Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce - A rich and meaty spaghetti sauce easily made in the crockpot with just 10 min prep!

A rich and meaty spaghetti sauce easily made in the crockpot – it makes enough to feed an army and you can freeze the leftovers!

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce - A rich and meaty spaghetti sauce easily made in the crockpot with just 10 min prep!

Spaghetti sauce always came in a jar for us. The homemade version never existed. My mom was a home cook but only when it came to Korean food, although she did make a mean baked ziti. It involved store-bought spaghetti sauce of course.

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce - A rich and meaty spaghetti sauce easily made in the crockpot with just 10 min prep!

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce - A rich and meaty spaghetti sauce easily made in the crockpot with just 10 min prep!

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce - A rich and meaty spaghetti sauce easily made in the crockpot with just 10 min prep!

But once I started cooking, my eyes were open to the wonders of homemade spaghetti sauce. I’ve made several variations throughout the years but my new favorite spaghetti sauce has to be this crockpot version. Loaded with crumbled ground beef and spicy Italian sausage, this gets cooked in a stew of amazing flavors for 8Ā hours. Yes, 8 hours!

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce - A rich and meaty spaghetti sauce easily made in the crockpot with just 10 min prep!

Simply crumble up your beef, throw it in your slow cooker, and come back from work to the most comforting smell of all with a giant pot of spaghetti goodness. Best of all, it makes enough to feed an army so you can either take the leftovers to work the next day or throw it in the freezer!

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 8 hours, 5 minutes

Total Time 8 hours, 15 minutes

Yield 6 servings

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

A rich and meaty spaghetti sauce easily made in the crockpot - it makes enough to feed an army and you can freeze the leftovers!


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef, sausage, onion and garlic. Cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes, making sure to crumble the beef and sausage as it cooks; drain excess fat.
  • Place ground beef mixture into a slow cooker. Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, oregano, basil, salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
  • Stir well and serve immediately.



    • Helen says

      I am a Senior and I use the Slow Cooker all the time,( I don’t have to look after it/nor worry about forgetting what I’m cooking) I have never made Pasta Sauce because I don’t use the stove. Guess what will be on my next menu. I can almost taste it now. M mmmmmmm

  1. says

    My family is Italian so you know I’ve always had homemade spaghetti sauce – but never made in the slow cooker!! It’s time for me to try, I’ve been using my crock pot a ton lately! This looks delicious :)

  2. says

    I am a huge fan of crock pot dinners and I love the addition of Italian sausage to your sauce. And cooking 10 hours, the flavour has to be terrific! Great photo. Makes me want to dig right in right now (even though it’s 8am :)

  3. says

    I made bolognese sauce for my lasagna this very same way! Slow cookers are lifesavers indeed. We totally used leftover sauce for pasta. Yay for this amazing kitchen appliance!

  4. Ava Martin says

    I decided to make this the minute I saw it on Pinterest. It was super easy and the outcome was fantastic. It was even delicious just dipping some slices of french baguette in and I was able to freeze the leftovers for next time.

  5. Maryanne Martines says

    Delicious! I would add 1 pound more ground beef and deduct one can tomatoes next time. Cant wait to make this again…

  6. says

    This looks amazing! I love the idea of cooking up a huge batch for the freezer. Do you think a double batch of this recipe would fit/cook fine in a 6 1/2 quart slow cooker?

  7. christina Dahl says

    Absolutely delicious! ! Only thing I was wondering is how to thinking the Sauce up a little.. ours was a little thin.. is that normal?

    • Chung-Ah says

      My sauce was a bit on the thinner side too. My only recommendation here is to make sure the cans of diced tomatoes are drained before adding to the slow cooker. Hope that helps!

  8. Amanda says

    Hi! This looks really good! I’m trying to figure out what it’s worth budget-wise…how much sauce would you say this makes? Definitely more than what is in a regular jar of spaghetti sauce (say, Prego or Ragu) but how much more?

