Copycat Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Love the tasty Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce Recipe? Now, you can recreate this classic at home with fresh ingredients and simple steps.

Whether you’re planning a cozy family dinner or a fancy meal to impress your guests, this recipe is perfect for both. You’ll master the mix of sweet, savory, and aromatic flavors just like the original Olive Garden sauce, sure to win everyone over.

Key Takeaways

  • Recreate the iconic Olive Garden spaghetti sauce at home
  • Use simple, fresh ingredients for a homemade touch
  • Enjoy the rich, flavorful sauce with your favorite pasta dishes
  • Follow easy instructions for a restaurant-quality result
  • Impress family and friends with this delicious copycat recipe
stirring olive garden spaghetti sauce

So What Is This Copycat Olive Garden Marinara Sauce?

Craving Olive Garden’s famous spaghetti sauce? Making a similar version at home allows you to savor authentic Italian flavors. This sauce is loved for its rich, tomato-basil blend.

Why Make a Copycat Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce Recipe?

Making your own Olive Garden spaghetti sauce has significant benefits:

  • Customizable flavors: Adjust the sauce to your taste.
  • Healthier ingredients: Avoid harmful extras common in store-bought options.
  • Cost savings: It’s cheaper than always buying from the restaurant.
  • Versatility: Use it for various dishes, not just spaghetti.
spoonful of olive garden spaghetti sauce copycat

Ingredients Needed

To make a copycat version of Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce, you’ll need the following key items:

Ingredient List

  • Canned crushed tomatoes or fresh tomatoes: 48 ounces
  • Dried basil: 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic, minced: 4 cloves
  • Black pepper: 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar: 1 teaspoon
  • Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese: 1/2 cup

Note: The best texture and flavor come from either canned or fresh tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are easy to use, while fresh tomatoes give the sauce a hearty, homegrown taste.

olive garden spaghetti sauce recipe ingredients

Preparing the Sauce Base


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add minced garlic and cook until it smells great and looks golden. Avoid burning it.
  3. Add canned or fresh tomatoes. Use San Marzano or any good variety. Include black pepper, dried basil, and a pinch of sugar.
  4. Bring to a soft low boil, stirring often. This blends the flavors and thickens the sauce.

Simmering the sauce brings out deep, incredible flavors, just like in Olive Garden’s sauce.

minced garlic sauteeing for olive garden spaghetti sauce

Simmering the Sauce

After the sauce boils, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Uncovered vs Covered Simmering

  • First 1-1.5 hours: Simmer uncovered to thicken the sauce.
  • Remaining 1-1.5 hours: Cover the pot to develop full flavor.

Regular stirring ensures nothing sticks or burns, making your sauce rich and tasty.

crushed tomatoes poured into olive garden spaghetti sauce

Simmering Time Breakdown

Simmering TimePot CoverPurpose
First 1-1.5 hoursUncoveredAllow sauce to thicken
Remaining 1-1.5 hoursCoveredDevelop full flavor
simmering pot of olive garden spaghetti sauce

Finishing Touches

Adding Cheese

After the sauce has cooked for 30 minutes or more, stir in freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. About 1/2 cup is usually enough, but feel free to add more if you love cheese. Let the cheese melt into the sauce for about 5 more minutes.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

Vitamin A440IU
Vitamin C13mg
slow pour of the olive garden spaghetti sauce

Serving Suggestions

Elevate your home-cooked Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce by pairing it with classic pasta dishes and delightful sides.

Pairing with Pasta

  • Spaghetti: Toss with the rich, flavorful sauce for a classic Italian-American dish.
  • Ziti or Penne: The sauce clings to the ridges, making for a heartier meal.
  • Fresh Ravioli or Tortellini: The robust flavors complement pasta pockets, creating a delightful contrast.
cooked pasta in olive garden spaghetti sauce

Side Dishes

  • Green Salad with Vinaigrette: Refreshing the palate.
  • Freshly Baked Breadsticks: Dip them in the sauce for the full experience.
  • Roasted or Grilled Vegetables: Zucchini, eggplant, or bell peppers enhance the meal.

Serving Suggestion Nutritional Information

Spaghetti and Olive Garden Sauce1029 kcal127g47g38g
Spaghetti and Meatballs1120 kcal127g52g43g
Spaghetti and Sauce with Breadsticks1229 kcal153g48g48g
pouring olive garden spaghetti sauce

Storing Leftovers

This recipe makes enough for 3-4 jars, perfect for saving leftovers.

