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a hand with a fork twirling a bite of spaghetti on a plate

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

With a few simple ingredients, this hearty Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce couldn’t be easier or tastier! Serve over pasta, zoodles, or spaghetti squash for a delicious and healthy dinner. Double and freeze a batch for later using our freezing instructions.

Yield: 6 servings of sauce 1x
Prep: 20 minutesCook: 8 hoursTotal: 8 hours 20 minutes


  • 1 to 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef (sub: ground turkey)
  • 1/2 pound mild or hot ground Italian pork sausage (sub: Italian turkey sausage)
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 (approx. 24-ounce) jars marinara sauce (or 6 cups of Homemade Marinara Sauce)
  • Optional, for serving: whole-grain pasta, zoodles, spaghetti squash, or quinoa, and Parmesan cheese

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Make It Now:

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until shimmery. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes, stirring in the garlic the last 30 to 60 seconds of cooking. Add the ground beef and sausage and cook, breaking up the meat as it cooks, until browned, 5 to 7 minutes, seasoning lightly with salt, pepper, and the red pepper flakes while it cooks. Drain the grease from the pan.

2. Transfer the meat mixture to the slow cooker and stir in the marinara sauce. Cover and cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours. If the edges start to burn a little, just give it a stir.

3. Serve the sauce over whole-grain pasta, zoodles, spaghetti squash, or quinoa, topped with Parmesan, if desired.

How to Freeze For Later:

Option 1 (Uncooked): Follow Step 1. Let the meat mixture completely cool, then transfer it to a gallon-size freezer bag and pour in the marinara sauce. Seal, gently toss to combine, and freeze.

Option 2 (Fully Cooked): Follow Steps 1 and 2. Let the sauce fully cool. Then, freeze in a gallon-size freezer bag or container.

How to Prepare From Frozen:

Thaw using one of our safe methods. (Never place frozen food in the slow cooker! It’s unsafe according to the USDA.)

Option 1 (Uncooked): Transfer the sauce to the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours.

Option 2 (Fully Cooked): Warm on the stovetop, in the crockpot, or in the microwave untiled warmed through, stirring occasionally.


  • Dairy-Free Version: The sauce is dairy-free, but leave off the Parmesan cheese when serving.
  • Gluten-Free Version: The sauce is gluten-free, but serve over GF pasta, zoodles, spaghetti squash (my favorite!), or quinoa.
  • Tip for Buying Marinara Sauce: We recommend buying an organic or all-natural brand of marinara sauce to avoid additives and preservatives. My favorites are Newman’s Own Marinara Sauce or Rao’s brand. Alternatively, you can make your own delicious sauce using this recipe.
  • Sometimes when I make this, I toss in about 1 teaspoon of crushed oregano or Italian seasoning when cooking the meat to add extra flavor.
  • Toss in some chopped spinach, too, and no one even knows.
© Author: Rachel Tiemeyer
Cuisine: Italian Method: Slow Cooker