Should I Saute Onions for Spaghetti Sauce?

July 30, 2008

A pan of tomato sauce for spaghetti.I was wondering how important it is to saute cut up onion before adding the onion to spaghetti sauce? Someone told me that she just peels a whole onion and drops it whole into the sauce without sauteeing it. I have never heard of doing it that way. Has anyone ever tried it this way, and which way do you think would be best?


P.J. from Delaware


July 30, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

My father hates anything w/ onions, peppers, celery etc. cooked in it, so my mom would drop them whole into the sauce. Once they were cooked thru, she'd spoon them out and puree them smooth then stir it all back in. Even tho I prefer "chunky" sauce, I still remember this as the best homemade sauce ever!

July 30, 20080 found this helpful
Best Answer

I've never heard of the "whole onion method" before either, but it's sounds intriguing. I usually saute my onions to bring out the flavor too. I like them carmelized. A friend of mine makes her sauce by roasting all her vegetables, including a clove of garlic, first and then throwing them in a pot to simmer.


It has a very robust flavor that goes well with her mother's meatball recipe (which she won't share with me, lol).

July 30, 20080 found this helpful

You can do do it either way. Sometimes I saute ground beef and onions, and then mix in the sauce. But I have also just put the un-sauteed chopped onions in the sauce, then I boiled it.

July 30, 20081 found this helpful

To saute the onion is to bring the flavor out. You want all the flavor, as well as the nutrition to be infused into your sauce. Hence, you should cut the onion up, as well as to saute it. Try it both ways, and you will likely see a big difference in flavor and texture. Happy cooking.


C. Heaven

By F (Guest Post)
July 30, 20080 found this helpful

I confess I never tried this method. However, I do not think it is a good idea. Sauteeing onion is a bit time consuming, but it brings more flavor. You can cut the fat by using very little olive oil (1 tsp). Keep the heat low. You do not need to stir all the time, but keep your eyes on the mixture to prevent it from burning.

July 30, 20080 found this helpful

Onions make the sauce sweeter, so I don't use them. However, I use the entire bunch of fresh garlic cloves which is about 10 or 12. I make the sauce by first browning chicken parts, meatballs and Italian sausage in a small amount of olive oil with garlic and some sliced green pepper.


I set them all aside, including oil, garlic, green pepper and juices, and add it all to the tomato sauce after it has simmered for a while. I make enough sauce to freeze containers of it as it is a decently big job, but well worth it.

By .Linda (Guest Post)
July 30, 20080 found this helpful

My mom used a whole peeled onion. I chop up onion but don't saute it. Either way!

By Dee Cobb (Guest Post)
July 30, 20080 found this helpful

When I make mine. I cook chopped up onion, bacon, basil, italian seasoning first. When it's almost done I begin to add tomatoes and paste, meatballs.


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July 31, 20080 found this helpful

Dropping an onion in whole would work well if you didn't want to eat the onion, allowing you to easily scoop it out. Personally, I like to put an onion in the blender with some celery and a few carrots.


I add the tomatoes and puree everything, pour it into a pot to cook, season, etc. This way, you get flavor and the extra veggies, but not the chunks.

July 31, 20080 found this helpful

Hi I am like the first person who wrote about using sauce in a jar (did make mine jar once but put tomatoes in bleander hate cooked tomatoes even in soups. However when I make the hamburger I saute the onions first to help bring out the flavor. Hubby loves it and onions are good for colds I was always told. I love the taste of saute onions specially on burgers with just ketchup the smell is great. Also as for people who don't like chopped onions I just use my mini chopper I have it sitting on my counter I love the mini it is small and so quick to clean up still have big one up in cabinet will not get rid of that one great for making pasty balls to roll out for pies and such.


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July 31, 20080 found this helpful

I've always cooked chopped onion in the ground beef that I add to the sauce; however these days I mostly use jarred spaghetti sauce that I add my cooked ground chuck and I don't add the onions. Since the sauce already has plenty of seasoning.


I would think that putting chopped raw onion into the sauce would give more onion taste than cooking it first. Putting in the whole raw onion is probably to just give the onion flavor w/o leaving pieces of it.


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July 31, 20080 found this helpful

I use jarred sauce also but I add chopped onion, 3 colors of bell peppers, and mushrooms. I already use the Prego garden veggie (or something, not sure the name is right) but we love vegetables and this satisfys the hubby who doesn't really like spaghetti. All the veggies are raw and just simmer with the meat and sauce. Oh, almost forgot - I also add a good shake of garlic powder, NOT garlic salt.

By Estella (Guest Post)
July 31, 20080 found this helpful

For quick sauce, I saute an onion then set aside. Next saute about 1/3 lb of ground beef, rinse with hot water to remove fat. Put both back in pan with a can of diced tomatoes and about half a jar of any commercial sauce. You can add any other veggies too. I find that using some regular sauce keeps me from having to think about the seasonings. It isn't too salty but tastes great.
With half a pound of pasta this makes enough for 3 hearty eaters.
Along with it I make garlic bread very simply, just use any regular bread, add olive oil to minced garlic (bottled or fresh) spread on and put in toaster oven. If you haven't added beef to the sauce, you can put some protein in by using cheese on the garlic bread. Mostly though, we Americans get too much protein.

July 31, 20080 found this helpful

I saute 1/2 of the onion with the ground beef I'm going to put into my sauce and put the other half of the raw onion into my homemade spaghetti sauce. YUM! - Just my 2 cents worth. :)

By angellface. (Guest Post)
July 31, 20080 found this helpful

When I am in a big hurry, I peel the onion and just drop it in. I am sure to let the sauce cook enough to allow the onion be really, really soft. And it tastes really good. Adding about 1/4 to 1/3 of uncooked broken up ground chuck after the sauce has started to simmer really adds to the flavor also. So don't be afraid. Try it. My family likes it. In a pinch you can also use onion POWDER. Also I add a couple cap fulls of extra virgin olive oil and about l/4 cup grated Romano cheese. Gives such a great flavor.

By Pekosa (Guest Post)
August 1, 20080 found this helpful

As a Vegan I sliced onions, carrots, minced garlic and instead oil I add a little water and I steam the vegetables until they are crunchy. Then I add the spaghetti sauce. This adds a lot of flavor. And it's fat free.If you are in a hurry, you can just add all in the sauce and this will cook y you allowed enough time for it.

August 4, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks to everyone who responded to my post about sauteeing onions before adding to spaghetti sauce. I appreciate all your advice!

January 4, 20200 found this helpful

Please cook your onions thoroughly before you add them to the sauce. For the best flavor, caramelize them first and them add them to the sauce. I hate eating soft foods, like spaghetti and meatballs, and bite into a crunchy undercooked onion, or other vegetable. I've explained this to my wife but she keeps doing it... How do I get her to stop without hurting her feelings?

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