How to make 5 jars of spaghetti sauce in 5 minutes for around $3

I love a truly from scratch sauce with fresh tomatoes from my garden.  In fact, I’ll be posting my favorite garden fresh sauce recipe this summer. But this time of year, I am happy to compromise with this sauce.  It tastes way better than any store bought sauce I’ve tried.

Store bought spaghetti sauce contain ingredients like corn syrup and “natural flavors” which we all know can mean just about anything, including MSG.  It can also be difficult for those of us dealing with allergies to find a jar of sauce that does not contain cheese and soy.

I am thrilled to share with you my secret to making 5 jars of spaghetti sauce in 5 minutes for around $3! I buy the large can of tomato sauce at Sam’s (or Costco) for $2.33.  I also buy the spices in bulk at Sam’s or Costco.

The hardest part of this recipe is opening the large can!  A regular electric opener won’t work.  I use a manual can opener.  Once I have the can open, I add the spices directly to the can and mix with a cheap immersion blender (like this one).  That’s it! It’s ready to be added to cooked ground meat or frozen for later.

But, you ask, doesn’t spaghetti sauce need to simmer?  I used to simmer it before adding it to the jars but I find that cooking the sauce with ground meat is enough simmering time to combine the flavors.

Bella enjoys this sauce over Mrs. Leeper’s Rice Shapes For Kids.  I have enjoyed this sauce in spaghetti, ravioli and lasagna.  We are meat sauce people.  If you prefer to go vegetarian, you probably need to add olive oil. Becca wrote this in the comment section:

As a vegetarian, I have to say: Adding olive oil will not give you the good flavor of adding something cooked in the oil.  This is really easy to do with kale, even if it is frozen, because it cooks so fast–give it 3 minutes in olive oil in the bottom of the pot, maybe with a clove of crushed garlic or some bits of onion, and then add the sauce and heat it up.  Kale is crazily nutritious and cheap, too!

Thank you so much Becca!

As a side note, my family of six really needs two pounds of beef in their spaghetti sauce to fill them up.  I buy organic, grass-fed beef from a local farmer which is a little pricier than store bought beef.  I can’t stand to use two pounds of beef in one meal, so I add a can of rinsed black beans to stretch the beef.  At first my kids acted like I was torturing them with beans, but they have gotten used to it.  If you want to try adding beans, don’t blame me if your kids won’t eat their dinner!  🙂


  • Contadina Tomato Sauce – 105 oz. can  (I buy this from Sam’s for $2.33.)
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced or 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder or 1 Tbsp Dried Onion Flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Oregano
  • 2 tsp Basil
  • 1 tsp Pepper


1.  Open the can of tomato sauce.

2.  Add the seasonings directly to the can.

3.  Blend with an immersion blender or long spoon.

4.  Divide sauce between 5 recycled spaghetti sauce jars or storage baggies.

5.  Store sauce in the freezer.

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This recipe was shared at Melt in Your Mouth Mondays, Mangia Monday, Monday Mania, Make a Food”e” Friend, Mingle Monday, Weekend Gourmet Blog Carnival, Mouthwatering Monday, Just Another Meatless Monday, Made By You Monday, My Meatless Mondays, Made From Scratch Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tuesday Night Supper Club, Delectable Tuesday, $5 Dinner Challenge, It’s a Blog Party, Tip Me Tuesday, 2 Maids a Baking, Tuesdays at the Table, Hearth and Soul Hop, Tackle it Tuesday, Domestically Divine, Tasty Tuesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, What’s on the Menu, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Show and Tell, Works for Me Wednesday, Real Food Wednesdays, What’s on Your Plate, Made it on Monday, Thrilling Thursday, Strut Your Stuff, Full Plate Thursday, Creative Juice Thursday, PennywisePlatter Thursday, Tip Day Thursday, It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Recipe Swap Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday,Real Food Weekly, Foodie Friday, Show and Tell Friday, Foodie Friday, Friday Potluck, Friday Favorites, Fresh Bites Friday, Fight Back Friday, Fat Camp Friday, Fun with Food Friday, Allergy Friendly Friday, Friday Food Linky, Seasonal Saturday, Sugar Free Sunday, Seasonal Sunday, Nifty Thrifty Sunday, These Chicks CookedReal food, low cost challenge


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83 Responses to “How to make 5 jars of spaghetti sauce in 5 minutes for around $3”

  1. monique says:

    What a womderful idea!

  2. Christy says:

    Wonderful idea!!

