Savory slow cooker spaghetti sauce with beef is a foundation of Italian cooking that stands the test of time and for good reason!
Hours in the Crock Pot renders the meat velvety soft while deepening the flavors of herbs, tomatoes, and aromatic vegetables.
This is a thick, rich sauce that can be served over spaghetti or used in any Italian dish that calls for tomato sauce.
Savory Spaghetti Sauce
- Quick and easy to prep, spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker is a convenient dish that you can set and forget for hours until you’re ready for it.
- Homemade spaghetti sauce is preservative-free and so much tastier, healthier, and more economical than anything you can find in a jar from the store.
- This sauce is a keeper! It will retain its quality for months in the freezer. Portion it into separate zip bags and freeze it for quick reheating for future meals.
- This versatile sauce isn’t limited to spaghetti only. Make it for use in any of your favorite Italian dishes. Try it with Instant Pot lasagna, baked chicken parmesan meatballs, spaghetti and meatballs, or Instant Pot goulash.
Ingredients and Variations
Tomatoes – Use canned whole tomatoes for the best results. Tomato puree or crushed can be substituted in a pinch. Go ahead and toss in any fresh tomatoes you need to use up. Cherry or grape tomatoes will lend sweetness to the dish.
Meat – Ground chuck that is 80 percent lean or better is optimal for spaghetti sauce. Or, try stew beef or pork if that’s what you have on hand. Hot or sweet Italian pork sausage will provide a delicious, though very different, flavor! Beef still frozen? Cook from frozen with this easy guide!
Vegetables – Look for zucchini and bell peppers that are firm and free of blemishes. Either white button or cremini mushrooms will work equally well. Use either white or yellow cooking onions for the best flavor, and feel free to substitute green bell pepper for the red, although it will be a little less sweet. Add in some crushed garlic cloves if desired.
Herbs & Seasonings – No spaghetti sauce is complete without Italian herbs that include a mix of basil, oregano, and parsley. Other optional herbs that combine well with tomato sauce include fennel seed, bay leaves, rosemary, and red chili flakes. Or, try a DIY Italian blend that has everything needed for perfectly seasoned tomato sauce.
How to Make Slow-Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
Prepping this recipe is a breeze. The slow cooker does the rest!
- In a food processor, chop mushrooms, red bell pepper, and zucchini finely.
- Brown the meat with onions, drain excess fat, and transfer to the slow cooker.
- Transfer meat and vegetable into the slow cooker with the other ingredients.
- Cover, and cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8.
- Serve over pasta, or use in other Italian dishes.
Storing Spaghetti Sauce
Spaghetti sauce with ground beef will keep up to 4 days in the refrigerator, or up to 3 months in the freezer. Store in freezer containers or zip bags. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Or it can go straight from the freezer to the stovetop in a covered pan set on low heat, or to a covered dish in the microwave.
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
- 2 ribs celery
- 4 ounces mushrooms
- 1 small zucchini
- ½ red pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small onion diced
- 28 ounces can whole tomatoes
- 6 ounces can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- In a food processor, blend the mushrooms, celery, red pepper, and zucchini until finely chopped.
- Cook the ground beef and onion over medium heat until the beef has no pink remaining. Drain any excess fat from the pan.
- Add the beef to a 6-quart crock pot. Stir in the chopped vegetables, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and seasonings.
- Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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