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4.67 from 6 votes

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

A good marinara sauce is an essential for everyone. I love this one because you just dump the ingredients into a slow cooker then leave it to work it's magic. The slow cooking caramelises the sugar in the tomato and creates a depth of flavour you will never get from store bought pasta sauce.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time6 hrs
Total Time6 hrs 5 mins
Course: Pasta, Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 cups
Calories: 127kcal
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats


  • 2 cans (800g/28oz each can) crushed tomatoes (see notes)
  • 1 can (170 g / 6 oz) tomato paste
  • 1 medium brown onion (or white or yellow), diced
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 bay leaves (dried or fresh)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (or honey)
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  • Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker. Set for 6 to 8 hours on low.
  • Optional step: Remove bay leaves, then use a handheld blender to puree until smooth (or to your liking).
  • Cool before refrigerating or freezing.

To use for pasta

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add pasta.
  • Heat olive oil in a pan, add garlic and diced onion, cook until translucent then add 2 cups of Marinara Sauce per 500g/1lb of dried pasta.
  • Bring sauce to rapid simmer, then add pasta (cooked to just before al dente).
  • Add 1/4 cup of pasta water and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until pasta is al dente and the sauce has thickened and coats the pasta.
  • Serves 4 hungry people or 6 normal servings.


1. I like my marinara sauce smooth so I whizz it up with a hand held blender once it's finished cooking. Because I whizz it up, I can use either crushed or diced tomato. But if you don't plan to puree it, I strongly recommend using crushed rather than diced tomato because otherwise the sauce will be quite chunky - in my personal opinion, it is too chunky which means it doesn't coat the pasta as evenly and also doesn't spread as well for things like lasagna and cannelloni.
2. This sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for 1 week or freezer for 3 months.
Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce Nutrition


Serving: 331g | Calories: 127kcal | Carbohydrates: 25.9g | Protein: 5.5g | Fat: 2.5g | Sodium: 610mg | Potassium: 1019mg | Fiber: 6.7g | Sugar: 1.9g | Vitamin A: 2300IU | Vitamin C: 42.1mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 4.5mg