    • Hannah says

      I spent 2$ on two cans of tomatos, 10$ on ground beef, and I think like 3? On a thing of tomato sauce (equivalent to two cans)
      so in all about 15$, but without the ground beef like 5$

      • pam says

        $10.00 for Ground beef, I buy Bison for $7.99 a pound and 97% ground beef for $6.99. I buy steak for less than that. You must live where these products are hard to get.

  9. Chris Childs says

    Left out 1-lb. of ground and subbed 1-lb. sliced baby Bella’s. Also added 1/4 cup chianti and 1tsp. Red pepper flakes. Grated one carrot added to counter balance the acid in tomato. Yummy!

  10. Chelle says

    For those that thought this was thinner then they would like try swapping out 8oz of tomato sauce for 6oz tomato paste. So instead of 2 15oz can tomato sauce use 1 15oz can tomato sauce (I opted for Contadina tomato sauce with Italian herbs), 1 8oz can tomato sauce (plain), and 1 6oz can tomato paste. I actually ended up with a very thick sauce and opted to add some more tomato sauce later in cooking. This was my first attempt at homemade sauce and my family raved so I’ll definitely be making it again! Thanks for really great recipies Chung-Ah!!

  11. Erin says

    I would like to make this tonight but am getting a late start for 10 hours in the crock pot. It’ll be in 6 hours most likely. Should I set it to high, or leave it on low since we are really just letting flavors develop?

    • Chung-Ah says

      Joel, as indicated in the recipe, yes, the meat needs to be cooked before placing in the slow cooker. The 10 hours in the slow cooker will provide an amazing blend of flavors for a rich spaghetti sauce.

      • Joel Shanight says

        thanks a ton, I use the croc pot weekly here in Helena, Montana to get through the winter, great website, thanks!

  12. Eric says

    I have been using the crock-pot for my spaghetti sauce for a long time. I normally cook enough to feed about 20 ppl…even though its just me :). I just freeze most of it, and leave a container out for my lunches or dinners.

    • Chung-Ah says

      Nicole, this recipe is catered using the slow cooker method. For a stovetop recipe, I recommend trying a different spaghetti sauce recipe.

  13. Bonnie says

    I love this recipe!! I have made several times and my family loves it as well. And everyone is right it smells great when it’s cooking.

  14. Ella says

    Made this Saturday for Sunday dinner but, of course, had to taste test it once it finished. Excellent! I adjusted the seasoning, added more garlic, mushrooms and a bit of brown sugar to balance the acid from the tomatoes. I think this is my new way of making sauce because I’ll have to do it less frequently since I’ll have a mess of it in the freezer. Yay!

  15. SummerSandals says

    I made this tonight with very few changes and it was delicious. I am sure it is perfect as written, I just happen to read the comments and followed some of them. I used mild chicken Italian sausage to cut down on the fat and calories. and added 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Next time I will add more heat. I added 22 ounces of tomato sauce, 8 oz tomato paste, 2 drained diced tomato cans & 1 undrained. The consistency was perfect! Lastly I added 1 shredded carrot for sweetness, will add two next time. My husband couldn’t tell it was chicken sausage or that it had carrots. It’s a keeper. Thanks!

  16. Monique says

    I came across this and it looks amazing so I am going to try, but was wondering if anyone things this will work with Lasagna?

  17. Ariel Mcgee says

    I don’t like diced tomatoes, is there anything else I can use? Is it the extra liquid that’s needed? Will they cook down really small?

    • Chung-Ah says

      Yes, the extra liquid is crucial in this dish. You can always crush them a little bit more before adding to the slow cooker.

        • Chung-Ah says

          Ariel, you can crush them with a spoon or with a potato masher until the desired consistency is reached.

          • Ariel Mcgee says

            Thanks so much !! I made it last week and omitted the diced tomatoes it was still delicious but not enough liquid. So thanks once again

  18. Dawn says

    Just made this spaghetti sauce last week and my family absolutely loved it. Use to buy it in the jar and flavor it to our likings.. But now I’m going to make it this way everytime. Thanks!!

