Slow Cooker Spaghetti Meat Sauce is a classic that no one can pass up. This flavorful sauce simmers all day long resulting in a tender ground beef and sausage loaded sauce that you’ll want to eat by the spoonful! Serve it over your favorite noodles and with a side of garlic bread for a meal the family will love!
I sure love a good Spaghetti Meat Sauce and this one made in the Crock-Pot is so easy and flavorful. If your love of red sauce and pasta runs deep, you’ve got to try my Easy Beef, Spinach, and Cheese Manicotti and Baked Ziti with Sweet Italian Sausage!
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Sauce
Homemade Spaghetti Sauce is the best, especially when it’s loaded with lots of meat. This meal is one the whole family loves and leaves us feeling full and satisfied. I seriously love this sauce so much that I usually dish up more sauce in my bowl than noodles.
How to make Spaghetti Sauce:
- Brown the Meat– In a pan (I prefer cast iron), brown and crumble the meat. I recommend working in 2 batches since this recipe has a lot of meat.
- Throw everything in the pot– except for the Parmesan cheese and parsley.
- Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 4-6 hours.
- Stir in the Parmesan cheese and let it cook on high for 30 minutes if you want a thicker sauce.
- Serve over pasta.
Why use sausage in Homemade Spaghetti Sauce?
Using sausage and ground beef in your spaghetti meat sauce will give it so much more flavor! Most chefs use a variety of meats in their meat sauces. If you don’t eat pork than use more ground beef instead.
Why add sugar to Spaghetti Sauce?
The sugar in spaghetti sauce helps to balance out the acidity of the tomatoes. I like to use brown sugar for the added depth of flavor but white granulated sugar works too.
How to make Spaghetti Sauce more flavorful:
- Add a Parmesan rind to the pot before simmering. This is also great to do with soups.
- Use multiple proteins-ground beef, sausage, pancetta…
- Stir in a little sugar to cut the acidity.
- Add beef bouillon– this adds a deeper flavor without thinning the sauce.
- Saute the onions– this requires an extra step but you’ve already dirtied a pan by browning the beef.
How to balance out the acidity in Tomato Based Sauces:
- Add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
- Add a tablespoon or two of butter
- Add 1-2 tablespoons sugar.
What shape noodles work best with Spaghetti Sauce?
Spaghetti– The classic noodle noodle to eat with spaghetti sauce but honestly, I hardly ever use it. It’s difficult for kids to eat and even adults. Things just get messy and since a red sauce is involved I try to reduce the mess as much as possible.
Farfalle (bowtie)– this is my favorite shape noodle for a meaty spaghetti sauce. It’s easy for kids to poke with a fork and it’s great if you like loads of sauce because it just piles on top of the noodle.
Rotini– Also great with this meat sauce because the meat gets trapped in the spirals.
Campanelle– Such a fun and pretty noodle! It’s spirally shape also catches and holds the sauce really well.
Penne– This classic noodle is great with all types of sauces but doesn’t hold the meat sauce quite as well as the ones listed above.
LOOKING FOR MORE PASTA RECIPES? CHECK OUT THESE:
- Pasta con Broccoli
- White Bean, Sausage, Pumpkin Pasta Bake
- Copycat Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Brio
- Creamy Tomato Chicken Florentine Pasta
- Red Lentil Mushroom Ragu
- Homemade Pasta
- Creamy Mushroom Pasta
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
- Slow Cooker – This is very similar to the one I use but it has the addition of a lockable lid which is awesome for when you are transporting food for a party or pot luck, especially soup.
- Cutting board – I love having various sizes of cutting boards and these are awesome because they won’t slip and slide around on the counter.
- Cast Iron Skillet – A cast iron skillet is a kitchen must have. It heats evenly and gives meats a nice crust.
- Microplane Zester – This is great for zesting citrus fruits as well as grating Parmesan cheese.
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Meat Sauce
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
- 1 cup onions, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 24 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon beef bouillon
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Parmesan cheese rind, (optional)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (plus more for garnish)
Cooking in the Slow Cooker:
- Working in two batches, brown the ground beef and sausage in a pan over medium-high heat. Drain off the fat and transfer to the bottom of a slow cooker.
- Stir in all the remaining ingredients except the grated Parmesan cheese.
- Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours until the meat and onions are tender.
- Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese and let cook on high with the lid off for 20-30 minutes to allow sauce to thicken.
- Remove bay leaves and serve over noodles.
Cooking on the Stove Top:
- In a large stock pot, brown the ground beef and sausage over medium-high heat. Remove from pot and drain.
- Add a tablespoon oil to the pot and saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients except for the grate Parmesan. Bring to a simmer, cover, and turn down to low. Allow to simmer for 2-3 hours until meat is tender. Allow to simmer for 10-20 minutes without the lid to thicken the sauce.