How to Make Homemade Italian Sauce

There is one meal that is a staple in an Italian household: Sunday sauce. The smell of fresh tomato, basil, oregano, sausage and so much more! Mamma mia! Making a delicious pot of homemade Italian sauce is fun and easy!

Skip to the fun:

  1. Ingredients
  2. Instructions
Prepping for Homemade Italian Sauce

Normally, you learn your family’s sauce recipe from your grandmother who passed it down to your mother who then in turn passed it down to you. Knowing how to make delicious homemade sauce is one of the key elements in being a part of an Italian family. Often, you can put your own twist on the recipe to make it your own!

My goal is to provide you with tips and tricks, a recipe, and the knowledge to create your own homemade Italian sauce! Sunday sauce is one of my favorite meals and I want to share that with you!

Let’s begin with the sauce: (family serving)

Homemade Italian Meal Table Setting

Ingredients for the sauce

  • Tomatoes (fresh or canned) – if you are using fresh, you will need to skin them and take the seeds out. For the canned, you will want to buy peeled. You will want to have 2 – 28 oz. cans of whole tomatoes or the same amount in fresh tomatoes.
  • 56 oz. Water
  • Red Pepper – just a pinch
  • 4 cloves of Garlic – (you may reference the movie Goodfellas to learn from Paulie the right way to slice garlic – click here to see)
  • 3/4 cup of Onion – chopped very small or can be substituted with onion powder
  • Oregano – a pinch or two
  • a Basil leaf or you could chop it up and throw a teaspoon in
  • Sugar – 1 teaspoon (pinch or two) (if you like your sauce sweeter, you can add more, this is where trial and error comes into play!)
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Black Pepper – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cheese – add 1/4 cup of your favorite cheese (provolone, parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta, etc.)!
  • Don’t forget a splash of Red Wine! (not forcing you, but you’ll be missing out)
  • Italian Sausage – 5 (or more)
  • Meatballs – preferably homemade! (you will probably want about 10 in the sauce)
  • Pork
  • Macaroni – Penne, Rotini, Rigatoni, Linguini, Fettuccini, the pastabilities are endless!

Instructions for making a delicious homemade Italian sauce:

Disclaimer: before cooking anything, you will want to ensure that you own a meat thermometer, this is imperative to making delicious homemade Italian sauce. Also, in this recipe I will be using a crock-pot, but you can use a regular pot. Here is a link to a great recipe for cooking sauce in a large pot. The purpose for which I am telling you how to do this recipe in a crock pot is because I know that not a lot of people have the time to sit around and watch a pot of sauce, so this is how you can do it without having to pay too much attention to it!

  1. First, what you will want to do is cook your meats (sausage, meatballs, pork, etc.). You will want to fry your sausage on a frying pan with olive oil on medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 160 degrees fahrenheit. You will take a similar approach to frying your pork. The only difference between cooking your pork and your sausage is that pork only needs to reach 145 degrees fahrenheit before taking it off of the frying pan. For the meatballs, depending on the desired size, cooking time may vary. No matter what size you choose to make them, make sure you cook them to an internal temperature of 165 degrees fahrenheit before removing from heat. You can form your meatballs using ground beef, egg, cheese, bread crumbs, and any seasonings that you desire (you can really put whatever you want in the meatballs, that’s what makes this process so fun and easy!). Normally, you will want to put your meatballs on a baking pan and bake them at 400 degrees fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. You don’t want any pink left on the inside and make sure that they reach that 165 degrees internally!
  2. Next, you will need to crush your tomatoes. If you are using fresh tomatoes, you will need to skin them and remove the seeds first. You’ll want to make sure that you don’t crush them too much, you want small chunks of tomato in your sauce! You can use any utensil that you think will work, or you can use your hands.
  3. After you have performed these steps, you will then want to combine everything (your meats, your seasonings, and your tomatoes) into a crock-pot. You will add in the same amount of water for every can of tomatoes that you put in, so in this case, 2 cans of tomatoes = 2 cans of water as well. After putting all of your ingredients into your crock-pot, you will cook on a high setting, stirring occasionally, for about 3 hours. The key is to make it the day before you are planning to eat it. After cooking on high for about 3 hours, you store it in the fridge overnight. The next day you will take it out of the fridge and skim the fat off the top because the meat has been sitting in there all night. You will then cook the sauce on low in the crock pot for about 5 hours. Doing it this way allows for the spices and the flavors to ferment and become even more rich than they would be if you ate it the day you made it.
  4. The last thing that you will want to do is boil your noodles!
  5. After all of these steps you will finally have prepared an amazing homemade Italian sauce for you and your family to enjoy! Buon appetito!
Ingredients and instructions formed with a little help from this recipe by A Family Feast and my own personal knowledge of the sauce making process!
Homemade Italian Sauce Seasonings

The greatest thing about homemade Sunday sauce is spending time with your family. It is also fun to add some extra sides to your meal! You can have garlic bread (or any other type of bread), salad, and then, of course, dessert! One of the best desserts to have after sauce is a cinnamon bun cake and a nice cup of coffee!

I hope that you all enjoyed my very easy and very fun homemade Italian sauce recipe! It is so easy to make, why would you ever want to miss out on something so delicious? The best part about it is that you can make it your own! There is so much room for variation making it super easy to start your own tradition with your family and friends!