This slow cooker Parmesan meat sauce is slow-cooked and full of flavor. Perfectly seasoned and goes great over fresh pasta. It can be easily frozen so you can have fresh sauce any day of the year!
You don’t have to be Italian to make a delicious batch of homemade sauce!
A crowd-pleaser for sure, even the pickiest kids will dive into a bowl of pasta and meat sauce.
The mushrooms and the ground beef make this sauce an umami bomb, full of savory flavors and meatiness.
This slow cooker Parmesan meat sauce is super simple to make, and the slow cooker does all of the work for you.
And the best part is, you can make a giant batch, and freeze it!
Ingredients for slow cooker parmesan meat sauce
- Ground beef – Ground beef is easy to find and affordable. It adds body and great flavor to the sauce.
- Onion and garlic – Onion and garlic are classic additions and add a subtle earthy flavor.
- Parmesan cheese – Parmesan cheese is an Italian cow’s milk cheese, that’s aged for at least 12 months.
- Diced tomatoes – A great pantry staple, diced tomatoes are diced and canned at the peak of freshness, so they’re ready when you are!
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms help add meatiness to this sauce, without actually adding more meat. They soak up the flavors around them and provide excellent texture.
- Bay leaves – These are great for adding a savory flavor throughout the sauce. Remember to discard before serving.
- Italian seasoning – Easily found in the grocery store, brands vary in their specific blend, but it is usually a combination of herbs like dried basil, oregano, and thyme. Feel free to use your favorite.
- Crushed red pepper flake – This will give our slow cooker parmesan meat sauce a spicy kick! Add as much or as little as you would like.
Making this meat-free
You could absolutely omit the ground beef and use double the amount of mushrooms if you’re looking for a meat-free option.
Mushrooms provide a savory, umami flavor, and provide a meaty texture. It would taste great!
If you’re not a fan of the variety that is in an Italian seasoning blend, feel free to use some simple fresh or dried basil instead.
You could also omit the red pepper flakes if you’re looking to keep this dish free from spice.
I know the first thing that comes to mind is pasta, and that’s a classic! But this sauce can be served in many different ways.
You can use this sauce in lasagna, and eggplant parmesan, and it’s even delicious on top of a baked potato!
How to freeze this slow cooker parmesan meat sauce
One of the best parts of this sauce is that it’s super easy to freeze!
You could easily double this recipe, to make a huge batch, and freeze it into freezer-safe containers to use any time you need it.
Here’s how to do it: after the sauce is done cooking, cool it to room temperature, and divide it evenly into freezer-safe containers.
It will last in the freezer for up to 6 months!
To use it, thaw it a day before in the refrigerator, and then heat it up in the microwave in a microwave-safe dish until hot, or you could also heat it on the stove in a pot.
More pasta and sauce recipes
- One of my most popular recipes! Try my Cajun Shrimp Alfredo.
- Craving a one-pot meal? Try my One Pot Ground Chicken Fajita Pasta.
- Need an easy yet showstopper of a dish? Try my Pasta with Shrimp and Feta.
- Want a fast and easy pasta recipe? Try my 20 Minute Kalamata Olive, Tomato and Caper Pasta.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 pound sliced mushrooms
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
In a large skillet add olive oil over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is hot add in the ground beef, mushrooms, yellow onion, and garlic.
Cook until the meat is browned and the mushrooms and onions are soft.
Add meat mixture to a large slow cooker and add in the remaining ingredients.
Stir to combine and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours.
If the mixture gets too thick while cooking you can thin it out with a little more tomato sauce, stock, or wine.
Remove the bay leaves before serving over pasta or with garlic bread.