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Filipino Spaghetti Sauce

Filipino spaghetti meat sauce is sweet, tangy, and filled with hotdogs. Here you will learn the basics of how to make it from scratch. Tips on how you can make it creamy or cheesy and even more delicious, with a few amazing (secret) ingredients, also included.

How to make Filipino Spaghetti Sauce

Filipino Style Spaghetti Sauce

Filipino spaghetti is every Filipino’s ultimate comfort food. It’s sweet, savory, and filled with hotdogs! I love it as a kid and still love it until now.

My mama always makes it for my birthday every year and often for major holidays like Christmas and New Year. It’s the only thing that my siblings and I would eat. Forget the ham and Lechon, we just want spaghetti!

And if we’re lucky enough, we also get to eat it with fried chicken (Jollibee style) and chocolate cake. Ah! Memories of my childhood just keep flooding in!

Ingredients Filipino Sweet Spaghetti

Filipino Spaghetti sauce basic ingredients

Here are the basic ingredients of a Filipino spaghetti sauce. You’ll find the list quite similar to other basic pasta sauces, except for two key ingredients which makes it sweet and tangy.

  • Ground Meat – Beef, pork, and chicken can be used to make the sauce.  Each creates a different type of flavor profile so just use what suits your diet. My favorite is using a combination of pork and beef.
  • Hotdogs – A signature ingredient of Filipino spaghetti sauce. Red hotdogs specifically. But of course, you can still use other hotdogs that aren’t color red 🙂
  • Spices – Garlic and onion are essential. Add ground black pepper, to taste. My mama loves a peppery pasta sauce so that’s how I like it too. Even today.
  • Vegetables – I always use red and green bell pepper. It just gives that distinct Filipino spaghetti flavor. Sometimes, I also add celery, mushroom, and carrots.
  • Tomato Sauce – The base of the sauce, much like any other red pasta sauces.
  • Ketchup – Banana ketchup is primarily used. It sweet and contains vinegar which makes the Filipino pasta sauce tangy.
  • Sugar – If other pasta recipes use a few teaspoons, Filipino spaghetti sauce requires much more! I usually start with 1-2 tablespoons and go from there.

Cheese Sweet Filipino Pasta Sauce

Secret ingredients

There are a few little things in this recipe that might be a bit different from other pasta sauces you’ve seen around but this is how I’ve been making our sauce for a long time now

  1. Fish Sauce – a little bit goes a long way. You can just use salt but fish sauce for me makes any pasta sauce so much better!
  2. Beef Bouillon Cubes – for extra depth of flavor in the sauce. If you’re pressed for time, this will make your sauce delicious even if it’s just been cooked for 20mins.
  3. Dried Herbs – optional but add it anyways if available. I often use Italian seasoning to give the sauce added flavor.
  4. Liver Pâté/Liver Paste – a secret ingredient that I’m now sharing with all of you. You can skip it entirely but if you love Caldereta, then I’m sure you won’t mind using this in your pasta sauce too.

How to make Filipino Spaghetti sauce from scratch

You will only need one pot to make this spaghetti sauce. It really doesn’t get any easier than this.

Sauted Beef, Pork, Hotdogs in a pot
Saute garlic and onions until fragrant and translucent. Add the ground meat (beef, pork, or chicken) and cook until no longer pink. Add the hotdogs and stir it all together. Season with fish and cook until the juices come out.

Red bell peppers Filipino pasta sauce
Add the bell peppers and other choices of vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, or celery). Cook until softened.

pour tomato sauce for Filipino Spaghetti
Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup along with the sugar, Italian seasoning, and beef bouillon diluted in hot water. At this point, you can also add the liver pate/paste, if using.

Spaghetti Sauce Cooking in a Pot
Stir, bring to a simmer then turn down to medium so it bubbles gently. Cook for 30 minutes with the lid on. Stir occasionally. Adjust salt/sugar and season with black pepper. Simmer for another 10 minutes without the lid.

How to make Filipino Spaghetti sauce
Serve over spaghetti or toss the sauce and pasta together and sprinkle with lots of cheese!

Sauce Variations

  • Make it creamy: add 1/4 cup evaporated milk or whole fresh milk 10 minutes before it finishes cooking.
  • Make it cheesy: add 1/2 cup grated cheese or cheez wiz (yes, the spread) before it finishes cooking and BEFORE adding any more salt. Simmer until melted.

Make-ahead Tip!

Make it one day before you actually need it and you’ll be surprised how it becomes even better the next day. Note: Refrigerate within 2 hours once it has cooled down.

Shelf-life/Storage

Store in an airtight/freezer-safe container. It should last 3-4 days in the refrigerator and up to 3-4 weeks (without milk) in the freezer. Note: Pasta sauce that was thawed/reheated should be consumed immediately.

