Slow Cooker Meat Sauce


While, my normal go to on a busy work/school night is my Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs, I recently found myself not able to get pre-made sauce in the store.  I also have a little more time on my hands to make dinner, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to share my slow cooker sauce!  The sauce cooks on low all day long….the longer it cooks, the better it gets!

Slow Cooker Meat Sauce

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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2 pounds ground beef (or any mixture of beef, pork, venison)

1 1/2 cups diced onions

6 cloves fresh garlic, course chopped

12 ounce can tomato paste

29 ounce can crushed tomatoes

29 ounce can tomato sauce

2 cups water

1 cup dry red wine (or additional water)

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)


In a frying pan, brown the hamburger and break up into small pieces while it is cooking.  Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5-7 minutes.  Add garlic fresh garlic and let cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Add tomato paste to the pan and cook until it is no longer bright red in color and turns more of a terracotta color, about 3-4 minutes.  Add this mixture into the crock of your slow cooker.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, wine, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, dried basil, red chili flakes, salt, and pepper.  Stir until evenly combined.  Place lid on the slow cooker and let cook on low for 8-10 hours.  Taste the sauce, season with additional salt and pepper if you like.  If the sauce seems acidic, add in 1 tablespoon of sugar.  Let cook with the lid off while your boiling your water and cooking your pasta (about 20-30 minutes total).

Note – you can add any vegetables you like.  This recipe is great for using up what’s in the fridge!  I like to add carrots or mushrooms during the beef browning process, but it’s not necessary.

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