Last Updated on October 5, 2021 by Anne-Marie
Looking for an easy crockpot spaghetti sauce recipe? This makes the best spaghetti sauce for a busy weeknight.
What I like is that this easy recipe makes a big batch of meaty spaghetti sauce.
So lots of leftovers for the next day. Or freeze half for later.
How to make this crockpot spaghetti sauce recipe
Get this going in the morning so you can have it ready by dinner time.
1. Coat a six-quart slow cooker with cooking spray or line with a slow cooker liner. Set aside.
2. Cook ground beef and Italian sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until almost cooked through.
3. Add chopped onions and garlic. Continue cooking until meat is completely cooked.
4. Add meat mixture to the crockpot.
5. Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
6. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
7. Serve this homemade meat sauce with your favorite pasta.
8. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
What kind of ground meat and sausage can I use?
For the ground meat, you can use lean ground beef as listed in the recipe. Alternatives are lean ground turkey, chicken, pork, venison, or a combination of ground meats.
For the sausage, I like sweet or spicy Italian sausage. Use this recipe for homemade Italian sausage with any type of ground meat. Easy and delicious!
Finally, try a combination of beef and sausage. It’s up to you!
Do I have to cook the ground meat and sausage?
Yes, you do. Not for food safety reasons as the slow cooker cooks the meat thoroughly. Instead, as you cook it in the pan, the meat gets a nice flavor from caramelizing (browning).
Finally, the ground meat and sausage gets cooked into nice little bits, giving it a good texture that stands up to cooking in the crockpot.
What else can I add to the sauce?
When I make this easy homemade spaghetti sauce recipe I like to add different vegetables and seasonings depending on what I have on hand.
Here are some ideas you can try:
- diced green peppers (add the green bell pepper when you’re cooking the chopped onion)
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- Italian seasoning
- a little bit of red wine, like a Cabernet or Zinfandel. Add to taste, up to 1/2 cup.
- fresh herbs like thyme, marjoram, or rosemary
- bay leaves
I also like to serve the sauce and pasta with shredded Parmesan cheese. You can also add some cheese to the sauce.
Can I use fresh tomatoes?
If you grow tomatoes, I know you want to use them to make a delicious spaghetti sauce.
I suggest using My Version of Alton Brown’s Tomato Sauce Recipe instead. That recipe shows you how to prepare, cook down, and puree fresh tomatoes for sauce.
That recipe also comes with tips on how to add Italian sausage to make a meat sauce.
Do I have to use sugar?
I do recommend using a sweetener as a balance to the acidity of the tomatoes. But you don’t have to use white sugar. You can use brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey instead.
Both are all-natural, no-calorie sweeteners with no bitter aftertaste.
Can I freeze this spaghetti sauce recipe?
Yes, you can freeze homemade crockpot spaghetti sauce and turn it into your favorite crockpot freezer meals. Here’s how:
1. Cool the sauce down. Don't leave the spaghetti sauce on the counter to cool down. This isn't a good food safety practice.
Instead, you can cool it down rapidly by placing the inner crock in a bath of ice water in the sink. Stir it often to cool the sauce down more quickly.
Or put the lid on your crock and place it in the fridge to cool down.
2. Store the spaghetti sauce. Pour the tomato sauce into freezer-safe food storage containers.
Some people also like freezing sauces in gallon Ziploc freezer bags. This can be a bit tricky to do. But it has the advantage that you can then stack the frozen bags in your freezer, which saves space.
To pour pasta sauce into the freezer bag, place the bag in a bowl. Then cuff the bag over the edge of the bowl. Ladle the sauce into each bag.
(You can also have a helper hold the bag open for you.) Then carefully press out any air. Seal up the freezer bag.
Remember to label and date the containers or bags.
3. Freeze the homemade sauce. Stack the containers or lay the Ziploc freezer bags flat in a single layer in the freezer. After the bags freeze, you can then stack the bags.
Crockpot spaghetti sauce should remain good for 3-6 months.
4. Thaw and reheat. To thaw, defrost the containers overnight in the refrigerator.
Another way to thaw the frozen spaghetti sauce is to place the containers or freezer bags in a large bowl full of room temperature water. The soup should thaw in a few hours.
Then you can warm this crockpot spaghetti sauce recipe on the stove top on medium low heat or microwave it.
What else can I make with this sauce?
Got leftovers? You can it in slow cooker recipes like Slow Cooker Baked Ziti Recipe.
Use it in this Easy Pasta Recipe with Cannellini Beans & Italian Veggies instead of jar sauces.
Use it as a dipping sauce with this Easy Fried Air Fryer Ravioli Recipe.
Or try it in Instant Pot recipes like:
Besides pasta, in what dishes do you your leftover using meat sauce?
- Cooking spray
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion (about 1 cup), chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 2 (15 ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 3 (14.5 ounce) cans diced Italian tomatoes or regular
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For serving with the slow cooker spaghetti sauce
- Spaghetti or other gluten-free or regular pasta
- Coat a six-quart slow cooker with olive oil cooking spray or line with a slow cooker liner. Set aside.
- Cook ground beef and Italian sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until almost cooked through.
- Add chopped onions and garlic. Continue cooking until meat is completely cooked.
- Add meat mixture to the crockpot.
- Add remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
- Serve slow cooker spaghetti sauce with your favorite spaghetti or pasta noodles.
- Store leftover spaghetti meat sauce in the refrigerator or freeze for later.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 198Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 44mgSodium: 313mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 16g
Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.