Flavorful and incredibly delicious Homemade Italian Spaghetti Sauce made in the crock pot with ground beef, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms.
Spaghetti Sauce Recipe
Immerse yourself in the taste of Italy with this remarkable Homemade Italian Spaghetti Sauce! Slow-cooked to perfection in your crockpot, this sauce blends ground beef, onions, juicy tomatoes, and mushrooms into a culinary masterpiece that is rich, flavorful, and incredibly delicious! This recipe takes spaghetti nights to a new level, infusing every pasta strand with the comforting essence of authentic Italian cuisine.
Why I Make Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- Versatility: This sauce is incredibly versatile. It can be used in a variety of dishes, not just spaghetti. I use it for lasagna, as a base for a casserole, or even as a hearty dip. The options are endless!
- Healthier: Homemade sauce is far healthier than store-bought versions. It’s free from preservatives, and you control the salt and sugar levels.
- Convenience: The sauce is surprisingly simple to make. Plus, it’s designed for slow cooking, freeing up your day and reducing last-minute dinner stress. You can also make it in large batches and freeze it for later use.
- Customizable: My recipe is easily adaptable to your personal preferences. You can adjust the flavors as you like, add more vegetables for a chunkier version, or remove the meat for a vegetarian sauce.
How To Make Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce
- Begin by browning the beef, onions, and garlic in a large skillet, and make sure to drain off any excess fat.
- Combine the tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper in a 4-quart crockpot, then stir in the browned meat mixture.
- Cover and let the magic happen – cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.
- Towards the end, add the sweet chopped pepper, discard the bay leaf, and prepare to serve.
- Ladle the sauce over your cooked spaghetti and garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for the perfect finish. Delizioso!
- To Make It On The Stovetop: Follow the same initial steps to brown the meat and aromatics, and then add all ingredients into a large pot instead of a crock pot. Allow the sauce to simmer on the stovetop for at least 1.5-2 hours and up to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
What Is The Difference Between Spaghetti Sauce, Marinara Sauce, & Pizza Sauce?
While all three sauces have tomatoes as their common base, their preparation, consistency, and usage make each unique.
- Spaghetti Sauce: This refers to a rich, thick tomato sauce with various ingredients such as onions, garlic, mushrooms, ground beef, and herbs and spices. Spaghetti sauce is typically slow-cooked, allowing flavors to meld together. It is most commonly served over spaghetti but can be used in a range of pasta dishes.
- Marinara Sauce: Originating from Naples, Italy, marinara is a quickly-cooked sauce primarily consisting of tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs. It does not contain meat, which distinguishes it from many spaghetti sauces. The name “marinara” derives from its origins as a sauce made by mariners due to its quick preparation time and the use of available ingredients.
- Pizza Sauce: Pizza sauce is typically a simple, uncooked tomato sauce, often seasoned with herbs like oregano and basil. The sauce cooks directly on the pizza, producing a fresh and slightly tangy flavor. It’s usually thicker than marinara to stand up to the pizza toppings and less complex in flavor than a spaghetti sauce, as it’s meant to complement the flavors of the toppings rather than be the star of the dish.
Tips For Preparation
- Slow and Steady: Let the sauce simmer for the full recommended cooking time. The long, slow cooking process helps develop deep flavors and tenderize the ground meat.
- Tomatoes: Use quality canned tomatoes for the best flavor, since tomatoes are the backbone of the sauce.
- Taste and Adjust: Remember to taste your sauce and adjust the seasonings as needed. You might want to add a pinch more salt, a bit more garlic, or a sprinkle of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
- Ground Meat: While this recipe uses ground beef, you can substitute it with ground turkey, chicken, pork, or even a meatless substitute like lentils for a vegetarian version. Or omit the ground meat.
- Mushrooms: If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, feel free to leave them out.
- Herbs: Experiment with the herbs. You can add a dash of red pepper flakes for heat or herbs like rosemary or thyme for a different flavor profile.
- Storage: Once the sauce has cooled, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last for up to a week.
- Freezing: Place the cooled sauce in airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. When you’re ready to use the sauce, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and then heat it on the stove or in the microwave.
More Homemade Sauce Recipes
Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce Italiano
- 1 pound ground beef or Italian sausage
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans (14.5-ounces each) diced tomatoes undrained
- 1 can (6-ounces) tomato paste
- 2 cans (4-ounces each) mushrooms, drained
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1 cup chopped green sweet pepper
- cooked spaghetti, for serving
- shredded Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- Combine beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet and cook until meat is browned; drain.
- In a 4-quart crock pot, combine tomatoes, tomato paste, mushrooms, bay leaf, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper.
- Stir in the meat mixture.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours, or on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.
- Stir in the chopped sweet peppers.
- Discard bay leaf.
- Spoon sauce over cooked spaghetti, garnish with parmesan cheese and serve.
- Slow Cook: Simmer the sauce slowly and steadily for deeper flavors.
- Tomatoes: Use quality canned tomatoes for the best flavor.
- Mushrooms: The recipe uses canned mushrooms, but you can use 6 to 8 ounces of fresh sliced mushrooms if you prefer.
- Adjust Seasonings: Taste for salt, pepper, and seasonings, and tweak as needed.
- Swap Ingredients: Substitute beef with other meats or lentils. Replace mushrooms with preferred veggies. Try different herbs or add heat with red pepper flakes.
- Stovetop Version: Brown the meat and aromatics in a large pot; add everything else to the pot and simmer for 1.5 and up to 4 hours.
- Storage: Once the sauce has cooled, store it in an airtight container and keep it in the refrigerator. It should last for up to a week.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.