Who knew that you could make a rich and hearty spaghetti sauce in 20 minutes? Simple and flavorful, this quick homemade spaghetti sauce is perfect.

If you love homemade spaghetti like I love homemade spaghetti, you are going to fall head over heels for this recipe.

So simple, this 20-minute quick homemade spaghetti sauce is the answer when you want rich and hearty, flavorful spaghetti sauce without having to plan hours (or days) in advance…or without opening a jar.

A fork twirling a bite of spaghetti noodles in a white bowl, and meaty spaghetti sauce and parmesan on top of the noodles.

Perfect for Crazy Weeknights

We all know there’s no shame in popping open a jar of store bought spaghetti sauce, but if you get excited about from-scratch versions that are almost as easy as prepackaged, this recipe is for you. And me.

Not only is this quick, homemade spaghetti sauce amazingly delicious, it is also a fabulous dinner solution for a crazy weeknight when you just need a healthy, tasty, filling dinner on the table fast.

A skillet full of meaty, red spaghetti sauce, with a green salad, and spaghetti noodles in the background.

Two Secret Ingredients

Rich and hearty, there are a few key ingredients in this simple, weeknight spaghetti sauce that help replicate the flavor of a low and slow, long-simmered sauce.

First, tomato paste! The concentrated flavor of tomato paste adds a depth of flavor quickly without the need for special ingredients or longer cooking time.

Second, soy sauce.

You don’t need a lot – just a tablespoon, but that little dash of complexity does wonders for the overall flavor of this quick homemade spaghetti sauce.

A white bowl of spaghetti noodles with meaty, red spaghetti sauce on top, and a green salad in the background.

The real test of success for this sauce was when I made it a while ago but didn’t tell anyone in my family it was the fast and furious version instead of our longtime favorite homemade version.

While eating, one of the boys said: “I love mom’s spaghetti sauce” and Brian said “yep, there’s nothing that can beat it.”

I almost didn’t have the heart to tell everyone that I had kind of tricked them – subbing in this quick homemade spaghetti sauce for our beloved go-to spaghetti sauce.

There’s nothing like good ol’ classic spaghetti for dinner, and this quick weeknight version is on repeat constantly at our house! Fast and flavorful! Can’t top that.

A fork twirling a bite of spaghetti noodles in a white bowl, and meaty spaghetti sauce and parmesan cheese on top of the noodles.

What to Serve With This:

Hot, cooked spaghetti noodles
Divine breadsticks or this Asiago pull-apart bread
Thrown together green salad

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Quick Weeknight Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

4.68 stars (249 ratings)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef, ground turkey, or ground pork (or a combination)
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 28- ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 8- ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1-2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • Hot, cooked noodles, for serving
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

Instructions 

  • In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground meat, onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks, until the meat is not longer pink.
  • Drain any excess grease.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, basil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for about a minute, until the mixture smells fragrant.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, brown sugar and soy sauce. Stir to combine.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes (or as long as you like/need).
  • Serve over hot, cooked noodles.

Notes

Time Savers: to get a full spaghetti meal on the table fast, cook the noodles while you make the sauce. It probably goes without saying, but you could use ground sausage, if that’s your preference, or experiment making this meatless. Also, I won’t tell if you decide to opt for 1/2 or so teaspoon garlic powder in place of the minced, fresh garlic.
Tomato Paste: like I mention in the post above, since the recipe calls for two tablespoons of tomato paste, you can freeze the remaining tomato sauce (from a can) to use later OR look for the tomato paste in the squeezable tubes (life changing!).
Other Meal Ideas: this sauce is obviously delicious as a quick spaghetti meal, but it’s also wonderful subbed in a multitude of pasta dishes, like this manicotti or these lasagna rolls.
Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 172kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 47mg, Sodium: 749mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 9g
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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe