Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce is slow-cooked and full of beef, vegetables, seasonings, and herbs, making it the meat sauce recipe to serve over any shape of pasta.
We love pasta night at our house. When we aren’t making this classic spaghetti sauce in our crockpot, we have Cincinnati Chili, Pesto Mozzarella Chicken and pasta, Cajun Chicken Fettuccine, Bolognese Sauce, or Ravioli Lasagna.
Why you should cook spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker
When it comes to pasta sauce, your first thought may be to pick up a few jars from the local grocery store. And while that may be the easiest thing to do, you can easily make a delicious sauce right in your own kitchen. Skip the jar sauce and use this great recipe to make a sauce that’s absolutely delicious.
You only need a few pantry staple ingredients, most of which you may already have on hand. This basic recipe is also versatile meaning not only can you serve it in a variety of ways, but you can also switch up some of the ingredients to make the perfect meaty sauce.
- Ground Beef: Grab at least 1 lb. of beef for this recipe. You’ll brown it and drain excess fat before adding it to the crock pot.
- Canned Tomatoes: To harness the taste of fresh tomatoes, this recipe calls for a can of crushed tomatoes, a can of diced tomatoes (don’t drain), and a can of tomato paste (helps thicken spaghetti sauce). (You can use fire-roasted tomatoes if desired).
- White Onion: Diced and tossed into the sauce to add both flavor and heartiness to the meaty sauce.
- Garlic: I like to use fresh garlic cloves (minced) to capture the bold flavor of this ingredient.
- Seasonings: Brown sugar, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes come together to make the best spaghetti sauce.
Step One – Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to the crock pot.
Step Two – In a large skillet set to medium high heat, add the ground beef. Brown ground beef and crumble with a spatula or wooden spoon. Drain the fat. Add the meat to the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker and stir.
Step Three – Cover and cook the homemade spaghetti sauce on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. Do not open the lid during cooking time. Serve the tomato sauce with desired cooked noodles. Enjoy!
How should I serve Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce?
- Pour the meat sauce over cooked noodles. Standard spaghetti, angel hair, shredded zucchini noodles, or bucatini are some options to consider. I prefer bucatini noodles, they are a larger noodle with a hollow in the center and go great with slow cooker spaghetti sauce.
- Top your crock pot spaghetti sauce with fresh herbs, a dash of Italian seasoning, and parmesan cheese.
- This pasta sauce also pairs well with garlic bread, garlic sticks, or any bread of your choice.
A small can of tomato paste is what I use to thicken this spaghetti sauce. Do not forget to add it or you will have a watery sauce.
You can substitute one pound of Italian Sausage for the ground beef in this recipe. Cut the salt in half for the recipe in half if you use Italian sausage. You can also use ground turkey or ground chicken.
Use a 2 lb. bag of frozen meatballs if desired in place of the ground beef.
DO NOT add uncooked noodles to the slow cooker. The slow cooker doesn’t get hot enough, fast enough to properly cook noodles. The noodles will turn out mushy.
Add soy crumbles to this recipe instead of ground beef if desired. Or add chopped carrots, celery, bell peppers, and fresh sliced mushrooms. A can of fire roasted diced tomatoes would taste great as well.
Add a half cup of red wine at the beginning of the recipe if you would like a red wine flavored sauce. I like to use red blend when I’m cooking (and for drinking).
Add any remaining sauce into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to a week. You can also make this a jarred sauce and store it for months. If you’re not familiar with canning sauces, you can use freezer bags to store the sauce for up to 6 months. Allow it to defrost before cooking.
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 28 oz. diced tomatoes (two 14 oz. cans) do not drain
- 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/2 cup diced white onion
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- cooked noodles
- parmesan cheese
- In a large skillet set to medium high heat, add the ground beef. Brown and crumble with a spatula or wooden spoon. Drain the fat.
- Add the meat to the slow cooker. Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Stir.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. Do no open the lid during the cooking time.
- Serve with desired cooked noodles and top with parmesan cheese.
How to Video:
- You can substitute one pound of Italian Sausage for the ground beef in this recipe.
- Cut the salt in half for the recipe in half if you use Italian sausage.
- Add soy crumbles to this recipe instead of ground beef if desired.
- Or add chopped carrots, celery and mushrooms.
Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.
More pasta night recipes:
- Slow Cooker Baked Spaghetti
- Slow Cooker Puttanesca Sauce
- Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce with Kielbasa
- Slow Cooker Garlic Butter Chicken and Pasta
- Slow Cooker Southwestern Cheesy Chicken Pasta
- Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Spaghetti
- Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken Penne
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tetrazzini
- Slow Cooker Pizza Meatballs
- Slow Cooker Zucchini Bolognese