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Simple Spaghetti Meat Sauce Recipe in Crockpot

If you are struggling to think of an easy meal for a busy weeknight, you will love this quick meat sauce recipe! You can prepare this recipe the night before then turn on the crockpot the next morning.

This simple spaghetti meat sauce recipe is delicious and kid friendly! My toddlers love this meat sauce recipe an request the “red sauce” every week. So, if you are looking for a meal that the whole family will enjoy, this is it.

Dairy Free Meat Sauce Recipe

If you’ve been looking for a tasty sauce without dairy then you will love this dairy free pasta sauce recipe. I went dairy free a couple years ago and struggled to find recipes without dairy.

So, I started making adjustments to recipes and I created my own homemade spaghetti meat sauce recipe.

meat sauce recipe

Number of Servings

This homemade meat sauce recipe makes enough for 6-8 plates of pasta, depending on how much sauce is used per plate. I make this for a family of 4 and always have enough for an additional dinner.

I freeze half of the sauce in a large freezer bag then the in the fridge overnight for dinner on a weeknight. Reheat the sauce in a large covered sauce pan over low heat, stirring the sauce occasionally while boiling water for your favorite pasta.

Another way to repurpose the leftover sauce is to use it as a pizza sauce. If you made this red sauce without meat, it works great over a flat bread topped with peppers, onions, peperoni, and cheese.

The sauce will be good in the fridge for a couple of days, so you can make 2 dinners out of this sauce in one week.


  • 1lb Mild Ground Sausage (optional)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 28 Oz Can of Peeled Plum Tomatoes
  • 28 Oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Minced Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup of Minced White Onions
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of Garlic Powder
  • 1-2 Teaspoons of Italian Seasoning
  • Dash of Salt and Pepper
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of sugar
  • Pasta of Choice

Sugar – This cuts down on the acidity/balances the sauce, so don’t skip this step!

Step 1 – The Best Meat Sauce Recipe

Heat a pan on medium heat then pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan. Once the pan and oil have been heated, gently place the ground sausage in the pan.

Break up and stir the sausage until it is fully cooked. While the sausage is cooking, pour 1-2 tablespoons into the bottom of the crockpot and turn it on low

This sauce also, tastes great without the meat, so feel free to tweak the recipe per your preference.

Step 2 – Mince Onions and Garlic

I prefer to mince the white onions to hide the onions from my toddlers. My toddlers will reject a plate of food outright, if they sense there are vegetables in it.

If you are fine with a chunkier sauce then you should roughly chop the onions instead. After cutting the onions, pour them into a crockpot.

Fresh garlic is always better, but to save time I use a glass jar of minced garlic for this recipe. The jar of minced garlic is great to keep in your fridge for any recipe because it saves time on a busy weeknight.

Place 1-2 tablespoons of minced garlic into the crockpot.

Step 3 – Add All Ingredients

Add all ingredients to the crockpot and cook on low for 6 hours, stirring the sauce occasionally. There is no need to mash the peeled plum tomatoes as they will break on their own.

Step 4 – Cook the Pasta

When the meat sauce is almost done, boil water with your favorite pasta. I make a 16 oz box of pasta for a family of 4 then cover with sauce.

Serve the sauce over the pasta with fresh basil and garlic bread. I hope you enjoy this meat sauce recipe!

simple spaghetti meat sauce recipe

Tips for Cooking this Meat Sauce Recipe

You can make this homemade meat sauce with ground beef or ground sausage, but I prefer ground sausage. I think the sausage has more flavor and my toddlers eat it that way, so I don’t mess around with the recipe since they eat it.

I have tried making the sauce with both ground beef and ground sausage and I felt like it was too much meat in the sauce.

If you want to spice it up a bit, you can use spicy ground sausage and red pepper flakes.

Do not skip the sugar! The sugar is needed in almost all red sauce recipes because it balances out the sauce by reducing the acidity. I forgot the sugar one time and the sauce was a little bitter without the sugar.

What is the difference between meat sauce and Bolognese?

The difference between a meat sauce recipe and a Bolognese recipe is, nothing. They are the exact same type of sauce, but just have different names to describe the sauce.

Bolognese is typically made with a rich red sauce and ground meat such as beef or pork.

How do you make meat sauce taste better?

This is all about preference here, but in my opinion using ground sausage over ground beef makes a meat sauce taste better. Ground sausage has so much more flavor compared to ground beef, adding a rich flavor meat sauce.

Another thing to remember is to add a tablespoon or so to the sauce to decrease the acidic taste of the sauce.

What does meat sauce contain?

A meat sauce typically contains a ground meat such as beef or pork, crushed tomatoes, peeled plum tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, onions, sugar, Italian seasoning, and extra virgin olive oil.

Best Italian Meat Sauce Recipe Ever

Okay, I will be honest with you, I am not even Italian. I also, didn’t grow up in a family that cooked homemade dinners. I was bored of eating the same old frozen meals or take out, so I learned how to cook.

After experimenting with several versions of this same sauce recipe, this became go-to meat sauce recipe.

I have made this meat sauce recipe for several family members and they all agree that my sauce is one of the best they ever tasted!