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Great Grandma’s Pasta Sauce

4.69 from 79 votes
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Great Grandma’s Pasta Sauce has been passed down through the generations and it originated from a friend’s Italian great great grandmother. It is the most delicious, rich, flavorful, pasta sauce I’ve ever had in my entire life and I can’t wait for you to try it!

What makes great grandma’s pasta sauce so special?

My friend told me that for every Christmas and get together, his grandmother used to make her famous pasta dish.

It’s made with this homemade pasta sauce that simmers on the stove for hours.

This pasta sauce is like liquid gold.

It’s the most delicious, rich, flavorful, pasta sauce I’ve ever had in my entire life.

This pasta sauce was actually from his great grandmother who came over from Italy. YOU KNOW it’s good when it’s from a legit Italian. Not some Chef Boyardee character.

The secret to this sauce is the simmering process.

Low and slow, baby. That’s how all the flavors develop and marry one another in a sweet, luscious concoction.

If you want to taste what the Italians are so blessed with over in Italy, I suggest you give this pasta sauce a try. You won’t ever go back to your plain ‘ol marinara that you thought was good. This sauce here is genius.

And genuine.

Don’t hate on great grandma’s pasta sauce

As you can see in the comments section below, there was some haterade on this pasta sauce.

There is a multitude of ways to make pasta sauce. I am not claiming this is THE right and ONLY way to make it.

This is how his family makes it.

If this isn’t the way “your” Italian grandmother or mother or whatever makes it…please don’t yell at me and tell me so.

Recipes are passed down from generations for a reason.

Every recipe is different. Every recipe is modified for each family.

There no “right” way to make something. That is why recipes bring such joy in the kitchen; they can be changed up.

I’m bringing this up because of comments I’ve gotten about this recipe and thus have turned off commenting for that very reason.

This pasta sauce is so easy to make!

You literally need the most basic of ingredients:

  • Ground beef
  • Tomato puree
  • Garlic
  • Spices
  • Fresh basil
  • Water

Can I freeze this pasta sauce?

To be honest, I haven’t tried to freeze this before but I know others who have and it’s fine! I would put it in one of those plastic takeout containers and reheat on the stovetop (like defrost it then plop it into a saucepan).

Can this pasta sauce be made in the slow cooker?

Technically, yes, because the idea is to cook it low and slow. I haven’t done it myself but I know others have done it so I’d put it on low for 3-4 hours!

So many great recipes that you could use great grandma’s pasta sauce recipe in:

Grab the recipe for great grandma’s pasta sauce below and be prepared to get wrapped up in comfort!

Great Grandma’s Pasta Sauce

If you want to taste what the Italians are so blessed with over in Italy, I suggest you give this pasta sauce a try. You won’t ever go back to your plain ‘ol marinara that you thought was good. This sauce here is beyond genuine and you will love it!
4.69 from 79 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Julie Chiou


  • 1 pound (454 g) 80/20 ground beef OR 90/10 ground beef
  • 6 ounce (170 g) can tomato paste
  • 6 ounce (170 ml) water
  • 24 ounce (680 g) jar tomato puree
  • 56 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • Pinch of onion powder
  • Pinch of garlic powder
  • Handful of fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • In a large stockpot, saute garlic until soft and fragrant in 2 tbsp. of olive oil, about 2 minutes.
  • Throw your meat in with the garlic and brown until meat has been thoroughly cooked through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour in the tomato paste, tomato puree, and seasoning, including the fresh basil and sugar. Stir to mix well. With the 6 oz. can from the tomato paste, fill that with water and pour it in the stockpot as well.
  • Let mixture simmer, uncovered, for 2 or more hours (the longer the better, but minimum 2 hours), stirring occasionally.
  • Serve hot over fresh pasta.

Recipe Notes

A lot of people have asked about freezing this. I have not personally done this myself but I believe if you freeze this in an airtight container or a jar, it will be ok for up to 2 months. Do not freeze it immediately after making it. You’ll want it to cool to room temperature before putting the jar or container in the freezer to prevent cracking.
On making this in the slow cooker: I’ve never made this in the slow cooker before, however, I believe it’s pretty do-able. This is what I would do: brown your meat, put it in the insert of the crockpot, then add all the other ingredients, stir, cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours or high for 1-2 hours.


Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 263 kcal | Carbohydrates: 24 g | Protein: 23 g | Fat: 9 g | Fiber: 5 g | Sugar: 15 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Photography by Jesse Reilly


Friday 28th of August 2020

Sorry I made this sauce as per the recipe Tasteless

Joseph Campisi

Monday 17th of August 2020

Whats so good about this?

Julie Chiou

Tuesday 25th of August 2020

why don't you give it a try and find out yourself! or read the blog post as it explains why it's so good or all the comments of folks that have made it! :)


Tuesday 11th of August 2020

I'm going to try this tonight. I just want to say I know so sorry about that strange comment. Very odd. Has nothing to do with your recipe. Keep cooking and sharing your recipes

Liz Paz

Friday 7th of August 2020

Making this sauce now as i type but quick question, how come yours looks so deep red and with seeds in it? I am making this for a lasagna monday so i will be freezing it. I normally have a go to recipe i use which calls for a little bit of this and a little bit of that and whatever Italian seasoning i happen to have up there at the time. This one smells and tastes delicious, thank you for sharing! I love to cook my sauces low and slow all day if i need too even when it was from a jar I would dr it up and let it simmer all day. It was so good so i am hoping this is 10x better!

Julie Wampler

Saturday 8th of August 2020

the seeds are red pepper flakes that were added for photo styling and also because i like things a little more spicy. deep red could be the lighting or editing of photos.


Thursday 6th of August 2020

Can I use a can of crushed tomatoes instead?

Julie Wampler

Friday 7th of August 2020

yes, you can!

Comments are closed.