How to Make Your Own Spaghetti Sauce From Scratch and Can It

Updated on September 5, 2017
Put jars in water and heat to boiling.  Boil for 30 minutes.
Put jars in water and heat to boiling. Boil for 30 minutes.

As a homemaker, feeding my family healthy, organic, and minimally processed foods must sometimes take a back seat to our needs for frugality. So when I discovered that I could have my sauce and eat it too by making and canning my own spaghetti sauce, I was hooked. However, it took a few tries to get my recipe just right. I started looking at existing sauce recipes, and while they had their merits, they were missing the bold, robust flavors I was looking for. Over time, I developed my own recipe—the one I'm sharing with you today.

Imagine giving an Italian dinner basket with a loaf of homemade French bread, fresh noodles, a pint of sauce, and a bottle of wine as a gift for an anniversary or birthday gift for a friend, or the look on your family's face when they take that first bite of real sauce.

I haven't bought commercial spaghetti sauce in over 3 years, and you won't either once you try your hand at making your own.

From my home to yours,

the Modern Housewife

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Cook Time

Prep time: 3 hours
Cook time: 1 hour 30 min
Ready in: 4 hours 30 min
Yields: 10-11 quarts of sauce and juice


  • 20 lbs tomatoes, use a combination of meat and juicing tomatoes
  • 6 medium onions, diced
  • 1 head garlic, pressed
  • 5 TBSP olive oil
  • 5 TBSP salt
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1 bunch each Oregano, parsley, and Basil, chopped
  • 1 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 4 Cups Shredded Zucchini, (Optional)
  • 4 Cups Diced red bell pepper, (Optional)


  1. Blanch tomatoes in small batches for 2 minutes, or until skin spits easily when pierced with a knife, and immerse in ice water. Core and peel tomatoes and set in extra large stock pot set over medium heat. Stir tomatoes often. Meanwhile, continue blanching, coring and peeling the rest of the tomatoes. Tip: Squeeze first several tomatoes to release their juices so that tomatoes will not burn. You may halve or quarter tomatoes to speed up cooking time, but this is unnecessary.
  2. Once all tomatoes are in the stock pot, add onion, (optional bell pepper or zucchini), garlic, salt and sugar. Continue cooking over medium-high heat, stirring frequently and crushing tomatoes with the wooden spoon, for 15-20 minutes. Tip: For smoother texture, puree mixture using a handheld blender after 15-20 minutes. Otherwise, just crush well.
  3. Add lemon juice, oregano, parsley, and basil and cook 15 minutes longer. Strain out and reserve juice until sauce reaches desired consistency. Tip: Reserved juice make delicious tomato soup. Pour juice into pint jars or freeze to preserve.
  4. Pour sauce into quart ball jars and process for 30 minutes in a water bath canner. Label jars and store for up to 1 year.
Puree sauce for smoother texture.
Puree sauce for smoother texture.
Put jars in water and heat to boiling.  Boil for 30 minutes.
Put jars in water and heat to boiling. Boil for 30 minutes.

To Make Tomato Soup from Juice

Pour 1 pint tomato juice in 2 quart saucepan and heat to boiling. Sprinkle a dash of baking soda over juice. Wisk together 2 TBSP corn starch and 1 cup milk. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly.

To Use Sauce

Brown 1 pound ground sausage or hamburger while noodles are cooking. Drain fat off and add sauce. Reserve 1 cup water from noodles before straining. mix water into sauce. Heat to boiling. reduce heat to simmer and simmer 5 minutes. Toss with noodles.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/2 Cup sauce without meat
Calories 39
Calories from Fat9
% Daily Value *
Fat 1 g2%
Carbohydrates 7 g2%
Sugar 5 g
Fiber 2 g8%
Protein 1 g2%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 445 mg19%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Questions & Answers

    © 2013 Sarah


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      • modern housewife profile image

        Sarah 4 years ago from Indiana

        I would count it as meat sauce because of the grease and small bits of meat that would be left behind. I would make the sauce and can most of it, reserving enough to cook your meatballs. That smaller amount of sauce you could freeze with your meatballs in ziplock bags or containers in meal-size amounts, or form the meatballs and freeze on a tray. Then, place them in a large ziplock bag. You can cook what you need in the sauce you open for the meal.

      • Liz Graz profile image

        Liz Graz 4 years ago from Martinsville, New Jersey

        Thank you! I'm going to try it next time (smaller batch to test though). I do use red wine, but I'll add lemon juice too. Also, I normally brown sausage and fry meatballs and then allow them to cook in the sauce. I remove them (and individually quick freeze them) before I put in my canning jars (and freeze) . Would this also be included as meat sauce?

      • modern housewife profile image

        Sarah 4 years ago from Indiana

        Well, officially, "No, u should use a tested and approved recipe." However, Personally, I made up my own recipe and even change it year to year depending on my mood, so I would say go for it! If you don't already, add lemon juice to the sauce (about 1/2 cup for 7-8quarts, maybe) to raise the acid level and would think you would be fine. Just don't can meat sauce in a water bath.

      • Liz Graz profile image

        Liz Graz 4 years ago from Martinsville, New Jersey

        Is it possible to use my own recipe and safely can it in a water bath? I've been making it for years (no real measurements) and just putting them in the pint wide (freezer safe) mouth jars and freezing them. I rather not have to use up valuable freezer space (and worry about power outages).

      • modern housewife profile image

        Sarah 4 years ago from Indiana

        Thank you! You, know, I was laid off from my job right around the time my husband I got married. We decided that I would just stay home full-time and while financially it has been a strain, we have been blessed in ways I could not have imagined. God bless your new family!

      • ChrisLingCheng profile image

        ChrisLingCheng 4 years ago

        Great hub about canning spaghetti sauce. Fiancé and I are going to use any means necessary to be frugal when we start our life together. Thank you for sharing! Will be reading more of your hubs and to talk to you more later! God bless you and your family! :)