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Meat Sauce for Spaghetti

Here's a thick, hearty sauce that turns ordinary spaghetti and garlic bread into a filling feast. When I'm in a hurry, I make this slow cooker recipe in an electric frying pan instead. —Mary Tallman, Arbor Vitae, Wisconsin
  • Total Time
    Prep: 30 min. Cook: 8 hours
  • Makes
    9 servings


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Hot cooked spaghetti


  • In a large skillet, cook beef and sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.
  • Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Stir in the tomatoes, green pepper, onion, carrots, water, tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until bubbly. Serve with spaghetti.
    Freeze option: Do not cook spaghetti. Freeze meat sauce in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Place sauce in a large skillet; heat through, stirring occasionally and adding a little water if necessary. Serve over spaghetti.
Nutrition Facts
1 cup: 286 calories, 17g fat (6g saturated fat), 58mg cholesterol, 767mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 4g fiber), 18g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Katy's mom
    Dec 9, 2020

    About like the recipe we use, although we use tomatoes from the garden (skinned and frozen in Ziploc bags). They are naturally so flavorful and sweet that we don't add sugar, just a couple tablespoons of heavy cream to help thicken the sauce and mellow all the flavors. Very good.

  • Adele
    Oct 20, 2020

    I confess that I made a couple of changes. I used red wine instead of water, and I left out the carrots because I don't like the combination of carrots and tomatoes. Otherwise, delicious sauce! Great slow-cooker recipe!

  • Sandra
    Apr 4, 2020

    I did try this recipe, and I only changed 1 thing - I substituted Swanson's Chicken Broth for the water. It was excellent!!

  • raindropnnyc
    Mar 23, 2018

    No comment left

  • hbaseley
    Jul 6, 2017

    This was good, but I probably wont make again. To be fair, my kids strongly prefer meatballs, so they are tough critics. My husband and liked this, but prefer TOH Three-Meat spaghetti sauce recipe. I liked the slow cooker convenience and that it made enough for at least two meals for our family of four. It reheats well and is a solid recipe, despite not being our top sauce.

  • Erin
    Jan 17, 2017

    Great recipe! I use 1 lb ground turkey and 1 lb hot turkey Italian sausage instead of beef. Also, instead of water, I use red wine. This is our favorite recipe for spaghetti with meat sauce. :)

  • theresahill
    Nov 3, 2016

    Very good... My family loved it and very convenient to have ready after a long day of work. Will definitely make again.

  • GStaelens
    Aug 31, 2015


  • angela32
    Jul 10, 2015

    Very good...the family loved it. I added a tad more sugar to cut the tomato acid, but that's it and that was just to suite a couple sensitive tummies :)

  • jsgoldn
    Oct 26, 2013

    Very good.