Recipe #29: FILIPINO STYLE SPAGHETTI

I once mentioned in my introduction that I won’t be using canned sauces in my recipes. Everything would be traditionally prepared as much as possible, which means no shortcuts. But, no, I cannot apply that rule in this recipe.

The reason is Filipino Style Spaghetti is always prepared with canned and bottled sauces. If I use fresh tomatoes alone (which I do sometimes with olive oil –> yum!), it won’t be Filipino style anymore. Tomatoes are not naturally sweet, at least that’s not how we acquired the taste; it may be too sour for the Filipino palate. Hence, we add sugar and banana catsup to balance the flavors. Why? Because that’s how we like it! Filipino Style Spaghetti is like Spaghetti Bolognese, but sweeter.

Filipino Style Spaghetti

So my brother cooked Filipino Style Spaghetti yesterday, Sunday. I took some pictures, but it’s pretty much my own recipe inspired by my Tita‘s. My Lola was not a huge fan of spaghetti. She would rather eat Chinese noodles. Some credits also go to Joe, a college friend, who told me to add milk to the sauce to make it creamier. And, yes, it’s just so much better!

If you have kids, I’m sure they will love this dish. It will give Jollibee a run for its money any day. 🙂

Filipino Style Spaghetti


Filipino Style Spaghetti Recipe

You will need:

  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
  • 4 medium-sized onions, minced
  • 4 medium-sized tomatoes, minced
  • 1/4 kilo ground pork
  • 1/4 kilo ground beef
  • 4 pieces jumbo hot dogs, sliced crossswise
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 bottle banana catsup
  • 1 small can evaporated milk
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pack spaghetti, cooked according to package direction
  • 2 cups cheddar or parmesan cheese, grated

How to prepare:

  1. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, sauté garlic, onion, and tomatoes in oil.
  2. Add the ground meat. Season with salt and pepper. Cook meat until brown while stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the hot dogs. Cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and banana catsup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  5. Add evaporated milk and a cup of grated cheese. Add sugar if you prefer a sweeter sauce. Simmer for a few more minutes with occasional stirring. Taste to check if it needs more seasoning.
  6. Serve over cooked pasta. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

Pro-tip: If you can’t find banana catsup in your area, you can use canned tomato pasta sauce or double the amount of tomato sauce. Add more sugar to lessen the sourness of the tomato sauce.

Filipino Style Spaghetti


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27 Comments

  1. I love filipino style spag… my brother’s friends keeps telling me that my own version tastes Jollibee. Haha! Naflattered naman ako bigla. I really prefer sweet spag than the italian.

    Your shots are really nice!

  2. I really liked this so i decided to make one. Thanks for the recipe!!! Now my uncle is so happy to taste my spaghetti!! I really like filipino style spaghetti. Cause they show filipino how good they are! Again, thanks!

  3. Is this sauce too sweet? I’ve made Filipino spaghetti before and people complained it was way to sweet and I didn’t use a lot of banana ketchup. And couldn’t figure out why

    1. Foreigners may find our spaghetti sauce too sweet. You can lessen the sweetness by adding more tomato sauce and less of the banana catsup. Don’t add sugar anymore. 🙂

  4. I love Filipino-style spaghetti and am known to my friends who’d say yes to it all the time (with empty or full tummy). 🙂 So glad to chance upon this recipe. It’s gonna be my 1st time adding milk to the sauce but I have good feeling about this. Will try it tomorrow. More power to your blog! – Canada

    1. Di ba, Mich? Filipino-style spaghetti is still one of the best-tasting pastas in the world. I hope your friends would love it. Hello to everyone in Canada! 🙂

  5. Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new posts.

  6. Thanks for this recipe. I am just wondering of the measurements? Help pls? I will have to use your recipe for my daughters birthday tomorrow, and I will be cooking for 40 kids. Help! Oh BTW, thanks again!;)

    1. Hi Anne! I know this is kinda late, but in case you need it for future reference, feel free to do so.

      I’m not an expert on serving measurements, but you can go here, here, and here. I also suggest that you check the label of the spaghetti packaging. Usually, it will indicate the serving size inside the nutrition box. A child’s portion is roughly half of the suggested serving size. Do a little math on how many servings per pack to know how much pasta to cook.

      With regard to the rest of ingredients, I honestly don’t know how to measure each one for huge parties. In my case, I’d rather have more than less to make sure that everyone eats. Bring some leftovers to the office the following work day or give some to your neighbors. I suggest that you have a spaghetti party on one weekend to have a rough estimate on how much you should prepare. And yes, get a bigger sauce pan. Have fun! 🙂

  7. This blog is cool! But about your post I like the Italian Spaghetti more than the Filipino one; I like it sour than sweet. But that doesn't mean I don't like Filipino Spag with Tomato sauce. Well, it still depends on taste buds. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Nonoy! To be honest, I also prefer the Italian version. But we have a kid at home and she likes it sweet. Besides, this is a Filipino food blog. Haha! 🙂

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