Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Make this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe and have dinner on the table in an hour. Cooks in the microwave for an easy and fresh family dinner!

linguine with homemade spaghetti sauce on blue plate

This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe is one that is near and dear to my heart. My grandmother made this spaghetti sauce and then after her, my mom made it. Before my mom passed away, but after she stopped cooking, my dad asked if I would give it a try.

Well…of course we all know the answer to that. So I took my mom’s recipe home, and gave it my best shot. It took a few tries, but soon my dad told me that it tasted just like my mom’s. In my book, there is no higher compliment than that.

Is spaghetti sauce the same as marinara sauce?

There isn’t much difference. Traditionally, marinara sauce is meatless, and spaghetti sauce has added meat and/or vegetables. The titles are interchangeable, and basically mean the same thing.

Is it worth it to make your own spaghetti sauce?

The answer to that question is a definite “YES!” Although I am a believer in semi-homemade cooking, making food for your family from scratch is very gratifying.

homemade spaghetti sauce ingredients

Why This Recipe Works

This homemade pasta sauce recipe tastes like you cooked it all day, but it only takes an hour…and you cook it in the microwave. One of the best things about making this spaghetti sauce is that about halfway through the cooking time, as the flavors melt together, your house will begin to smell like an Italian bistro!

Ingredient Notes + Variations

  • My dad swears by Contadina tomato paste, but any kind of tomato paste can be used. (Contadina also makes pizza sauce that is delicious.)
  • This tomato sauce recipe is meatless, but one pound of cooked meat (ground beef, ground turkey, chicken, pork, italian sausage) or cooked meatballs can be added at the end of the cooking time.
  • I use dried minced onions, but finely diced fresh onion is fine. Finely diced bell peppers can also be added.
  • Fresh garlic cloves can be substituted for the garlic powder.
  • We prefer linguine, but use your favorite spaghetti noodles, or whatever pasta you have on hand.
  • A heaping tablespoon of fresh chopped basil can be added during the last five minutes of cooking time.
  • Other spices and fresh herbs that can be added: oregano, dried basil, chopped fresh parsley, red pepper flakes.
  • For a chunkier pasta sauce, a 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes can be added after the tomato paste and before the water.
spices for homemade spaghetti sauce

How to Make

  • In a large casserole dish, combine olive oil, onion, salt, garlic powder, sugar, and pepper.
  • Whisk to combine.
  • Add tomato paste and whisk again.
  • Add water in 2 cup increments, gently whisking to combine between additions.
  • Cook on high in the microwave for 1 hour, covered. Set the microwave for three 20-minute increments and stir well in between.
  • During last 20 minute cooking increment, boil 1 lb. pasta according to package directions.
  • When pasta and sauce are done, toss together. Garnish with fresh basil if desired. Serve immediately with grated parmesan cheese.

Note: during certain times of the year, home-grown fresh basil isn’t available. If what you find at the grocery store is wilted and less than beautiful, here’s what to do. Fill a bowl or glass with cool water. Snip the ends of the basil, and soak it in the water for 30 minutes. It will revive, and look wonderful.

homemade spaghetti sauce in dish with whisk

TIPS

  • This homemade spaghetti sauce recipe makes the perfect amount of sauce for one pound of pasta.
  • To cook it in the microwave, I use a lidded 2 1/2 quart oval casserole dish.
  • During the cooking time, condensation may appear in your microwave. Don’t worry about this until the sauce is finished cooking. Then thoroughly wipe your microwave with a clean towel. It will shine like new!
  • Any unused sauce can be stored in the fridge in a jar or airtight container for up to a week.
  • This is a low calorie meal. Check out the nutritional information in the printable recipe card.
cooked homemade spaghetti sauce in dish with spoon

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! It freezes extremely well. I do it all the time. For smaller servings, make the full batch, but divide it in half before freezing. 

Yes! Add all the ingredients to a large pot or dutch oven and bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer until it’s reduced by about half, and is your desired consistency.

No. It would be very hard to find a vessel big enough to hold 12 cups of water that will fit in a microwave. For a smaller portion, the recipe ingredients can be halved.

Yes! I was once asked if it had ever exploded or run over. It has not. Using the 20-minute increments allows for the casserole lid to be lifted, the sauce stirred, and air to escape. It is essential that you use a large casserole dish with a sturdy lid.

linguine with homemade spaghetti sauce in dish

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linguine with homemade spaghetti sauce on blue plate

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Make this homemade spaghetti sauce recipe and have dinner on the table in an hour. Cooks in the microwave for an easy and fresh family dinner!
Rate this Recipe Print Recipe Pin Recipe
4.60 from 5 votes
Servings: 6 servings
Author: Ann Drake
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
0 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
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Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion (I used dried)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or 1 pkg. sweetener (Equal or Stevia)
  • Pepper to taste
  • 12 oz. can Contadina Tomato Paste
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 lb. pasta

Instructions

  • In a large casserole dish, combine olive oil, onion, salt, garlic powder, sugar, and pepper.
  • Whisk to combine.
  • Add tomato paste and whisk again.
  • Add water in 2 cup increments, gently whisking to combine between additions.
  • Cook on high in the microwave for 1 hour, covered. Set the microwave for three 20-minute increments and stir well in between.
  • During last 20 minute cooking increment, boil 1 lb. pasta according to package directions.
  • When pasta and sauce are done, toss together. Garnish with basil if desired. Serve immediately with grated parmesan cheese.

Notes

Cooked ground beef or cooked meatballs can be added to sauce during the last five minutes of cooking time. 

Nutrition

Calories: 115kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 1400mg | Potassium: 843mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 1192IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg
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Until next time…