17 Homemade Pasta Sauces You'll Want to Make on Repeat

All-Purpose Tomato Sauce
Chris Simpson

Next time you're about to add jarred pasta sauce to your grocery list, consider picking up the ingredients to make one of these homemade sauces instead. While it may not be as quick as pouring from a container onto a bowl of pasta, the recipes in this collection will elevate the weeknight dinner staple to new heights. What's more, the pasta sauce recipes featured here make enough for at least one family meal.

First and foremost, you need a simple tomato sauce recipe in your repertoire. Not only is it great as a stand-alone option for a simple pasta but it's also used as a base for other more complex pasta sauces. For this, we love our All-Purpose Tomato Sauce, pictured here. It's made with just six ingredients. To start, onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes are cooked until fragrant then mixed with puréed tomatoes. The ingredients are simmered together until the sauce is thickened, then a nub of butter is added, achieving a delicate silky texture. We love it served over any dried or fresh pasta.

Any pasta lover knows there's more a lot more possibilities than crushed tomatoes and some aromatics. That's why this collection features a range of favorites—think pesto, Bolognese, and Alfredo—as well as some less well known and more creative offerings, such as our Creamy Pumpkin Sauce or Carrot-Hazelnut Pesto.

From comfortingly hearty meat sauces to no-cook options ideal for hot days, the following recipes will ensure you always have something delicious (and homemade!) for a weeknight pasta dinner.

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Basil's fresh flavor is on full display in this simple pesto recipe. Mixed with toasted pine nuts, garlic, and two grated cheeses—Parmesan and Pecorino Romano—the herb forms a bright sauce that's ready in five minutes.

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Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara recipe
Bryan Gardner

Six ingredients are all it takes to make a bowl of pasta carbonara, sauce and all. For the sauce, eggs and cream are whisked together with a pinch of salt and pepper then poured into a skillet with spaghetti and reserved pasta water. The dish is finished off with Parmesan cheese and crispy pancetta.

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Grandma's Bolognese

hand-cranked pasta served on a gray plate
The Ingalls

Bolognese is one of the best known and loved pasta sauces. Our version of the boldly flavored sauce is made with three types of meat—ground beef and pork plus pancetta. Heavy cream makes the dish extra rich, while porcini mushrooms add an earthy bite.

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Brown-Butter Sauce

Stephen Kent Johnson

A stick of unsalted butter is the starting point for this fragrant and silky brown-butter sauce. The butter is melted in a saucepan and simmered until it becomes foamy. Once the frothiness subsides, milk solids from the butter darken and fall to the bottom of the pan, indicating that it's about done. The browned butter is mixed with pasta water, cream, Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes for a sauce with a creamy, rich bite.

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Healthy Tomato Sauce

healthy tomato sauce
Kana Okada

Simple but no slouch when it comes to flavor, this sauce is made by simmering canned tomatoes in a skillet with red wine, oregano, basil, onion, and garlic. We love it with pretty much any kind of pasta, but it's also great spooned over fish and chicken.

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Quick Alfredo Sauce

alfredo sauce pot whisk yellow
Bryan Gardner

Creamy alfredo is a classic crowd pleaser and this simple version makes it easy to enjoy the beloved dish. All you need are four ingredients; the rich sauce is made by bringing butter to a simmer in a saucepan then mixing in garlic and heavy cream. Once it's removed from the flame, the Parmesan cheese is whisked in until a smooth sauce forms.

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Carrot-Hazelnut Pesto

Johnny Miller

Grated carrots give this pesto its bright colorful hue, but it's the toasted hazelnuts, garlic, and pecorino cheese that bring it all together. Once you've tossed the pesto with orecchiette, top with extra hazelnuts for the perfect dose of crunch.

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Turkey-and-Mushroom Bolognese

Turkey-and-Mushroom Bolognese recipe
Chris Simpson

This take on Bolognese sauce uses a combination of ground turkey and diced mushrooms in place of beef. Pancetta adds savory pork flavor. The rich sauce comes together in just over an hour, but it tastes like it's been cooking all day.

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Sausage Meat Sauce

Sausage Meat Sauce

Tomato paste and whole peeled plum tomatoes form a balanced base for this pasta sauce recipe. They're simmered with a double dose of sausage—one pound sweet and one pound spicy. Aromatics like carrot, onion, and garlic tie it all together.

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Creamy Pumpkin Sauce


A perfect recipe for fall, this creamy crowd pleaser is made by mixing canned pumpkin purée with half-and-half, Parmesan cheese, and using some starchy pasta water to thin the sauce.

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Creamy Tomato Sauce

Creamy Tomato Sauce recipe
Chris Simpson

This five-ingredient sauce balances the acidity of canned tomatoes by mixing them with a touch of cream.

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Cheese Sauce

bacon pasta cheese sauce thyme
Linda Pugliese

A combination of Gruyère, Monterey Jack, and fontina make this simple sauce ultra-cheesy.

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Arugula-Almond Pesto

Johnny Miller

There's no right or wrong green to use when it comes to making pesto, as this winning flavor combination of arugula, almonds, garlic, lemon, and Parmesan proves.

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Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese Sauce
David M. Russell

Italian-American versions of Bolognese often are more tomato heavy than their Italian counterparts. This take skews more Italian; ground beef and pork are cooked with white wine, milk, and chicken stock to balance out the flavor of the puréed tomatoes for a rich and satisfying sauce.

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No-Cook Tomato-Tuna Sauce

spaghetti and no-cook tomato-tuna sauce topped with basil leaves
Con Poulos

Achieve a complexly flavored sauce in just 20 minutes by combining chopped fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and basil in a big bowl until the flavors meld together. After tossing the sauce with cooked pasta, stir in oil-packed tuna and Parmesan cheese.

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Three-Ingredient Marinara

Johnny Miller

Jarred sauce isn't the only low maintenance way to flavor your pasta. For this three-ingredient marinara all you need to do is blend whole peeled tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. Once the mixture is smooth, let it simmer in a saucepan until it thickens.

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