This is a delicious, pure home-canned spaghetti sauce recipe for home canning from the USDA.
It’s a plain, simple and mild sauce, not too spicy, ideal for those with simpler tastes. It should be a hit with pickier eaters, such as kids or some seniors.
One hidden advantage of making your own spaghetti sauce is that you may can it in different sized jars, so that you are able to open just the right amount for the recipe you want to use it in: no more wasted spaghetti sauce moldering in the fridge because of that meatloaf recipe that wanted half a cup!
This recipe requires a pressure canner. If you don’t have one, consider making Minnesota Mix instead, which you can open and simmer a bit into a sauce before using. Or, plain tomato sauce.
You can make the regular version (88 calories, 315 mg sodium per 125 ml / 4 oz) or make it sugar and salt-free (84 calories, 24 mg sodium.)
For a version of this with meat, see Spaghetti Sauce with Meat (requires longer processing time in pressure canner.)
See all pasta-sauce recipes for canning.
Jar size choices: Either half-litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart)
Processing method: Pressure canning only
Yield: 9 x half-litre (US pint) jars
Headspace: 3 cm (1 inch)
Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet)
Processing time: Half-litres (pints) 20 minutes; litres (quarts) 25 minutes
- 14 kg tomatoes (30 lbs. As purchased.)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 175 g onion (finely chopped. 1 cup / 6 oz)
- 5 cloves garlic (washed, peeled, minced)
- 150 g celery (or green pepper. Chopped. 1 cup / 5 oz)
- 500 g mushrooms (fresh, sliced. 1 lb / optional)
- 2 tablespoons oregano (dried)
- 1 ½ tablespoons salt (OR non-bitter, non-clouding salt sub)
- 4 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
- 2 tablespoons marjoram (dried, optional)
- 1 tablespoon basil (dried, optional)
- 4 teaspoons parsley (dried, optional)
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- Hull and peel the tomatoes. Quarter tomatoes. Boil 20 minutes, uncovered, in large pot, then press through sieve or food mill.
- Put oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, green pepper, and mushrooms (optional). Let cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent and the mushroom slices have shrunk. Add to the tomatoes.
- Add the seasoning from the oregano down to and including the black pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and let simmer uncovered until reduced by half. This will take 2 to 3 hours, so you may want to do this at off-peak energy rates if they apply where you live.
- Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Ladle into either half-litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart) hot jars.
- Leave 3 cm (1 inch) headspace.
- Wipe jar rims.
- Put lids on.
- Put in pressure canner.
- Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet)
- Processing time: Half-litres (pints) 20 minutes; litres (quarts) 25 minutes
Processing guidelines below are for weighted-gauge pressure canner. See also if applicable: Dial-gauge pressures.
|Jar Size||Time||0 to 300 m (0 - 1000 feet) pressure||Above 300 m (1000 ft) pressure|
|½ litre (1 US pint)||20 mins||10 lbs||15 lb|
|1 litre (1 US quart)||25 mins||10 lbs||15 lb|
How to peel tomatoes.
How to pressure can.
When pressure canning, you must adjust the pressure for your altitude.
More information about Salt-Free Canning in general.
More information about canning tomatoes in general.
Why do some tomato products need acidification but not others?
What is the shelf life of home canned goods?
- Yes, peeling the tomatoes is a safety control factor rather than a food preference here. The processing time was developed based on the assumption that you reduced the bacterial load by peeling the tomatoes.
- The USDA warns not to increase the amount of onion, pepper and mushroom. At time of use, when you open a jar of this spaghetti sauce, you may adjust it however you need to for the exact dish you are making. For instance, you could stir in a jar of drained, home-canned mushrooms or peppers.
- Instead of green pepper, you can use 125 g (1 cup / 4 oz ) of finely chopped celery. But you can’t use both, owing to the warning above about increasing vegetables.
- It is absolutely fine, for picky eaters, to omit any or all of the following: onion, garlic, mushroom, pepper (or celery). Why it’s fine is that you are decreasing the density by doing so. It’s only in increasing density that we get our fingers slapped.
- You could prep and cook the veggies the day before and refrigerate overnight to make sauce day a little easier.
- Instead of 4 teaspoons of dried parsley, you can use 4 tablespoons of fresh, minced.
- Acceptable safe ways to adjust flavouring at the end would include adding onion powder, garlic powder, salt sub, black pepper, chile flakes, liquid stevia, more brown sugar, oregano, marjoram, basil, parsley, etc.
Using canned tomatoes
Instead of 14 kg (30 lbs) of fresh tomatoes, you could start with 12 litres (US quarts) of canned (either store or home canned), crushed tomatoes.
The suggestion for canned comes from: Lewis, Sarah. Canning Soups and Sauces. UAF Cooperative Extension, Juneau District. Family and Community Development Faculty. November, 2014. Page 4.
The suggestion also follows the USDA guideline of 1.25 kg tomatoes yielding a litre of crushed (2.75 lbs. yielding a quart.)
If you feel it is too “thick” you can always add another can — it’s okay to lower the density in pressure canning recipes.
