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How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Taste Homemade

Want to make jar spaghetti sauce taste homemade? You can, and it’s super easy! Follow any of the tips below, and you’ll notice a vast improvement in the flavor of any jarred spaghetti sauce. Next time your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce goes on sale, stock up!

bowl of spaghetti with sauce

The recipe I’ve included here is great for a quick weeknight meal. Just a few simple ingredients are all you need for an amazing dinner that the family will love. There are many different types of spaghetti sauce to choose from, but few people realize that jar spaghetti sauce can taste just as good if you know how to make it. All you have to do is add a few ingredients, and the jar sauce is transformed!

bowl of jar spaghetti sauce that tastes homemade

The secret is in the spices and other things you add! If you want your next batch of jar spaghetti sauce to taste better than ever before, try some of these tips. It’s good to have a few simple tricks up your sleeve to make dinnertime less stressful. This is one of mine.

How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Taste Homemade

There are so many different ways to improve the flavor of jarred spaghetti sauce, so try several to discover what works best for you and your family. All of my tips are easy. But some might require some ingredients that you don’t have on hand. That’s when you’ll only add one or two things.

Remember that cooking is an ongoing process. As you discover tips and techniques along the way, your meals will become more and more delicious.

Quick Tips

There are times when I’m in a hurry, and I don’t have the time to put much effort into cooking dinner. That’s when I use these simple tips:

  • First, start by adding a pinch of salt to the sauce. This will help to bring out the flavors and make it taste more like homemade. 
  • Next, add some garlic powder or fresh minced garlic for extra flavor. If you want your sauce to be a little bit spicier, try adding some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
  • Pour in a splash of wine. Red wine adds a richness of flavor to elevate any kind of spaghetti sauce.
  • Read the ingredients on the jar and add more of something that’s already in the sauce. This helps to enhance the flavor even more.
  • Add sautéed vegetables. This works best with onions, bell peppers, and minced garlic.
  • Stir in some tomato paste. Since tomato paste is concentrated, a little bit goes a long way. Start with a teaspoon of it and add more if needed.
  • Simmer for a few extra minutes. The longer you cook the sauce the more concentrated the flavors become. So each bite is loaded with deliciousness.

More Aggressive Tips to Improve the Flavor

Another great way to make jar spaghetti sauce taste better is to add some extra ingredients. Some people like to add ground beef or sausage, while others prefer to add mushrooms, onions, or peppers. You can also add a little bit of sugar or honey to give it a sweet and tangy flavor. 

Whatever ingredients you choose, be sure to add them in moderation so your sauce doesn’t become too overpowered by too much of anything you add.

Or tweak the cooking process itself. For example, if you want to bake the pasta and sauce together, cook your pasta al dente (slightly undercooked). Then you will want to cook your sauce a little bit less. When you combine them, you’ll allow some of the sauce to seep into the pasta. On the other hand, if you like your pasta cooked through, cook the sauce a little longer as well. 

Experiment with different cooking methods (i.e., stovetop vs. oven) to see which one gives you the best results. It’s important to remember that jar spaghetti sauce isn’t the same as homemade, but you can make your jar spaghetti taste better by following a few of these tips.

My Latest Version of Tweaking Spaghetti Sauce

I’m typically all over the place with how I make spaghetti sauce. Sometimes I make it completely from scratch, starting with fresh tomatoes. Other times, I use canned tomatoes and tomato sauce. I add spices, onions, peppers, olives, and whatever else I have in my pantry to doctor it up.

I also take the easy way out and pick up some premium brands of jar sauce. Then I might or might not add other ingredients, depending on how much time I have or what mood I’m in.

Ingredients for My Sauce

Last time I made spaghetti sauce, I started with a generic jar of spaghetti sauce and added more ingredients.

jar of spaghetti sauce

Here’s what I used:

  • One 24 ounce jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1 pound ground turkey or beef
  • One 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup sautéed diced onions
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic from a jar
  • 1 small can sliced mushrooms (or more if you like)
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Dash of cinnamon (Yes, I’m serious. Cinnamon is really good in almost everything!)
  • Small pinch of red pepper flakes

My husband and I enjoy mushrooms and spicy hot seasonings. If you don’t care for them, you can leave them out. Or substitute whatever you do like, such as sliced olives or even chopped artichokes.


