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!

Spaghetti Meat Sauce

4.99 from 186 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
Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

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Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the creator behind Natasha's Kitchen (established in 2009), and I share family-friendly, authentic recipes. I am a New York Times Best-Selling cookbook author and a trusted video personality in the culinary world. My husband, Vadim, and I run this blog together, ensuring every recipe we share is thoroughly tested and approved. Our mission is to provide you with delicious, reliable recipes you can count on. Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy you are here.

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Toni
    April 22, 2023

    I was set to make your recipe
    However I just can’t imagine the sauce with Cumin
    In my Italian family life I don’t think cumin was ever used
    I fear it would ruin the end result
    Any one have feedback on this?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      April 22, 2023

      Hi Toni, it’s very subtle in this recipe but makes the flavor. I recommend making it as written the first time around to give it a try, we believe we found the perfect balance. Here’s what one of my readers wrote: “HATS OFF TO YOUR SISTER! I made this tonight and it was delicious !!! I have to say I was skeptical about using cumin but it gave the sauce excellent flavor. I also used some ground sausage along with the Hamburg and used some beef broth in place of the water. Doubled the recipe for freezing 😊” I hope this helps!

      Reply

  • Terri King
    April 10, 2023

    We all love Natasha’s greatest recipes! My family and I love EVERYTHING you have taught us! Terri K Beaver UT

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      April 10, 2023

      Hi Terri! I’m so glad you are loving the recipes. Thanks so much for the love and support!

      Reply

  • Ed McFadden
    February 27, 2023

    Half ground beef and half hot Italian sausage kicks it up a notch. Mushrooms always and green pepper sometimes. Definitely try the cinnamon 1/4 tsp. sparingly. I will try the cumin. Always homemade marinara. I always do triple batch, freeze for two no cook meals later. Try sliced black olives for topping before eating.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 27, 2023

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Ed! I’m so glad you enjoyed this meat sauce recipe!

      Reply

  • Dorothy
    February 20, 2023

    Nice, I have 3 hot Italian sausages that will be useful here. Will add more sauce to compensate for the extra meat. Thank you.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      February 20, 2023

      Sounds great! 🙂

      Reply

  • Wendy
    January 17, 2023

    Yes, What kind cheese are you using that you grate in your cheese grater? So when I go to the grocery store I can ask if they carry it. There many to choose from, but I was wondering what brand and type you use. Thank you!!😇

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 17, 2023

      Hi Wendy! It’s parmesan cheese. 🙂

      Reply

  • KA
    January 11, 2023

    Simple, tastes great. Followed exactly and added fresh mushrooms as my family loves them and I had a few I needed to use. The only thing easier would be take out!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      January 11, 2023

      Thank you for sharing!

      Reply

  • Patti Ferguson
    December 6, 2022

    I’m enjoying your website. I have a question please. When I make spaghetti sauce and serve it over spaghetti pasta on a plate, there is watery liquid that starts to pool on the plate around the hot sauce and pasta. What am I doing wrong? I drain my pasta well for several minutes and I don’t rinse it before adding the sauce on the plate. Help please!! Thank you,
    Patti Ferguson
    A Mississippi fan.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 6, 2022

      Hi Patti! I’m so glad you my recipes. It must be coming from somewhere, usually, this happens when the pasta is not drained well or adding too much water to the sauce and not letting the sauce simmer long enough could make it too watery.

      Reply

  • Kolton Bailey
    November 22, 2022

    Hi! I use this recipe all the time and it’s great! My only complaint is 309 calories is shown but there is no serving size. For somebody who trackers their calories I don’t know how much sauce and noodles is equal to the said 309 calories

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      November 22, 2022

      Hi Kolton! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe. At the top of the recipe card, it lists the number of servings this recipe makes. Unfortunately, you have to divide the whole recipe into those servings, the nutrition facts tool that we use for this website does not allow us to be that specific. We are always trying to improve our user experience and maybe this is something that we can fix in the future.

