How To Make Ground Beef For Spaghetti


How To Make Ground Beef For Spaghetti. Learn this basic recipe for spaghetti, including how to make ground beef, either from scratch or from ground meat purchased at the supermarket. Ground beef for spaghetti is a tough topic for some people, but it really doesn’t have to be. It is easy to make spaghetti and it’s also easy to make ground beef for your spaghetti. It all depends on your resources, including whether to do it from scratch or purchase your meat from the supermarket. Let me show you how to make ground beef for spaghetti by sharing these recipes made with me.

How to Cook Ground Beef for Spaghetti

Spaghetti bolognese

Ground beef makes a great addition to pasta, and it’s not difficult to cook, although it does need careful handling.

Ground beef makes a great addition to pasta, and it’s not difficult to cook, although it does need careful handling. Follow these food safety tips while cooking ground beef for spaghetti, and try this Italian spaghetti recipe that pairs ground beef with tomato sauce.

Cooking Ground Beef for Spaghetti

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) explains that ground meat, including ground beef, needs careful handling because if there is any bacteria on the surface of the meat before it is ground, grinding it causes the bacteria to spread all throughout the meat.

Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter jejuni, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes are among the harmful types of bacteria that are associated with ground beef. Known as pathogenic bacteria, these bacteria are not to be confused with spoilage bacteria, which can cause food to deteriorate in taste, smell and quality, but are not harmful to consume.

Unfortunately, you cannot see or smell harmful pathogenic bacteria, and it does not cause the food to deteriorate in any way, which is why it’s important that you cook the ground beef properly and follow food safety guidelines to avoid falling sick.

The USDA FSIS recommends buying ground beef only from the refrigerated section of the supermarket and choosing only packets that feel cold and are not torn in any way. Make it your last stop in the grocery store and put it in a plastic bag so the juices don’t come in contact with the other items in your cart.

Put the ground beef in the fridge as soon as you get home and use it within a day or two. If you’re freezing it, wrap it in aluminum foil or a freezer bag first and mark it with the date; you should aim to consume it within four months.

You can thaw the ground beef in the fridge, or if you don’t have a lot of time, you can defrost it in the microwave or under cold water. Don’t leave it out on the counter to thaw, since bacteria multiplies rapidly at room temperature.

While cooking the ground beef for spaghetti, the USDA FSIS recommends using a food thermometer to ensure that it crosses a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid tasting the meat before it has crossed this temperature.

Italian Spaghetti Recipe

The Texas A&M Agrilife Extension lists a recipe that pairs ground beef with tomato sauce. While the recipe calls for penne pasta, you can substitute it for spaghetti if you’re in the mood to make an Italian spaghetti recipe.

You will need:

  • 1 1/3 cup of pasta (penne or spaghetti)
  • 1 pound of extra lean ground beef
  • 15 ounces (1 can) of unsalted tomato sauce
  • 14 ounces (1 can) of low-sodium, low-fat beef broth
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach
  • 3/4 cup of shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Put the pasta on to boil: Boil the pasta per the directions listed on the package.
  • Brown the ground beef: While the pasta is boiling, cook the beef in a skillet over medium heat until it is no longer pink.
  • Add the sauces and seasoning: Add the tomato sauce, beef broth, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to the pan and let it come to a boil.
  • Add the spinach: Chop the spinach and add it to the ground beef with tomato sauce mixture in the pan. Let it cook for a minute or two.
  • Assemble and serve: Drain the water from the pasta once it has cooked and add it to the pan. Sprinkle the cheese on top and let it cook for three or four minutes, until the cheese melts. Serve hot.

According to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension, this recipe makes six servings. Each serving supplies 260 calories, 28 grams of carbs, 27 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat.

If you were unable to find extra-lean ground beef, North Dakota State University recommends using regular ground beef and blotting it and rinsing it with hot water to help remove up to 50 percent of the fat.

Here’s how to go about it. After you’ve browned the beef in the skillet, transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels. Let it rest there for a minute and then blot it with more paper towels. Use paper towels to soak up the remaining fat in the skillet as well.

Then, transfer the beef to a fine-mesh colander. Place the colander on top of a large bowl. Pour 4 cups of hot water over the ground beef to rinse away the fat. Let the beef drain for five minutes. Continue with the recipe as you were.

How to Cook Ground Beef for Spaghetti 

The Secret to PERFECT ground beef for your spaghetti recipe UNLOCKED!  I’ll show you how to make hearty, delicious chunky or even fine crumble ground beef for your amazing tomato sauce!  I’ll show you how to cook ground beef for spaghetti today! 

bowl of ground beef with tomatoes and napkin

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy
  • You already have the ingredients in your fridge or pantry. 
  • Ready in 30 minutes or less!



Preheat the pan and then, start to break up the hunk of ground beef.  Make sure you add Salt, pepper and your other favorite seasonings 

hand tearing up ground beef and putting in black skillet with red napkin.

STEP 2. 

Break up the beef until it is at your desired consistency.  Some people prefer small chunks of meat while others prefer larger chunks.  It’s up to you!

Wooden spoon chopping ground beef in a black iron skillet with red towel

STEP 3. 

As soon as there is no more pink color to the beef, take it off the heat.  This will keep it from getting dried out.  If there is excess fat you can drain that at this step or leave it.  It’s up to you!  

spatula in pan with beef and red napkin


  • Make sure to remove the meat from the heat once the pink color is gone
  • You don’t have to drain the excess fat unless you want to (a little fat will add some flavor). 
  • Season your beef!  Always use some Salt and pepper

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Can you cook ground beef in the oven? 

