I think for every established cook, there’s a “perfect” spaghetti sauce recipe… there’s just so many online! This is a somewhat classic recipe, with some modernization (like the hot sauce), and my family’s preferred tomato based pasta sauce. A variation is used for my super easy and low cost lasagna as well. Start your sauce early, at least an hour before you cook the pasta, to give the seasonings time to blend in, then adjust it to your liking.

We use low sodium tomato sauce and a small amount of salt, most of North America will say this recipe “needs more salt!” – feel free to add more, a little at a time.

I’ve made this in the Instant Pot on busy-day mornings so the family only has to make pasta on the stove at dinner time; easy instructions are at the bottom. We don’t like mushy noodles, they have no place in a pressure cooker! In my humble opinion, of course.

Spaghetti Sauce

A hearty, delicious, and versatile pasta sauce. You can leave out all the optional ingredients or only add some in any combination and it will always turn out tasty. Makes enough sauce to serve 8-10 portions of pasta.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Simmer30 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Dish, Pasta
Cuisine: American-Italian
Keyword: basil, ground beef, ground pork, italian, oregano, pasta, sauce, spaghetti, tomato
Servings: 8
Author: Amy Garrett


  • lbs ground meat beef and/or pork, lean to extra lean
  • ¼ lb bulk sausage preferred style (optional)
  • 1 onion medium, diced fine
  • 1 T garlic minced
  • ½ cup fresh mushrooms sliced or diced (optional)
  • 2 T bell pepper red, yellow, or orange, diced very fine (optional)
  • 2 cans tomato sauce 15oz
  • 1 can diced or crushed tomatoes 15oz, plain or with onions and peppers
  • 2 T worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Frank's Hot Sauce (optional)
  • ½ cup black olives slided or diced (optional)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt or to taste


  • In extra large pan on medium-high heat start browning the ground beef and/or pork, and sausage (if using). Add onions, garlic, mushrooms (if using), and pepper (if using), while the meat is still pink, about half cooked. Finish browning the meat, using your utensil to break it up into very small pieces, until the onions are translucent and starting to brown. Drain any excess oil as desired.
  • Stir in tomato sauce and tomatoes, along with olives (if using), worchestershire sauce, and Frank's Hot Sauce (if using). Turn down heat so it's at a slow simmer.
  • Add onion powder, garlic powder, italian seasoning, basil, oregano, thyme, pepper, and ½ tsp salt. Stir to combine, let simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow flavours to combine, then adjust salt and other seasonings to taste.
  • Let simmer for at least 30 minutes; the longer the better.
  • Instant Pot Instructions: Use the Saute setting for step 1, then add all the rest of the ingredients, stir completely, and pressure cook on high for 15 minutes. Can use the Keep Warm setting all day if needed.
    Will be more watery with this method.
    I've never gotten a burn error, but if you run into it, add ½ cup water and stir well before trying again.


To serve, spoon over or mix into bowl of, cooked noodles and serve with Parmesan cheese. My family enjoys shredded cheddar and/or mozzarella on their pasta, too.
For best results (for the sauce to stick to the noodles), cook the noodles in pure water, in a pot large enough that the noodles can move around, without any salt or oil added. Cook to desired tenderness, and drain well, don't rinse unless necessary.
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