BEST Spaghetti Meat Sauce (Slow Cooker Recipe)

The best slow cooker spaghetti meat sauce recipe cooks in the slow cooker and feeds a crowd. It’s easy to put together and there’s no pre-cooking involved. Just combine all the ingredients in the crockpot and let it do all the work. Serve it over pasta for the perfect meal for entertaining.

Slow cooker spaghetti sauce for a crowd is perfect for casual entertaining at home.

Spaghetti Meat Sauce for a Crowd

As you begin to have company for the holiday season you will likely be feeding a crowd for more than just the holiday meal. What better way to please the palate than with spaghetti and homemade meat sauce that’s easy to make?

My husband grew up in West Virginia where there’s a restaurant called Jim’s Spaghetti House, famous for it’s sauce. He stumbled across the recipe a while back and we adapted it for the crock pot, and for our family meal. The thing that makes this sauce unique is the fact that you DO NOT pre-cook the ground beef.

The raw meat is combined with the rest of the ingredients and cooked on low for several hours. This gives a very fine texture to the finished sauce, which we prefer over big chunks of meat using the traditional pre-browning method.

The sauce literally takes 5 minutes to prepare and then you can forget about it until dinner time. It makes a large quantity which makes this the perfect meal to serve when entertaining a crowd. Or you can use the sauce to make my baked spaghetti recipe.

Make this pasta meat sauce when you have guests coming to visit over night or holidays.

Slow cooker spaghetti sauce for a crowd is perfect for casual entertaining at home.
Slow cooker spaghetti sauce for a crowd is perfect for casual entertaining at home.

PRO TIP: Use lean meat for this recipe Since there’s no draining involved, you don’t want it to be greasy.

Also, the sugar adds a touch of sweetness to the sauce. If you’ve never added sugar to your sauce (whether homemade or jarred) then you are missing out. This is a trick I learned in college. It balances out the acidity of the tomatoes and creates a rich flavor.

When we eat this at home we like to add a few dashes of Texas Pete on top just to give a little kick. Serve with salad and bread for a meal that will please everyone.

End on a sweet note with a dessert like chocolate chess pie, or tiramisu chocolate trifles.

Slow Cooker Meat Pasta Sauce

  • 2 pounds 93% lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 (29 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano


Combine all ingredients together, except bay leaves, in a large slow cooker. Use your hands to completely integrate all the ingredients together until smooth.

Add bay leaves on top of mixture and place lid.

Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours.

Remove bay leaves, stir, and serve over cooked spaghetti noodles.

Makes about 12 servings.

Slow cooker spaghetti sauce for a crowd is perfect for casual entertaining at home.

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    1. Not at all, Mary. It’s got a sweet-savory flavor. We actually like a little heat so we add a few dashes of Texas Pete on our prepared plate.

  1. Oooh, love this easy sauce! Perfect for the holidays is right, but it would also be excellent for a football watching gathering!

  2. Thank you for this great sounding recipe One question though. I love more sauce on my pasta. Is it possible to add more liquid in some form to make it saucier and which liquid would you add? Can’t wait to try this. Thanks again.

    1. Do you mean more sauce than meat? I would probably start by reducing the amount of ground beef rather than increasing the liquid ingredients since the recipe calls for standard can sizes.

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