If you do use canned, the same simmering guidelines apply: until volume is reduced by about half and it’s an appropriate thickness for a pasta sauce.
Spaghetti Sauce without Meat. In: United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Complete guide to home canning. Agriculture information bulletin No. 539. 2015. Page 3-13.
Spaghetti Sauce without Meat. In: Andress, Elizabeth L. and Judy A. Harrison. So Easy to Preserve. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension. Bulletin 989. Sixth Edition. 2014. Page 69.
- Swapped fresh parsley for dried;
- Added basil and marjoram suggestion;
- Reduced oil from 4 tablespoons to 2 tablespoons (to reduce Weight Watcher points)
Per 125 ml (½ cup / 4 oz):
- 88 calories, 315 mg sodium
Sugar and salt-free version
Per 125 ml (½ cup / 4 oz):
- 84 calories, 24 mg sodium
* Nutrition info provided by https://caloriecount.about.com
Michelle A Dalton
No lemon juice needed with this recipe? I am using crushed tomatoes, not fresh and want to make sure.
Why doesn’t this recipe require citric Acid or lemon juice? Is it still safe?
I did it! This turned out to be a mammoth effort for me. I followed the recipe but used canned tomatoes instead of preparing my own; I can’t imagine how long that would have taken, as it was it was an all day event. So you know, 1kg of canned tomatoes is equal to 1L. 12L of tomatoes is A LOT to deal with. I don’t have a pot (or even 2) that can handle this much. After many hours of stirring pots (and many burns along the way), I didn’t get to the 1/2 reduction. Although I can’t fathom how 12L to start with, reduced by half, equals 9 half litre jars.
But, it tastes good. Very happy with the outcome 🙂
Thank you for this recipe. I’ve canned mince separately so this is an easy meal for us. Whenever I find a recipe I always check against this website as the flavourings always seem to be tweaked and look nicer than the original.
In the spaghetti sauce recipe, can I add dry white wine?
Why not make it as is, and then add the wine upon opening?
Is there an option of this with meat? E.g. could I just put in some meat and then adjust the canning time accordingly? Let’s say 90 mins?
Here is the recipe with meat: Spaghetti Sauce with Meat
Betty C Ortego
Can you use ragu to can with meatballs?
Not sure what you mean.
is tomato weight listed above before or after deseeding. I will be using Roma tomatoes.
Before. That’s the weight to start with.
What is the shelf life of this recipe once it is canned and unopened. Thank you
See here for shelf life: https://www.healthycanning.com/the-shelf-life-of-home-canned-goods/
This sounds like a good simple recipe (I’ll have to omit the celery and mushrooms) my question is I’ve seen people add balsamic vinegar to pasta sauces before. Would that be labeled under the ways to adjust the flavor? Or would that mess with the PH too much? Thanks!!
This recipe is being pressure canned so its pH isn’t particularly relevant. In home pressure canning, the concern is more the density of things. You could add some balsamic vinegar as a flavouring if you wished.
You never say when to add the garlic.
Good catch — this actually got proof read three times and that was missed. Thank you — added.
My spaghetti sauce has a whang to it. What can I do to get it out?
Robin L L Johnson
can the sugar be eliminated if its to be pressure canned
The sugar is not there for safety. It is just a seasoning. It can be omitted.
Made my spaghetti sauce yesterday-no meat and placed in fridge overnight.What do I do to can it in my pressure/canner cooker today?
That is fine so far (the meat or no meat isn’t relevant.) Now, place it in a pot, reheat it back to piping hot on the stove — the same point where it would have been when you left off yesterday — and proceed with canning directions as normal in your pressure canner, as per directions of the tested recipe you are using. This is assuming you are using a tested recipe. If you are using your own recipe, then don’t reheat it — pack it into containers or freezer bags, label and date, and freeze.
Do I have to add either peppers or celery or could I omit both?
You absolutely can omit both. I will add a note on that.
Can I cut all the ingredients in half since I only have 15 lbs of tomatoes, and itvwill still be safe for water bath canning?
Kent, that recipe no matter how you slice it is not safe for water bath canning. It is for pressure canning only.
If you don’t have a pressure canner, then consider alternative recipes that are safe for water-bath canning. There’s Minnesota Mix, a stewed tomato mix that can be quickly made into a spag sauce after opening, it’s delicious. The current Ball Blue Book on page 33 has Basic-Garlic Tomato Sauce and Seasoned Tomato Sauce, both for water bath canning. The All New Ball Book for water-bath canning has Oven-Roasted Marinara Sauce (page 204) and Vodka Pasta Sauce base (page 207).
If you need help accessing one of those recipes let us know.
In the spaghetti recipe it calls for green peppers Can I add yellow, orange, red, and green together for taste and flavor? Also can you use fresh herbs and parsley?
Yes you can use any variety of pepper you wish as long as you don’t increase the overall amount. The recipe was developed for dried herbs. See safe tweaking: https://www.healthycanning.com/safe-tweaking-of-home-canning-recipes/