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Spaghetti Sauce With Ground Beef

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Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef is a favorite dish of families! Thin spaghetti is topped with a thick rich homemade sauce, laced with hearty spices, and topped off with grated Parmesan cheese!

Spaghetti Sauce with Pasta

There’s just something about a big pot of tomato sauce filled with rosemary, basil, and oregano cooking away on the back of the stove.

The house smells heavenly. (Italian kitchens must be splendid places to hang out!)

For years my marinara sauce was just “so-so”. I’ll be honest…and own it. I didn’t know some really valuable tips. (Those Italian Mama’s hold on tight to those family recipes!)  

I’d buy store-bought sauce and just add hamburger…maybe a few little extras here and there. Nothing really special.

Then one summer we had a plethora of tomatoes from the garden. I searched to find a really great canning recipe for homemade sauce… and “BAM!”…. Life Changed! FOREVER!

Spaghetti Sauce with Meat Sauce

How To Make Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce

The basic sauce, minus the meat and mushrooms, is a classic Italian Marinara sauce.

If you’re not a meat eater…you don’t have to put the meat in this sauce. (I try to make things easy here at my Nest! However, I’m suddenly craving a hamburger…just sayin’!) 

Let’s get cooking

In a large skillet add 4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil.

Over medium heat add 2 teaspoons of minced garlic. (Yep…we’re scaring away vampires…or old age! I’ll take the latter. Excuse me while I go lather myself in garlic!) 

Sauté garlic for 1–2 minutes.

Add one pound of lean ground beef and two cups of sliced mushrooms and cook until meat is brown. (Don’t like mushrooms…skip them… the neglected cows will eat them! Lol)

Browning Ground beef and mushrooms

Creating the Sauce

Do not drain cooked meat. We want that oil in the sauce.

Add 1 cup of water, 1 – 8 oz. can tomato sauce, 1 – 16 oz. can petite diced tomatoes, 1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste.

In all seriousness if you are not adding meat… just add the above and continue to follow the recipe. I do this all the time, and it turns out beautifully!

Although truthfully if I placed a plate of spaghetti in front of Mr. Nest with no meat he’d look at me like I’d just lost my last screw. Lol

Pan with tomatoes, meat, tomato sauce, water,

Add 1/2 – 1 Tablespoons sugar. It depends on how sweet you want the sauce.

TIP: Why add sugar? This helps cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes. This is one of those little “secrets” I mentioned above.

Add 1 teaspoon oregano, 1 teaspoon of crushed rosemary, 1/4 tsp. onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional), and two bay leaves.

Addition of Spices and sugar to sauce

Add 1 Tablespoon dried parsley, or 1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh parsley.

Addition of Dried Parsley

Add 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil. I happen to L.O.V.E. fresh Basil! The smell is heavenly and so refreshing. So I try to always have it on had.

Addition of fresh chopped basil

Simmer the Sauce

Stir everything together and turn the heat to low. Allow sauce to simmer on the stove for 4 hours OR you can put it in your crock pot and cook on low for 4–6 hours. Stirring occasionally.

TIP: This is the biggest secret I’ve learned…it’s all about the LONG simmer time! Those Italian Grandma’s know a thing or two! The sauce reduces down and the flavors condense and intensify! 

The sauce will thicken, and those sugars will caramelize in the sauce, creating a rich thick sauce with a wonderful depth of flavor. (Yes…just saying it again! In case you’ve forgotten in the last 2 seconds!)

As the day ticks away… the house will begin to fill with the most amazing scent! (Time to put a little Pavarotti on your iPhone!)

Finishing and Serving Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Remove the bay leaves before serving.

Rich Thick Simmering Spaghetti Sauce

Prepare your pasta.

I always recommend that you cook whatever pasta you are making al dente! This will allow the pasta to absorb the sauce. There is nothing better than pasta that has absorbed the luscious flavors of the sauce. Truly spectacular!

TIP: I’ve found that the cook time instructions on the package of pasta, if followed correctly, makes for perfect pasta every time!

Pour that spectacular meat sauce over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese!

Now go find a fork and swirl away!

Oh, wait…maybe you’re a cutter and not a swirler?  We like to swirl at this Nest! There’s just something about twirling pasta round and round and having the anticipation build!

