I love using a prepared marinara sauce and dressing it up with a little extra seasoning like what I usually do in my spaghetti recipes! It’s so easy to do and offers a great short cut to delicious results. This is one of my favorite crock pot pasta dishes, so let’s head to the kitchen and get cooking!
This Crock Pot Spaghetti Recipe is full of so many wonderful things. It’s hard to narrow it down to just a few things that I love, but for you– I’ll try!
- The easy prep
- Feeds a crowd
- Every noodle is generously coated
- The classic Italian flavors
Managing the Moisture- If the sauce is too tight, simply add a little broth or water and stir. However, decreasing moisture in a runny sauce can be a little more tricky. You can prop open the top with a wooden spoon or remove it entirely. You can also drape a clean kitchen towel across the pot under the lid. Beware you’ll probably stain your towel, but it’s quite effective at soaking up excess moisture!
Cooking Time – Look, every crock pot is different. Period. There’s no magic cooking time I can tell you. What’s in the recipe is a general guideline: 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Exact cooking time may (will) vary based on your cooker.
Sausage- I love the flavor of Italian sausage, but you can also go 1/2 sausage, 1/2 ground beef or turkey. You can also use spicy Italian sausage to add a bit of zip!
Sauce – The sugar in the recipe is important. It may seem a little odd to have sugar in a spaghetti recipe, but it’s actually pretty standard among tomato sauce recipes. The sugar helps to cut the acidity of the tomato sauce and make the whole recipe smoother.
Veggies- Feel free to add veggies like mushrooms, green pepper, or zucchini to this. You’ll need to gauge when it is best to put them in for maximum flavor and texture. Also, be aware they might add extra moisture to the sauce.
Noodles- I break the spaghetti in half so I can evenly coat it all in sauce. This is super important! Pasta in the crock pot gets softer than boiled, so it likes to clump. I also suggest giving it a stir once or twice during cooking.
Stir the noodles every 20 minutes, making sure they stay under the sauce as much as possible. Different brands of pasta take different amounts of time to cook. I generally use the brand Barilla and find I like to cook it for about 45 minutes
The finished spaghetti in this recipe comes out similar in texture to a spaghetti casserole. It is much, much softer than pasta cooked to al dente. However, be careful that the pasta doesn’t cook too long either. It will become really mushy—totally unappealing. To avoid this, check the pasta after it has been cooking for 40-45 minutes.
No Vino– If you don’t have or want to use red wine, you can substitute chicken or beef broth. You can use water in a pinch, but it might dilute the flavor slightly.
Adding Cheese – Use a combination of parmesan, mozzarella, and cream cheese in your slow cooker for a cheesy, easy crock pot spaghetti dish. Adding cheese to this dish makes it a little denser, but just as delicious. The cream cheese will help to make the sauce oh-so-creamy.
Slow Cooker Spaghetti Storing Tips
Glass dishes with a tight-fitting lid are best to use to store Slow Cooker Spaghetti. The sauce stains plasticware, and the tomato sauce can react with metal. Glass is the way to go and makes reheating super easy!
Can You Freeze This?
Pasta done in the Crockpot gets quite soft. After a trip through the deep freeze and reheat, the texture of the pasta is not going to hold well. Of course, it’ll still taste great! If you want to freeze a component of this, I suggest freezing just the sauce. You can reheat it on the stove and boil the noodles for a great mid-week meal with sauce that tastes like it has simmered all day!
Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce Make Ahead Tips
Since pasta gets so soft in a slow cooker, I suggest making the sauce ahead of time and then making the noodles when you’re ready to serve. The crockpot spaghetti sauce stores great in the fridge or freezer and can be reheated in the slow cooker or on the stove when you’re ready for it.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Following the FDA guidelines, most leftovers or cooked dishes are good for 3-4 days in the fridge.
Crock pot Spaghetti can have several different variations. Add meat or veggies or change up the pasta. It’s all going to taste great!
Can I Bake This Instead?
Crock Pot Spaghetti has all the great taste and texture of baked spaghetti without the fuss of cooking noodles separately. The added bonus of the long-simmered sauce with its tremendous depth of flavor is another point for the slow cooker. However, if you’re set on trying something like baked spaghetti with cream cheese, you could try adding cheese to sauce or melting a layer of mozzarella and Parmesan on top before serving.
Can I Cook This In An Instant Pot?
Crockpot Spaghetti can easily become Instant Pot spaghetti using the Instant Pot’s slow cooker setting. It does hold on to moisture even more than a traditional slow cooker, so monitor the consistency closely. Making instant pot spaghetti and meatballs would be a simple as adding some frozen Italian meatballs when you add the pasta.
Can I Make This In A Casserole?
This recipe would make a great spaghetti casserole, just like baked spaghetti. Chicken spaghetti casserole is snap to make. Shred about 2 cups of chicken instead of the Italian sausage. It’s a great way to use up leftover chicken!
What Other Types Of Pasta I Can Use?
Spaghetti is only one type of pasta you can use to make this recipe. Any pasta noodle, long or short, will work. You will just have to adjust the cooking time since small noodles will cook quicker. I love using the slow cooker to make pasta recipes.
A couple more of my favorites are crock pot mac and cheese and crockpot lasagna. They’re both fantastic options that leverage the convenience of the crockpot to create flavorful, family friendly dishes that feed and please a crowd!
Can I Make This With A Mexican Twist?
Can I Make This Into Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs?
This recipe would be so easy to make into crock pot spaghetti and meatballs. To create a spaghetti and meatballs recipe I suggest making my easy Italian baked meatballs or using a frozen option. Since they will be precooked, you can stir them into the sauce when you add the pasta.
Crock Pot Spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound sweet Italian sausage casing removed
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 4-6 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 2 (26-Ounce) marinara sauce
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 pound spaghetti uncooked
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add Italian sausage, onion and garlic and cook over medium heat until sausage is cooked through. Drain off excess fat. Pour drained sausage mixture into a large crock pot.
- Add salt, pepper, oregano, basil, rosemary, sugar, 2 jars marinara sauce, red wine, and water and stir together. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low 6-8 hours.
- Turn crockpot on high for the last hour and add spaghetti. Break noodles, as needed to fit into crockpot. Stir the noodles well into the sauce so they're coated with the sauce. Check pasta after 45 minutes to see if the spaghetti is done. Add more water as needed to loosen the sauce.
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Spaghetti, spaghetti, and more spaghetti! I’ve got tons of Spaghetti recipes from traditional to ultra cheesy. They’re all spectacular, family favorites!
- Italian Spaghetti
- Spaghetti Pie
- Chicken Spaghetti Bake
- Million Dollar Spaghetti
- Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti
Crockpot spaghetti is one of those ridiculously easy, ridiculously delicious that you’ll find yourself making again and again. The depth of flavor will knock your socks off, and it couldn’t be easier to make.
I know you’re going to love the taste and ease of this family favorite! Be sure to let me know how it goes for you and leave me a comment!