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Mama’s Spaghetti Recipe

Follow our complete, step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions to learn how to make spaghetti just like Mama made for our family. Super easy, super simple. Printable recipe included.

Mama was all Southerner, so there is nothing Italian about the way she made spaghetti. It’s just very simple, very easy, and I loved it then and love it now. I hope you’ll agree should you try it.

Mama's Spaghetti, slider.

I always thought Mama made my favorite Spaghetti dish with tomato soup. I was wrong, and it took me many years to ever realize that.

Growing up, Mama made Spaghetti about once a week as I recall. I watched her make it many times, but my memory was always telling me that can of red stuff she poured in the pot was just plain tomato soup.

I tried for years to duplicate her Spaghetti. I used tomato soup with and without added water, with and without tomato paste added to it, and with and without tomato sauce, but it never came close to my memory of what she made. I was trying too hard it seems.

When I made the recipe for Macaroni and Tomatoes, and posted it here on Taste of Southern, I discovered one of the key ingredients to her Spaghetti. Mama always used Bacon Grease to cook her onions in. I was finally getting close. I even tried to make her Spaghetti with crushed tomatoes instead of soup, but it still wasn’t right.

When I finally made it using Bacon Grease, Onions, and Tomato SAUCE, I knew God had blessed me to finally figure it out. It still wasn’t as good as hers, but it sure was close. I’ll never make it exactly like she did as I’ve found with many of my kitchen attempts. She just added that special touch of LOVE in all of her dishes. Dishes I grew UP and OUT with. Smile.

I guess I really was trying too hard. The recipe had eluded me for years and I always wondered what I was missing.

Mama was a Southerner, so there is nothing you might consider Italian about this simple dish. I doubt she ever owned any of those familiar Italian spices you’d find in a Spaghetti sauce that cooked all day.

Sometimes, she would make meatballs to go along with the Spaghetti. Those were awesome as well.

I know it’s very simple, but this is the Spaghetti I remember growing up with. I hope you might like it should you decide to try it.

Ready to try? Alright then, let’s head on out to the kitchen, and… Let’s Get Cooking!

Mama’s Spaghetti Recipe – You’ll need these ingredients.

That little container on the left is what I store my bacon grease in. I keep some in the refrigerator all the time, and BACON GREASE is the KEY ingredient to making this super simple spaghetti.

Mama's Spaghetti, dice the onion.

Let’s begin by chopping up the onion. I’m using one whole onion of about medium size.

Mama's Spaghetti, add to skillet.

Place 3 Tablespoons of Bacon Grease in your skillet and then add the chopped onions. Place this over Medium heat on your stove top.

I had just cooked up a batch of bacon in this skillet and drained most of the grease into a container for safe keeping. You do save your bacon grease don’t you? That stuff is liquid gold in the kitchen. Smile.

Mama's Spaghetti, prepare spaghetti.

Prepare your pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain your spaghetti while you sauté the onions.

I’m only using half of a box for this recipe. You can easily double the recipe if you need more.

Mama's Spaghetti,

Let the onions cook in the bacon grease until they are tender and translucent. The bacon grease will help them to brown as they cook, but just be careful with them and don’t let them burn. Stir often.

Mama's Spaghetti, add sauce.

Place the cooked onions back in the empty pot that you cooked your spaghetti in.

Add 1 can of Tomato Sauce (15oz) to the pot.

Stir this up and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes until the tomato sauce is nice and hot.

Mama's Spaghetti, add spaghetti.

Remove the pot from the stovetop and add the drained spaghetti.

Mama's Spaghetti, stir well.

Stir it well until all the noodles are coated with sauce.

That’s it… you’re done.

Mama's Spaghetti, enjoy.


You can serve this up with some toasted garlic bread if you like. Mama never got that fancy. She might have made some cornmeal hoe cakes, or just served some plain white bread with it.

This was definitely one of my childhood favorites and a dish Mama would have prepared about once a week.

PS: I debated calling this Ellie Spaghetti, to name it after my mom. Smile

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