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How to Can Spaghetti Sauce

In this post I show you how to can spaghetti sauce. All those tomatoes ripen at once and this is one way to preserve your harvest.

Last year we had SO many tomatoes.  That’s one of the only problems with growing your own tomatoes.

I quickly found recipes for several different things that had tomatoes as the main ingredient that I could can. Spaghetti sauce was one of those. I would like to share with you how to can spaghetti sauce.

Is it safe to can spaghetti sauce?

Yes. It is safe to can spaghetti sauce. Tomatoes have a high acidity level and can be canned in a water bath. A little lemon juice added to the jar can increase the acidity level to insure that it is safe to eat.

Does spaghetti sauce need to be pressure canned?

No. Because of the tomatoes high acidity level, it can be canned in a water bath. Lemon juice will insure that the acidity level is high enough.

How long will canned spaghetti sauce last?

If canned properly, it will be safe to eat for at least 5 years. However, it may lose some of its flavor after 2 years.

Let’s talk a moment about clean & sterile jars. There are a couple ways to accomplish this. 

  1. Wash the jars, place them in a large pan of water on the stove and boil them. Pull out one jar at a time as you use it. 
  2. Run the jars through the dishwasher with a heat dry cycle. Pull one jar out at a time as you use them. Make sure to shut the dishwasher door quickly to keep jars warm. 

I prefer method 2 because my stove is not very big and I already have 3 other pans on the stove.

Yield: 6 quarts

Canned Spaghetti Sauce

Canned Spaghetti Sauce

How to can spaghetti sauce. All those tomatoes ripen at once and this is one way to preserve your harvest.

Prep Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Additional Time 45 minutes
Total Time 5 hours


Roasted tomatoes

  • 32 lbs of tomatoes
  • 16 Tbsp olive oil
  • 16 tsp garlic powder
  • 16 tsp onion powder
  •  8 tsp kosher salt

Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 large onions, diced
  • 18 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sauce from roasted and milled tomatoes (should be about 168 oz)
  • 36 oz tomato paste
  • 4 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 4 Tbsp dried basil
  • 2 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
  • 12 Tbsp lemon juice, divided


  1. Preheat oven to 275. Line sheet pan with foil.
  2. Wash and cut tomatoes in quarters. (I do this in batches. Usually 6.)
  3. Place tomatoes on sheet pan.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over tomatoes. (2 Tbsp per batch)
  5. Sprinkle garlic powder, onion powder, and salt over tomatoes. (You can eye ball the amount.)
  6. Roast in oven for 2-3 hours.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  8. Once you have roasted all the batches, put tomatoes through food mill. The one I recommend is at the bottom of this recipe.
  9. Once you have processed all the tomatoes, set sauce to the side.
  10. In large pot, saute onions in olive oil until tender. Add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds longer.
  11. Add remaining ingredients except the lemon juice.
  12. Cook for at least 45 minutes.
  13. While spaghetti sauce is cooking, fill water bath with water about 1/2 full. Bring to a boil.
  14. Fill a small pot with water and heat over medium heat. Place lids and rings in this pot. You don't want to boil these because the lids are now bpa free and will break down if boiled. You won't get a good seal if they have broken down. I heat them until the water is steaming and then turn it to low.
  15. Add 2 Tbsp lemon juice to each quart jar (1 Tbsp for pint jars). Fill with spaghetti sauce leaving 1/4" head room. Wipe rim and place lid and ring on. This does not need to be tight. Hand tightening is enough. Place in water bath pot. Repeat until you have filled all the jars.
  16. Water in water bath should be 1 - 2 inches above the jar tops. If it is not, add more water. Bring water bath back to a boil and allow quarts to process for 40minutes if you live below 1,000 ft, 45 minutes for 1,000 to 3,000, 50 minutes for 3,001 to 6,000 and 55 minutes for 6,001+. Process pints for 5 minutes less.
  17. Remove jars using a jar lifter and place on a towel on the counter or table. I have had issues with the jars leaving marks on my table. So I put a towel down, then a board, then another towel Allow to sit for at least 12 hours. Do not check the lids for sealing until the jars have cooled completely. Touching the top could artificially seal it and cause problems later. Jars often pop when sealing, but not always.
  18. Once jars have cooled completely, run your finger over the top to feel for a divot. If the center of the lid pushes up and down, it is not sealed. You can either put it in your fridge to use soon, or you can remove the sauce, put in a fresh clean & sterile jar and process again.
  19. After all jars have sealed, remove rings and store. Leaving the rings on can also cause an artificial sealing. When using the sauce later, be sure to check the seal once more. If the center of the lid moves up and down, do not use the sauce.

Recommended Products

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Are you interesting in canning other things. We have “How to’s” for a couple more things: Salsa and Diced Tomatoes.


Meet Kerry

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Sunday 24th of January 2021

Sorry to ask this. I'm a new canner. What are rings???


Wednesday 27th of January 2021

Canning jar lids come in two parts. The lid and the ring that holds the lid on. The ring is the outer part that can be removed once the lid has sealed to the jar.


Friday 4th of December 2020

Is the processing time the same for pints and quarts? I’m doing pints. Thanks!

Jamie H

Saturday 5th of December 2020

Erika, I'm so sorry about the confusion. I'll get the post fixed, so no one else has to wonder, but I wanted to let you know that the listed time is for quarts. To do pints, you can process them for 5 minutes less.


Sunday 27th of September 2020

Hello Kerry, Glad to find you recipe and site. Normally I just freeze whole tomatoes and they work wonderfully. However I am over run with tomatoes and have my freezer stocked full so need to can the rest now. I am wondering and hesitant about adding lemon juice to canned tomatoes and spaghetti sauce. I know it is necessary-lemon juice or citric acid, my concern is I don't want to taste lemon when I use the sauce months down the road. Have you experienced a taste from the lemon juice? Thanks, Darlene Nova Scotia

Kerry C

Thursday 1st of October 2020

Hi Darlene, the lemon juice doesn’t affect the flavor at all. Good luck preserving all your tomatoes!

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Thursday 18th of August 2016

[…] recipe uses the spaghetti sauce that I showed you how to can earlier this […]

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