This Slow Cooker Meat Sauce is perfect for your next spaghetti night dinner. Made with ground beef and Italian sausage, it’s hearty and full of tomato flavor. The best part, it’s simple to make because it cooks in the crockpot. Leftovers are great for a delicious homemade lasagna.
Why you’ll want to make it
It’s easy to make thanks to the crockpot. Nothing beats the slow cooked flavor of an Italian meat sauce or “gravy”. After browning the meat, you can set this and forget it.
It’s made with easy to find fresh and pantry ingredients. I love recipes that can be thrown together with ingredients I already have. Crushed tomatoes are a staple in my pantry and I always have some ground beef stored in the freezer.
It’s a classic meat sauce the whole family will love. My family can’t get enough of this meat sauce! We love it on spaghetti and since this recipe makes such a big batch, I always have enough to freeze for a future dinner or to make lasagna.
Step by Step Instructions
In a large pan, cook ground beef, Italian sausage, chopped onions, and garlic until the meat is no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper. I don’t add any oil because the meat renders plenty of fat.
Add meat mixture to your crock pot or slow cooker. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and herbs. Mix together until well combined. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.
Expert tips and Variations
We love this meat sauce on pasta like spaghetti or penne and even zoodles (zucchini noodles).
If you don’t like or want Italian sausage, add half a pound more of ground beef. You can also try ground pork or make the entire recipe with ground turkey.
This sauce is slightly sweet so if you prefer more zing, leave out the sugar and replace one can of tomato paste with tomato sauce (puree). You can also add a teaspoon of crushed red pepper.
More Meaty Recipes to Check out
Slow Cooker Meat Sauce
- 1 pound ground beef I prefer lean such as 90% or leaner
- ½ pound Italian sausage
- 1 medium onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper or to taste
- 1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2-6 ounce cans tomato paste
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon rubbed sage
- ¼ teaspoon marjoram
- 2 bay leaves
- In a large pan or dutch oven, cook the ground beef, Italian sausage, onion, and garlic until cooked through and no longer pink. Drain off fat, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the cooked meat mixture to the insert of a 5 quart slow cooker or crockpot. Add the crushed tomatoes through the marjoram and stir to combine ingredients.
- Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Discard bay leaves before serving.
- Serve with your favorite pasta.
- We love this meat sauce on pasta like spaghetti or penne and even zoodles (zucchini noodles).
- If you don't like or want Italian sausage, add half a pound more of ground beef. You can also try ground pork or make the entire recipe with ground turkey.
- This sauce is slightly sweet so if you prefer more zing, leave out the sugar and replace one can of tomato paste with tomato sauce (puree). You can also add a teaspoon of crushed red pepper.