Stop running to the store every time you need some pasta sauce! Make our easy homemade spaghetti sauce and discover your new favorite recipe. Plus, we have over 15 ways to reuse the leftover sauce!

Homemade spaghetti sauce in a pan, from Shelf Cooking

Pasta is one of those foods that brings people together. It's cheap, easy, and delicious! We always recommend keeping a jar of spaghetti sauce as a kitchen staple for those times when you need a quick and simple meal. But what about those times when you completely space and don't have any in the pantry? Drop everything and run to the store?? Nope!

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Make a batch of this super easy and crazy delicious homemade spaghetti sauce and you've got a meal that is out of this world. It's made from simple ingredients that you probably already have (#ShelfCooking) and you can double, triple, or even quadruple and freeze what you don't use for later.


Lasagna roll ups on a plate, from Shelf Cooking

This homemade spaghetti sauce is definitely shelf cooking-friendly! Here are a few ways you can make substitutions to the recipe and use whatever you have on hand:

  • Onion – Fresh always tastes good, but you can also use frozen or even dried. If you go the dried route, there's no need for cooking oil.
  • Crushed Tomatoes – If you prefer a smoother consistency for your homemade spaghetti sauce, then blend your chunky tomatoes in a blender before adding to the pot, or use an equal amount of tomato puree. You can also use the same amount of whole peeled tomatoes. Just crush them with a masher once they've warmed up. If you have fresh tomatoes, then make your own! You'll need about 2.75 pounds and you'll have to peel, core, and seed them before cooking them down.
  • Garlic – Fresh, from the jar, and dried all taste great!
  • Seasonings – If you don't have basil, oregano, and parsley, feel free to use Italian seasoning in its place. It has a slightly stronger flavor, so add it slowly until you get to the right taste.
  • Salt – Garlic salt is a staple in our house, but you can also use regular salt. Don't skip this ingredient! Veggies need salt. Just add a little bit at a time so you don't overdo it.
  • Additional Add-Ins – Take it to the next level by adding in your favorite things! Mushrooms, Italian sausage, ground beef, meatballs, ground or shredded chicken, or spinach, the options are endless!

Pro Tip: You can use cooked or fresh meat, both will taste delicious! If using fresh, start cooking the meat in the pot with the oil and onions before adding any of the additional sauce ingredients. Once the meat is close to being done, then you can add the remaining ingredients. The meat will be done cooking by the time the sauce is done simmering and your homemade spaghetti sauce will be extra flavorful!


We've said it before and we'll say it louder for the people in the back; make extras so you can freeze it! Leftover spaghetti sauce thaws quickly, reheats wonderfully, and makes for a quick dinner on those busy weeknights. Think about what meal you want to use it in before you parcel it out so you'll have the right amount. You'll need more sauce for some meals and less for others. (Don't worry, you're about to get some great ideas for those meals!)

Allow the sauce to cool off before putting it in a freezer baggie. Get as much air out as possible before you zip it closed and label with the date, description, and amount you froze or what you froze it for. Allow it to freeze flat, then you can stand it up for easy storage in the freezer.

You can also freeze in glass jars, but you have to leave enough air at the top for the sauce to expand without shattering your glass! We don't like to risk it, which is why we suggest freezing in the baggies.


Spaghetti on a plate, from Shelf Cooking

Using it over pasta is a given, but what about those times you're completely out of pasta or are just plain tired of it? Switch it up and use that leftover spaghetti sauce in these deliciously different ways!

  • Build your own pasta meal using whatever you have on hand
  • Dip for cheesy garlic bread
  • Meatball sandwiches
  • Dip for mozzarella sticks
  • Sauce for homemade pizza or stromboli
  • Dip for calzones
  • Italian meatloaf
  • Dip for toasted ravioli
  • Topping for breaded chicken
  • Zucchini boats
  • Pour over stuffed bell peppers
  • Dip for grilled cheese or quesadillas
  • Use as a base in a homemade Italian soup
  • Eggplant pizzas
  • All the casseroles – pizza, tortellini, ravioli, lasagna, etc.

Don't let your leftover spaghetti sauce go to waste! As you can see, there are plenty of ways to reuse it that will feel like a brand new meal to you. All of these ideas use varying amounts of sauce. Only a few tablespoons can go a long way, so don't get rid of a single, delectable drop!


Let's get to the goods, already! You've seen how versatile this recipe is. Now it's time for you to see how easy it is!

Homemade spaghetti sauce in a pan, from Shelf Cooking

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Are you ready for your new favorite pasta sauce? It only has to simmer for 20 minutes (although the longer, the better!) and it freezes really well.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6 people


  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • Garlic salt, to taste
  • Additional add-ins, such as mushrooms, spinach or cooked meats


  • Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot.
  • Add diced onions and saute until they're translucent.
  • Stir in tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, parsley, salt and any additional add-ins.
  • Cover and simmer for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Feel free to allow it to simmer as long as you can!)
  • Serve over your favorite pasta, in a casserole, or as a dipping sauce.


This sauce freezes so well! Add meal-sized portions to a freezer bag and cool in the refrigerator. Once cool, lay flat in the freezer to freeze. Once it's frozen, you can stand it up to make more space. When you're ready to eat it, thaw in the refrigerator and heat up on the stove.
Keyword batch cooking, freezer-friendly, tomatoes

Really, you won't want to go back to the store-bought jars of pasta sauce after you make this! Especially since it's so easy to keep the leftovers.

What's your favorite way to use homemade spaghetti sauce? Let us know in the comments! We're always looking for new ways to use it.

Homemade spaghetti sauce on a spoon, from Shelf Cooking

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