Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

A no-fuss, hands-off slow cooker tomato sauce made with simple ingredients. You only need a few minutes to get the ingredients ready (no pre-cooking required!) before they simmer together in the slow cooker. 

overhead photo of a spoonful of tomato sauce

Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

For many years my slow cooker languished in a dark cabinet because of my belief that nothing good comes from a slow cooker. I know, what was I thinking? That long-held belief has been proven wrong over the past year after I rolled my sleeves up determined to make peace with the long-neglected appliance. French onion soup, short rib sliders, and shredded BBQ chicken all did wonders to adjust my bad attitude so now find myself looking for ways to put it to better use in my kitchen.

Inspired by an oven tomato sauce I made a while back – a fun weekend project, but not something that is doable on a Tuesday –  I wondered if I could use the some of the same ingredients and just toss them in the slow cooker without all steps required in the original. Spoiler alert: I did just that and four hands-off hours later I had a rich, flavorful slow cooker tomato sauce.

Some Ingredients You’ll Need

  • 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes
  • Roughly chopped onion and garlic
  • Vegetable stock
  • Salt pork
  • Italian seasoning
  • Fresh herbs

How to Make Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

  • Roughly chop the onion and garlic. Toss them in the slow cooker.
  • Roughly chop the salt pork. You don’t need to cook it ahead – it will basically melt into the sauce as it simmers all day. Toss it in the slow cooker, too.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes, vegetable stock, Italian seasoning, and herbs. Give it all a stir, cover the slow cooker with the lid and set the cooker to high.
  • Simmer the sauce for four hours.
  • I like a smooth sauce so I used my immersion blender to puree the sauce.
  • Serve it right away with your favorite pasta or portion it out and freeze it to have on hand for later!

I still love weekend cooking projects that require lots of time and steps, but I’ve learned that my slow cooker is a great stand-in when time and energy are short and multiple steps and processes are a hassle. Which is basically every weeknight lately.

Happy slow cooking!

overhead photo of jars filled with tomato sauce

More Slow Cooker Recipes


Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

jars of tomato sauce

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A no-fuss slow cooker tomato sauce. This sauce takes only a few minutes to prep and a few hours in the slow cooker!

  • Author: April @ Girl Gone Gourmet
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 28 servings 1x
  • Category: Sauces
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 2.5 ounces salt pork, chopped (see note)
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (see note)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


  1. Combine everything except the parsley in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for four hours.
  2. Puree the sauce using an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the fresh herbs.
  3. Store the tomato sauce for up to a week in the refrigerator or store in the freezer for several months.


  • Look for salt pork near the meat counter at the grocery store.
  • Because the sauce is pureed the vegetables just need a rough chop. If you like a chunkier sauce, chop the vegetables smaller and skip the pureeing step in the recipe.
  • The recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of salt, but depending on how you use the sauce you may want to season it a little more. I left it a little under-seasoned since I use the sauce in different recipes that may have extra salt.


  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup of sauce
  • Calories: 69
  • Sugar: 2.9g
  • Sodium: 284.1mg
  • Fat: 2.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 11.2g
  • Fiber: 1.6g
  • Protein: 2.4g

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  1. this is great! spaghetti is the one thing I can count on both my kids to eat and I’ve been looking for slow cooker meals since I’m working from home and it makes me feel all cozy to smell it all day. I bet this would freeze nicely too.

    My favorite slow cooker meal is chicken brunswick stew. It’s sweet and spicy at the same time and really easy to keep everything on hand so when the call comes for snow I only have to panic for bread and milk … everything else is almost always in the house. 🙂

  2. Hi! I love this idea, but wondered if you could suggest an alternative to the salt pork that would accomplish the same thing…I don’t eat pork for religious reasons, but am assuming it gives quite a bit of flavor to this recipe. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jessica, the salt pork mostly adds fat as it pretty much melts into the sauce as it cooks all day. You could try subbing turkey bacon, although it will change the flavor as bacon is smoked. Or, if you want to go meatless you could sub 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. I hope that helps!

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