Here is my latest version of improving jarred spaghetti sauce. There is nothing difficult about it. First, brown the ground turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat. There was very little fat, so I didn’t need to drain it. But if you wind up with a lot of fat, drain the meat so the sauce doesn’t come out greasy.

Add the onions to the ground meat and sauté until they are translucent. Feel free to add a little oil if you need to.

sautéing onions in the pan with ground turkey

Add the remaining ingredients and stir until everything is well mixed. Turn the burner down to low heat and simmer the sauce until the flavors have a chance to blend.

jar spaghetti sauce with other ingredients cooking in a pan

You’ll be amazed by how good you can make jarred sauce taste. In fact, most people who taste it will probably think it’s scratch sauce.

bowl of jar spaghetti sauce that tastes homemade

I added a printable recipe card to the bottom of this post for your convenience.

More Ways to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Taste Homemade

There are so many other things you can add to your sauce. In my opinion, the best sauce is whatever you like. Here are some ingredients that can elevate the flavors of yours to make it taste homemade:

Fresh herbs (fresh basil is my favorite!)

  • Red wine
  • Fresh garlic cloves, chopped
  • Tomato paste
  • Italian sausage
  • Sweet onion
  • Cream cheese (for a creamy sauce)
  • Bay leaf
  • More meat (for a thick meaty sauce)
  • Spoonful of sugar (for a sweeter sauce)
  • Squirt of lemon (for a tangy flavor)

Types of Pasta

There are many different types of pasta to choose from, but they can be broadly divided into two categories: dried and fresh. Dried pasta is the most common type, and you can find it in almost any grocery store. Fresh pasta is made with flour, eggs, and water, and it has a more delicate flavor than dried pasta.

You can make fresh pasta if you have the time. This recipe for homemade pasta is from the Gimme Some Oven blog.

Fresh pasta is a great choice if you want something special, but it can be hard to find outside of specialty stores or Italian restaurants. I used to love fresh pasta, but now that I have to be gluten-free, I just use the dried gluten free pasta I can find in the stores.

After you determine whether you want fresh or dried pasta, you’ll need to consider the shape that’s best for whatever dish you’re making.

Here are the most common types of pasta:

  • Spaghetti
  • Penne
  • Lasagna
  • Linguine
  • Fettuccini
  • Ravioli
  • Farfalle
  • Orzo
  • Macaroni
  • Rigatoni
  • Fusilli

There are more, but these are probably the most common. Long round or flat strands of pasta, such as spaghetti or linguini, are good when you just want the sauce to coat the pasta. However, if you want more of the sauce flavor, go for something that’s hollow, such as penne or macaroni. The sauce can ooze into the tubes to provide more flavor with every bite. 

Ways to Use Spaghetti Sauce

You can make your spaghetti dinner the traditional way with the spaghetti pasta topped with sauce. Or put all of the ingredients into your Dutch oven or casserole dish, sprinkle cheese over the top, and pop it into the oven until the cheese melts. If you do this, I highly recommend spraying the bottom of the pan with nonstick cooking spray to make cleanup easier.

Cooking Pasta 

Fortunately, dried pasta is just as delicious and it’s easy to cook at home. All you need is a pot of boiling water and some salt!

Simply add the pasta to the boiling water and cook it according to the package directions. Once it’s cooked, drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Then, add your desired sauce and stir until everything is evenly mixed. You can also add some Parmesan cheese or olive oil for extra flavor.

Pasta is a classic dish that everyone loves, and it’s easy to improve the flavor of jar sauce. By following these tips, you can make jar spaghetti sauce taste better than ever before. So what are you waiting for? Get cooking!

Frequently Asked Questions About Spaghetti Sauce and Pasta

Here are some questions you may have when using jarred spaghetti sauce.

Q: How long does spaghetti sauce last in the jar?

A: Spaghetti sauce will typically stay fresh for about two years if left unopened. Once it is opened, you should eat the spaghetti sauce within one week.

Q: How long does spaghetti last?

A: Spaghetti will typically stay fresh for about two days if left unopened. After it is opened, you should eat the spaghetti within one day.

Q: What are the similarities and differences between dried and fresh pasta?

A: Both are made with flour, eggs, and water. You can find dried pasta on the pasta aisle at any grocery store. Fresh pasta is more delicate in flavor than dried pasta. Not all grocery stores have it, so if you want fresh pasta, you might need to make your own.