My favorite desserts  that go so well with Filipino Spaghetti:

Watch the recipe video

 

How to make Filipino Spaghetti Sauce

Filipino Spaghetti Sauce

Filipino spaghetti meat sauce is sweet, tangy, and filled with hotdogs. Here you will learn the basics of how to make it from scratch. Tips on how you can make it creamy or cheesy and even more delicious, with a few amazing (secret) ingredients, also included.
Print Pin
Servings: 5 servings
Author: Mella
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used canola)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 500 grams / 1 lbs ground beef (or half pork, half beef)
  • 200 grams hotdogs (sliced)
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup bell pepper (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 800 grams /28 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup banana ketchup (or tomato)
  • 1/2 cup hot water (add more as needed)
  • 1 beef bouillon cube (dissolved in hot water)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar (add more if preferred)
  • 1 can /78 g liver pate (or liver paste, optional)
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (optional)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

To serve

  • 400g /13 oz spaghetti (cooked as per package directions)
  • grated cheese

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and garlic, saute until fragrant and translucent. Add ground beef or pork. Continue cooking until no longer pink. Add the hotdogs and stir it all together. Season with fish sauce and cook until the juices come out.
  • Add the bell peppers and other choices of vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, or celery). Cook until softened. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, sugar, Italian seasoning, and beef bouillon diluted in hot water. At this point, you can also add the liver pate/paste, if using. Stir to combine.
  • Cover with lid and bring to a simmer then turn down to medium so it bubbles gently. Cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Be careful as you open the lid as the sauce may splatter all over and burn your hand. Adjust salt/sugar and season with black pepper. Simmer for another 10 minutes without the lid.
  • Serve over spaghetti or toss the sauce and pasta together. Sprinkle with cheese, lots of it!

Recipe Notes and Tips:

  • Ground Meat - beef, pork, and chicken can be used to make the sauce.  My favorite is using a combination of pork and beef.
  • Vegetables – Celery, mushroom, and carrots can also be added.
  • Tomato Sauce – If your sauce still too acidic/sour even after adding sugar and or milk, add 1/4 tsp of BAKING SODA! Stir then taste the sauce. If it’s still too acidic, add 1/4 teaspoon more and go from there. It works like magic! I promise!
  • Banana Ketchup – can be substituted with tomato ketchup. Adjust the amount of sugar as needed.
  • Fish Sauce - can be substituted with Worcestershire sauce.
  • Liver Pate/Paste - I used chicken liver pate. You can use Reno too if you have it. Omit entirely if preferred.
  • Make it creamy: add 1/4 cup evaporated milk or whole fresh milk 10 minutes before it finishes cooking.
  • Make it cheesy: add 1/2 cup grated cheese or cheez wiz (yes, the spread) before it finishes cooking and BEFORE adding any more salt. Simmer until melted.
  • Shortcuts - use store-bought pasta sauce instead of tomato sauce. You can omit the Italian seasoning and even the garlic and onion if you really don’t have the time to chop. If using store-bought Filipino pasta sauce, I suggest omitting the sugar and ketchup altogether as the sauce is already sweet (often too sweet) and tangy.
Jump to Video
Course : Main Course
Cuisine : Filipino
Keyword : bolognese sauce, Jollibee style spaghetti sauce, sweet pasta sauce
Nutrition Facts
Filipino Spaghetti Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 581 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Cholesterol 86mg29%
Sodium 1831mg80%
Potassium 1134mg32%
Carbohydrates 56g19%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 19g21%
Protein 31g62%
Vitamin A 1435IU29%
Vitamin C 35mg42%
Calcium 69mg7%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Frequently asked questions

How do you cut the acidity/sourness in tomato sauce?

Is your sauce still too acidic/sour even after adding sugar and milk? This has happened to me a few times and finally found the best remedy. And that is BAKING SODA! Start by adding 1/4 teaspoon first. Stir, then taste the sauce. If it’s still too acidic, add 1/4 teaspoon more. It works like magic! I promise!

Can I substitute tomato sauce with a store-bought pasta sauce?

Yes, but of course. Using ready-made pasta sauces is a convenient shortcut to making easy meals. You can omit the Italian seasoning and even the garlic and onion if you really don’t have the time.

If using store-bought Filipino pasta sauce, I suggest omitting the sugar and ketchup altogether as the sauce is already sweet (often too sweet) and tangy.
 

Can I substitute banana ketchup with tomato ketchup?

Yes. Tomato ketchup may not be as sweet as banana ketchup but it’s definitely tangy. You might need to adjust the amount of sugar as needed.

What if I don’t have ketchup?

Add a small amount of vinegar to the sauce. Start with 2-3 teaspoons and go from there. Then add more sugar until desired sweetness is achieved.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. 5 stars

    I cooked spaghetti today, inspired by your recipe and added my own as well, it turned out delicious, the patis in the meat and the cheese spread in the sauce made it even better ??? Happy Easter ???

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