Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

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Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce-this rich and hearty marinara sauce has the BEST flavor because it is made in the slow cooker. You will love this simple sauce! 

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce This rich and hearty marinara sauce is easy to make and has the best flavor.This is a sponsored post by Hunt’s tomatoes. All opinions are our own.

It is officially fall and the cooler temperatures have hit. I love opening the windows to feel the cool, crisp fall air. Of course, I am bundled up under the covers, but I still love that fresh breath of fall. It is a cozy feeling!

I am so ready for cozy and comforting foods. I got out our slow cooker and made our favorite Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce to serve over pasta…classic comfort food and the perfect meal for fall.

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce This easy marinara sauce is made in the crockpot and SO good. It is great with pasta, meatballs, lasagna, chicken parmesan, or garlic knots.

You can’t beat homemade marinara sauce. It is the BEST! But don’t worry, you don’t have to slave over the stove all day to make an amazing sauce. That is where the slow cooker comes in. Throw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and walk away while the sauce simmers away. The slow cooking brings out the BEST flavor and you can go about your day.

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce Recipe on This easy marinara sauce is made in the crockpot and freezes beautifully.

The marinara sauce recipe is simple. To the slow cooker, I add onion, garlic, Hunt’s diced tomatoes, Hunt’s tomato paste, olive oil, bay leaves, basil, oregano, a little brown sugar, salt, and pepper. That is it! I let the slow cooker do the rest of the work.

How to make Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

I like to use Hunt’s tomatoes for the sauce. Last week, I went to New York City to attend an event with Hunt’s and we learned all about their tomatoes and watched a FlashSteam™ demonstration, similar to what Hunt’s does.

Instead of using chemicals, like lye* Hunt’s peels all its diced, whole, and stewed tomatoes using steam from simple hot water – the process is called FlashSteam™. This means no chemical by-products get put back into the earth. Hunt’s tomato products are 100% natural and non-GMO, with no artificial preservatives.

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce that is made in the crockpot and SO good. It is a family favorite and freezer friendly

I like to let the sauce hangout in the slow cooker on low for six to eight hours to bring out the richness of the sauce. If you are in a hurry, you can cook it on high for two hours, but slow and low is the best way to go for this sauce. You want the sauce to simmer down to bring out the best flavors.

The marinara sauce is great served with your favorite pasta, vegetables, layered between lasagna, with meatballs, on top of chicken or eggplant parmesan, or served as a dipping sauce for garlic knots or pizza rolls. It is good on just about everything!

This recipe makes a lot, so I always stick some in the freezer for another day. It will keep in the freezer for three months and has saved dinner a million times. When 5:00 rolls around and I don’t know what to make for dinner, I can always turn to the marinara sauce in the freezer. Cook up a little pasta and dinner is served!

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce made in the crockpot and freezes well. It is great for easy weeknight dinners.

Get out your slow cooker and make this easy Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce. It is guaranteed to be a staple in your home and will come in handy whenever you are in a dinner bind. You can throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning and come back to the most amazing sauce at dinner time. And don’t forget to keep some in the freezer at all times! I promise, this sauce will save you when you don’t have anything else to make. It is always a winner!

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce Recipe This crockpot marinara sauce is the BEST and it is so easy to make. It freezes beautifully too!

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Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

This easy slow cooker marinara sauce is a family favorite. It is great on pasta, with meatballs, layered between lasagna, or any Italian dish. It freezes beautifully too!
4.87 from 30 votes


  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 28 oz cans Hunt's Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz can Hunt's Tomato Paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Dash of crushed red pepper


  • Place the onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, olive oil, bay leaves, basil, oregano, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper in the slow cooker. Stir and put the lid on. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours.
  • Remove the lid on the slow cooker, stir the sauce, and remove the bay leaves. If you don't like a chunky sauce, use a hand blender to puree the sauce. You can also transfer the sauce to a blender if you don't have a hand blender. Just be careful if the sauce is hot. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. This sauce is great with your favorite pasta, vegetables, layered between lasagna, with meatballs, on top of chicken or eggplant parmesan, or served as a dipping sauce for garlic knots or pizza rolls.
  • Note-you can cook on high for 2-4 hours, but I think the sauce is best cooked on low. It allows the sauce time to simmer and develop a rich flavor. This sauce freezes beautifully! Cool completely and pour the sauce into freezer bags or freezer containers. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Have you tried this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag @twopeasandpod and hashtag it with #twopeasandtheirpod

You can follow Hunt’s on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Lye Peeling is generally recognized as safe by the FDA and has no adverse effects on the healthfulness of tomatoes.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hunt’s . The opinions and text are all mine.

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I'm Maria and my husband is Josh. We share a love of cooking, baking, and entertaining. We enjoy creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly. We love sitting around the table with good food, good conversation, and good friends and family! Our kitchen is always open!
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  1. We buy Hunt’s tomato sauce a lot here too, it’s a bit cheaper than some of the other brands and many times there’s a coupon in the paper. Love making sauces like this because you can use it several days in a row for various meals. More bang for your buck and maybe more importantly, your time!!!!!!

    1. We love Hunt’s too and the coupons are always a nice surprise:) Yes, this sauce can be used for just about everything!