  3. Miriam says:

    Nice an simple, love that! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  4. Shelley says:

    Great idea! Hadn’t thought of this- now I won’t have to wait for garden tomatoes! 🙂

  5. Great idea! I think I’ll try something like this during canning season

  6. Kim says:

    Sounds great..thanks for sharing.

  7. Sara L. says:

    Quick and easy and inexpensive–sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Charity says:

    Wow! That costs very close to what I pay for only one jar of spaghetti sauce! I believe a trip to Sams is in order. (We can go through the spaghetti sauce, let me tell you–I probably have the five recycled jars in my kitchen from the past 2 weeks alone!)

    • Nancy says:

      My daughter just asked for spaghetti for breakfast! I don’t know why kids love it so much. Thanks for commenting Charity!

  9. I love the beans idea, I sneak all sorts of stuff in my “homemade sauce”. I puree the beans to hide them. I also freeze any leftover sauce as a starter for the next time. Sometimes the sauce is no longer red, because I have added soo many other leftover veggies. Just dump them in the pan and use your favorite hand immersion blender to take care of it.

  10. Molly Green says:

    What a great idea!

  11. Lark says:

    Great idea! And so simple.
    Thank you for sharing it on Made it on Monday. 🙂

  12. 'Becca says:

    Convenient! I never thought of doing it that way.

    As a vegetarian, I have to say: Adding olive oil will not give you the good flavor of adding something cooked in the oil. This is really easy to do with kale, even if it is frozen, because it cooks so fast–give it 3 minutes in olive oil in the bottom of the pot, maybe with a clove of crushed garlic or some bits of onion, and then add the sauce and heat it up. Kale is crazily nutritious and cheap, too!

    • Nancy says:

      Thank you so much for this tip Becca! I never would have thought of Kale in spaghetti sauce. I have added your tip to the article.

  13. Amy says:

    Between this and the tip I saw for storing salad in jars, I am EXCITED! In fact, I am going to Walmart today and I think i will make some of this sauce.

    Thank you. 🙂

  14. Linda says:

    That’s a great idea. I will look for tomato sauce at BJ’s the next time I go. Too bad I don’t have it to try for tonight. We’re having spaghetti!

    • Nancy says:

      I think we are having spaghetti tonight too! It’s cold and rainy and my brain won’t work. 🙂 Spaghetti is my go to recipe.

  15. My family is GFCFSF and I am glad to have stumbled across your blog! The more resources on living allergy free the better.

    If you have a moment today, please share this with my readers @Creative Juice Thursday Hope to see your pasta sauce idea among all the amazing projects!

  16. Jen says:

    Thanks for linking up with Made From Scratch Tuesday!
    I love making my own sauce. We add beans too, but I puree them so the sauce is heartier but the kids don’t realize the beans are in there.

  17. What a great idea. I make my own sauce as well, but I never thought about buying a big can at Costco in a pinch. Thanks for the post.

  18. I love making my own sauces! Great time and money and health saving option! Thanks for linking up to Friday Potluck!

  19. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Nancy,
    What a great idea! I just love projects that save time and energy in the kitchen. Looks like a great combination of spice. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and we hope to see you next week!

  20. Miranda says:

    Yeah, what is “natural flavors” anyways? I love homemade sauce, and I never buy the jars anymore. Thanks for linking this up to Fat Camp Friday! Hope to see you next week!

  21. Absolutely brilliant! Who says homemade spaghetti sauce has to be difficult to make? You just proved them wrong. Excellent!!

  22. Hi Nancy! So nice to see you posting on the hearth and soul hop and this is a terrific idea! I used to call this “doctoring” the sauce and it really is a great thing when you do not have access to seasonal tomatoes which we all know are THE best when it comes to sauce! thanks so much for sharing this on the hearth and soul hop, but you could please change the link back to the URL of the site you linked up to because the Hearth and soul hop hub is no longer active. Thanks so much! All the best! Alex

  23. This sounds like a great idea. I always love saving money and 5 jars of sauce for 3 bucks is a good price! I hope you’ll come link up your sauce tomorrow at These Chicks Cooked. Have a good one 🙂

  24. […] 5 Minute Spaghetti Sauce from Real Food, Allergy Free […]

  25. Thanks so much for coming by to show off your spaghetti sauce recipe this week. Have a fabulous long weekend ! Hope you can come share more recipes again this Wednesday!

  26. Vanessa says:

    Great idea!!
    Thank you so much for linking up to {nifty thrifty sunday}!
    I hope to see you again tomorrow!

