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Cooked low and slow for a rich flavor, this crockpot spaghetti sauce is deceptively easy to make. Your family will never guess that you only spent a few minutes of hands-on time making this sauce!

White pasta bowl holding spaghetti topped with spaghetti sauce.

I am a big fan of easy dinner recipes.

With two young kids, I need all the help I can get when it comes to getting dinner on the table. And often that help is my slow cooker.

From crockpot taco soup and crockpot mississippi pot roast to easy crockpot pulled pork, I love being able to “set it and forget it” until it’s time to eat. 

Spaghetti is always a hit around here, so this crockpot spaghetti sauce is my new favorite weeknight dinner recipe. Sometimes I will even make a double batch so we can eat some right away and freeze the rest for later.

Wooden spoon stirring pureed spaghetti sauce in a slow cooker.
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Why make spaghetti sauce in the crockpot?

Listen, I can hear some of you asking: “I can just make a quick marinara sauce, why would I bother to make spaghetti sauce in the crockpot?”

I love quick pasta sauces as much as anyone, whether it’s a lightning-fast marinara or easy meat sauce

But sometimes I need to be away from the house all day and I want to come home and have dinner all but finished already. That’s when recipes like this crockpot spaghetti sauce come into play.

I can toss everything into my slow cooker, set it to low, and let it cook all day. When I get home, all I have to do is boil some pasta and puree the sauce while the pasta is cooking. 

And there’s one more benefit to cooking your spaghetti sauce low and slow in the crockpot all day: deeper, more complex flavor.

It’s no secret that certain sauces, especially tomato sauces, really benefit from simmering for a long time. It’s the reason why a really good bolognese recipe will cook for a few hours on the stove. 

Cooking tomatoes for a long time helps cut down some of the acidity and develops their natural sweetness. You’ll be left with a more complex flavor profile and more delicious sauce.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have time for letting my spaghetti sauce simmer on the stove for hours on a random weekday. So cooking it in the crockpot helps solve that problem!

Fork holding up a bite of spaghetti.

How to make crockpot spaghetti sauce

The majority of the time needed for the recipe is hands-off time, so you’ll only need a few minutes to toss the spaghetti sauce into your crockpot in the morning. 

Plus, you can make this sauce vegetarian or add meat at the end – it’s up to you! 

Ingredients you’ll need

To make this crockpot spaghetti sauce, you will need:

  • 1 28-ounce can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 24.5-ounce jar tomato puree (aka passata)
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 4-5 peeled and halved garlic cloves
  • 1 diced medium onion
  • 1 diced large carrot
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ½ ounce roughly torn fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for crockpot spaghetti sauce arranged on a marble countertop.

Passata is an Italian tomato sauce that’s made from fresh tomatoes. You can typically find it in the same aisle as other canned and jarred tomato products, although you may need to check the international section depending on your grocery store.

If you cannot find passata, you can use canned tomato sauce in a pinch. It’s not quite the same, because our tomato sauce is cooked, but the final sauce will still be delicious.

Don’t worry about chopping the vegetables super fine; we will puree the sauce at the end after everything has cooked down.

As is, the ingredient list above will make a fabulous vegetarian spaghetti sauce. If you want to add meat, you will need 1 pound of ground beef, ground pork, or ground Italian sausage.

Tip!

If you happen to have a parmesan rind, you can toss that into the sauce while it cooks instead of using the parmesan cheese. Parmesan rinds have a LOT of flavor left in them, so they’re always worth holding onto for the next time you make pasta sauce!

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Making this sauce

I like to make this sauce in my 3-quart slow cooker, but you can use a 6-quart if that’s all you have.

Spaghetti sauce ingredients in a slow cooker, ready to be cooked.

Add the whole tomatoes, the passata, tomato paste, garlic, onion, carrots, parmesan, basil, and oregano to the crock of your slow cooker. Stir to combine everything.

Cover and cook the sauce on low for 6-8 hours.

After cooking, use an immersion blender to blend the sauce to your liking. Give it a taste, then season with salt and pepper as needed.

If you want to add ground beef, pork, or Italian sausage, cook the meat in a skillet over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through.