  2. Great recipe and so simple. I’m making it this week. I especially appreciate the info on the tomatoes. I usually buy generic/house brand but have no idea what goes into putting those nice fresh tomatoes into the can. It may be worth a few extra cents to know I’m getting real tomatoes and not a can of chemicals.

  3. I have been looking for a new marinara asauce…and like the idea of making it in the slow cooker.
    I use my slow cooker a lot!! Perfect timing…I’ll be trying it soon.

  4. This looks amazing!! My husband likes meat in his sauce. Would you brown the beef/sausage and add it for the entire time or closer to the end? Thanks!

  5. This will go into my slow cooker on the weekend, but I will definitely be buying fresh basil to go in it. Frozen basil isn’t bad, but dried has absolutely no taste. Otherwise, i can hardly wait to boil the pasta for this!

    1. I usually pull it out the morning of, if I remember. Then reheat on the stove. If I forget and need it last minute, I defrost in the microwave.

  6. In my husbands Italian family marinara sauce is considered a quick tomato sauce – cooked only a short time. This would be more like a slow simmered sauce – or if from Jersey – gravy. Still looks delicious. We usually add homemade meatballs! 🙂

    1. Born and raised by Sicilian grandparents in SOUTH JERSEY..WE CALL IT SAUCE..and this recipe is pretty close to grandma’s ..
      Yum Yum..

  7. Do you have any recommendations for altering this recipe to use fresh tomatoes? I’m expecting quite a few tomatoes from my plants and would love to try this with fresh tomatoes.

    1. I was wondering the same thing. I looked it up and a 28 ounces can of diced tomatoes is equivalent to 2 pounds fresh. The only thing I don’t have is the onion, then I can try this.

  8. 5 stars
    Ok Maria,
       I just made this for dinner, but because my tomato plants have gone wild I used fresh tomatos instead of canned.  It was fab!   Through in some home made meatballs after browning them toward the end for hungry boys and everyone raved.  Thanks for a great idea!


  9. Been doing exactly the same…… sometimes use the Peeled Plum Tomatoes that Hunt’s has too. Our traditional family Marinara is made without sugar and onions. We don’t care for a sweet sauce. This exact recipe you posted is wonderful over fish… with onions and capers and olive cured olives (chopped) added. Try it you might like it. Thanks for posting this one…. it’s truly wonderful to keep in the freezer too. Louise

  10. HI I am from India and want to know.. how exactly slow cooking is done? We have pressure cookera as well but not sure if we are talking about the same method or equipments! Could you please help? Thanks 

  11. 5 stars
    I have been meaning to thank you for ages for this recipe! We love it and make it often. Freezes so well, too. Belated thanks!

  12. I pride myself for my ‘Hours in the Making’ Marinara sauce. But this one only takes 10 minutes to prepare and is just as good. I will experiment with this recipe by adding Costco’s frozen meat balls and other variations.

  13. I wish this included a finished quantity and preferred slow cooker size.
    I often need to make 16 or even more servings. For instance Mostaccioli and sauce combo so need a lot of sauce.

  14. 5 stars
    This is truly a staple in our house and like you said, has saved a million dinner time frustrations. Thanks for the amazing recipe. 🙂

  15. 5 stars
    Maria, first, an apology for not commenting sooner…i have made this recipe SO many times and my family loves it!!! I never buy marina anymore, just use yours! And yes, it does freeze so well. Thanks very much ❤

  16. 5 stars
    So good! Because pandemic panic shopping people bought all of the marinara sauce. I looked up slow cooker marinara recipe in the store and bought $4.00 worth of ingredients. This is better than the $7. Small jar stuff I normally got. I’m sold. Making my fifth batch and doubling the purree and seasonings. Delicious and so economical.

  17. I made this today. I followed recipe exactly. I put it on low for 8hours. Looked great, but taste is so over spiced. I rechecked your recipe to make sure I used correct amounts. Like the tablespoon of basil? I added three shakes of sea salt and two of pepper. And a pinch of crushed red pepper.
    I’m not sure what to do now. Add another can of diced tomatoes?
    I’ve made other of your recipes with success.

  18. 5 stars
    I make this all the time. It’s great right out of the slow cooker or out of the freezer. Thank you for sharing something so basic and versatile…and delicious!!!

  19. Hi Maria, would tomato puree work in this recipe as well as the diced tomatoes? I’d like to make tonight, and that’s what I have on hand!

    1. Sure, the texture and flavor might be a little different but adjust seasonings to your liking!

  20. Would I be able to freeze this in smaller portions prior to cooking? So I can just pull out a portion and pop it in the slow cooker then? (I live by myself and only have a tiny slow cooker)

  21. 5 stars
    I’m always looking for new sauce recipes and stumbled upon this one on FaceBook. Holy Moly it was the bomb with my vegetarian meatballs! And so simple and easy!! Will be making this again, and again and again!

  22. 5 stars
    This is a fabulous recipe!!! I make it often and apologize for not reviewing sooner. It is the best! Thanks so very much!

  23. 5 stars
    I stopped buying marinara sauce after Finding this recipe, yes that one time I thought I had a jar and didn’t and had to figure something out tip: if you forget to put it on, in time – 2 hrs on high and 2-3 on low works almost as great thank you for this recipe, it’s awesome ❤️