Q: Can you freeze leftover spaghetti?

A: Yes, you can freeze leftover spaghetti if you put it in an airtight container or freezer bag. It should be good for 2 to 3 months. After that, the noodles may become grainy in texture.

Q: Can you freeze leftover spaghetti sauce?

A: Spaghetti sauce can be frozen for up to 4 months if you put it in an airtight container.

Q: Can you freeze spaghetti with sauce if you’ve already combined them?

A: Yes, you can freeze spaghetti with sauce for a couple of months. Allow it to thaw before heating it back up. I like to sprinkle cheese on top and bake it in the oven if it’s been frozen.

Share Your Tips

If you’ve ever had jarred spaghetti sauce, you know it usually doesn’t quite taste like the homemade variety. You can make your jar of pasta sauce taste more homemade by following some of the tips above!

Do any of these suggestions sound good? Be sure to share what has worked best for you in the comments section below so I can try them out!

jar of spaghetti sauce and scooping sauce into a bowl

Important to Remember When Using Jarred Sauce

To sum it up, the most important thing to remember is to add the ingredients your family enjoys. Don’t be afraid to try something different because that’s the way you’ll discover your favorite method of improving the sauce.

Adding more seasonings and other ingredients that you like can make a huge difference in the flavor of the sauce. And if you hide the jar, no one will know where it all started.

More Easy Homemade Meals

Whether you want more pasta sauce tips and hacks hacks or other delicious meals that are quick and easy, I’ve got you covered. I’m a big believer in using kitchen gadgets, including my Crock Pot, Instant Pot, air fryer, and Dutch oven. 

There are so many different recipes that only need tweaking with a few additional ingredients to make them next level delicious. 

Here are some of our favorite easy recipes:

Budget Friendly Beef Hash – As the name implies, this is an inexpensive meal that you can make with leftover meat.

beef hash on a plate with green beans

Slow Cooker Chicken Pepper Pot – This budget-friendly meal is packed with flavor. Start it in the morning, leave it alone, and come back to an aroma-filled house and delicious dinner.

How to Make Jar Alfredo Sauce Better – You’ll discover a similar concept to the spaghetti sauce, only this sauce is extra creamy!

Ham and Potato Casserole – This delicious dish from Back to My Southern Roots is an easy meal that takes just a few minutes to prepare. Pop it into the oven, and about an hour later, you have dinner!

Dutch Oven Pasta and Meatballs – Combine some unlikely ingredients to make this amazing one-pot dinner!

Air Fryer Barbecue Drumsticks – This is a super easy way to get barbecued chicken that’s as good as anything you can make on the grill. And it’s so easy!

plate of cooked chicken legs

Low Carb Sausage Skillet Dinner – Here’s a flavorful meal that is delicious for the whole family … even those who don’t worry about their carbs.

Swedish Meatballs – This quick and easy recipe will quickly become one of your family’s favorite dishes. I use frozen cooked meatballs and create a super simple from-scratch sauce that is out-of-this-world delicious!

Yield: 4 servings

How to Make Jar Spaghetti Sauce Taste Homemade

bowl of spaghetti with sauce

Here are a few tips and tricks to make a jar of spaghetti sauce taste like you've been cooking it all day.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • One 24 ounce jar of spaghetti sauce

  • 1 pound of ground turkey

  • One 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes

  • 1/2 cup of sautéed diced onions

  • 1/2 cup of diced bell pepper

  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic from a jar

  • 1 small can of mushrooms (more if you like)
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

  • Dash of cinnamon
Small pinch of red pepper flakes


  1. Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the meat if there is excess fat.
  2. Add the diced onions to the ground meat and sauté until they are translucent. If the skillet is dry after draining the meat, you can add a little oil, like maybe a tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until everything is well mixed.
  4. Turn the heat down to low and simmer the sauce until the flavors have a chance to blend.


You can add sliced olives, more mushrooms, chopped artichokes, or whatever else you like to your sauce. This is a great dish to get creative with!

If you prefer a thick meaty sauce, double the meat or use more than one type. 

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 444Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 14gCholesterol 124mgSodium 691mgCarbohydrates 26gFiber 7gSugar 16gProtein 33g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

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