Spaghetti with Beef

Serve this delicious spaghetti with a big garden salad and warm French bread. Let the rich meat sauce be the star of the show!

Before I learned how to make this spaghetti sauce my kids hated my spaghetti! (Gulp! That was hard to admit!) However…now I am the master of my spaghetti domain! Boo-yah!!!

Other Favorite Pasta Recipes

I hope this meat sauce is enjoyed by your family and friends. That you can be the Master of your Spaghetti Sauce domain! Lol Bon Appétit!

Happy Nesting!

Norine's Picture with Signature
Yield: 6-8 servings

Spaghetti Sauce With Ground Beef

Pile of spaghetti with meat sauce

A rich hearty homemade meat sauce that is full flavored and delicious on your favorite pasta! It's the perfect sauce!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 - 16 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/2 - 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. crushed rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, chopped; or 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 Tablespoon dried parsley; or 1 Tablespoon fresh dried parsley
  • Fresh Pasta cooked al dente
  • Parmesan Cheese for garnish


  1. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add 4 Tablespoons of olive oil and saute garlic for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add 1 pound of ground beef and 2 cups of mushrooms. Cook until beef is brown and mushrooms are soft.
  3. Do not drain.
  4. Add tomato sauce, petite diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Stir well.
  5. Add in sugar, oregano, crushed rosemary, onion powder, red pepper flake, black pepper, salt, bay leaves, basil, and parsley. Mix well.
  6. Simmer on low, stirring occasionally, for 4-6 hours, or place every thing in a slow cooker on low for 6 hours, until sauce reduces and becomes thick. Remove bay leaves.
  7. Serve on top of your favorite pasta.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 269Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 361mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 20g

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gil wibbons

Tuesday 9th of February 2021

Hi Norine, your recipe looks delicious. I like to use canned tomatoes and puree and a little paste and wine for liquids/flavors. Also, I see Italians often throw a piece of fresh pork into the mix, like a spare rib, something bony for the marrow flavor, I guess. So, I had a piece of fresh neck bone left over from my last Jacques Pepin 'Neck bones and White Beans' recipe. Hopefully that will give the sauce a little more depth of flavor. Plus, I do my 4-5 hrs. cooking in the oven, so the convection heat cooks it instead of the stove burner. Just my thoughts

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Tuesday 9th of February 2021

Hi Gil! Love your ideas and tips! Thanks so much for sharing with us. I think the pork bones sound like a wonderful addition. Excited to see how it turns out for you! Stop back by again and update me! Happy Cooking! Norine

Pamela Winterrowd

Monday 5th of October 2020

You must have a spy in my kitchen.ha. I was planning to BUY spaghetti sauce today, but now I will make YOUR recipe instead. We grow our own basil, and this is going to be an amazing aroma in the house.

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Thursday 8th of October 2020

Hi Pamela! Don't tell anyone about my spies. LOL Thanks for sharing with me. I can almost smell how wonderful your kitchen was during the making of this sauce. Fresh Basil...Heavenly!!! I love fresh Basil and always have it on hand. Something about that aroma can't be beat. I hope you enjoyed this sauce and that you'll stop back by again and visit. Have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by. Norine


Tuesday 8th of September 2020

Norine.....I know you said not to drain the fat after browning the meat when making the spaghetti sauce but does this include the grease from the ground beef as well? I would like to try your Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef. Was wondering what type of ground beef you use, ground sirloin or ground chuck. Thanks for your assistance. Looking forward to trying the meaty spaghetti sauce!

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Monday 14th of September 2020

Hi Nancy! Great questions! I used 90%/10% fat content on my Ground Beef. I prefer to use Ground Sirloin because it is leaner, but I've used both. I often get slack for telling people not to drain off the fat from the browned ground beef. Now if you're using a meat that is a little high in fat content you may want to drain it a tad. What so many forget is that we crave steaks with beautifully marbling and that is fat. Fat is flavor!! Of course we want to control how much fat we are adding into our meals...but with the Spaghetti sauce it's wonderful. Hope that helps and sorry it's taken me so long to respond. I was out on vacation! Hope you have a great week. Come Back Soon! Norine

Eggplant Parmigiana | Norine's Nest

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[…] Spaghetti with Homemade Meat Sauce  […]

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