Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce

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This Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce recipe is made easy in your slow cooker! It makes a thick and hearty sauce that freezes well. You can choose to make it with ground beef or sausage, or leave out the meat and make it vegetarian!

overhead: crock pot spaghetti sauce over noodles and topped with cheese

Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce

I love this slow cooker spaghetti sauce and for good reason… it’s so easy to make! I thrive on easy dinners like Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken and Slow Cooker Chili Mac (a family favorite!). Another favorite is our Slow Cooker Bacon Cheeseburger Tater Tot Casserole!

To make a good homemade spaghetti sauce, it needs to simmer — but for a really long time.

Well, I don’t have the patience to stand there and stir it every so often. I have tried making it on the stovetop, and it just doesn’t work for me. Who knows why, but I usually scorch the sauce. Crazy, right?!?! How does a person burn spaghetti sauce?

I have it turned as low as it can go too. I just get distracted with other things and forget all about it until I smell it burning. So, my solution was my trusty old crockpot. I don’t know where I would be without that thing sometimes. And so this crock pot spaghetti sauce recipe was born. No more burnt sauce!

Why You’ll Love Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

  • So easy to make — simply set it and forget it!
  • Can be used in a variety of recipes
  • Adaptable
  • Made with mostly pantry ingredients
  • Totally delicious!
overhead: crockpot spaghetti sauce ingredients ready to add to the slow cooker

Key Ingredients to Make Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

  • MEAT – You can use ground beef, ground turkey, frozen meatballs, or Italian sausage. We prefer a mixture of ground beef and sausage. Or, leave it out to make this crockpot spaghetti sauce vegetarian-friendly.
  • CRUSHED TOMATOES – The base of your sauce. All you need is a 28-oz can.
  • DICED TOMATOES – You could replace the diced tomatoes with more crushed tomatoes, but I just like to add this to provide a few chunks of tomato.
  • TOMATO PASTE – Don’t be tempted to leave this out. It provides rich flavor and helps thicken the sauce.
  • WATER OR BEEF BROTH – I like to use beef broth instead of water as it’s more flavorful. If you want to make your crockpot spaghetti sauce recipe vegetarian, use water or vegetable broth.
  • OLIVE OIL – Provides a little richness to the sauce.
  • ONION – Adds more savory flavor.
  • GARLIC POWDER – Or use 4-6 cloves of minced garlic!
  • RED PEPPER FLAKES – For a little bit of spice. If you don’t like spicy foods, you can omit them.
  • SEASONING BLEND – I usually use what I have on hand, and it can vary. Most times I use Italian seasoning and add extra basil.
  • SUGAR – While not totally necessary, it helps cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes. You can leave it out if you prefer.
overhead closeup: scooping out a ladle of sauce over spaghetti sauce in crock pot

Instructions to Make Spaghetti Sauce in a Crock Pot

BROWN THE MEAT: If you’re using ground beef or sausage in your slow cooker spaghetti sauce, brown it in a frying pan before draining and placing it in the crockpot.

SLOW COOK: Add the other ingredients to the crockpot, stir, and cover with a lid. Cook on High for 4 hours, or Low for 8 hours. Enjoy!

overhead closeup: slow cooker spaghetti sauce on pasta and topped with cheese

Pro Tips for Making This Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

  • If you are using meat, don’t skip the browning step. It not only guarantees that it is fully cooked, but it also brings out a more complex flavor!
  • Make it your own by adding in extras. Add sliced mushrooms, green bell pepper, or shredded Parmesan cheese to the mix to make your spaghetti sauce in crock pot a bit heartier. At the end of cook time, stir in some spinach!
  • Freezer friendly! Place cooled sauce in freezer-safe containers or bags and freeze for up to 3 months.


How do you thicken spaghetti sauce in the crock pot?

If your sauce is too thin, you can create a slurry by mixing 1 tablespoon of cornstarch or flour with 1 cup of water. Whisk it into the slow cooker and watch as the sauce thickens before your eyes! Play around with it until you get the consistency you’re looking for.

What gives spaghetti sauce depth of flavor?

Seasonings, broth, onion, and garlic add much in terms of flavor. You may also consider adding a touch of red or white wine to the mix. The alcohol will burn off as it simmers, leaving its flavor behind!

Can I use fresh tomatoes for this crockpot spaghetti sauce recipe?

Absolutely! Canned is easiest, but if you’re feeling ambitious, you can use fresh. If you do opt for fresh, I recommend blanching and peeling the tomatoes before adding them to the slow cooker. It will give you a much smoother sauce! And, if you’re like me and prefer yours a bit more chunky, you can skip the blanching and peeling step.

Serving Suggestions

overhead closeup: a large plate of spaghetti piled high with crockpot spaghetti sauce recipe and cheese

More Sauce Recipes To Try

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Close up of spaghetti sauce on pasta and topped with cheese.

Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: homemade spaghetti sauce, slow cooked spaghetti sauce
This Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce recipe is made easy in your slow cooker! It makes a thick and hearty sauce that freezes well. You can choose to make it with ground beef or sausage, or leave out the meat and make it vegetarian!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 303kcal
Author: Malinda Linnebur
Print Recipe Save Recipe


  • pounds (750g) lean ground beef, ground turkey, Italian sausage, or a mixture of meat (we like a mix of ground beef and sausage)
  • 1 (28 oz) (793g) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz) (411g) can diced tomatoes (don't drain)
  • 1 (6 oz) (170g) tomato paste
  • ½ cup (120ml) water or beef broth
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ¼ cup (30g) shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder or 4-6 cloves minced


  • In a large skillet brown the ground beef until no longer pink. Drain any excess grease and add to slow cooker.
  • Stir in remaining ingredients and cover with lid. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.


  1. Make it your own by adding in extras! Add sliced mushrooms, green bell pepper, shredded Parmesan cheese, and at the end of cook time stir in some spinach!
  2. Freezer Friendly! Place cooled sauce in freezer safe containers or bags and freeze for up to 3 months.
  3. Nutrition facts: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate. Nutrition calculated using 95% lean ground beef and water. 
Serving Suggestions:


Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 11.6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 789mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 38IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 6mg

16 thoughts on “Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce”

  1. 5 stars
    Spaghetti is a family favorite at our house. We tried this recipe the last time, it was a winner! We will definitely be making this again! Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    We are huge fans of spaghetti night in our house and this sauce took it to the next level! Sooo good, thank you so much for the recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve always been a store bought spaghetti sauce person but with some new-found time on my hands I gave homemade a try and HOLY COW! This was incredible! It’ll be seriously hard to go back to store bought. I might have to make and freeze this to keep it on hand! Thank you!

  4. Do you have to brown the meat? Kind of hoping to find a recipe i can just throw in the slow cooker in the morning, without having to brown the meat.

    • So sorry I didn’t respond to your question sooner!! Yes, you can skip browning the meat. There are details in the notes of the recipe card. Thanks for asking!! 🙂

  5. I love love love my slow cooker! Seriously, that thing is cooking my dinner at least 2-3 times per week throughout the year. So awesome! This Spaghetti Sauce looks delish!


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