Crock Pot Marinara Sauce

If you make this marinara, I’m almost positive that you’ll never buy a jar of sauce ever again, if you have a choice in the matter. It’s free of any added sugars or oils, which makes it extremely calorie and Smart Points friendly.

It’s also huge on flavor! Nothing against anyone who uses a jar of sauce, I used jarred sauces of all different varieties for years and years. I never even thought making homemade sauce was a thing that normal people did until I did a Whole 30 Challenge two years ago.

Now jarred sauces are a thing of the past in this house. I made this into a bulk freezer recipe because like most people, I don’t have time to make a fresh pot of sauce every single time I need some.

I simply measure out about two cups into quart freezer bags, lay them flat, and stack them in the freezer. This recipe makes about 5 freezer bags with 2 cups of sauce in each bag.

crockpot marinara 0 smart points
crockpot marinara 0 smart points

imageIf you like your sauce chunky, leave it the way it is when it comes out of the crockpot.

However, I like it to be more smooth, so it goes a little farther and is a little more versatile. So I either run it through a blender, or use the immersion blender when it’s fairly cool.

I use this in 90% of the recipes that require a sauce, and also for pizzas! Since it’s really just tomatoes and spices, It’s ZERO smart points for as much as you want!

ENJOY!

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5 from 12 votes
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Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

A freezer friendly, delicious tomato based sauce
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 5 minutes
Author MamaCupcake

Ingredients

  • 3- 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2- 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 5 garlic cloves minced (or about 3 tbs already minced garlic)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 tbs oregano, dried
  • 2 tbs basil, dried I also use fresh when I have some from the garden)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes more or less depending on the level of spice you'd like
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix all of your ingredients in a 6 quart slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours to really get all of those lovely flavors to mingle and fall in love with each other. Let cool completely before adding to freezer bags.

  2. Optional: For smoother sauce, use an immersion hand blender, or put in a blender. Blend until desired consistency .

    *If using a blender make sure the sauce is cool or blend in small batches*

Recipe Notes

0 Freestyle Smart Points for any amount (calculated with Weight Watchers Recipe Builder) 

0 Smart Points for any amount! (Calculated with Weight Watchers recipe builder)

0 Points Plus for any amount (calculated with My Score Plus) 

60 calories per 1/2 cup of sauce (Calculated with My Fitness Pal)

108 Comments

  1. Do you thaw in refrigerator the day/night prior to using it (probably an obvious answer but still have to ask haha)

    • mamacupcake

      I usually take it out of the freezer the night before, but the day of is fine too! If you’re in a bind and forgot to take it out. (Like me) just get a bowl of hot water and thaw it for about five minutes- it’s a pretty quick thaw! ☺️

    • undercoverweightwatcher

      I love making homemade marinara. I’m Italian, so I can’t go too many days before I need pasta and red sauce. I love San Marzano or Cento canned tomatoes. A bit of crushed red pepper, garlic, and fresh basil and I’m a happy girl.
      I need to try your crockpot recipe so I can have a big batch in the freezer for ever and always.

  2. Is there a Pinterest link for this recipe?

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  4. Robyn Mackelprang

    Looks so good! Heading to the store to get ingredients 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  5. Michelle Leyko

    Very good and easy recipe. I made one batch and when my freezer supply is over, I will be making another. So handy to have on hand.

    • mamacupcake

      Being a busy mama – easy and quick is one of my favorite things! I’m so glad you enjoyed and found it easy to prepare! 🙂

  6. I didn’t come up with zero smart points in the recipe builder, the diced tomatoes do have points. Still lower in points than jarred marinara!

  7. I made this for the Garden Veggie Bake (in my oven now!) and it is SO DELICIOUS. It is also the easiest sauce I have ever made! I’m so happy I found your blog 🙂

  8. Making this in the crockpot today and I’m so excited! I had some of trader Joe’s fresh brushetta left over, so I threw it in the mix too.

