How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Better (Almost Homemade)

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Wondering how to make jar spaghetti sauce better? It only takes a little time and a few ingredients to transform that grocery store sauce into the star of the show! Let me show you how. 

How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Better

Simple Steps to Upgrade Your Jarred Sauce

Ever found yourself opting for a jar of spaghetti sauce out of convenience, yet secretly yearning for that rich, homemade taste? You’re not alone. Many of us turn to store-bought options to save time during our frantic weeknights. But what if I told you that with a sprinkle of creativity and some fresh ingredients, that standard jar could be transformed into a sauce so delightful, you could almost swear it simmered on your stove all day? This is your guide to bridging the gap between the convenience of a jarred sauce and the irresistible allure of a homemade one.

What you’ll love about this Almost Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe:

  • Enhancing jarred sauce: Starting with a jar and adding fresh ingredients can mimic a homemade taste.
  • Convenience meets flavor: It’s possible to enjoy the speed of ready-made sauces without sacrificing taste.
  • Simple creativity: A touch of freshness can elevate your sauce effortlessly.
How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Better

Start with Plain Jarred Pasta Sauce

Start with a simple jar of spaghetti sauce. If you have a favorite jarred sauce, grab that one! If you don’t have a clue where to start, check out the labels and see what goes into each jar. You want a high-quality jarred sauce rich with natural ingredients and minimal additives. Taking the time to scrutinize the ingredients can unlock clues about their quality. Starting with a great base will ensure our tweaks deliver that homemade taste we all crave. 

Here are a few great options for store-bought pasta sauce:

  • Newman’s Own (Sacarooni is my personal favorite.)
  • Rao’s
  • Classico
  • Bertolli

Ingredients to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Taste Like Homemade

When deciding to take jar spaghetti sauce from good to great, it’s like going on a culinary adventure in your own kitchen. As with any great journey, the first step is gathering the right essentials.

  • olive oil
  • onion
  • fresh garlic
  • ground beef
  • Italian sausage
  • crushed tomatoes
  • jar of store-bought sauce
  • Italian seasoning blend
  • salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil sets the stage for sautéing, offering a rich base that carries flavors beautifully. 
  • The aromatic duo of onion and garlic act as the foundation, infusing the sauce with a depth that jarred versions might lack. 
  • Adding ground beef and Italian sausage introduces a hearty texture and robustness, making each bite more satisfying. 
  • The can of crushed tomatoes and the jar of spaghetti sauce unite for a perfect tomato base.
  • Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper are the magic wands that season the potion to perfection. Each ingredient plays a pivotal role, transforming a simple sauce into an enchanting culinary creation that’s sure to enchant your taste buds. 
How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Better

How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Better

Incorporating meat is a game-changer. If you’re anything like me, getting that rich, meaty flavor right can really elevate a simple sauce to new heights. Here’s how I do it: 

  1. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Then, add chopped onion and minced fresh garlic. Season with salt and black pepper. Sauté until the vegetables become soft and aromatic. Incorporating fresh vegetables is key to creating a delicious sauce. 
  2. Next, add the ground beef and Italian sausage, breaking them apart with a spoon. Browning the meat is crucial – this process locks in flavor and adds a depth that can’t be achieved any other way. Stir occasionally until the meat is thoroughly browned, but not burnt. Drain the excess grease. 
  1. Now add the crushed tomatoes and jarred sauce. Season with an Italian seasoning blend and stir.
  2. When it starts to bubble, reduce to low heat and let your hearty meat sauce simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Your homemade sauce will be robust and enticing and taste like it’s been simmering on the stove all day. Now all that’s left to do is cook up a box of pasta, heap on your homemade pasta sauce, and enjoy!

How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Better

My Favorite Ways to Adjust Texture and Flavor

Let’s talk about making adjustments to your Almost Homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe. With a few clever tricks, you’ll feel like an executive chef perfecting her masterpiece. Tasting and adjusting seasonings throughout the cooking process is absolutely critical. It can be the difference between a good meal and a great one. Remember, finding that perfect balance is key to elevating your sauce from the ordinary to the extraordinary. 

