Home » Recipes » Small Batch Sauces » Meat Sauce For One

Meat Sauce For One

Easy meat sauce recipe that can be used in everyday recipes. This made-from-scratch spaghetti meat sauce cooks in just 30 minutes! Perfect for lasagna, spaghetti squash, or with your favorite pasta. Cooks in 30 minutes!

A bowl of meat sauce with pasta on a tray next to a tall glass of red wine.

This wonderful meat sauce is a reminder that good food doesn't have to be complicated or require a long list of fancy ingredients. In fact, simple is often best and in just 30 minutes, you can have a lovely meal ready to enjoy.

You simply can't compare homemade meat sauce to the jars of sauce you purchase from the store. The taste doesn't even come close, and the quality of ingredients you use in your own will always be far superior to commercially made sauces.

Get weekly Cooking for One newsletter

Sure, store bought meat sauce is convenient and from time to time, I'll pick up a jar or two to use in a recipe but those times are rare. This simple meat sauce recipe is just too easy not to use and I almost always have these ingredients already in my kitchen - and you may too.

How To Use Homemade Meat Sauce

I use this homemade sauce in many ways, here are a few of my favorites:


See recipe box below for ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions.

  • olive oil
  • chopped onions
  • garlic
  • ground beef
  • canned crushed tomatoes
  • dried or fresh basil and oregano
  • salt and black pepper

How To Make Meat Sauce

  1. Soften vegetables: Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pan and add in the onions and garlic. Cook until onions become soft, about 3 minutes.
  2. Cook ground beef: Add the ground beef to the pan and cook, stirring until meat is no longer pink. I like to use ground beef with a lower fat content like 93% or 96%. You can also use ground turkey, ground chicken, or even ground pork.
  3. Add remaining ingredients: Stir in the tomatoes, herbs, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer about 30 minutes. I use canned crushed tomatoes for convenience.
  4. Serve: Make a simple spaghetti with meat sauce or use any other favorite pasta shape. Also consider using this sauce in other recipes as shown above.
an overhead view of a bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce.

What Is The Difference Between Meat Sauce and Bolognese Sauce?

Bolognese is a meat-based sauce that originated in Bologna, Italy. I have a recipe in our cookbook for Spaghetti Bolognese and in that recipe I use both ground beef and ground Italian sausage, as well as carrots.

In the much simpler meat sauce recipe featured here, we're sharing a shortcut version or what I sometimes call, my "lazy version" and it's fabulous! This simple meat sauce is very rich in tomato flavor and has a short cooking time.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Without Meat

This sauce is not just for meat eaters, you can easily make spaghetti sauce without meat. Use either a vegetarian meat replacement such as Impossible Meat, tempeh, tofu, or even mushrooms. Use a little more olive oil and proceed with the recipe as written.

Other Meat Sauce Variations

With this super easy meat sauce recipe, you never need to purchase another jarred sauce. This basic recipe is easily customizable, consider adding...

  • Chopped green peppers, zucchini, and/or carrots: Cook them with the onions until they soften.
  • Mushrooms: Add these along with the onions.
  • Seasonings: You can add other seasonings like red pepper flakes for a spicier taste or parsley.
  • Add a touch of honey: Honey or sugar cuts the acidity of the sauce. Taste the sauce after it has cooked, if you feel it tastes too acidic, add a tiny bit of sweetener. I prefer using honey and I recommend using only about 1/4 to 1/2 of a teaspoon of honey, if using.

Doubling The Recipe

Want extras for the next day? Just double the ingredients in the recipe and cook as directed.

Storing Meat Sauce

Homemade meat sauce will keep well in the refrigerator for about a week if it is covered. Just reheat on the stove.

Sauce Recipes

You might also like to try these flavor-packed small batch sauce recipes:

Other Easy Pasta Recipes

  • This Baked Pasta with Vegetables is made with roasted vegetables and plenty of cheese.
  • Pasta Carbonara, a simple pasta dish loaded with bacon and Parmesan cheese.
  • Quick and easy Pasta with Vodka Sauce made with onions, garlic, tomatoes, a splash of vodka and a touch of cream.
  • Hugely popular Spinach and Orzo Salad made with delicate orzo pasta mixed with creamy feta cheese, toasted nuts, chopped red onions, sun-dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives.

Single Serving Ground Beef Recipes

If you have any ground beef left over from this meat sauce recipe, you might like to consider using it in any of these ground beef recipes:

For this meat sauce recipe, I use a 10-inch skillet which you can find on our store page. For best results, use a pan of similar size. If you would like additional information on the dishes I use in our “recipes for one”, please visit our FAQ page.

For examples of the dishes we use, please visit our Store page.

We now have a COOKING FOR ONE Facebook groupJoin us to share your favorite single serving recipes and find new ones too. We’d love to see you there!

Click HERE to join the community!

If you’ve tried this meat sauce or any recipe on One Dish Kitchen please let me know how you liked it by rating the recipe and telling me about it in the comment section below.

Also, if you take a picture please tag us on Instagram (@onedishkitchen) we’d love to see!

noodles with meat sauce in a yellow bowl on a tray next to a glass of red wine.

Meat Sauce For One

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keywords: ground beef, meat
Servings: 1 serving
Calories: 448kcal
Author: Joanie Zisk


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic , peeled and minced
  • 4 ounces lean ground beef
  • 8 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper


  • In a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, heat oil 30 seconds. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions become very soft, about 3 minutes.
  • Add ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large lumps, until meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce thickens, about 30 minutes.
  • Taste, and add additional salt if necessary. Pour into a jar or serve with pasta.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 403mg | Potassium: 936mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 265IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 5mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Receive Our Latest Single Serving Recipes!Sign Up for the weekly One Dish Kitchen Newsletter!!

We now have a One Dish Kitchen - Cooking For One Facebook Group!
The Cooking For One Facebook Group is a super active and friendly private group. Join us to share your favorite single serving recipes and find new ones too. 

About The Author

12 thoughts on “Meat Sauce For One”

  1. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight, it was delicious.
    Didn’t use the basil as I don’t like it. Had to add a bit of the pasta water as it was too thick for my liking. I have enough for lunch tomorrow.
    I just ordered your cook book, can’t wait to see what delicious recipes you have.

  2. Linda Buermele

    5 stars
    Made this for my dinner tonight. I love spaghetti and this sauce did not let me down. It actually tastes as though it’s been simmering most of the day. It is very good. For me, it was enough for two meals. I haven’t decided if I want to freeze it for later or have a ready made dinner for tomorrow. It’s very good and I will definitely be making it agin.

  3. 5 stars
    After an hour of water fitness a bowl of noodles with meat sauce sounded wonderful…. And it was! I followed the directions exactly. I will be making a double batch for the freezer.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Scroll to Top