Refrigerating Leftovers

Store the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Freezing for Longer Storage

Freeze the sauce in freezer-safe containers or bags for 4-6 months.

Canning for Shelf-Stable Storage

Can the sauce by placing it in jars and processing them in a water bath for 35 minutes. Canned sauce stays good for up to 18 months.

plate of pasta with olive garden spaghetti sauce

Variations and Customizations

Adding Meat

Brown ground beef or sausage and add it to the sauce for a heartier meal.

Spice It Up

Add red pepper flakes or other spices for an extra kick. Start with a little, taste, and then add more if you like.

olive garden spaghetti sauce

Tips for Perfect Sauce

  • Simmer, Simmer, Simmer: Let the sauce simmer for 2-3 hours for deep, rich flavors.
  • Stir It Up: Stir often to prevent sticking and ensure even flavor distribution.
  • Taste and Adjust: Continuously taste and adjust seasonings for the perfect balance.
  • Quality Tomatoes Matter: Use the best tomatoes you can find, like San Marzano.
  • Melt in the Cheese: Add Parmesan or Romano at the end for a smooth, rich texture.
pasta dinner with olive garden spaghetti sauce

Comparison to Olive Garden’s Version

Our copycat recipe closely mimics Olive Garden’s sauce by using high-quality ingredients and simmering for a long time.

Comparison Breakdown

CharacteristicCopycat RecipeOlive Garden Version
Tomato FlavorBold and robustBold and robust
TextureSmooth and velvetySmooth and velvety
SeasoningPerfectly balancedPerfectly balanced
SweetnessSubtle hintSubtle hint
IngredientsHigh-quality canned tomatoes, fresh garlic, and fragrant herbsHigh-quality canned tomatoes, fresh garlic, and fragrant herbs
pasta with olive garden spaghetti sauce

Taking My Pasta Sauce To Go

This copycat Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce recipe is perfect for those who love the restaurant’s sauce or want a tasty homemade spaghetti sauce. With simple steps and high-quality ingredients, you can enjoy Olive Garden’s famous tomato-basil sauce at home. It’s great for any pasta dish, from spaghetti to lasagna, and you can get creative with how you use it.

Enjoy the rich, delicious flavors of Olive Garden in the comfort of your home, while saving money and impressing your family and friends.

to go container of olive garden spaghetti sauce

Olive Garden Pasta Sauce FAQ

How long does the Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce last in the fridge?

The homemade Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce lasts in the fridge for 1 week.

Can I freeze the Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce?

Yes, you can freeze it. It’s good for several months in the freezer.

olive garden spaghetti sauce recipe

Can I use fresh tomatoes instead of canned?

Yes, using fresh tomatoes is a great choice. Just peel, chop, and blend them.

How can I make the sauce extra hearty?

To make the sauce hearty, you can mix in browned ground beef or Italian sausage. This adds a meaty taste.

spoonful of olive garden spaghetti sauce copycat

Can I add some spice to the Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce?

Yes, you can add red pepper flakes for some spice. Other spices work too. This gives the sauce an extra flavor punch.

What’s the best way to develop the rich flavor of the sauce?

The sauce needs to simmer for 2-3 hours. Make sure to stir it often. This is the secret to its rich taste.

Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce

A hearty and savory spaghetti sauce that captures the essence of Olive Garden’s beloved dish. This sauce features a blend of tomatoes, garlic, basil, and a hint of sugar, creating a deliciously rich flavor that pairs perfectly with any pasta.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: Copycat Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce, Copycat Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce Recipe, Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce, Olive Garden Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
Servings: 8 servings


  • Large Pot (5+ qt)
  • Large Skillet or Dutch Oven
  • Wooden Spoon or Silicone Spatula
  • Garlic Press or Knife
  • Measuring Spoons


  • 3 cans 28 oz each crushed tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar optional
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
  • Minced green peppers optional


  • Prep the Garlic: Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn it.
  • Add Tomatoes and Spices: Add the crushed tomatoes, black pepper, basil, and sugar (if using). Stir well and bring the mixture to a low boil.
  • Simmer: Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours, stirring often. In the last half of the simmering time, cover the pot.
  • Finish: Stir in the grated cheese and let it simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Serve: Serve hot over your favorite pasta.


  • Variations: You can add browned ground beef and Italian sausage for a meatier version.
  • Storage: This sauce can be frozen for up to 3 months. Store in an airtight container.
  • Tips: The sauce develops more flavor the longer it simmers. For a quick version, reduce the simmering time, but note that the flavor might not be as deep.
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