Yes!  Definitely consider cooking your ground beef in the oven! It reduces mess and frees up the stovetop for other things. 

Put your beef on a lined baking sheet.  Break the beef up into small crumbles and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. 

How long does it take to cook ground beef?

This depends on the cooking method you are using. 

Pan Cooking: 

should take between 7 and 10 minutes to cook 

Oven Cooking: 

15 minutes. 

Microwave cooking (not recommended)

5 minutes

Boiling (not recommended)

5-8 minutes

Should I drain the meat for spaghetti?

If there is a lot of excess fat then drain some of it but not all.  The fat adds flavor to the meat.

What kind of ground beef is best for spaghetti?

  • You can use any ground beef for spaghetti but some beef has a higher fat content than others tastes best.  
  • Be sure to check the package for the fat content.  Usually fat content in the 70%-80% range works best but will have more fat to drain.
  • 90% beef will have less fat and is somewhat less flavorful.

What Kind of Spaghetti Sauce Should I Use? 

You can use any sauce that you prefer. Store bought sauce is fine or you can easily make your own. 

Do I Need To Make My Own Sauce From Scratch? 

No, you don’t need to make your own sauce from scratch, a store bought sauce will work just fine. 

Side view of a green bowl holding ground beef sitting on a swirled green napkin

Tips and Tricks

  • Make sure you season your meat!  By season, I mean, add salt and pepper. If you aren’t sure if there is enough seasoning then taste it!  
  • Remove the meat AS SOON as the pink color is gone.  This will keep your meat from getting dried out.  Don’t over cook your beef! 
  • You don’t need oil to cook ground beef.  Just put it in a pan and turn the heat on.  The fat from the beef will help to keep it from sticking anHow d help keep it moist.  
  • You can cook beef in the oven, just line a baking sheet and break the beef up.  Cook at 425 for 15 minutes. 
  • Always check the fat content on the beef packaging.  Different fat contents are good for different things. For the best tasting ground beef for your spaghetti recipe, aim for an 80/20 mix. 

Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef

This recipe has been handed down from my mother. It is a family favorite and will not be replaced! (Definite husband pleaser!) Serve over any variety of hot cooked pasta.



How to Make Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef

There’s nothing like classic spaghetti and meat sauce to bring people together around the dinner table. The homemade spaghetti sauce with ground beef recipe in this video will satisfy all your classic Italian comfort food cravings.

Recipe Summary


10 mins


1 hr 5 mins


1 hr 15 mins




8 servings

a close up view of a bowl of spaghetti topped with meat sauce, the pan of sauce is sitting in the background

There’s nothing like classic spaghetti and meat sauce to bring people together around the dinner table. This homemade spaghetti sauce with ground beef recipe will satisfy all your comfort food cravings. 

How to Make Spaghetti Sauce with Ground Beef

Restaurant-worthy spaghetti sauce with ground beef is just a few steps away. You’ll find the full recipe below, but here’s a brief overview of what you can expect: 

Cook Beef and Veggies

Cook ground beef in a saucepan over medium-high heat with garlic, onion, and green pepper. Stir until the meat is brown and crumbly. The vegetables should be tender. 

Add Tomato Products and Season

Stir diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste into the beef mixture. Add oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer until thick and aromatic, then serve over cooked spaghetti noodles. 

Troubleshooting Spaghetti Sauce

If your spaghetti sauce didn’t turn out exactly how you wanted it to, don’t worry! There’s probably an easy fix. 

How to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce

This recipe should result in a perfectly thick spaghetti sauce. But things happen! If you somehow end up with a runny consistency, there are a few ways to thicken it. You could simmer the sauce for a few more minutes — this will reduce some of the liquid and leave you with a thicker sauce. 

For a quicker fix, make a slurry with one part water and one part cornstarch. Stir the slurry slowly into the sauce until you’ve reached the desired thickness.  

What Herbs to Add to Spaghetti Sauce 

This top-rated recipe calls for garlic, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. However, you can certainly adjust, eliminate, or add seasonings to suit your taste. To make this spaghetti sauce your own, you could add parsley or spice things up with crushed red pepper. Just remember to taste the sauce every time you add an ingredient so you don’t accidentally add too much or too little. 

How Long to Simmer Spaghetti Sauce 

We love the texture and flavor of this spaghetti sauce when it simmers for about an hour. If you’d like your sauce a little thinner, reduce the time a bit. Meanwhile, if you like it a little thicker, let it simmer for a bit longer. 

How Long Does Spaghetti Last In the Fridge?

Store your cooked noodles and your spaghetti sauce with ground beef separately. The spaghetti noodles will last for up to 5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. The ground beef sauce, meanwhile, will last for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Can You Freeze Spaghetti Sauce?

Yes! You can absolutely freeze spaghetti sauce. It’s a great way to deal with leftovers and meal prep at the same time. To freeze spaghetti sauce, ladle it into zip-top freezer bags in serving-sized portions. Squeeze out the excess air, seal, label with the date, lay flat in the freezer, and freeze for up to six months. 

How to Reheat Frozen Spaghetti Sauce

Refrigerated spaghetti sauce can be reheated in a couple different ways. Microwave in 10-second increments (stirring between increments) or reheat on the stove, stirring frequently. 

Thaw frozen spaghetti sauce in the fridge overnight. Reheat thawed sauce on the stove, stirring frequently. 

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