  9. Erin Stuart

    Do I have to use the crock pot? If not, how long do you recommend cooking it on the stove?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Erin! You don’t have to use the crockpot, but the trick to getting the marinara to taste so good and for the tomatoes to lose the acidic taste is to cook as long as possible. I would cook on the stove on low and for as long as possible. I’d say try to simmer for at least an hour, taste it, and if it tastes good then you are good to go!

  10. Hi Star,

    I am currently making this sauce and inputting it into the recipe builder and I have a couple of questions! What did you put as the serving in the app? Also, when I input the brand name cans of crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes, it is coming out to 2 points per serving. I’m thinking maybe because there is sugar in the canned tomatoes? I’m just trying to get it figured out in my app so I can create the recipe. Thank you!

    • Hi Katie, All fruits have natural sugars in them, so most likely that is why it is calculating out to have points. If you scanned a bag of apples it would also have points. If you look at the list of ingredients and it has no additional sugars/oil then it will be 0 Points. This recipe yields about 6 cups. I hope that helps! Best, Star

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  13. Thanks for a great recipe! I made this today and it made my house smell terrific. A little spicy for my kiddos but my husband and I loved it. Next time, I’ll just take the red pepper flakes down a notch.

    • So happy you liked it! I should actually put a disclaimer saying to add a little less red pepper if not sure of the amount of spice you’d like. (I tend to like things a little more spicy) I’m so happy you enjoyed it despite that.

  14. Your recipe calls for crushed tomatoes, but i see in your photo they look like whole tomatoes. Did you do it both ways and prefer one to the other?
    You said 2cups per bag and you got 5 bags, but in a comment back to someone you said it yeilds 6 cups. I got about 5 quarts of sauce. I have’nt tried it yet as its still cooking. But it certainly smells wonderful in my house.

    • I use whole tomatoes and crushed tomatoes depending on what I grab at the store. It truly doesn’t make much of a difference. It just requires the extra step of blending with a immersion blender or blender. I find that not everyone has a immersion blender or likes to put things in a stand blender so I put the easiest method for the recipe so that everyone can enjoy. I hope you enjoyed the sauce. It sure makes the house smell like you’ve been slaving over a stove all day!

  15. This has to go in my “favorites” because it’s zero points and I use it regularly!

  16. Do you have to put onions in the marinara sauce mix or can you do without? I’m dealing with a picky eater of a husband!

    • This marinara is super customizable. I’ve made without a time or two just because I was out. It still has a very rich flavor. =) Be sure not to skip on the seasonings and garlic otherwise it will taste mostly like tomatoes then. I hope y’all enjoy!

  17. This sauce is great! I can use it in any recipe instead of spaghetti sauce so I’m not adding any extra points. I love it makes a lot so I can freeze it to pull out whenever I need it.

  18. Have you or could I put mushrooms in this?

    • I don’t see why not. I personally hate mushrooms. Haha! Every once and awhile I add bell peppers and carrots to get more of veggie rich marinara so It should work just fine. I would use fresh!

  19. Have you ever canned the sause?

    • I haven’t, but I don’t see any reason it would not work. Maybe I’ll take an adventure into the canning world and try it out. I’ve never canned anything before!

  20. TANILLE MENDENHALL

    LOVE this sauce!!! I have ditched the jarred spaghetti sauce and have been relying exclusively on this marinara in all of my recipes for the last 8 months. I typically get 11-12 cups of sauce after using the immersion blender. So easy, so versatile, so delicious, and only 0 points….I mean seriously?! I feel like I’m writing a commercial for this sauce, but I just had to thank you for this recipe–and all of your recipes!!!

  21. this sauce is the BEST I’ve made! And…I’ve tried plenty! So appreciate the Weight Watcher info as well!! Thanks!

