Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

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

    I love this spaghetti sauce and for good reason…..it’s so easy to make! I thrive on easy to make 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!

    Top down view of spaghetti sauce over noodles and topped with cheese.

    *Originally published April 2016. Photos and text updated.*

    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 stove top and it just doesn’t work for me.

    Spaghetti sauce ingredients ready to add to the slow cooker.

    I don’t know why, but I usually scorch the sauce. I know, 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.

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

    Ingredients:

    • Meat: you can use ground beef, ground turkey, frozen meatballs, or Italian sausage. We prefer a mixture of ground beef and sausage.
    • Crushed Tomatoes
    • Diced Tomatoes: you can replace with more crushed tomatoes, 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
    • Olive Oil: provides a little richness to the sauce.
    • Onion
    • Garlic Powder: or use 4-6 cloves minced garlic!
    • Red Pepper Flakes
    • Blend of seasonings: 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.
    A ladle full of sauce being dipped out of the slow cooker.

    Tips and Suggestions:

    • 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!
    • Freezer Friendly! Place cooled sauce in freezer safe containers or bags and freeze for up to 3 months.
    A large plate of spaghetti piled high with sauce and cheese.

    Serving Suggestions:

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    5 from 4 votes
    Close up of spaghetti sauce on pasta and topped with cheese.
    Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
    Prep Time
    10 mins
    Cook Time
    8 hrs
    Total Time
    8 hrs 10 mins
     
    Course: Sauce
    Cuisine: Italian
    Keyword: homemade spaghetti sauce, slow cooked spaghetti sauce
    Servings: 8
    Calories: 303 kcal
    Author: Malinda Linnebur
    Ingredients
    • 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
    Instructions
    1. In a large skillet brown the ground beef until no longer pink. Drain any excess grease and add to slow cooker.

    2. Stir in remaining ingredients and cover with lid. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

    Recipe Notes
    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:

    Nutrition Facts
    Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
    Amount Per Serving
    Calories 303 Calories from Fat 104
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 11.6g18%
    Saturated Fat 4g25%
    Cholesterol 58mg19%
    Sodium 107mg5%
    Potassium 789mg23%
    Carbohydrates 16g5%
    Fiber 1g4%
    Sugar 11g12%
    Protein 32g64%
    Vitamin A 38IU1%
    Vitamin C 1mg1%
    Calcium 117mg12%
    Iron 6mg33%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate.
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