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The Best Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

This Red Wine Meat Sauce is the best spaghetti meat sauce. Our spaghetti pasta is is cooked al dente, then topped with tomato-based sauce made with red wine, parmesan cheese, a blend of flavor-bursting herbs, and perfectly seasoned ground beef. Translation: A MEAT SAUCE THAT IS TO DIE FOR.

Never will I look at spaghetti meat sauce the same way again.

two plates of The Best Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

The Very Best Spaghetti Meat Sauce

This spaghetti meat sauce is a tried and true recipe that took a long time to perfect. I actually made this red wine meat sauce for fun almost a year ago, just because I was craving spaghetti and there was no pre-made sauce in the house.

Over months, I perfected my red wine meat sauce bit by bit every time I make it again.

It truly is the best spaghetti meat sauce, and while every ingredient plays an important role, the real game changer here is red wine.


Meat Sauce with Red Wine

What sets this apart from many other spaghetti sauces is this – we infused that sauce with fresh basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, and of course – good quality red wine.

Red wine is one ingredient, but it is so flavorful when cooked it brings on flavors that is typically achieved with a handful of ingredients. It bumps the flavor of a dish up many notches.

If you don’t like the taste of red wine or alcohol, we are actually cooking down the alcohol so what’s left is delicious flavors, without the alcoholic taste.

I LOVE cooking Meat Sauce with red wine. It’s an ingredient that is used very commonly in nice Italian restaurants to give amazing flavors to their pasta dishes.

Closeup shot of The Best Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

An important thing to note when cooking with red wine: do not cook with bad quality or old wine. We will be able to cook down the alcohol, but cooking will not take away the old and bad flavors.

There’s no need to get super expensive wine, just use something you do not mind drinking.

Now let’s talk about my other favorite ingredient – fresh basil. Fresh herbs make the best food. It has better flavors, thus making the sauce more flavorful.

If you really don’t have fresh basil, you can use dried ones, but I highly recommend using fresh basil if you can find them!


Here are the full ingredient list for my red wine meat sauce:

  • red wine – Avoid sweet red wine, or old wine. Read more on red wine in the section above this!
  • fresh basil – fresh is always the best, but in a pinch, dried basil works as well.
  • fresh garlic – do not substitute with garlic powder
  • lean ground beef – you can also do half ground beef and half Italian sausage if you want
  • whole peeled canned tomatoes – San Marzano’s are my favorite, but other kinds work as well
  • tomato sauce
  • oregano
  • marjoram
  • olive oil
Tomato based meat sauce for The Best Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

How to Make Red Wine Meat Sauce

When making red wine meat sauce, the key is to be patient and simmer your sauce so that it develops much richness and depth in flavor.

I like to cook my red wine meat sauce in a Dutch oven or large pot.

Steps to make the best meat sauce:

  • Add olive oil and minced garlic to a large pot or Dutch oven, and cook under medium heat. Once garlic is fragrant, add ground beef. Break ground beef into small pieces, then season with some salt. Continue to cook until beef is no longer pink. Seasoning your meat here will ensure that some flavors are seared into the meat, and not just in the sauce.
  • Add whole peeled canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, red wine, chopped basil, oregano, marjoram, sugar and salt.
  • Bring to boil, then lower to medium low heat and let it cook for 20-25 minutes. This is where we let the flavors come together, and cook down the alcohol in the red wine
  • Add parmesan cheese to sauce, stir, then add salt to taste. Note that salt is used to open up the flavors, so if your sauce is flat, try adding a bit of salt.
  • At the end sauce should have thicken, and flavors should be rich and bold.
  • Serve over spaghetti and enjoy!

Ah spaghetti with red wine meat sauce, a.k.a. the BEST meat sauce ever.

Elegant, delicious, sophisticated, flavorful, amazing. All the verbs you can find to describe a dish that you love with your whole dang heart.

Yet so doable and simple. It doesn’t take much more work than a regular, plainer spaghetti sauce. So my question to you is: WHY SETTLE??

Overhead shot of two plates of The Best Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

We are going into another couple of weeks where schedules are crazy busy, and I need to not cook for a few nights, but I still want to eat yummy foods. Because I always do.

