The following easy homemade spaghetti sauce recipe I have for you today is one that I have been perfecting for a long time. I never usually make it exactly the same, so remember you don’t have to either. This is a great starter recipe to get your creative mind rolling, but you do not have to stick to my recipe! I would love to read how you modified this recipe to make it your very own!
I cook in large batches, so I can use it for dinner and then freeze a couple Tupperware containers for other meals including Lasagna. If you do not want to cook that amount, feel free to cut the recipe in half. This recipe can still be used in a stove top pot if you are short on time.
What will I need?
To prepare I get out my 6 Quart Crock-Pot and my 3 Quart Crock Pot. If you only want to use one Crock-Pot (the 6 Quart) then you can cut the recipe in half. You will also need a cutting board and a chef’s knife or paring knife
- 4 Lbs. of ground beef or ground turkey
- 4 28 Oz cans Kroger brand Diced Tomatoes (plain, no seasoning)
- 4 28 Oz can Kroger brand Crushed Tomatoes (plain, no seasoning)
- 1 large Yellow onion, diced
- 2 green bell peppers, diced
- 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 24 Oz container of white or Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
- 1 Tablespoon of Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon of Parsley
- 1 Tablespoon of Basil
- 2 Teaspoon salt
- 3 Teaspoon of pepper
Preparation of your spaghetti sauce base
Plug in your Crock-Pot(s)! It never fails, at least once every six months or so I forget to do this, so I thought I would give you a quick reminder!
Open the cans of tomatoes, pour 2½ cans of diced tomatoes and 2½ cans of crushed tomatoes into the large Crock-Pot. Pour the remaining 1 ½ cans of diced and 1 ½ cans of crushed in the little Crock-Pot. Turn both of your Crock-Pots on high to start them heating up while you prepare the other ingredients.
Dice your onion, bell peppers and mince your garlic. Split up the diced ingredients and put about 2/3 in the large Crock-Pot and 1/3 in the small Crock-Pot.
Add your mushrooms (if you are using)
Add your spices, Oregano, Parsley, Basil, Salt and pepper. Again, splitting into 2/3 and 1/3
Give your sauce a stir to mix the ingredients well and put the lid(s) on
Prepare the meat
If you are planning on leaving your Crock-Pot while you go to work, go ahead and prepare your beef or turkey.
Some cooks prefer to brown the meat prior to placing it in the Crock-Pot. Throw all the meat into a large skillet, turn the heat to medium heat, using a wooden spoon or silicon spatula, start breaking up the meat. I use a silicon spatula so that it does not scratch the non-stick coating I have on my pans. You want to make sure that you continuously break up the meat and stir it around so that one side does not get done faster then that other. You just need to break up the meat and brown for about 5 minutes. If you still see pink, that is ok! Just means your meat will be more tender.
For those of you who want as little fat as possible, drain your meat by throwing it into a strainer. Let the grease drain for a minute and then take the strainer over to your Crock-Pot, scoop 2/3 of the meat into the big Crock-Pot and 1/3 into the little Crock-Pot.
Stir up your sauces to get the meat mixed through completely.
My preferred method: If you will be at home with your Crock-Pot.
I highly recommend that you leave the sauce to start warming up without the meat. After about 2-3 hours your sauce should be smelling good and the flavors mixing nicely. That is when I add my meat and I do not brown it first, I separate it into our 2/3 and 1/3 and throw the meat into the Crock-Pots. This makes the meat super tender and delicious. You do have to stir frequently to help break up the meat a little, but well worth the tenderness.
Information to help!
Ground beef: 80/20, 90/10 or 97/3 are all fine – 80/20 will have the most fat in it, so your sauce may be a little greasier but super flavorful. I used the 80/20 because my kids need the fat.
Do you want to use fresh or canned tomatoes? You can always cut up fresh tomatoes, but for a recipe this size, I would not recommend it as far as cost goes, flavor will be amazing though with fresh tomatoes!
Do you like chunky or smooth spaghetti sauce? Depending on what you and your family prefer is how you will prepare your ingredients.
- If you like chunky sauces, use the exact recipe I have above, and when you cut your vegetables up, cut them into whatever size you would like.
- If you prefer smooth sauces, then modify the tomatoes to be crushed only and cut all your vegetables into smaller pieces and/or puree everything after
You add whatever amount you like of each ingredient, better to add less in the beginning and add as the day goes on than have way too much out of the gate because you cannot reverse the amount!
This is a great opportunity to make a large batch, however what I do sometimes is dedicate the small Crock-Pot to the picky eaters, hold out an ingredient or add something they want to it. My kiddos prefer very small to non-existent onions, so it is something you can dice smaller or mince into the Crock-Pot and they will get the flavor but not the texture.
Check out more information on Crock-Pots here!
You are the creative mind behind your sauce so have fun!
Add red or yellow bell peppers, black olives, anchovies or even Parmesan or Romano (since the sauce will be simmering all day, make sure you wait until the last minute to add the cheese as it could taste burnt.
For my vegetarians out there, this sauce is fantastic without meat as well!
Share with Me!
- What are some ingredients that you think would make a fabulous sauce?
- Does this sound like an easy homemade spaghetti sauce to make?