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With just a few pantry ingredients, you can have a large batch of marinara sauce cooking in your slow cooker in no time. You can also use this homemade marinara recipe to stock your freezer. Instant Pot and freezing instructions included, as well!
Making marinara sauce in the crock pot is incredibly easy. It’s very similar to the one in our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, but this batch is doubled so you can make lots (14 cups!) to stock the freezer!
What ingredients do I need to make marinara sauce in the slow cooker?
With a few simple pantry ingredients, you can have your home smelling delicious as marinara cooks in the slow cooker. Here is what you’ll need:
- Olive oil
- 2 onions
- Crushed tomatoes
- Tomato paste
- Fresh or dried basil
- Fresh or dried parsley
- Red pepper flakes
How long do I cook marinara sauce in the slow cooker?
Homemade marinara is one of those recipes in which the longer your cook it, the better it is.
You’ll cook this marinara recipe in the slow cooker on low for 9-11 hours or on high for 5-7 hours.
Can I make marinara sauce in the Instant Pot?
You bet! Here is how to make homemade marinara in the Instant Pot.
Depending on the size of your Instant Pot, you’ll likely need to cut this recipe in half. (An 8 quart Instant Pot might work for this amount of sauce, but since we haven’t test it, we can’t say for sure.) Bottom line: You always need to leave the top 1/3 of the Instant Pot empty to create room for pressure to build.
Set the Instant Pot to “Saute.” Pour the oil into the pot and heat until shimmery. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 to 60 seconds more, until fragrant.
Press “Cancel.” Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes, then quick release the pressure. Taste and season with salt and black pepper.
How do I freeze homemade marinara sauce?
Since this recipe makes a large batch, you’ll want to save it for future recipes. Here is how you freeze homemade marinara sauce:
- Let the cooked sauce cool completely.
- Place the sauce in BPA-free freezer bags, freezer containers, or wide mouth mason jars, being sure to leave at least 1 inch of headspace.
- Seal and freeze for up to 6 months.
- To prepare, just thaw using one of our safe thawing methods.
Recipes that use slow cooker marinara sauce
Here are some recipe ideas that you can use your homemade marinara sauce for:
- Baked Beef Ravioli
- Baked Italian Meatballs
- Chicken Parmesan Sliders
- Hearty Baked Penne Pasta
- Instant Pot Whole Wheat Spaghetti
We’ve rounded up 15+ amazing dump and go slow cooker recipes. Bonus: You can make them ahead and freeze these meals for later, too. Freezing instructions included!
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 large onions, diced
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 4 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil or 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
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Make It Now:
- In large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic for about 30-60 seconds, until fragrant.
- Add the onion/garlic mixture and the rest of the ingredients into a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on LOW for 9-11 hours (or on HIGH for 5-7 hours).
- Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.
Freeze For Later: Cook the sauce and let it cool completely. Portion into to freezer bags, freezer containers, or mason jars, being careful to leave at least 1 inch of head room at the top for expansion.
Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the sauce using one of these safe thawing methods. Warm over medium-low to low heat on the stove, or use the microwave.
- Cut this recipe in half for 3 quart slow cookers and for 6 quart Instant Pots (because you need head room at the top to build pressure).