolutely love all of Natasha’s recipes, but not this one! I followed the recipe exactly and even used Natasha’s homemade marinara that I make in big batches and freeze, but this recipe was not good at all. I questioned the cumin, but I trusted Natasha and I was sure to look at all the reviews. With that said, the cumin did NOT work at all. It was over-powering and totally ruined the recipe, so I would go with your gut if you’re like me and thinking twice about it. I can’t even imagine how it came to fruition to add cumin to this meat sauce recipe, but I think the recipe would be fine if you omitted the cumin.

    I hate leaving a bad review, as I truly love Natasha’s recipes, but I also want to be honest about my thoughts on the cumin.

    With that said, I will make this recipe again but without the cumin.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      February 24, 2024

      Hi Brooke, I’m sorry this one didn’t hit the mark for you. Did you possibly add more than 1/2 tsp of cumin? With all of the other ingredients, it normally should be very subtle with just 1/2 tsp. That said, you can omit for a more classic Italian flavor, or add it to taste and the sauce will still turn out great. I updated the recipe to say optional or added to taste for those who are more sensitive to the flavor of cumin.

      Reply

  • Megan
    February 14, 2024

    If using a jar of marinara do you still add the water, cumin ect..?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 14, 2024

      Hi Megan! Yes, or you can test it first and season it to taste. My homemade marinara already has seasoning in it, but I continue to use this recipe as instructed with the other additions too.

      Reply

  • Felicia
    January 27, 2024

    Made this for dinner tonight. Great results! Love the flavor!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 27, 2024

      Hi Felicia! I’m glad you loved it!

      Reply

  • Al
    November 13, 2023

    Good, simple recipe. The choice of marinara sauce is what will make or break it. Mine was ok so the end result wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but that’s because of the sauce I used. Nonetheless, it was much more flavorful and elevated than my previous meat sauces. My serving suggestion is angel hair pasta. It’s a truly complementary texture to a chunky meat sauce. Thank you for another good recipe! I saved your marinara sauce to try next.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 14, 2023

      Thank your for sharing that with us, good to know that you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • CC
    July 23, 2023

    I’ve tried so many recipes for meat sauce and this was a WINNER. Hands down easiest, tastiest recipe ever. DO NOT omit the cumin people!! It is essential and the one ingredient missing from all other meat sauce recipes. I could eat this every day! I’ll be poring over all of Natasha’s other recipes because of the success and ease of this one.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      July 24, 2023

      Thanks for the awesome review! So happy to see that you loved this recipe a lot.

      Reply

  • Lisa
    June 13, 2023

    Do you still add sugar if using store bought marinara? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 13, 2023

      Hi Lisa, the sugar helps with the acidity and sour notes. We add it for that reason. I recommend trying to make it as written the first time around and then adjusting to your liking. I hope you love this recipe.

      Reply

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