Spaghetti on a Plate with Cheddar Cheese
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How to Cook the Best Filipino Spaghetti


The Filipino spaghetti is an interestingly distinctive Filipino dish, more than I care to admit. It is intriguing as to why there is such a recipe. What makes it so different? What makes this version of spaghetti so lovable?


What makes Filipino Spaghetti different?

You are a Filipino if…” was one feature in The Filipino Channel (TFC) in the late 90s. I remember this well as it featured mostly Philippine practices, habits, and idiosyncrasies that are common to Filipinos worldwide, some of which we do not even notice. One of TFC’s features was “You are a Filipino if your spaghetti has hotdogs.” Then that was followed by canned laughter and I realized that it was true – we do put hotdogs in our spaghetti. I joined the canned laughter and did so every time TFC inserted that short video into their programs. Another component of this dish is its undeniably sweet taste in its salty sauce.

Popular during kids’ birthday parties and other social events, and like the Filipino pancit, Pinoy spaghetti is part of the array of dishes during any celebrations – whether home-cooked, catered, or done in (small) restaurants. The Filipino spaghetti is also popularly available in most food chains in the Phillippines.

Filipino Spaghetti - Tina
Tina’s Filipino Spaghetti

Why is Filipino spaghetti sweet?

What makes it sweet? Get yourself ready, the answer is… the use of banana ketchup along with tomato sauce! Secret ingredient? It must be!

Wait, the use of ketchup is already something different, why banana ketchup? I do not have a ready answer to that last question, but what I could think of is the popularity of bananas over tomato ketchup in the Philippines. Being a tropical country, we have an abundance of bananas, and ketchup became its by-product during the Second World War when tomatoes were scarce.  Creativity to its core – let’s make ketchup from bananas! There is an interesting reading about the discovery of banana catsup here. The Filipino spaghetti is known for the following:

  • It is sweet.
  • It uses banana catsup.
  • Hotdogs are one of its main ingredients.
  • It has a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese on top.


Ingredients of Filipino spaghetti

It is easy to tell that Filipino spaghetti is similar to but deviates from its bolognese counterpart. It has ground meat, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Then the rest of the ingredients make this dish, on its own, a character. 

You will see in the recipe below the use of Del Monte Filipino spaghetti sauce. This became a common practice as it is easier and probably less expensive. But is there a way to make the sauce from scratch? Or course. The basic recipe for the sauce is similar to that of your regular Italian bolognese sauce with the addition of the magical banana catsup and a little bit of sugar, to balance the saltiness as you see fit. And then, of course, the hotdogs! Such comfort food!

A friend suggested that a teaspoon of brown sugar can enhance the taste of Filipino spaghetti sauce. A bit of sugar is more he practice, but that is optional. The banana sauce gives it a sweet taste already.

Some use just the hotdogs when cooking this dish, however, it is best when ground meat (usually ground beef) is added. This makes the hotdogs extenders rather than the main ingredient, and the result is a tastier version of your Pinoy spaghetti.


How to serve Filipino spaghetti

I know, I know, the meat sauce is served on top of pasta. However, in most Filipino households, spaghetti sauce is added to the cooked pasta near the end of cooking, and the dish is served either directly in the pot where it was cooked or in a single big serving bowl – ready to eat, just scoop a portion and put on your plate!

Filipino spaghetti is served with a generous sprinkling of grated shredded cheese. 

Spaghetti on a Plate with Cheddar Cheese

Storing leftover Filipino Spaghetti 

Any leftovers can be kept in tight-lid containers in the fridge.


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Spaghetti on a Plate with Cheddar Cheese

How to Cook the Best Filipino Spaghetti

  • Author: Magida
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: cooking
  • Cuisine: Filipino


A taste of the Philippines with this sweet and savory Filipino Spaghetti recipe! This dish features a vibrant sauce with banana ketchup and hotdogs, sure to tantalize your taste buds.


  • 500g spaghetti noodles (well, pasta)
  • 4 tablespoons minced yellow onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 500g ground beef
  • 24oz Del Monte Filipino Spaghetti sauce (or any Italian Sauce in the market)
  • ½ cup Jufran Banana Ketchup
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups diced or thinly sliced hotdogs
  • 1 cup water or beef broth (or if necessary)
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pc beef bullion (optional)
  • Grated cheddar cheese for topping


  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.
  • Sautee garlic, and onion until translucent over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook while stirring until most of the meat juices come out.
  • Add hotdogs and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Season with salt and black pepper. Add beef bullion, if using.
  • Add spaghetti sauce followed by banana ketchup and water (if the sauce is too thick).
  • Add pasta to the pot and stir making sure the sauce covers the pasta generously.
  • Top with grated cheese.

Keywords: Filipino spaghetti

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