Canning spaghetti sauce with meat: Beat the price and nutrition of store bought, and keep the convenience. Here is a recipe along with pressure canning instructions for how to make spaghetti sauce with meat.
Some things to know:
- You will need to know how to use a pressure canner.
- This pressure canning page has more detailed information and step-by-step instructions.
- Spaghetti sauce must be processed in a pressure canner.
Yep, I just repeated myself 3 times. 🙂 It is that important. You must process this in a pressure canner. Do NOT try to do this in a water bath canner.
Go here for a recipe for spaghetti sauce with no meat. The basic recipe is the same, but processing times are different.
This recipe makes approximately 9 pints. For my family, I will double this and do quarts.
This Page Includes:
Canning Spaghetti Sauce with Meat: Extended, Step-By-Step Directions
Gather your canning supplies:
- pressure canner
- canning jars
- canning seals and rings
- jar lifter and canning funnel
- large spoons
- sharp knife
- towels, dish cloths and pot holders
- Food Mill or strainer (optional)
Gather your ingredients:
- 30 pounds tomatoes
- 2 1/2 pounds ground meat (elk, venison, beef)
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 5 cloves garlic (mince garlic or use a garlic press)
- 1 cup chopped celery or green peppers
- 4 1/2 tsp. canning salt
- 2 Tbsp. oregano
- 2 Tbsp. minced parsley
- 2 Tbsp. basil
- 2 bay leaves (remove before filling jars)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup brown sugar
Prepare Your Tomato Sauce
The first thing you need to do when home canning spaghetti sauce is to prepare your tomato sauce.
Make a tomato sauce like the directions, but don’t process it! Come back here to add your meat, vegetables, and spices to complete your spaghetti sauce.
How to Make Thick Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
Here is my favorite time-saving tip. Click through and see if it is something that you can do too!
If you want thicker sauce, simmer your tomatoes uncovered in a large saucepan, until thick enough for serving. This might a take 20 minutes to a couple hours. Stir frequently to avoid burning. The amount of sauce may be reduced by nearly one-half.
- An easy way to do this is to place sauce in a slow cooker and leave the lid off. Let it cook until thickened.
- Or bake uncovered in the oven at 350. You will still need to stir often.
TIP: Optionally, you can just process your sauce as it is now. You don’t have to thicken it. Skip the cook down time and add your vegetables and other ingredients. Put it in jars and process in a pressure canner.
This will simply give you a thinner sauce. Add a can of tomato paste to thicken the sauce when you prepare your meal. I have done this when I did not want to spend the time to cook down. But it is much nicer if you cook it down now.
Home Canning Spaghetti Sauce
Chop the vegetables and brown your meat while you simmer the tomatoes.
Add chopped onion and chopped bell pepper (or celery) and minced garlic to meat. Cook until veggies are tender.
Add meat and vegetables to sauce. Stir in salt, spices and sugar.
I’ve been asked about adding extra meat. I don’t recommend adding meat. The recipe is tested and safe as written. If you like more meat in your sauce What I’d suggest is canning a few pints of ground meat. Then when you are going to serve spaghetti just open a jar of sauce and add a pint of meat to it.
Heat all this to a simmer. It does not need to be fully cooked, but it should be hot going in the jars.
Fill hot jars with your hot spaghetti sauce. Leave a 1-inch headspace. Take out the bay leaves at this point. You don’t want them going in one jar. The flavor for that jar would be very strong!
Remember to wipe your rims clean before you place on your canning lids. If food is left on the rim of the jar, it may interfere with the seal. Add on your screw bands finger tight (snug, but not cranked down)!
What about water bath canning spaghetti sauce? Remember, spaghetti sauce has vegetables in it, so it MUST be pressure canned. (There. I said it again.)
For more specific details on how to use your pressure canner, follow these pressure canning instructions. Then process the jars.
Pints – process for 60 minutes.
Quarts – process for 70 minutes.
Make sure you adjust for altitude using the chart below. To learn more about why this is important, check out the altitude adjustments page.
Canning spaghetti sauce with this recipe is a great way to have a stock of sauce ready for a quick meal.
Adjusting Ingredients While Canning Spaghetti Sauce
- Dried seasonings can be adjusted to taste. We are not big oregano fans, but we love basil. I’ve been known to just leave oregano out at times. (For canning, use dried herbs and spices unless your recipe specifies otherwise.)
- We like a bit of sweetness to our sauce, so I go with the 1/2 cup sugar. You can also just leave the sugar out.
- You can also add up to 1 pound of fresh, sliced mushrooms.
- You can use either peppers or celery or a combination of both. Just keep it to 1 cup total, NOT 1 cup each.
Caution! Do not increase the portions of onions, peppers, or mushrooms.
Canning Spaghetti Sauce
- 30 pounds Tomatoes
- 2 ½ pounds Ground Beef optional
- 1 cup Onion(s) chopped
- 5 cloves Garlic minced or pressed
- 1 cup Celery or green peppers, chopped
- 4 ½ teaspoons Canning Salt
- 2 Tablespoons Oregano
- 2 Tablespoons Parsley minced
- 2 Tablespoons Basil
- 2 Dried Bay Leaves remove before filling jars
- 1/4-1/2 cup Sugar brown
- 1-2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil or some spray oil
- Start by preparing jars and getting water in the canner heating. You want the canner hot, but not boiling, when the jars are ready to be processed.If you are new to using a pressure canner, see this article for full pressure canning instructions. This includes more detailed information and step-by-step instructions on how a pressure canner works.
Hot Pack only
- Make tomato sauce.
- Simmer tomato sauce until thickened (20 minutes to 1 hour), stirring often.
- Brown meat with chopped onion and vegetables and minced garlic (meat optional).
- If meat is not desired, sauté onion and vegetables in oil until tender.
- Add cooked meat and vegetables to sauce.
- Stir in seasonings. Bring back to a boil.
- Fill hot jar with spaghetti sauce (remove bay leaves), leaving 1” headspace.
- Remove bubbles. Wipe the rim clean and place seal and ring. Place the jar in the warm canner. Proceed to fill all jars. Process according to the directions below.
Adapted from: The National Center for Home Food Preservation, Colorado Extension
Last Updated: 5/20/2021
Canning Spaghetti Sauce with Meat Tips & FAQs
The official recommendation for home-canned foods is 12 months, which is really more of a quality issue than anything, since the quality of the food reduces over time. To learn more about the shelf-life of home canned foods, visit this page.
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How to dry tomatoes in a food dehydrator.
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Source: The National Center for Home Food Preservation, the Colorado State Extension
Page last updated: 7/9/2021