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Gone are the days of needing a big pot and hours to spare for a flavorful Spaghetti Sauce. Our single serving recipe redefines ease and flavor, showing that creating a sumptuous meal can be easy and quick. In just 30 minutes, with ingredients you probably already have, you can whip up a spaghetti sauce that’s both simple and sensational.

Enjoy this tasty spaghetti sauce in several ways: over buttered noodles or spaghetti, paired with white rice or brown rice, served atop spaghetti squash or potato gnocchi. Complement it with a side of sautéed green beans and a slice of freshly baked French bread for a delightful meal.

Why You’ll Love This Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

  • Simplicity: Despite using simple ingredients, the blend creates a rich and layered taste profile that rivals sauces that have simmered for hours.
  • Quick Turnaround: From start to finish, you’re looking fairly quick time investment, making this recipe a perfect fit for a busy weeknight or a last-minute meal decision.
  • Adaptable Ingredients: Whether you’re gluten-free, keto, or just a picky eater, this recipe has plenty of room for adjustments without losing its core essence.
  • Ideal Portioning: Say goodbye to the hassle of storing leftovers or eating the same thing for days. This recipe is meticulously crafted for a one-and-done meal experience.
  • Accessible Pantry Picks: This recipe eliminates the need for a special grocery run, utilizing ingredients that most people already have in their pantry or can easily find at a local store.

Ingredient Notes

This section provides a quick rundown of the ingredients used in this small batch spaghetti sauce recipe. For complete measurements and step-by-step instructions, please scroll to the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

  • Olive Oil: Extra virgin olive oil is my go-to for this simple meat sauce recipe. It’s less processed, rich in nutrients, and adds a robust olive flavor. If you don’t have it on hand, light olive oil will also do the trick.
  • Chopped Onions and Garlic: These are non-negotiable for adding depth and aroma to your meat sauce. Trust me, you won’t want to skip these flavorful additions.
  • Ground Beef: While traditional recipes often use ground beef, you’re not limited to it. Ground turkey or pork are solid alternatives. For a plant-based twist, consider meat substitutes or even lentils. If you’ve got any ground beef leftover from this recipe, consider using it to make Baked Ziti, Lasagna Rollups, or a Hamburger Casserole.
  • Canned Crushed Tomatoes: Crushed tomatoes are key for a rich, tomatoey base. If you’re out, don’t worry; tomato sauce or diced tomatoes can fill in without a hitch. Use any leftover crushed tomatoes to make a Personal Pepperoni Pizza.
  • Herbs – Basil and Oregano: Whether you choose fresh or dried, herbs like basil and oregano bring an Italian flair to the dish. If you’re going for fresh, use about 1.5 times the quantity of the dried herbs.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: These basic seasonings are crucial for enhancing all the flavors in your sauce. Don’t overlook their importance.

These notes offer you the flexibility to adapt the recipe according to what you have in your pantry, making it convenient and customizable.

Recipe Variations

The beauty of this spaghetti sauce is its versatility. Whether you want to adapt it to dietary restrictions or simply shake things up, here are some detailed tweaks:

  • Veggie Boost: Consider adding chopped green peppers, zucchini, or carrots for an extra serving of vegetables. Just cook them along with the onions until they’re tender.
  • Mushroom Lovers: For those who can’t resist mushrooms, toss them in with the onions. They add a wonderful earthy flavor that complements the meat perfectly.
  • Spice it Up: If you’re a fan of heat, sprinkle in some red pepper flakes. Just a pinch can elevate the entire dish.
  • Sweeten the Pot: If your meat sauce tastes too acidic, a slight touch of sweetness can balance it out. A tiny amount of honey, around 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon, should do the trick. Honey not only cuts the acidity but also adds a subtle richness to the sauce.
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How To Make Spaghetti Sauce

  1. Sauté the Veggies: In a medium-sized pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Toss in onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft. This should take around 3 minutes.
  2. Brown the Meat: Next, add your choice of ground meat to the pan. Cook and stir until it loses its pink color. For a leaner option, go for ground beef with low fat content, such as 93% or 96%. Alternatives like ground turkey, chicken, or pork work well too.
  3. Incorporate Remaining Ingredients: Add in your crushed tomatoes, herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil before lowering the heat to a simmer. Let it cook for approximately 30 minutes. Crushed tomatoes from a can are a convenient choice for this step.
  4. Serving Time: This versatile meat sauce is perfect atop spaghetti or any pasta shape you prefer. Feel free to incorporate it into other recipes.
an overhead view of a bowl of spaghetti and meat sauce.