    • Chungah says

      You can certainly try substituting ground beef but without further recipe testing, I cannot speak for how much this will change the overall taste/texture of the dish. It is always best to use the ingredients listed in the recipe to obtain the best results possible.

  19. Caitlyn says

    This recipe was great, flavor was good but it was really runny and didn’t stick to my noodles. How do I thicken up?

  20. Tatiana says

    This meat sauce has changed my life. :) It was good the first day, but even more amazing the next. Thank you for the fabulous recipe! I love your blog and look forward to trying your other recipes.

  21. Janet cunnington says

    I’m trying this out right now. In addition to the onions, I added red and green peppers , and instead of sausage, I added two boneless pork chops. Can’t wait to see how it turns out!!!

    • Janet cunnington says

      Well I definately have to tweak this for next time. It came out extremely watery. It looks more like cacciatore and less of a sauce. Highly recommend using tomato paste for this recipe!

      • Chungah says

        Janet, I’m so glad you tried this recipe! As for the “watery” aspect, I know some prefer to have more runny or more thick sauces than others so please feel free to make the appropriate adjustments to fit your preferences.

  22. says

    This sauce is awesome!!!! Takes about 20 minutes to throw together. My family doesn’t care for chunks of tomatoes so I blend them down to smaller chunks. Cook it and save half for dinner, freeze the other for leftovers another night! I have a picky family but they really like the blend of ingredients in this receipe!

  23. Gloria Tabone says

    My family’s heritage is full Italian so I’ve made spaghetti sauce before. My question is, why brown the meat and cook the onions (I understand why you may have to pre-cook mushrooms) before adding them to the crock. Just throw them in the sauce raw. And while you’re at it, add some nice big stock bones with the marrow in them. Great flavor adder.

    • Chungah says

      Gloria, you don’t necessarily have to brown the meat prior to adding it to the slow cooker, but there are some advantages. If you crumble it first with a little bit of oil in a hot skillet, the meat develops more complex flavors. Also, by adding it raw to the slow cooker, the meat will clump together and add lots of grease to the finished dish.

      • Gloria Tabone says

        Yes, you are right about the grease. You have to skim it off the top. And I like the clumps. I just think it’s easier to throw it all in together and saves cleaning the frying pan.

  24. says

    I “cheated” and used premade uncooked storebought meatballs since I already had them on hand. I made the recipe for a party woth the option to make it into spaghetti or meatball subs. It was a hit! I will make some today, but am out of meatballs of sausage so I am hoping it still tastes good with plain old ground beef.

  25. Decker Dining says

    I tried this recipe for the first time tonight and followed the recipe exactly. Unfortunately it was really bland, but smelled incredible all day long. :-/ Any thoughts?

    • Chungah says

      Iā€™m sorry that this recipe did not turn out the way you had imagined. I only post recipes that have been successfully tested in my own kitchen, and as you can see from the comments here, many of these readers have had great outcomes in the final dish as well. That being said, did you season with salt and pepper, to taste? It’s amazing how a little bit of seasoning goes a long way. You can also add more herbs, to taste, to suit your preferences.

  26. Rick Sage says

    Looks great. QUESTION. …Do you stir everything together before you cook it and just pile it in as in the picture and stir at the end?

  27. Jennifer says

    Hi! I stumbled upon this recipe and it looks yummy! Just wanted to know if this could all be mixed together the night before and then crock pot turned on in the morning? Thanks :)

  28. Fran says

    I made this. I added a tablespoon Italian Seasoning and 1/4 cup brown sugar (to cut the acidity of the tomatoes). This was awesome!

  29. Sandra says

    This was the best sauce ever. I did add a couple tablespoons of brown sugar to cut down on the acidity of the tomatoes. I even caught my family eating it heated up in bowls without the spaghetti noodles, just enjoying with toast. They also thought I could add beans to it for chili. This one is a keeper. Thank you.

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