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Grandma Carolyn's Spaghetti Sauce | Bake Your Day
Monday, January 12, 2015

Grandma Carolyn’s Spaghetti Sauce

Grandma Carolyn's Spaghetti Sauce

Next month will mark my the start of my fifth year blogging.  And over the years I have posted several recipes that I really grew up on.  Recipes that always take me back to childhood in some fashion.  Cinnamon Rolls, French cookies, party mix, and onion pork chops.

I love the classics.  I love the basics.  I love the recipes that have been made in my family for years and years and even more, I love to share them here.  Which is why I can’t believe it’s taken me four full years to get this one posted here: Grandma Carolyn’s Spaghetti Sauce.  I have never really been able to perfect this one, until yesterday, that is.

Grandma Carolyn's Spaghetti Sauce

I’m really not sure what made it different this time.  It’s super basic – ground beef, tomato sauce, a little sugar, and the secret ingredient – chili seasoning.  My mom swears by William’s chili seasoning and as much as I prefer to make my own chili seasoning, when it comes to Grandma’s spaghetti sauce, William’s is where I turn too.  I think one of the things I love the most about this sauce is the smell it evokes in the house when it’s simmering all day long.  If I had to describe my mom’s house in a smell – this spaghetti sauce would be it!

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Grandma Carolyn's Spaghetti Sauce

Yield: Serves 4-6

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2+ hours


1 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2-3 Tbs. chili seasoning (my mom only uses William’s or you can make your own)
1-2 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
3 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water


Melt the butter in a large dutch oven. Add the olive oil, onion and garlic and stir. Cook the onions and garlic until they are softened and fragrant. Add the ground beef and break it up as it cooks. Add the salt and pepper. When cooked through, drain any excess grease if needed.

Add the 2 tablespoons of chili seasoning and 1 tablespoon of sugar, along with the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and water and stir to combine well. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then cover and cook for at least 2 hours up to 6. The longer the better!

Serve with cooked spaghetti noodles of your choice.

Grandma Carolyn's Spaghetti Sauce


22 Responses to “Grandma Carolyn’s Spaghetti Sauce”

  1. #
    Sues — January 12, 2015 @ 6:40 am

    Yum, there’s nothing like a classic spaghetti sauce! I don’t have a favorite yet, so I definitely need to try this one!

  2. #
    Erin | Well Plated — January 12, 2015 @ 7:17 am

    Treasured family recipes are just the best. Congrats on (almost) five fabulous years Cassie!

  3. #
    Monique @ Ambitious Kitchen — January 12, 2015 @ 8:14 am

    I will definitely be making this! And five years? Congrats!

  4. #
    Cookbook Queen — January 12, 2015 @ 8:30 am

    You and I have just about the same anniversary! I think I’ll be five years next week!! Happy anniversary — so glad we’ve gotten to meet 🙂 You are a sweet and super talented lady! This spaghetti sauce is perfect — classics are my favorite, too.

  5. #
    Whendi Martin (Mom) — January 12, 2015 @ 9:05 am

    There are many secrets to this sauce but mostly, in my opinion, the secret is mind over matter. Grandma Carolyn would have never used anything to cook this sauce but her cast iron skillet and just as I swear by Williams, she swore by that “go to pan” in her kitchen to cook everything. The pan itself was “seasoned” perfectly. I never owned cast iron and therefore, I fast forwarded to “non-stick” cookware, but I can see that Cassie has made another fast forward and is using a porcelain bottomed pot. It’s abundantly obvious the pot doesn’t matter! I can also tell you that my grandmother very rarely used a recipe for anything and especially not her sauce. As a child I remember learning the recipe like this, “fry some onions in some butter, then add a pound of ground beef until done. Cover with Williams and cover with a thin layer of sugar and then add tomato sauce and simmer until done”… I have tried for 52 years to perfect this recipe and while some tries seem spot on, it will simply never be the same as it was during my childhood or Cassie’s childhood. I must admit the simple touch that my most precious Grandmother gave to this special family recipe can never and will never be duplicated again.
    P.S. The second best thing about this recipe are the leftovers. They must be “fried” in a skillet the following day. There are simply no words to describe “fried spaghetti” as a follow up to the “day before delight”!
    Congrats baby girl on 5 years of blogging your love for food – I am as proud of you today as I was all those many years ago as you took the award at the Young Author’s Conference! Your writing has come full circle and my heart is over joyed – I love you big!

  6. #
    Jess — January 12, 2015 @ 9:14 am

    I love this Cassie – my grandma’s pasta sauce is one of my favorite recipes of all time – wonder if it’s a midwestern thing? Five years of blogging!? Congrats!

  7. #
    Carole Lawrence — January 12, 2015 @ 10:06 am

    Whendi, did you ever know Grandma to use olive oil or to mince garlic? She never used a can of tomatoes or tomato paste either. Cassie’s recipe sounds really good. I bet it taste just like Grandma’s. But Grandma’s was easy to make. I love to read or hear all the grandkids talk about Grandma or Grandpa.

  8. #
    Brandi — January 12, 2015 @ 10:48 am

    i love finally getting family recipes! it’s such a great feeling 🙂 this sounds so delicious and simple – thanks for sharing Cassie!

  9. #
    Meagan @ A Zesty Bite — January 12, 2015 @ 11:01 am

    You just can’t beat a classic. Spaghetti sauce can be used for so many things.

  10. #
    Rachel Cooks — January 12, 2015 @ 11:41 am

    I <3 your mom's comment. 🙂

    And this looks phenomenal — can't wait to try it.

  11. #
    Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction — January 12, 2015 @ 11:54 am

    Grandma’s recipes are always best! Love this!

  12. #
    Katie — January 12, 2015 @ 1:34 pm

    Mmm I love a good red sauce recipe!

  13. #
    sarah k @ the pajama chef — January 12, 2015 @ 2:42 pm

    family recipes are just the best! congrats on almost 5 years 🙂

  14. #
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough — January 12, 2015 @ 7:50 pm

    There really is nothing better than the classics from family! This sauce looks delish — can I just eat it with a spoon? 😉

  15. #
    Melanie @ Carmel Moments — January 14, 2015 @ 9:49 am

    There’s truly nothing like homemade spaghetti sauce! I never knew that though until too late in life. I missed out on years of homemade for Ragu. But at least I know better now.

    Looks amazing! Pinned.

    Happy Wednesday!

  16. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — January 14, 2015 @ 7:56 pm

    I love when a recipe tastes as good as I remember it. It’s hard to do because so much of our food memory is based on the experience or the moment. I love everything about this sauce.

  17. #
    Joanne Bruno — January 15, 2015 @ 4:09 pm

    Heirloom recipes like this are the best! There’s a reason why they’ve stood the test of time. I can see why you love this so much and it is perfect for this time of year!

  18. #
    Sommer @aspicyperspective — January 17, 2015 @ 9:19 am

    Oh yes, that spaghetti sauce aroma in my house would be amazing! Congratulations on your almost 5yrs!

  19. #
    Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste — January 19, 2015 @ 9:35 am

    This looks absolutely INCREDIBLE! I can practically taste the balance of acidity and sweetness just from staring/drooling at my screen 🙂 Yum!


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