Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
The best, classic, easy slow cooker spaghetti sauce recipe from scratch, homemade with simple ingredients. Loaded with tomatoes, ground beef and Italian seasoning and herbs.
This sauce is hearty and satisfying, which makes for the perfect comfort food. Bursting with flavor, this sauce will have everyone coming back for seconds just like this Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese.
This is the BEST spaghetti meat sauce!
- Easy to make.
- Hearty and very filling.
- Requires simple ingredients that you already have in your pantry.
- Very flavorful because of the addition of lots of Italian herbs and spices.
- Can be used in other recipes such as lasagna or with tortellini or ravioli.
How to make spaghetti sauce from scratch in slow cooker/ crockpot?
- Brown meat – And drain excess fat or grease.
- Add meat, tomatoes, herbs, garlic, peppers, brown sugar, onions in crockpot- Mix everything together.
- Cover and Cook – On high heat for 4 hours.
- Enjoy– Serve over boiled spaghetti.
What sides to serve with homemade spaghetti sauce recipe (spaghetti bolognese)?
Serve it with pasta such as spaghetti, fettuccine, shells or even cheese filled ravioli and tortellini. You can also use it in lasagna and pasta bakes and casseroles.
Bread is the classic choice. Try garlic bread, breadsticks, crusty bread, dinner rolls.
Salads are another option. Since this is a very flavorful dish, make sure your salad have a light vinaigrette or dressing.
Serve it alongside soup to make it a feast. Try a light vegetable soup.
What is the difference between easy spaghetti sauce and marinara sauce?
Marinara sauce is usually made with just tomatoes, herbs and spices. However, the other sauce includes meat, more veggies, and often has more spices involved. It’s also much thicker!
Homemade Italian seasoning
It’s made by mixing together multiple dried herbs and the best thing is that the quantities can be modified to your taste.
- 2 tbsp dried basil
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried rosemary
- 2 tbsp dried parsley
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- 1 tbsp red chili flakes
- 1 tsp garlic powder
Add vegetables – If you decide to go meatless, you can add a few veggies in place of the meat such as large chunks of tomatoes, mushrooms, celery, eggplant, zucchini, squash, peppers or even a bag of mixed frozen veggies.
Add chicken – Replace ground beef with ground chicken or shredded chicken.
Add frozen meatballs – If you want to make a classic dish of spaghetti and meatballs, skip the browned hamburger and add some frozen meatballs instead.
Add red wine – If you want to get a richer taste to your sauce, you can add some red wine. The alcohol cooks off during cooking.
Add sausage – Cut the amount of hamburger in half and brown some ground Italian sausage in its place. This adds another flavor profile in the dish.
Add bacon – Bacon makes everything better and if you love it as much as most do, fry up half a pound of it, crumble it, and add it to the mixture.
Add tofu or mushrooms – If you would like to go for a hearty vegetarian or vegan option, you can add tofu or mushrooms. Be careful on how you prepare the tofu as you don’t want it to get soggy. I highly recommend using firm tofu.
Make it creamy – Mix in some heavy cream or half and half tor even coconut milk/ creamto make it thick and creamy.
Add cheese- Add a combination of different cheeses such as cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan or any other cheese you like.
Make it spicy – Add red chili flakes, cayenne pepper or even jalapenos for a spicy kick.
Garnish options– Try roughly chopped fresh basil, chives, parsley or even parsley. Shredded or grated parmesan and mozzarella cheese are great options too.
Refrigerate– In sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freeze– In a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Reheat– In the microwave or stovetop.
Tips and Techniques
Brown meat– You must do this. This is NOT an optional step. Browning the beef adds more flavor and also allows you to drain fat. This prevents the overall dish from becoming too oily.
Use nonstick pot for browning meat– Because this prevents sticking and burning.
Use a multifunctional slow cooker (if possible)– Because it allows you to saute the beef in the slow cooker. This way, you won’t have to make another pot or pan dirty.
How to thicken sauce? You can allow the sauce to cook a bit longer which allows the excess liquid to evaporate. If that won’t work, you can add some more tomato paste or cornstarch dissolved in a very small amount of water.
How to make pasta sauce thinner? You can add more water or broth.
Fresh tomatoes vs. Canned tomatoes – Canned tomatoes are more convenient. Further, canned tomatoes are often ripened to a more appropriate point than fresh tomatoes are before being picked. They are also fully cooked before going into the cans which is where the convenience comes from. The only pitfall is that they can be more acidic. Fresh tomatoes are obviously fresher, not as acidic but they do take a bit more time to cook.
Homemade Italian seasoning vs. Store-bought seasoning- Either can be used.
Adjust amount of Italian seasoning- More or less can be used, based on your preference.
Brown sugar substitute- You can use whatever sweetener you like. Try granulated sugar, honey or maple syrup. Pease note that the overall flavor will change, based on your sweetener choice. The best results (after testing this recipe multiple times) comes from brown sugar.
More Crockpot Pasta Recipes
Crockpot Italian Spaghetti Sauce
- 1 pound Ground beef
- 1 can Crushed tomatoes, 28 oz. can
- 1 can Diced tomatoes, 28 oz. can
- 1 can Tomato paste, 6 oz. can
- 2 tbsp Brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Onion, Roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup Green peppers, Roughly chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic, Finely minced
- 1-2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- Salt, To taste
- Pepper, To taste
- 1/4 tsp Red chili flakes, Optional
- Cook ground beef in a large nonstick pot or pan over medium-high heat until no longer pink.
- Drain fat.
- Add this brown meat in the slow cooker.
- Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, onion, green peppers, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, red chili flakes and mix everything together.
- Cover and cook on High heat for 4 hours.
- Garnish with finely chopped fresh basil or parsley and shredded parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave.