Make Ahead/Pasta/Sauce/Slow Cooker

Crock Pot Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

While I rather enjoy a pot of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove all day long, I don’t enjoy the way it heats up the kitchen slash living area of our house in the summer, or cleaning up the splattered sauce on the stove. This crock pot spaghetti sauce is the perfect fix.

The house smells like you’ve been laboring over the stove all day, but you haven’t. Your five year old dumped a bunch of ingredients into the crock pot while you supervised, and then walked away for 10 hours.

A few weeks ago now our neighbor friend and her son were coming over for a dinner play date and I struggled to figure out what to make. Joey suggested spaghetti. She also then reminded me, as she does about everything now, that the basil plant was full and we should use that. She was right, as she normally is, and it did work out perfectly.

Speaking of the basil plant. That is the only plant from this years garden that is actually growing and growing well. The others have been drown either by the torrential rain storms or by eager pool-water-using plant helpers.

The spaghetti sauce is very basic, mild, and kid friendly.

The kids don’t like meat in their sauce and so there is no meat. You could add meat. You could add meatballs.

Personally I like the lack of meat. I feel like it makes a lighter meal which is more fitting for summer. In the winter I want a heavy meat sauce. In summer, I almost don’t want a sauce, but if I need a sauce, then I want this crock pot spaghetti sauce.

The kids don’t like chunky tomatoes in their sauce. If you prefer a chunkier sauce, feel free to substitute all or some of the crushed tomatoes for diced tomatoes.

I also add a little crushed red pepper to my bowl. But not the kids’.

Serve with your favorite pasta. I’ve seen folks add the noodles directly to the crockpot, but I haven’t the guts to try it. I think it would work better with a rigatoni or a penne noodle. The kids love angel hair and are known to at time refuse to eat pasta in other shapes except box macaroni and cheese.

Because we are not adding meat and because the kids aren’t always big meat eaters, I choose to use Barilla’s Protein Plus noodles.

You could make this ahead of time on Sunday and then its ready waiting in the refrigerator whichever day you want to warm it up.

Crock Pot Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce

  • Yield: 10-12 servings of sauce
  • Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 hours


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic (I teaspoon minced/chopped)
  • 1 large tablepoon chopped basil, plus more basil if you have it
  • 2 large cans crushed tomatoes (28 ounces each)
  • 1 large can tomato sauce (29 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • optional: crushed red pepper


  1. Dice onion. Optional: Heat skillet on medium-medium high. Saute onion, garlic, and basil in olive oil until soft. Transfer to crock pot. This step adds flavor. If you were to add ground meat, I would omit the olive oil and brown the meat with the onion before adding to the crock pot.

  2. Add tomatoes, sauce, oregano, bay leaves, and salt to crock pot. Gently stir to mix. Cook in crock pot on low for 10 hours. Remove bay leaves before serving.


Serve with your choice of pasta (follow directions on packaging for cooking instructions)! I love adding crushed red pepper and extra fresh basil. The kids add parmesean cheese.


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