Expert Tips

  1. Sautéing the onion and garlic: Don’t rush this step. The onion and garlic should be sautéed until they’re soft and slightly caramelized, as this helps to build the flavor base for the sauce.
  2. Browning the meat: Make sure the meat is thoroughly browned before adding the other ingredients. This ensures that the meat is fully cooked and also contributes to the overall flavor of the sauce.
  3. Simmering the sauce: Let the sauce simmer for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. If you have more time, let it simmer longer for a deeper flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does spaghetti sauce differ from bolognese sauce?

Bolognese sauce is a rich, meaty sauce that hails from Bologna, Italy. It typically includes a mix of ground beef, Italian sausage, and even vegetables like carrots. The spaghetti sauce recipe we’re discussing here is a quicker, simpler version. It’s tomato-rich and requires less cooking time, making it an excellent go-to for busy evenings.

How can I make a meatless spaghetti sauce?

Absolutely, this recipe isn’t just for carnivores. You can create a vegetarian spaghetti sauce by using plant-based meat substitutes like Impossible Meat, tempeh, or tofu. Mushrooms are another excellent alternative. Just add a bit more olive oil and follow the rest of the recipe as directed.

Can I double this spaghetti sauce recipe?

Yes, you can! If you’re cooking for more than one or want leftovers, simply double the quantities of the ingredients.

Can I freeze spaghetti sauce?

Yes, this meat sauce freezes well in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

More Small Batch Sauce Recipes To Try

Looking for other sauce recipes that are equally delicious and easy to whip up? Check out these tasty options, perfect for single servings or small batches:

Ways To Use Leftover Ingredients

If you have any ingredients leftover from this recipe, check out our Leftover Ingredients Recipe Finder or you might like to consider using them in any of these single serving and small batch recipes:

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

If you’ve tried this single serve spaghetti 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.

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Your Cooking For One Source
Because you’re worth it

Spaghetti Sauce For One

5 from 11 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 1 serving
Easy spaghetti sauce recipe that can be used in everyday recipes. This made-from-scratch meat sauce cooks in just 30 minutes! Perfect for lasagna, spaghetti squash, or with your favorite pasta. Cooks in 30 minutes!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 clove garlic , peeled and minced
  • 4 ounces lean ground beef
  • 8 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ 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 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Taste, and add additional salt if necessary. Pour into a jar or serve with pasta.


  1. Sautéing the onion and garlic: Don’t rush this step. The onion and garlic should be sautéed until they’re soft and slightly caramelized, as this helps to build the flavor base for the sauce.
  2. Browning the meat: Make sure the meat is thoroughly browned before adding the other ingredients. This ensures that the meat is fully cooked and also contributes to the overall flavor of the sauce.
  3. Simmering the sauce: Let the sauce simmer for at least 20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. If you have more time, let it simmer longer for a deeper flavor.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 334kcal, Carbohydrates: 18g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 668mg, Potassium: 948mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 267IU, Vitamin C: 28mg, Calcium: 105mg, 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.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Made this today, was really good. Only thing I did different was added a tsp of Italian seasoning. Was way more than 1 serving, guess I’ll have some tomorrow.

  2. I cannot find an 8oz can of crushed tomatoes – I even have a hard time finding a 14oz can! Should I just use 8oz can tomato sauce or use large can of crushed tomatoes and maybe freeze the rest left over?

    1. Use 8 ounces of canned crushed tomatoes. I suggest either freezing the rest or using it in any of our many recipes that call for using diced tomatoes.

  3. I’m so glad I found this website. At 70 years old, I was still cooking family sized recipes, then having to eat the same thing for days in a row. The proportions here are just right. It keeps me from eating too much… I’ve made the single serve muffins, and cornbread, and today the hamburger/tomato sauce… This is the first place I come now when I need a recipe. Thank you. (:

  4. Just had to say thank you for sharing this awesome One-Dish recipe. As a very big fan of pasta, but finding it hard to cut sauces down to fit a budget and serving size for one or two people, I loved finding this recipe. I will admit that I used two small Italian Mild sausage links, instead of the ground beef, but I was not disappointed by the substitution…and it was perfect when I served it with a side salad and garlic toast for dinner. Excellent flavor and perfectly portioned. Blessings to you and please keep the recipes coming!