Big Batch Crockpot Red Sauce

One of the strategies I’ve been trying to get better at when it comes to quickly making homemade meals, is to have some resources in my freezer.   I’m discovering too that my preference for freezer resources isn’t necessarily to have a casserole already made and ready to go, but rather to have some pre-made ingredients ready to go.   I like to have some pre-cooked ground beef or pre-cooked shredded chicken in the freezer which speeds up prep time for dinner, but still leaves me some flexibility on how I’m going to use it.

And that’s why I like today’s recipe for this homemade marina sauce too.  Not only is it a super simple way to make a homemade red sauce (or spaghetti sauce or marinara sauce or whatever you might call it), but it makes a triple size batch that can be stored in the freezer for later use -AND you can be kinda lazy and make it in the crockpot too! 🙂

Recipe for homemade red sauce in the crockpot

I like to season this sauce with minced garlic, basil, and oregano, but my favorite spice in this mixture is the crushed red pepper flakes that give this sauce just a little bit of extra heat that sets it apart from the store-bought sauces.  I like to add one teaspoon of red pepper flakes which is perfect for my taste, but of course you can use less if you want a milder sauce for little ones in the family, or you can use more it if you like extra heat in your recipes.

This recipe makes a total of about 8 to 9 cups of sauce.  I divide that up into three portions of roughly 2-3/4 cups each (which seems to be about equal to a store bought jar of sauce for a recipe).  It can then be put into ziploc freezer bags or plastic containers and frozen for use at a later time. Beware, however, that if you use plastic containers for storage, the red sauce might stain them just a bit.

I also found that this sauce reheated very nicely too.  One method I used was to zap it briefly in the microwave to get it thawed slightly, and then I put it in my small sized crockpot to heat up the rest of the way.  It worked great!

Here’s how to do it:

Crockpot Marinara Red Sauce


  • 3 – 28 oz cans Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil
  • 2 teaspoons Minced Garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Basil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried Oregano

Combine all ingredients in a crockpot.  Cook on low for 4 hours.

Recipe for homemade red sauce in the crockpot

This recipe makes about 8 to 9 cups of sauce.  The sauce can then be divided into portions and frozen in ziploc freezer bags or plastic containers for later use.  I like to divide it into three portions of roughly 2-3/4 cups each.

So, I’ve used this sauce on spaghetti, but maybe I need to get more adventurous!  My dear son who works at an Italian restaurant tells me that many recipes they serve start with a basic red sauce like this, and then they tweak it for different dishes.  Sometimes cooked ground beef is added for a meatier red sauce, cheese may be added to make a smoother sauce, or more spices may be added to make it a pizza sauce.  He’s trying to inspire me to get creative with my red sauce!

Recipe for homemade red sauce in the crockpot

How about you?  Do you have a favorite way to use a basic red sauce?  I’d love to hear it!


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  1. This looks great and I will try it. Please do not heat ANYTHING plastic in the microwave, or you will be consuming plastic. If you freeze in plastic. partially thaw in a sink in which you have run a shallow amount of very hot tap water.

  2. I make my red sauce on the spot with canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste, spices & my immersion blender. Like your son’s restaurant, I tweak it for different things. I leave it chunky for chicken parmesan & pasta, just a little chunky for spaghetti, lasagna & smoother for French bread pizza. I simmer browned chicken in a thinner, chunky sauce for my Italian chicken & rice. I go through a lot of canned tomatoes & paste in my home!

    1. You sound like a person who really knows how to use a red sauce Dee! Italian chicken and rice sounds yummy 🙂