Ok, time for some real talk. If I’m making spaghetti, 90% of the time I open a jar of pasta sauce, heat it, and stir in some browned ground beef. It’s easy, convenient, and there are some seriously delicious jarred sauces out there.
But sometimes I want a little more – something a little different. Something with super bold, robust flavor that’s thick, rich, and filled with tons of meat. And that, my friends, is what this Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce is.
And the reality is that all it really takes to make this is time. There’s no special skill required. You don’t need your Sicilian great-grandmother’s secret recipe – I’m looking at you, Sophia Petrillo. And there’s no carefully watching over a pot of sauce for 14 hours.
If you can open some cans and brown some ground beef, you’ve got this recipe whipped. The slow cooker makes this process so. dang. easy.
And the result is a super thick, rich, flavorful meat sauce that’s great for spaghetti, baked ziti, lasagna, you name it! You can even just eat it with a spoon.
And this recipe makes a ton. You can seriously feed 8 to 10 people. And while most of us aren’t feeding that many folks for supper every night, I haven’t scaled this recipe down for a few reasons.
To start, it freezes and reheats beautifully. Store any leftovers in an airtight freezer container or bag and you’ve got sauce done for another busy weeknight.
It’s also great for sharing with friends. This sauce is so decadent and delicious, you’ll want to show off your cooking prowess by packaging it up and sharing with family and friends. And you can even tell them it’s a secret recipe to make it sound super special. I won’t tell the truth.
This recipe works great in perfect round numbers. You don’t have any half cans of ingredients or random onion pieces leftover in the fridge. I love recipes like that and scaling this one down would mean you’d have some extra stuff hanging around that you’d need to finding something to do with.
The other thing is this sauce is super versatile, like I said before. It’s spaghetti sauce one night and then makes a delicious lasagna or baked ziti later in the week.
Regardless of how you use it, I hope you’ll try this stuff. It’s seriously amazing. Even my wife, who’s not a huge spaghetti fan, loves this sauce. And I bet you’ll love it, too!
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
- 2 pounds ground chuck
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (18-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- Brown the ground beef over medium high heat in a large skillet. Drain the grease away. Set aside.
- Lightly spray the crock of a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Add the onion, garlic, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Mix well. Add the sugar, dried basil, dried Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix well. Add the ground beef and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours. Stir well and serve over cooked pasta.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.
Can I add green peppers and mushrooms?? Thank you!!
This was absolutely wonderful! I was tempted to omit the Worcestershire Sauce (never heard of it in spaghetti sauce) but took a leap of faith and added it and so glad I did. Thank you for sharing your recipe.
Wonderful! So glad to hear you enjoyed it!
What size slow cooker do I need? Mine is 6-quarts.
That will work perfectly!
This is a GREAT recipe. I have made meat sauce for years, but always missed the mark on the seasoning. After looking at the recipe I realized I used almost the same exact ingredients but in different amounts and minus the Worcestershire sauce. I was brave and so confident in Stacey that I used my instapot and doubled the recipe. The only change I made was to add 2 cups of water to thin it out a bit. So happy I doubled it. Now I have a freezer full of wonderful meat sauce for all types of Italian meals. Thanks once again Stacey for providing a tried and true recipe!
You are so welcome, Ranita! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it!
Delicious! Thinking of starting a family tradition of Spaghetti Sundays and your recipe is a keeper! Thank you!
Thank you so much! Spaghetti Sunday is an amazing idea!
Just got this going in the crock pot. It looks to be very thick. Can I add a can of water?
Sure, that shouldn’t be a problem.
I don’t understand how I asked a question within an old thread. Like now, I went to “the comment box” at the bottom . Oops. Will the diced onion be tender by the time the sauce is ready?
It certainly should. You could always dice it finer if you have concerns.
I am wondering if this sauce can be frozen?
Absolutely! I do it quite often. Normally, I just put it in a freezer ziptop bag and squeeze all the air out.
Looking for recipe called Ziti with honey Mustard Salmon….got it on this web site but have questions. Can you help me? Made it once fabulous! Making it a second time and have a question.