      Reply

  • Armande Landry
    August 23, 2022

    Hello Natasha, I really like your recipes can’t wait for you cook book to be published.Hope we’ ll be able to get it in Ontario.keep up the gook work Thank you so much xo

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 23, 2022

      Hi Armande! I’m so glad you enjoy my recipes. Yes, I’m excited for the cookbook to be done, I’m working hard at it. 🙂

      Reply

    • Whitney
      August 29, 2022

      My husband (42) has never liked spaghetti, as a kid or adult, but he really enjoyed this recipe! Finally! I followed the recipe completely and used a jar of Rao’s tomato and basil sauce.

      Reply

      • Natasha's Kitchen
        August 29, 2022

        Yay that’s awesome to know! Glad to hear that and thanks for sharing.

        Reply

  • Beverly Leszczynski
    August 5, 2022

    looks so good, today I know what for dinner. You are awesome young lady. Thank you for all the good recipe.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 5, 2022

      Thank you, Beverly! I hope you enjoy this recipe. 🙂

      Reply

  • Chelsey Ward
    July 29, 2022

    I don’t enjoy spaghetti but this was amazing! My family loved it. We are having a “Natasha’s Kitchen” week where every recipe is from your website! My husband is such a picky eater and he has loved EVERYTHING we have tried. Thank you!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 30, 2022

      Oh, how fun! So glad your family enjoyed this recipe. Thank you for the wonderful review, Chelsey. 🙂

      Reply

  • Debra Thiele
    July 15, 2022

    Another fantastic recipe from Natasha! The meat sauce with your marinara sauce is the best spaghetti sauce I have ever had! It will be my go to now! So much better than jarred sauce! Thank you Natasha for all you have taught me.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 16, 2022

      Thank you for the wonderful review, Debra. You’re very welcome.

      Reply

  • Julie Tate
    July 11, 2022

    This recipe is as close to my own as I’ve seen. I like to add a diced green bellpepper, too, as I do in meatloaf. My secret ingredient is cocoa powder which cuts the acidity in the tomatoes. Cumin is GREAT in chili and vegetarian vegetable soup, too. So much flavor!

    Reply

  • Sabrina
    July 9, 2022

    We haven’t tried this yet, we love all your recipes that we have tried. However, I have a question on this one; can you tell me why you use Marinara sauce instead regular spaghetti sauce? I’ve seen several recipes call for this and I’m just curious as to why.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 9, 2022

      Hi Sabrina, It makes this recipe quicker and easier to make. I hope you love this recipe!

      Reply

  • Randall Clark
    July 8, 2022

    Disappointed that you would put cumin or bottled sauce in a “sauce” recipe
    But I still love your website.

    Reply

  • Julie
    July 8, 2022

    Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
    Yours sounds delicious and much like the way I make mine. I don’t really have a lot of recipes. Just throw ingredients together. And for this sauce I like to use some dried Italian herbs to simmer in the sauce.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 9, 2022

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Julie! I’m glad you loved that.

      Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      July 9, 2022

      Thank you! I hope you try it and love it, Julie. Let us know what you think if you make it.

      Reply

  • Theresa
    June 30, 2022

    Made this last night for supper!!!! It was soooooooo good!!! Lol
    Thank you, Natasha for another amazing recipe!!! You have taught me so much and I’m so thankful for you!!!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      June 30, 2022

      I’m so glad! Thank you for your wonderful feedback, Theresa!

      Reply

  • Anne Winkelmann
    May 30, 2022

    Never thought of cumin as something in spaghetti sauce. Sounds interesting.

    Reply

  • Vinnitsa
    May 12, 2022

    This was soooo good!! So easy, and the flavors AMAZING. My 11 year old daughter asked for a bolognese and this was a hit. Will stay as a staple in my home 🙂

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 12, 2022

      Love it! Thanks a lot for the good comments and feedback.

      Reply

  • Brian D
    April 18, 2022

    Hi there Natasha, you have some of the same recipes that I have. Like your spaghetti sauce, but I use green pepper, tomato sauce diced tomatoes and a handful of Italian seasoning. The wife says it’s the best. Thick and chunky. not soupy. Thanks a bunch for your recipes.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 18, 2022

      You’re welcome, Brian. I hope you and your wife will enjoy all the recipes that you will try!

      Reply

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