Easy dinner recipes are my specialty, and this hearty and flavor-filled crock pot spaghetti sauce with ground beef, diced onions, and two types of canned tomatoes is a keeper! The slow-cooked meat sauce is rich in flavor and perfectly seasoned. It’s also great to make in large batches and perfect for freezing. 

close up of a pasta with red tomato sauce on top on a white plate

About this Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce

Rich, meaty and oh-so satisfying, this easy and delicious crock pot spaghetti sauce is about to become your new go-to sauce recipe!

And because it simmers low and slow all day, the ground beef becomes ultra tender, rendering it just as tasty as any restaurant sauce you’ve trying.

So, if you’re looking for slow cooker recipe suggestions, this one is for you!

I love making this easy crockpot spaghetti sauce with ground beef or ground turkey for busy weeknights, as well as for weekends at home, as it’s the essential Sunday sauce to serve over spaghetti.

What’s more, since it has just a few ingredients including ground beef (similar to this slow cooker hamburger soup), it’s a tasty and economical way to feed a crowd.

Now, like you, I’m always looking for a shortcut easy ideas for quick dinners, and so tested this recipe without browning the meat first.

Without browning, the sauce still tastes very good, but I personally do not enjoy the texture. 

However, if you don’t mind a softer texture, feel free to skip the browning step for even easier prep!

Table of Contents

Click on each category below to go straight to that section:

How to Make Meatless Spaghetti Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce with Sausage

Make it With Meatballs

How to Add Red Wine to Your Sauce

Ways to Use Spaghetti Sauce

Adding Uncooked Noodles

black slow cooker filled with tomato sauce and spices and ground beef

Process, Tips & Variations

If you’re wondering how to make spaghetti sauce in the crock pot, I’ve provided everything you need to know in the recipe card, below, as well as these simple and tasty recipe variations,

Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce with No Meat

It’s easy to make this crockpot spaghetti sauce meatless! 

Simply substitute 2 pounds of chopped cremini mushrooms for the ground beef.

Saute the mushrooms, just like you would the beef, prior to adding to the slow cooker.

Tip: If you’re looking for meatless sauce options, you’ll also love this creamy tomato pasta sauce recipe and this pesto rosso recipe.

Spaghetti Sauce with Sausage

You can also make this spaghetti sauce with sausage in place of the ground beef.

Simply swap ½ pound bulk Italian sausage for ½ pound ground beef.

Spaghetti Sauce with Prepared Fresh or Frozen Meatballs

To make crockpot spaghetti sauce with meatballs, substitute 1 pound prepared fresh or frozen meatballs for the ground beef and onion mixture. 

Then add the meatballs to the slow cooker with the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and spices, and cook according to recipe directions.

How to Add Red Wine

If you’d like to add red wine to this spaghetti sauce, add ¼ cup to the pan after the ground beef has browned.

Allow the wine to reduce slightly.

Then add the mixture to the slow cooker and proceed with the recipe as written.

Adding Uncooked Noodles

I don’t recommend adding uncooked noodles to the slow cooker in this recipe, as they will likely come out gummy and unevenly cooked.

black slow cooker pot filled with tomato sauce with a wooden spoon

Ingredients & Substitutions

Ground beef: The type of ground beef is up to you, either a 95% lean ground beef or traditional 80% lean ground beef will work. The extra fat from an 80% lean ground beef will lend extra flavor, but if you prefer leaner the long, slow cook time will still yield a delicious, tender result.

Substitute ground turkey: Ground turkey can also be used in place of the beef in this recipe, and I recommend using 93% lean for the best flavor.

Substitute Italian sausage: Ground sweet or hot Italian sausage can also be used either in place of the ground beef, or use 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound Italian sausage.

Onion: The onion adds so much flavor to homemade tomato sauce. But if you don’t like or can’t eat onions, feel free to skip them in this recipe.

Tomato paste: Don’t skip the tomato paste, as it’s what allows the sauce to thicken in the slow cooker.

Olive oil: I like the flavor of olive oil best in this recipe. But any neutral oil will work in this soup, such as avocado oil, vegetable oil or canola.

Kosher salt: Look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store (it has a subtler flavor). Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.

Honey: The natural sweetness of the honey can balance out the acidity of the tomatoes for an extra delicious sauce. You can skip it if you want to keep this recipe vegan and whole30 friendly.

Tip: If you prefer the convenience of using a jar of spaghetti sauce in this recipe, you can use 1 (24-oz) jar of marinara sauce in place of the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, herbs and spices.

spoonful of crockpot spaghetti sauce with beef in a black slow cooker pot

How to Use Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

This crockpot meat sauce makes sauce for 1 pound of dry pasta, cooked, so serve it over cooked spaghetti or any other shape of pasta you like.

This rich meat sauce is also great served over low carb pasta substitutes, such as zoodles or cooked spaghetti squash.

You can also use any extra sauce to make an easy lasagna or stuffed shells!

How to Store & Freeze Leftovers

Homemade spaghetti sauce keeps well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container.

This sauce also freezes beautifully, either in a gallon ziplock bag, or individually in mason jars.

You can store it in a sealed freezer friendly container for up to 2-3 months.

close up of crockpot spaghetti sauce on top of pasta and a white plate

This Recipe Is…

spoonful of crockpot spaghetti sauce with beef in a black slow cooker pot
5 stars (3 ratings)

Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce

Easy dinner recipes are my specialty, and this hearty and flavor-filled crock pot spaghetti sauce with ground beef, diced onions, and two types of canned tomatoes is a keeper! The slow-cooked meat sauce is rich in flavor and perfectly seasoned. It’s also great to make in large batches and perfect for freezing. 

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon no-salt added Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

To Add at The End

  • 1 tablespoon honey , optional

Instructions 

Slow Cooker Instructions

  • To a large pan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 3-4 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the beef, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, and stir to break the meat apart. Cook until the meat is no longer pink. Optional: Drain off excess fat and discard.
  • Add the cooked meat and onion mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring to combine.
  • Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. Do not remove the lid during the cooking process.
  • Uncover and add the honey if using. Stir and taste, adding additional salt if desired.
  • Serve over 1 pound cooked spaghetti or noodles of choice.

Stovetop Instructions

  • To a large pan or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 3-4 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the beef, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt, and stir to break the meat apart. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and 1 teaspoon salt, stirring to combine.
  • Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook on low for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Uncover and add the honey if using. Stir and taste, adding additional salt if desired.
  • Serve over pasta of choice.

Notes

For more tips, ingredients & substitutions, see blog post above.

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 (of 6), Calories: 230kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 635mg, Potassium: 232mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 9IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 22mg, Iron: 2mg
Nutrition disclaimer
Did you make this recipe?If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

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