SIMPLE One Pot Chunky Meat Sauce

One pot chunky homemade meat sauce over fat rigatoni noodles in white bowl

This hearty, chunky meat sauce takes a little while to come together, but it is so worth the extra effort. This recipe makes A LARGE amount of sauce, so be sure to use a 6-quart or larger Dutch oven or pot when making it. It can also be cut in half for a smaller family or group.

The Perfect Homemade Chunky Meat Sauce

If you’ve ever wanted to make your own sauce, this meat sauce recipe is the one to try. With the classic taste of tomato and the flavor added ground beef, sausage, and a variety of spices, this is a sauce you’ll want to keep on hand. 

It may call for a lot of ingredients, but the process is as easy as gathering, combining, simmering, and serving. 

Ingredients for Simple Meat Sauce

Here’s a breakdown of what it takes to make this delicious sauce. The deep, complex and rich flavor comes from 3 different types of meat and 3 different types of tomatoes.

  • Meat – Ground beef, sweet pork sausage, and spicy pork sausage come together for a burst of meaty flavor. You can also do a variety of substitutions with ground turkey.
  • Tomato – The base of this sauce is made from a combination of tomato puree (or crushed tomatoes), diced tomatoes (undrained), and tomato paste. Don’t worry about the sauce being watery. The tomato paste will help with that.
  • Fresh Vegetables – finely chopped, medium-sized yellow onions, a couple of finely chopped celery stalks, and a large peeled and finely chopped carrot gives this tomato sauce a robust garden flavor.
  • Seasonings and Spice – oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, minced garlic, salt and pepper are staples in any Italian cuisine a must in any pasta sauce, especially this chunky one.

In addition to what is mentioned above, you’ll also need extra virgin olive oil, dry red wine, white sugar (brown sugar works as well), and Parmesan cheese.

Variation ideas: use ground chicken, fresh basil, mushrooms, and/or red pepper flakes in addition to the ingredients mentioned above. 

How to Make Simple One Pot Chunky Meat Sauce

  1. Sauté the vegetables starting with the onion and celery first, then adding the carrots, and minced garlic. You want to sweat the vegetables which means they must be cooked at a low temperature in order to avoid any browning. Garlic just needs to be cooked until it is fragrant – 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  2. Add in the beef and sausages, cooking until no longer pink. This will require increasing the heat to high. Stir frequently and break the meat up with a spoon. You should notice a nice color begin to form on the bottom of the pan. This is called fond and has great flavor! Drain any excess fat.
  3. Push the meats and veggies to one side. Add the tomato paste and allow it to cook for 30 seconds or more. This not only deepens the flavor of the tomato, it gets rid of that canned taste the comes from the raw paste. Begin combining it with the cooked meat and veggies.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients starting with the tomato puree, diced tomatoes, red wine sauce, herbs and spice, and cheese. Stir until everything is combined well.
  5. Cover the chunky meat mixture and allow it to simmer for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Add water along the way in small increments when the sauce becomes too thick.

What to Serve with This Simple Meat Sauce

  • Of course you can’t go wrong using it for classic spaghetti or lasagna. But, why not try it over zucchini noodles or even spaghetti squash.
  • This sauce also pairs well with any other noodle (think penne, farfalle, rotini, etc.).
  • This sauce could also be used in making homemade pizza.
  • Another homerun is to use for a classic chicken parmesan.
One pot chunky homemade meat sauce over fat rigatoni noodles in white bowl

Storing Tips

If you have leftover sauce, use the following storage tips to make sure none of it goes to waste:

  • Transfer the remaining sauce to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to four days.
  • You can store remaining sauce in the freezer, using a freezer bag or freezer-safe container, for up to 5 months.

When you’re ready to reheat, pour the batch of sauce into a saucepan and reheat on medium-low to medium heat. If reheating from being frozen, allow the sauce to defrost before reheating it.

This sauce can be enjoyed immediately after cooking, It tastes even better a day or two later when the flavors have had a chance to develop.

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One pot chunky homemade meat sauce over fat rigatoni noodles in white bowl

SIMPLE One Pot Chunky Meat Sauce

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  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 20 min + 3-4 hrs
  • Total Time: 3 hrs 40 min – 4 hrs 40 min


  • 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 2 Medium Yellow Onions, finely chopped
  • 34 Cloves Garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 Stalks celery, cleaned and finely diced
  • 1 Large Carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 Cups Dry Red wine, divided
  • lbs Ground Beef
  • 1 lb. Bulk Sweet Pork sausage
  • 1 lb. Bulk Spicy Pork sausage
  • (2) 28-oz. Cans Tomato puree (or crushed tomatoes)
  • (1) 28-oz. Can Diced Tomatoes, undrained
  • (2) 6-oz. Cans Tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Thyme
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Rosemary,
  • 2 Tbsp. White Sugar
  • 1 Parmesan Cheese rind
  • 2 Whole Bay leaves
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large (6 quart or larger) Dutch oven over low/medium heat. Once simmering, add the diced onions and cook until the onion softens, approximately 4-5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots – cook 2 minutes more. Add the garlic and ½ cup wine and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the beef and sausage to the Dutch oven and cook until no longer pink inside, approximately 8-10 minutes, breaking apart with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and carefully drain excess fat from the pot.  
  3. Return the pot to the burner and push the meat and vegetables to the sides of the pan. Add the tomato paste and allow it to cook for about a minute. Incorporate the tomato paste into the meat by stirring it around.  
  4. Add the tomato puree, diced tomatoes and remaining red wine to the sauce, along with oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sugar. Stir to combine. Add the bay leaves and Parmesan rind. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and stir to combine.  
  5. Cover and simmer on low heat for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally. If the sauce becomes a little too thick, add a little water to achieve the desired consistency. If it is too thin, continue cooking until it reaches the thickness you prefer.
  6. Remove from heat and discard the bay leaves and Parmesan rind. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.
  7. Serve immediately with your favorite cooked pasta and some cheesy garlic bread. or refrigerate or freeze for later use. 


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