  27. Jessica says:

    So glad I found your site (Melt in your mouth monday link)! We have a son who has food allergies to milk, sensitivity to eggs, and allergic to several fruits. I love the sauce idea, we’ve just started trying our own sauces, and this would be great to make so many at once! I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts.


  28. amber says:

    Wow, I am so going to try this and soon. You put jars in the freezer? Just double checking before I end up with a big explosive mess.


    • Nancy says:

      Yes. Make sure to leave plenty of room for expansion. I fill my old spaghetti jars to where the top of the label would be. I refrigerate them over night before I freeze them. I don’t know if that makes a difference. If you are concerned, you can always use baggies.

  29. Angie says:

    Thank you for this. I am about to go back to work full time and am looking for healty fast meals and this will cut down on prep time.

  30. Claudia says:

    Our family goes through a lot of spaghetti sauce. The children prefer I use it when making their pizzas (homemade of course), and I use it for a lot of different pasta dishes we make throughout the month. However the cost is getting up there so I was really happy to see your recipe. Great job! I was wondering if you could tell me how long this would last in the freezer? I want to make a large batch. Thank you.

    • Nancy says:

      Claudia, I’m not sure. We usually use it within a couple of months. I think it would last much longer as long as it stays frozen.

  31. Thank you! I am so going to try this! =) Do you mind if I use your recipe on my blogspot? I will be sure to note credit to you. Thanks!

  32. DebbieOlson says:

    Some friends and I are wondering if you water bath canned the sauce for shelf life?

  33. Debbie says:

    I was wondering if this can be frozen since I don’t have a pressure cooker to seal the jars to preserve the sauce.

  34. […] out this article I recently found on how to make your own spaghetti sauce for about $3 – $5 total […]

  35. Abbynormal says:

    I was just curious, After freezing when ready to use, what is the best way to defrost the sauce?

    • Nancy says:

      Hi Abby,

      I usually just leave it out on the counter or submerge it under warm water. Sometimes it looks like the sauce is seperating, but it’ll mix up just fine in the pan.

  36. Cheryl says:

    You can find this cans in your local grocer for about $2.89 if you don’t have a sams or costco near you. Just look where they put the restaurant size cans on the shelf.

  37. Tami R. says:

    I was wondering, do you freeze in the glass jars in the above picture? Thanks for the post. Gonna give it a whirl!

    • Nancy says:

      Yes, Tami. I freeze the jars. They do fine as long as you don’t fill them above the top of where the label was.

  38. Christa says:

    I purchased an awesome can opener at GFS (Gordon Food Services, bulk food store) that makes opening big cans a breeze. It’s a hand crank and looks like this one (, but I only paid around $10 for it at GFS. It’s been one of my best purchases ever. I put away my electric can opener because this one is easier than using electric for any type of can. It’s also easier to clean and store than my old electric can opener.

  39. lori says:

    I am so excited to try this. I have the can of sauce in my cupboard, I have just been too busy canning REAL tomatoes from the garden this week 🙂 I noticed it was asked before but no response was given. Do you think you could water bath these to make them shelf stable (using canning jars, not the reused spaghetti sauce jars of course)? I would love to make up a ton of these and can them to put on the shelves with my other canned goods and would also be able to can them through out the year.

    Another question, when you freeze them do you freeze them in quart or gallon sized bags? I am thinking gallon would be better since it would freeze thinner and be easier to defrost. Thank you for this awesome recipe and I can’t wait to try it out. I got the sauce at Sam’s but I am positive they have the same ones at Walmart too in their bulk sized section.

    • Nancy says:

      Hi Lori, Yes, I think you could can the sauce in canning jars if you wanted. I have frozen them in ziploc bags and it works fine. I just prefer not to use a lot of plastic.

  40. I was excited to find this post, but I’m a little disappointed that it used canned sauce. I have been contemplating doing something like this, but I hate the idea of buying canned sauce (especially tomatoes, because they are acidic) and the cans are lined with BPA. :/ Do you know if there is any place that offers large glass jars of tomato sauce?

    • Nancy says:

      I understand your concern about the cans. No, I don’t know of any large jars. Costco usually has cases of small muir glen tomatoes (which is what I use in everything else) but I can’t remember the price.

  41. Kdrappo says:

    Brillant! I am not a health food nut or super saver, but I do appreciate homemade and smart choices. I make my own jams and recently got into lotions and essential oils. How did I miss something so easy? I will be following you in the future. Thanks for the inspiration.