Easy meat sauce

A pan of meat sauce garnished with basil next to a tomato, garlic and dry pasta
Recipe credit

University of Minnesota Extension Department of Family, Health and Wellbeing staff

About this recipe

Serving size
1/9 of prepared recipe
Time to make
10 minutes preparation; 40 minutes cook time


  • 2 pounds ground beef or ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 15-ounce jars spaghetti sauce
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 cloves garlic (or garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1-2 cups chopped vegetables


  1. Brown meat thoroughly, making sure there is no pink color left in the meat or juices.
  2. Drain any excess fat from meat. Rinse with hot water.
  3. Combine drained meat with onion, spaghetti sauce, water, and spices. Add vegetables. Cover and bring to a boil.
  4. Simmer 20-30 minutes or until desired consistency.
  5. Refrigerate or freeze leftover sauce in 1-cup portions.

Tips and variations

  • Leave the salt and add more garlic or herbs for more flavor.
  • Add 2 cans of kidney beans and 2 teaspoons of chili powder to 2 cups of meat sauce to make easy chili.
  • For sloppy joes, add 1 tablespoon each of vinegar, brown sugar, and 3/4 cup ketchup to 2 cups of meat sauce.
  • Cook once and eat twice. This is a great way to use leftovers. Store leftovers in the refrigerator immediately.

Nutritional info

Total fat
6.1 g
Saturated fat
2.2 g
48 mg
381 mg
Total carbohydrates
11.8 g
Dietary fiber
2 g
19.8 g
Total sugar
7.8 g