Hi Carole! I can’t say I’m familiar with that one. It’s not my recipe, but could have been one of the Meal Plan Monday Recipes. What about this one: https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/ziti-with-honey-mustard-salmon
Awful recipe honestly. I ended up having to add a bunch of water and other seasonings to it in order to balance the flavor. I’m waiting until tomorrow to try it, but if i end up having to throw away this whole thing of sauce ima be pissed
I’m so sorry to hear it didn’t turn out as you expected. This one has always gotten great reviews.
Don’t have a slow cooker
The best spaghetti sauce that I have made in a long long time . Not sure but I think it is the Worcestershire that made the difference . That’s a new addition for me. I didn’t make in the crock pot because I wanted to get it made and be done with it . Thanks for the recipe and look forward to enjoying many more . I remember Christy Jordon’s stories of your friendship. Enjoyed you on the Dads Kitchen podcast . Thanks for sharing your recipes.
Thank you so much, JH! I’m so very fortunate to call Christy a friend!
I have canned tomatoes from my garden (quart jars). Do you think it will be ok to use those in place of the crushed tomatoes?
I think so. I might just break them up with my hands as I put them in there.
Do you just hate it when someone tweaks your recipe? 🙂 Well I did a little bit. Since we like sausage or hamburger in our spaghetti sauce, I compromised and put 1 lb. of each in it, doubled the amount of garlic and added 1/2 tsp. of red pepper flakes. After cooking it for six hours, I used the sauce to make lasagna. My husband said this was the best homemade lasagna he’s ever had. We all know that the sauce is what makes the lasagna and I would have to agree it was the best sauce ever. I’m so excited to have found one that is so flavorful and we really loved.
No, I actually love to hear about folks taking my recipes and making them their own. I rarely make a dish exactly as the recipe states! So glad to hear y’all enjoyed it so much!!
Like this recipe..
How do I convert the recipe for use in my instant pot pressure cooker? That is to cook the spaghetti sauce in pressure cooker mode?
I’ve not done it that way, so I can’t say for sure. This makes a lot so you’ll have to have a pretty large pressure cooker.
Thanks for sharing this recipe, my grandson love spaghetti but hate diced tomatoes in it, so this solves the problem.
I was just like him when I was little! Hope he likes this version!
Added some rind of parmesan. This is a good recipe!
Sounds like a great addition! Glad to hear you enjoyed it!
I made this a couple of weeks ago and we loved it! For us, it was a little thick, so I added a can of diced tomatoes and it worked out fine! Didn’t use a slow cooker, just put it on top of the stove on low heat all day.
Sounds perfect! Glad to hear you enjoyed it!!
The only change I made was 1/2 Cup red wine (Merlot). It was FAB! Thanx!
So glad you enjoyed it!!
I thought this had a acid tomatoey taste. I will not make again.
I’ve found that some canned tomato products do have an acidy taste. The solution is super simple. A pinch of baking soda – just a pinch – stirred in will eliminate nearly all of the acid flavor.
Rose E Dickerson
Adding a little sugar…about a teaspoon…wwill take that acidy taste away…just keep adding until you are satisfied. This is a great recipe…my family LOVEDit…it’s a keeper.
Awesome! Glad it turned out great for you!
Well the onion become tender enough without pre-ooking?
I read about baking soda to cut the acidy taste years ago…but Stacey is right, only a pinch!
Stacy Just made your spaghetti sauce but I added too much baking soda (to cut the acidity) It bubbled up and taste weird. So then I added more sugar and a little water. Taste better, but still not sure about it. Is there anything else I could do to cut the baking soda? P.S. This is My fault for adding too much baking soda. I should have been more careful when measuring.
You can actually add a little acid back in the form of a few teaspoons of vinegar and that will help.
I’ve never seen a can of tomato paste that big. Are you sure that’s the right size? It sounds amazing
Yep! It’s correct. I usually buy it at Walmart. If you can’t find it, 3 of the little 6-ounce cans will work. Hope you’ll enjoy it!!
A pat or so of butter will help that taste. I read this years ago and now I just add it. It’s butter, after all!
My Mother put a pat of butter in everything she cooked. Alabama southern cooking. Can’t wait to try recipe!!
It certainly wouldn’t hurt here, either!