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Stamp-of-Approval Spaghetti Sauce

My father is very opinionated, especially about food. This recipe received his almost unreachable stamp of approval. I have yet to hear a disagreement from anyone who has tried it! —Melissa Taylor, Higley, Arizona
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Cook: 8 hours
  • Makes
    12 servings (3 quarts)


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3/4 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 4 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 4 cans (6 ounces each) tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Hot cooked spaghetti


  • In a Dutch oven, cook the beef, sausage, onions and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
  • Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, oil and seasonings.
  • Cook, covered, on low 8-10 hours. Discard bay leaves. Serve with spaghetti.
    Freeze option: Cool before placing in a freezer container. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Place in a large saucepan; heat through, stirring occasionally. Serve with spaghetti.

Spaghetti Sauce Tips

What is the difference between spaghetti sauce and marinara sauce?

Traditionally, marinara sauce is quick, simple and made with just a handful of ingredients. Spaghetti sauce, on the other hand, is more complex. It can feature meat, vegetables and a wide variety of seasonings.

What is the best spaghetti sauce?

If you don’t have time to make homemade spaghetti sauce, a store-bought version will work in a pinch. We tested 11 different brands and liked this one the best.

What pasta shapes go best with this sauce?

While spaghetti is the obvious choice, most long pasta noodles will work well. Feel free to open up a box of linguine, fettuccine, pappardelle or any other noodle that will hold up to this hearty spaghetti sauce recipe.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 335 calories, 16g fat (5g saturated fat), 62mg cholesterol, 622mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate (16g sugars, 5g fiber), 22g protein.


Click stars to rate
Average Rating:
  • Laura
    May 13, 2020

    A friend of mine made it and asked if I wanted to try it and I loved it. She gave me a small bowl and I ate all of it. Let me say, I'm part Sicilian and NEVER use jarred sauces, always make my own from scratch. If I had read the recipe before trying it I would have tossed the recipe aside with disdain. Seriously, sage, marjoram, Worcestershire sauce!!!??? But it works. So to the person that gave one star without even trying it, I would suggest trying it before you judge it. No, it's not Sunday sauce. But it's excellent on its own merit and something to try if you want to shake things up a little. I’m looking forward to making this recipe and sharing with my friends. I have a recipe for beef shank ragu that takes a few minutes to prepare on the stove before tossing it in the oven to cook for two and a half hours. Got that one from an Italian cooking show. That's another one that's unconventional as far as American tastes, but if you don't have the time to keep stirring your sauce for three hours or more, it's an excellent alternative. People at work loved it and asked me to make it several times.

  • Keira2008
    Apr 14, 2020

    No comment left

  • Susan
    Mar 23, 2020

    I loved this sauce!! I didn't use marjoram( none in the spice rack), no sugar ( 4 cans of tomato paste is naturally sweet) and used Henderson;s Relish (Amazon). I grew up with Henderson's instead of Worchester Sauce as my Mother didn't like anchovies. I used olive oil as canola oil is tasteless.

  • daria
    Mar 15, 2020

    Generally good recipe, but skip the Worcesteshire sauce, use red wine. Use olive or even avocado oil instead of canola oil. I have noticed the recent trend pushing this canola oil travesty as some sort of healthy component (sponsored by the Canola Council of Canada!). Use it in deep fryer as it is dirt cheap, but I wouldn't use it in a flavorful dish such as this.

  • Mike
    Mar 14, 2020

    In all my years I never heard of putting sage in and Italian sauce, first off it is Gravy, second Sage you got to be kidding, third Marjoram, I make gravy on Sunday it takes all day not putting any thing in Dutch oven

  • Bonnie
    Mar 4, 2020

    This is NOT Italian spaghetti sauce. Had to throw it out-it was terrible!

  • jstowellsupermom
    Dec 28, 2019

    A rich and hearty sauce! Next time I would cut back on the sugar as it was a bit sweet for us, but that is just personal preference. This makes a wonderful spaghetti sauce!

  • Amy
    Nov 12, 2019

    So I don't really get to rate stars based on the original since I deviated, but, here goes: I added only2 tomato paste cans because we like a thinner sauce. I found two big cans of San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes in my pantry. I didn't have all those great fresh herbs and I couldn't afford anyway. I have Italian Seasoning in a jar and dried parsley in my icebox. No sugar and added Merlot. Did everything the same except it took one hour one high and three hours on low on my old crockpot. Looks like I made many changes to this great recipe, but I have to thank the original recipe provider for giving me the basis (and really good) foundation for making a spaghetti sauce in a crockpot for the first time in my 60 years. I'm keeping this one forever because of its adaptability, budget versus restaurant costs, pull it out of the freezer handiness, and just because it's a winner.

  • Patricia
    Oct 14, 2019

    I didn't use sausage, though I'm sure it would be tasty. I used 2 lbs. 85/15 gr. beef and drained well. I used a large crushed tomato can and two 15 oz. tomato sauce cans. First I diced a large sweet onion, crushed 5 garlic cloves and diced a jar of fire-roasted red peppers. I used all the spices from this recipe , except the sugar and the bay leaves. I added about 1/4 c. Olive Oil and sauteed the spices and vegetables (without the tomatoes) on low heat. I added a large jar of mushroom pieces, the tomatoes and the drained beef. I covered the skillet and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35 to 45 mins. The result was a mildly sweet, very flavorful thick sauce. After 3 helpings, my husband gave it 5 stars. I attribute the tasty flavor to my use of the spices in your "Stamp of Approval" Spaghetti Sauce. Thanks Taste of Home!

  • Terry
    Aug 4, 2019

    This is an excellent recipe, almost identical to the one my great-aunt Madeline DiGiovanni (born in 1895, one year after her parents arrived from Italy) made for our family and taught me to make. We didn't use Italian sausage because it doesn't agree with me, and she usually didn't use Worcestershire or marjoram. And cooked it for a good long time, although maybe not for 8 hours. Our whole family, including grandparents and 2nd and 3rd cousins, all grew up eating sweet sauces. It's how my great-aunt's mother and other relatives cooked, straight from Italy (probably Sicily, but I'm not sure). Just like any other place, even people in the same region may have different ways of cooking. She also never used any type of wine in her cooking, although I've seen it in recipes from so many others. This tastes like home to me-- it is wonderful! (And also, salt and pepper are usually a given, aren't they? Does anyone who's cooked for more than a couple of years really need to be told to add "salt and pepper to taste"?