Ahh, tomatoes. Every home gardener grows them, right? But they can be so productive, what do you do with the huge harvests you often get? Well, if you’re smart about it, you can make some delicious homemade spaghetti sauce with them!

For this Self Reliant Skill of the Week, I’m canning homemade spaghetti sauce for the first time. That’s right, after all the years I’ve gardened, I’ve never made or canned homemade spaghetti sauce! Sadly, a lot of my big tomato harvests up until now have gone mostly to waste.

I haven’t harvested a lot of tomatoes yet this year. It seems they are ripening much later than they normally do. But luckily, I grew a lot of Roma tomatoes last year and put them straight in the freezer. I had over 30 pounds from last year still in the freezer – waiting for the opportunity and the motivation to can some homemade spaghetti sauce!

We eat a lot of spaghetti here at my house. With our big family, spaghetti is one of the cheap meals that makes a regular appearance in our meal plan.

Homemade spaghetti sauce and noodles on a plate

This is a recipe I found that was passed down from my grandma, I think. After trying it, The Hubs said that this sauce is better than any we’ve bought in a jar.

Here is the video of my first time making and canning homemade spaghetti sauce:

Equipment needed for homemade spaghetti sauce

You need to weigh out 25 pounds of tomatoes for this recipe. So if you don’t have a scale that will do that much, you can do what I did and use the bathroom scale! That’s right, I just weighed myself normally, then held the bags of tomatoes and weighed myself again.

The large stock pot is to cook the spaghetti sauce, the slotted spoon is to stir the sauce, and the knife is to cut the cores out of the tomatoes and chop up the other ingredients. Of course, you’ll also need measuring cups and spoons to measure out the other ingredients.

If you are canning this recipe, you’ll need a waterbath canner with a lid and canning rack, and 8-9 canning jars with rings and new lids. You don’t have to can this recipe, it can go in the freezer if you wish, but it does make quite a lot. Canning just makes sense for my family, as we don’t have a lot of freezer space. Plus, with canning, we don’t have to worry about power outages ruining our hard work!

Homemade spaghetti sauce recipe

  • 25 pounds tomatoes
  • 5 medium yellow onions, diced and roasted or sautéed (if desired)
  • 4 red bell peppers, diced and roasted or sautéed (if desired)
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced and roasted or sautéed (if desired)
  • 4 6 ounce cans of tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup non-iodized salt (canning, kosher, or sea salt are good)
  • 12-15 cloves garlic, diced and roasted or sautéed (if desired)
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves

If canning: 2 tbsp lemon juice or 1/2 tsp citric acid for each jar

Peel, core, and quarter your tomatoes. Put them in your large stock pot. Sautee or roast onions, garlic, and peppers, if desired. Add all ingredients to the pot, except lemon juice or citric acid. Simmer the mixture for 4 hours, stirring about every 15 minutes. Remove from heat, blend in a blender or use an immersion blender if you want your sauce to have a creamier, smoother texture.

Start heating water in waterbath canner. Heat up your jars in the oven or in hot water. Put 2 tablespoons lemon juice or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid in each jar. Ladle spaghetti sauce into each jar (makes about 8-9 quart jars), leaving 1 inch head space.

Place lids and rings on, tightening rings finger-tight. Carefully place jars into waterbath canner, making sure there is 1 inch of water over the jars during processing. Boil in lidded canner for 40 minutes for altitudes 0-1,000 feet. For each additional 2,000 feet , add 5 more minutes of processing time.

Canned homemade spaghetti sauce

How long does canned spaghetti sauce last?

If processed correctly and stored in a cool, dry location, this spaghetti sauce will easily last 1-2 years. I’ve seen canned food last much longer, but that is the “recommended” time period for storing home-canned goods.

Home-canned goods should be stored in a mostly temperature-controlled location, out of direct sunlight. Avoid anywhere that has temperature extremes.

Have you canned your own spaghetti sauce?

Tell us! Have you canned your own homemade spaghetti sauce? Let us know how it went in the comments!



  1. hi, was wondering if I could water bath can spaghetti sauce! dont know how to use a pressure canner, grew up to be afraid of them, too bad too, cause I love canning…..

    question: could I take jarred spaghetti sauce and water bath can it? or how long can those storebought glass jars last?

    thanks for great articles and ideas.

    1. Hi kt,
      Pressure canning isn’t too bad, I did it myself the first time this year. I know it can be intimidating, though! Technically you can water bath can jarred spaghetti sauce, but I don’t think there would be much benefit to it. The store-bought glass jars last just as long as home-canned. If you got a good deal on bulk spaghetti sauce (like a #10 can or something), though, you could separate it into whatever size jars you would use for one meal, and water bath can it that way! Hope this helps!

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