I know I will be dreaming about eating Spaghetti and Meat Sauce on those nights, so I’m preparing ahead. 😉

GRAB A FORK, people! 🙂

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do if I don’t want to use wine in my Spaghetti Meat Sauce?

Substitute wine with beef broth, and add half a cube of beef bouillon to bump up the flavor. Taste and add more beef bouillon if needed

How to I thicken the sauce?

Try cooking it for longer, or bump up the heat slightly to boil down the liquid. You can also drain the whole tomatoes to reduce the liquid in the meat sauce

Can I freeze the meat sauce?

Absolutely! They freeze very well. Keep them in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

DID YOU ENJOY THIS RECIPE? Please comment below and give us a 5-star rating! This will help others find this recipe on Google and Pinterest. We very much appreciate your help! 🤍

More Pasta Dishes

Closeup shot of The Best Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

The Best Spaghetti and Meat Sauce

The best and easy spaghetti meat sauce recipe! Spaghetti is cooked al dente, topped with tomato-based meat sauce made with red wine, parmesan cheese, a blend of flavor-bursting herbs, and perfectly seasoned ground beef. Makes great leftovers as well.
4.87 from 36 votes
Print Pin
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 467kcal
Author: MinShien


  • 4-6 cloves fresh garlic
  • olive oil
  • 1 lbs lean ground beef
  • 28 oz whole peeled canned tomatoes
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt + more if needed
  • 1/8 cup parmesan cheese + more for garnish
  • 1 lbs spaghetti


  • Mince garlic and chop fresh basil into small pieces. Gather the rest of the ingredients.
  • In a large pot or dutch oven, add olive oil and minced garlic, and cook under medium heat. Once garlic is fragrant (do not brown or burn garlic), quickly add ground beef. Break it into small pieces, then season with some salt. 
  • Once ground beef is no longer pink-ish. Add whole peeled canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, red wine, chopped basil, oregano, marjoram, sugar and salt.
  • Bring to boil, then lower to medium low heat and let it cook for 20-25 minutes, or until sauce thickens (see Note 1) and red wine is cooked down (no longer has that strong alcoholic taste). 
  • While waiting for meat sauce to cook, bring out another pot and cook spaghetti based on package instruction.
  • When the 20-25 minutes is up, add parmesan cheese to meat sauce. Stir and taste. If needed, add more salt. Note: Salt is use open up the flavors in addition to adding saltiness. You'll be surprise how much salt open up the other flavors. If the flavors are not coming through, add more salt. 
  • Drain cooked spaghetti and combine with sauce. 
  • Garnish with more parmesan cheese if desire. 
  • Serve and enjoy!



Note 1: Depending on your stove top and pot/dutch oven you use, it may take longer to thicken the sauce. 


Calories: 467kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 843mg | Potassium: 956mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 538IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 5mg
Did you make this recipe?Take a pic and tag me at @joyous.apron, or hashtag #joyousapron on Instagram!

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4.87 from 36 votes (33 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Phillip frazier says:

    Could I cook this in the crockpot

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      You could but I imagine the consistency would be less thick. The stove top would still be the preferred way to do this for me. You want to be able to boil down the liquid.

  2. Barbara E says:

    5 stars
    Loved this meat sauce – I don’t love tomatoes and this wasn’t over-powering. All of the flavors were balanced.

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, Barbara!

  3. Lauren Patterson says:

    5 stars
    Omg this sauce was HELLA good!! Not only did our family friends love it, but my kids loved it as well (which is always a win). I doubled the meat (just cus I love a really meaty sauce), but either way, it’s now my go-to spaghetti sauce. Thank you Min Shien!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Yay!!! So happy to hear that, Lauren!! Love it when it’s a win! 🙂

  4. Kevin Linehan says:

    Can you recommend a specific red wine to use. I’m lost on what wine to choose ?

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      I like to make this with pinot noir or cabernet sauvignon!

  5. 5 stars
    We’ve made this recipe multiple times and love it every time – it really is the best spaghetti!

    1. Joyous Apron says:

      Thanks Noah! Always happy to hear that a recipe has become a regular! 🙂