Thick and Rich Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce simmered low and slow for 8 hours! A quick and easy make ahead meal that makes tons of leftovers!
Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce
There’s nothing like slow cooked pasta sauce that’s been simmering all day. This homemade spaghetti sauce is loaded with spicy Italian sausage, fire roasted tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. The sauce is simmered low and slow for 8 hours! The sauce gets super thick, rich and loaded with flavor. Cooking the tomato sauce for a long period of time helps to bring out the sweetness in the tomatoes. This really is the best homemade tomato sauce!
This slow cooker tomato sauce is rich, hearty and comforting. The perfect meal for busy weeknights or Sunday dinner.
This recipe makes enough to serve 6-8 people and always leaves tons of leftovers.
This sauce is super easy to throw together and only takes 5 minutes of prep time. I like to brown my sausage in a skillet before adding it to the slow cooker for extra flavor. I know it’s an extra step but it is totally worth it! Throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning and come home to an awesome home cooked meal.
Serve this Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce over spaghetti or zucchini noodles (my favorite!)
- Italian Sausage: Hot Italian sausage gives the marinara some spice and a lot of flavor. Regular It
- Tomato Paste: Helps to thicken up the marinara sauce.
- Fire Roasted Tomatoes: I use both fire roasted tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. The fire roasted adds lots of flavor and chunks to the spaghetti sauce.
- Dried Herbs: Crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, salt, pepper, bay leaves and Italian seasoning.
How to make Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce
- Brown sausage: Add sausage to a medium skillet and cook until browned. (It does not need to be cooked through, just browned on the outside for extra flavor. You can skip this step if you do not have time.)
- Cook: Add browned sausage, along with the rest of the ingredients to a slow cooker. Cook sauce on low for 8 hours.
- Serve: Over pasta with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese for serving, if desired.
Can you freeze this sauce?
Yes! This crockpot tomato sauce freezes really well. Simply store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months!
Can I make this on the stove top?
If you are short on time you can make this sauce on the stove top in less than 30 minutes! Simply brown the sausage then add the tomatoes and spices and simmer for 15-20 minutes. When I am making spaghetti sauce on the stove top I like to add a bit of sugar to mimic the sweetness of cooking the tomatoes all day.
- Vegetarian: To make this dish vegetarian simply omit the meat!
- Add more veggies: To make this dish healthier try adding chopped carrots, celery, onion or fresh garlic!
- Different protein: Ground beef or chuck can be added to make a ragu! Both would do really well cooked for a long time over low heat.
- Add more heat: If you like your marinara sauce on the spicier side add in some more crushed red pepper flakes.
- Make it creamy: To make a blush sauce add a couple splashes of heavy cream right before serving.
Ways to use this Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce
- Chicken Parmesan
- Gluten Free Zucchini Pasta
- Tortellini Tomato and Spinach Soup
- One Pan Italian Chicken Skillet
- Homemade Pizza
- Lasagna Rolls Ups
- Stuffed Shells
Here are some more Slow Cooker Recipes to try!
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Barbecue Sandwiches
- Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches
- Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken
- Slow Cooker Honey Sriracha Chicken
- Easy Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken
Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce
- 16 ounces sausage I used hot sausage
- 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
- 2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- fresh basil for serving if desired
- fresh parmesan cheese for serving if desired
- Add sausage to a medium skillet and cook until browned. (It does not need to be cooked through, just browned on the outside for extra flavor. You can skip this step if you do not have time.)
- Add browned sausage, along with the rest of the ingredients to a slow cooker.
- Cook sauce on low for 8 hours.
- Serve over pasta with basil and parmesan cheese for serving, if desired.
Originally published Sep 7, 2015