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Let your slow cooker do all the work for you with this hearty, flavorful Crock Pot Tomato Meat Sauce. It’s minimal effort with maximum flavor! That’s my kind of recipe.
My husband is fully Italian and his grandmother makes the most incredible all day tomato sauce you’ll ever taste! We’ve tried many times to replicate it, but it’s never quite the same as hers. One thing about grandmothers; they never write anything down! They just KNOW. There’s no exact measurements of anything, they just know what to put in, when to add ingredients and when it needs a little something extra. That super power only comes with making the same recipe over and over for YEARS to perfect it.
However, Nanna would be proud of this crock pot tomato meat sauce. It tastes like you stood over the sauce pot all day, without having to stand over the sauce pot all day. Its truly a winner! This recipe makes a lot of sauce and it freezes well.
What equipment do I need?
- 7 quart crockpot
- crockpot liners (optional, for easy clean up)
- a large sauté pan
- meat masher
- measuring cups and spoons
- Ground beef– I use lean beef, 90/10
- Canned tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and tomato paste. I personally love the Tuttoroso brand of canned tomato products.
- Beef broth
- Yellow Onion
- Sugar-this balanced the acidity of the tomatoes
- Garlic– you can use fresh cloves grated or use the jarred stuff already minced for you
- Seasonings: salt, pepper, bay leaves and Italian seasoning. I also use a bunch of fresh oregano tied together with kitchen twine in the sauce. It gives off the flavor but can be removed after cooking (because again, kids)
How to make Crock Pot Tomato Meat Sauce
First you’ll cook your ground beef , seasoning the meat and add in the onions. Once that’s cooked you’ll just dump all of the ingredients in the crock pot and wait for the deliciousness! This takes less than 20 minutes to put together and then it’s hands off until you’re ready to eat!
Tips, Tricks, and Suggestions
- If you like your sauce very meaty add 2 pounds of ground beef. Substitute the beef for Italian sausage, ground pork, ground turkey, or ground chicken.
- I grate my onion into the ground beef while its cooking because my kids think onions are basically poison. When you grate them, the onions disappear into the sauce but you still get the flavor. You can definitely dice your onion if your kids aren’t as dramatic as mine.
- Add 1/2 cup of red wine to this sauce for a deeper flavor.
- If you like it spicy, add in red pepper flakes
- Use fresh tomatoes, this is a perfect recipe if you have a tomato bounty from your garden!
- You can substitute frozen meatballs for the ground beef. Add a 2 pound bag of frozen meatballs in with the sauce ingredients.
- This sauce freezes well. Once the sauce is cooled, add it to a gallon sized freezer bag or these Souper Cubes freezer containers. Freeze up to 6 months. The frozen sauce can go directly from the freezer to the sauce pan, or thaw in the fridge overnight.
- Make your sauce vegetarian by omitting the meat and adding diced veggies like carrots and celery and using vegetable stock.
You might also like these easy slow cooker recipes:
Love crock pot recipes? Check out my Crock Pot E-Cookbook filled with 30 delicious crock pot recipes.
Crock Pot Tomato Meat Sauce
- 1 7 qt. crockpot
- 1 pound ground beef see notes at the bottom
- 2- 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 2-15 ounce cans tomato sauce
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1/2 cup beef broth can substitute red wine
- 1 yellow onion grated
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 bunch fresh oregano tied together with kitchen twine, or 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Lightly spray your crockpot with nonstick cooking spray or use a crockpot liner.
- In a sauté pan over medium high heat add the ground beef and cook through, about 5-10 minutes. Mid way through cooking the beef add the grated onion, the salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Drain beef if necessary. add the beef to the crockpot.
- Add all other ingredients and stir. Cover and cook on low 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.
- Before serving remove the oregano bundle and the bay leaves.
- Did you make this recipe? Leave a comment below! I'd love to hear about it.