Simple Spaghetti Sauce From A Can of Crushed Tomatoes

Some time ago I shared the recipe I use when I make a large batch of red sauce in the crockpot. I decided to just use the generic term of “red sauce” because it’s a versatile tomato based sauce with Italian type seasonings that can be used in lots of different ways – in different pasta dishes, as a sauce for a variety of meat based entrees, or on a homemade pizza.

At our house, we really like the addition of the red pepper flakes in that recipe that gave a nice heat to the sauce (something we seldom taste in a store bought jar of sauce), and slowly simmering it in the crockpot for several hours really helps to meld the flavors together too. The jarred sauces just didn’t taste as good to us anymore once we got used to our homemade red sauce.

How to make a simple spaghetti sauce from a can of crushed tomatoes and spices in your pantry

But there are times when I haven’t planned ahead to make my large crockpot sized batch of sauce. And for those times I decided I needed a smaller sized version of this recipe too that I could make in a pinch when I needed some sauce for the evening meal.

Now of course, I’m not totally opposed to buying a jar of spaghetti sauce at the store to keep in the pantry for those busy nights. BUT, having a can of crushed tomatoes in the pantry for this recipe can result in a tasty sauce too, PLUS when you make your own, you have more control over the ingredients. You get to decide how much more salt, sugar, oil, or spices to add into your spaghetti sauce. So if you don’t have time to make your own deluxe homemade sauce from fresh tomatoes, adding a few flavors from your pantry to your can of crushed tomatoes works pretty darn well too!

How to make a simple spaghetti sauce from a can of crushed tomatoes and spices in your pantry

So I’m calling this my Simple Spaghetti Sauce because that’s how I most often use this smaller sized version – To use over cooked spaghetti for a simple evening meal, and to take advantage of the the spices and cans that are easy to keep on hand.

How to make a simple spaghetti sauce from a can of crushed tomatoes and spices in your pantry

My original large batch version contained ¼ cup of olive oil, however, I’ve lately been trying to reduce the oil in my diet (after reading the book Reverse and Prevent Heart Disease). So I’ve now been leaving the oil out of this recipe and it doesn’t seem to make that much difference, and therefore I made that ingredient optional.

How to make a simple spaghetti sauce from a can of crushed tomatoes and spices in your pantry

You can of course change-up this recipe in lots of different ways using the spices you prefer. Or perhaps you have fresh herbs and garlic in the house you want to use up. Just start with a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, add the seasonings of your choice, let it simmer for a bit, and you’re good to go!

Simple Spaghetti Sauce From A Can Of Crushed Tomatoes

Here’s how to make a simple spaghetti sauce from a can of crushed tomatoes and your pantry spices.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time20 minutes


  • 1 28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes


  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat on the stove. 
  •  Let the sauce simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to let the flavors mingle before using.

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      1. I think you could substitute those two can of tomatoes in this recipe but it will be much chunkier and you may wish to mash up the mixture just a little bit.

  1. This is a fabulous recipe and so easy. I forgot to buy spaghetti sauce and needed to use what I had on hand, which was a can of crushed tomatoes. I found your recipe and am thrilled with the results. Thank you so much for sharing this easy and delicious spaghetti sauce recipe.

    1. Tomato sauce is quite a bit thicker so you would have to thin it down with some water, and that might require adjusting the seasonings a bit too.

  2. I am not sure when this was posted, but, researchers have found that those who eat at lease half a tablespoon or olive oil a day had a 15% lower risk of having any kind of cardiovascular disease and a 21% lower risk of coronary heart disease. You want to stick to the healthy ones, like olive, and stay away from vegetable oils and other bat fats. 🙂

  3. I’m so happy I found this recipe. I’ve made pasta sauce for years (I enjoy trying different recipes!) and came across this a couple of days ago. I served it over ravioli the first night, then made a cacciatore last night with the rest of it. I’m making it again right now. It is simple and SO delicious! I will give this recipe to my daughters so they can also enjoy it! It’s very versatile and I think it will be perfect in a lasagna recipe, meatballs, etc….

    Thank you Beverly!

    1. I’ve never tried canning this sauce, however I believe the advice when canning tomato type sauces is that you should add some bottled lemon juice as well (2 Tbl for each quart) so you may want to research that topic before giving it a try. You can also freeze this sauce with very good results.

  4. Thanks for this! I had that exact can of Meijer crushed tomatoes in my cupboard but no spaghetti sauce. A perfect recipe with everything I needed on hand.

  5. Can this sauce be canned for later use? The can of tomatoes has citric acid in it so I am not sure if more citric acid would need to be added. I have been making this sauce since this is one my granddaughters will eat without a problem. The only change I do is to use ground oregano so the girls don’t see anything green floating around in it. They can be picky. Thank you

    1. I always take the option of freezing this sauce (rather than canning). It freezes well and reheats easily. If you want to can this sauce, I think you would still need to add a little more acidity in the form of adding some vinegar or lemon juice to the mixture. I’m not sure how that would affect the taste.

  6. SUCH a lifesaver!!! Started making pizza, & realized I forgot to get the sauce! Who does that?! Anyway, so grateful to find this so that the meal can continue as planned. Totally dead to the world & didn’t feel like trying to start something another meal all over.

    1. That’s great Megan! That’s why I love strategies like this – it helps you use what you might already have to make what you need.