Drain the meat and add it to the pureed sauce. Let the sauce cook for another 30 minutes or so before serving.

Make it a full meal

Of course you’ll need to cook up some pasta to go with your crockpot spaghetti sauce, but what else can you add to make it a full meal?

If your family prefers meatballs to ground meat in your pasta sauce, you can add some homemade meatballs or air fryer meatballs

If you have some extra time on your hands, try making a batch of the best garlic knots or extra garlicky and cheesy bread

And don’t forget about a salad! Chopped kale caesar salad, strawberry spinach salad, or a simple green salad with homemade ranch dressing would all be delicious.

Wooden spoon holding a spoonful of spaghetti sauce over a crockpot filled with the sauce.

Recipe FAQs

What’s so special about San Marzano tomatoes?

San Marzano tomatoes are a type of plum tomato grown in the Agro Sarnese-Nocerino region in Italy. Sometimes you’ll see tomatoes labeled as “San Marzano style” – this means they are the same variety of tomato but grown outside of the specific region in Italy.

(Similar to how champagne can only be called that if it is produced in the Champagne region of France!)

San Marzano (and San Marzano-style) tomatoes are perfect for using in spaghetti sauce because they are meaty and don’t have a lot of seeds, so they don’t add a lot of excess water content to the sauce. 

I can’t find passata! What can I use instead?

I can’t find passata! What can I use instead?
Passata is a type of tomato puree usually found in jars with the other canned and jarred tomato products. Make sure to also check the international section of your store.
If you still can’t find it, you can use canned tomato sauce instead. They aren’t exactly the same thing, but they are close enough that the final spaghetti sauce will still taste delicious.

Can I make this crockpot spaghetti sauce vegan?

Absolutely! Just leave out the parmesan cheese and, of course, do not add the meat at the end. 

Can I freeze this spaghetti sauce?

Yes. Store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or put it in airtight containers or zip-top freezer bags and freeze it for up to 3 months.

I don’t have an immersion blender. Can I use a regular blender to puree this spaghetti sauce?

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can add the cooked spaghetti sauce to a regular blender or food processor to blend it. But be careful!

The sauce will be hot, and hot food can explode in a regular blender. The safest thing is to let the sauce cool before adding it to a blender or food processor, but if you don’t have time for that, make sure you only blend a small amount at a time and vent the top so steam can escape.

Two white bowls filled with spaghetti topped with sauce.

More easy pasta recipes

If your family loves pasta night and this crockpot spaghetti sauce, I’ve got some more easy pasta recipes they might enjoy!

For another easy take on spaghetti, try my one-pot spaghetti. And if you really love one-pot pastas, you can’t skip one-pot mac and cheese or taco pasta.

Looking for something a bit fancier but still easy? Easy fettuccine alfredo and creamy pesto pasta with shrimp are both big hits at our house! 

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Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

By: Jamie
4.12 from 9 ratings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Cooked low and slow for a rich flavor, this crockpot spaghetti sauce is deceptively easy to make. Your family will never guess that you only spent a few minutes of hands-on time making this sauce!

Ingredients

  • 1 can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes 28 ounces
  • 1 jar tomato puree (passata) 24.5 ounces
  • 1 can tomato paste 6 ounces
  • 4-5 garlic cloves peeled and cut in half
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 large carrot diced
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ½ ounce fresh basil leaves roughly torn
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound ground beef ground pork, or ground Italian sausage (optional)

Instructions 

  • In a 3-quart slow cooker, add the whole tomatoes, tomato puree, tomato paste, garlic, onion, carrots, parmesan cheese, basil, and oregano. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Using an immersion blender, puree the sauce to your desired consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • If adding meat, cook the ground meat in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned and fully cooked. Drain and add to the pureed sauce; allow to cook on low for about another 30 minutes before serving.

Video

Notes

If you have a parmesan rind on hand, feel free to toss that into the sauce while it cooks in place of the shredded parmesan. Remove the rind and discard before pureeing the sauce.
Store leftover spaghetti sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 237kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 42mg, Sodium: 429mg, Potassium: 1011mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 2295IU, Vitamin C: 26mg, Calcium: 123mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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