  • Tomato Paste: Sometimes, the sauce just needs a bit more body. Adding a spoonful of tomato paste is a great way to thicken things up and bring a concentrated burst of tomato flavor that really enhances the overall profile of your sauce.
  • Heavy Cream or a Splash of Cream: For those moments when you’re craving something a bit more indulgent, stirring in some heavy cream transforms your sauce into a velvety delight. This can add a lovely richness that balances well with the acidity of tomatoes.
  • Red Pepper Flakes or Black Pepper: Don’t shy away from adding a bit of heat. A sprinkle of red pepper flakes or a good twist of black pepper can introduce a warm, spicy element that cuts through the richness and adds an exciting contrast to the flavors.
  • A Splash of Wine: Whether it’s red or white, wine adds an acidity and richness that makes the sauce taste more complex.
  • A Dollop of Ricotta: Stirred in at the end can take it from good to gourmet with its creamy texture.
  • A Pinch of Sugar: If your sauce is too tangy, adding sugar is an easy way to bring it back into balance. The sugar adds a subtle sweetness that counteracts the tartness. Remember, the key here is moderation. We’re not making a dessert sauce or tampering with a science experiment. A little goes a long way. Start with a small amount, stir it in, and give it a taste.
  • Simmer Everything Together: This isn’t just about throwing ingredients in a pot; it’s about giving the sauce time to meld those flavors into something extraordinary. The simmering process is where the magic happens, transforming your average jarred sauce into a gourmet taste experience that will have everyone asking for seconds. 10 minutes is enough time to meld the flavors together. 

Achieving the perfect balance between flavor and texture is crucial. It’s about adding depth, enhancing richness, or introducing a hint of spice when needed. Remember, the goal is to elevate your jar of store-bought tomato sauce, transforming it into something you’re proud to serve. With these additions, you’re well on your way.

How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Better

Serving Your Almost Homemade Pasta Sauce

When it comes to serving up that lovingly enhanced sauce, why limit ourselves to just spaghetti noodles? Imagine the possibilities.

  • layering it in a lush lasagna, 
  • dolloping it over a steaming bowl of gnocchi, or even 
  • spooning it atop a crispy bruschetta. 

And let’s not forget the power of garnishes to elevate each bite. 

  • A sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese
  • a generous swirl of ricotta
  • a scattering of fresh basil can transform the dish
  • adding other fresh herbs like oregano or parsley are also great choices.

But why stop at the pasta? Consider pairing your sauce with roasted vegetables or a side of garlic-infused breadsticks for that extra oomph. It’s all about creativity in how you present and pair your dishes. So next time, think beyond the spaghetti and let your culinary imagination lead the way.

Spaghetti Sauce in a large deep pan

Storage Tips and Tricks

Isn’t it amazing how some dishes just taste better the next day? Your diligently enhanced spaghetti sauce is no exception. The flavors meld beautifully overnight, offering an even more delicious experience when you reheat it. To capture this essence, let’s talk about proper storage. 

The best way to store leftover spaghetti sauce is to cool it completely. Then secure it in an airtight container. 

  • It will keep in the fridge for 5-6 days. If you added any dairy to your sauce, it will keep 3-4 days. 
  • Spaghetti sauce also freezes well. You can store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Leftover sauce isn’t just for spaghetti; use it to make a homemade lasagna or as a robust pizza sauce. Storing it correctly ensures every drop of effort you pour into elevating that jarred sauce pays off, time and time again.

Closeup of spaghetti on a plate covered in sauce

Your Next Level Almost Homemade Sauce

Try it yourself! Grab your favorite jar of sauce or marinara sauce. Add in some fresh veggies, ground meat, and dried herbs, and doctor it up until it tastes like the best sauce you’ve ever eaten. I like to make my Almost Homemade Pasta Sauce in big batches and freeze the extra for an easy family dinner later. 

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How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Better

More Easy Weeknight Dinners

How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Better

How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Better (Almost Homemade)

Melisha Kreppein
It only takes a little time and a few ingredients to transform that grocery store sauce into the star of the show! 
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 299 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 lb Italian sausage
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 jar store0bought spaghetti sauce
  • salt and black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Then, add chopped onion and minced fresh garlic. Season with salt and black pepper. Sauté until the vegetables become soft and aromatic.
  • Add the ground beef and Italian sausage, breaking them apart with a spoon. Cook until browned, then drain off excess grease.
  • Now add the crushed tomatoes and jarred sauce. Season with Italian seasoning blend and stir.
  • When it starts to bubble, reduce to low heat and let your hearty meat sauce simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 299kcalCarbohydrates: 13.9gProtein: 18.1gFat: 18.9gSaturated Fat: 5.9gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 553mgPotassium: 315mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7.9gCalcium: 51mgIron: 2mg
Keyword sauce
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