  22. Hi! I put this into my recipe builder on WW and when I edited it to be a “drink” (aka something that it blended, which makes it count the fruits and vegetables’ points since it’s now a liquid) the sauce had 1 point per serving 🙁 Do you just leave it in the recipe as is and not say that it’s been blended (aka mark it as a “drink” in the recipe builder)? Thanks for your help! I’m new to this WW stuff!

    • Hi Sam! I really don’t follow the blended rule when it comes to the marinara. It’s not a total liquid. I only follow it from time to time with higher sugar blended fruits. I hope that helps! Use with your own discretion of course, but I don’t think some crushed up tomatoes and seasonings are really going to do too much damage. Hope you enjoy!

  23. Whitney D

    Love this sauce! Love it even more since it has ZERO Smart Points! I put it in the crockpot before going to bed last night and the house smelled HEAVENLY this morning! Definitely has a kick to it with the red pepper! What would you recommend to dial it down a notch or two? Thought about just adding another can of diced tomatoes and maybe a tad bit of Splenda to add a slight sweet taste.

    • I am so happy you like it! I should really put a disclaimer about the red pepper. A little goes A LONG way and if you’re not a lover of a bit of spicy it can be surprising. haha! I would suggest maybe adding another can of diced tomatoes and it might lessen the spice overall. You could add splenda, but I don’t know how that would taste because I’ve never tried it. I’ve added carrots for a “sweetness” before in the sauce. I’m sorry I don’t have a better solution! Keep in mind you’ll probably be making it to go into things so the level of spice should drown out a bit!

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  25. Danielle bentley

    Can you do this in an instant pot?

  26. Pam Freeman

    I sent an email before I saw this and see someone ask the same question about the instant pot! I may try that but either way, I am looking forward to making this!!! YUM! and 0pts!

  27. If you don’t have any basil, can you up the oregano?

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  29. Hi there you say to use the following:

    3- 28 oz cans Crushed Tomatoes, no salt added
    2- 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes

    Can I ask where you are finding Crushed tomatoes with no salt? I can’t seem to find ANY anywhere! I can find DICED tomatoes with no salt.. but no crushed ones. Can I crush my own with the diced?

    Also do your diced tomatoes have salt or also no salt?

    Thanks!

    • Hey Kayla, When I first started making the recipe years ago there was crushed tomatoes with no salt added in just about every brand. Now, they are harder to find. I make them with either one and it doesn’t affect the taste, points, or calories. I also switch back and forth between no salt added or regular diced tomatoes. It depends mostly as to what I have on hand when I need to make it. If you are trying to watch your sodium content then for sure just use all diced tomatoes with no salt added, add salt to your liking, and blend the sauce with an immersion blender to achieve a smoother sauce.

  30. Hi there, found you on Instagram and checked out your page. Nice recipes and I will have to make this one! I have weight watcher recipes on my site as well. Check it out!

    • Welcome, Just bookmarked your page and I’ll check it out soon! The first photo I saw of the shrimp pasta looked gorgeous =) Enjoy the sauce, it’s a favorite!!

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  33. Hi Star,

    Not sure if you would even know the answer (or if another poster has already asked), but since it’s summer & I have SO MANY fresh tomatoes, if I wanted to use fresh vs. canned, would I simply just swap using the same weight/amount?

    Thanks!

    • I have yet to try using fresh tomatoes. This is the first year I will have an abundance of garden tomatoes to test it out with! I was in the school of thought that you needed to take the skin off tomatoes and de-seed them. So I was personally always turned off by having to do all of that. Ha ha! But after a little research I have found that a lot of people just dice them up and throw them in a pot to make homemade sauce without worrying about the skins and such. I am excited to try for myself soon! I would say about 6-7 cups of diced tomatoes would be about the same. I will test it out soon myself and I’ll update the post with what I find out.

  34. Beth Waller

    We love this sauce, I’m in the UK, so use plum tomatoes and chopped. I’m attempting this in my electric pressure cooker right now, so will update you on how it comes out 🙂

  35. Have you ever used fresh tomatoes in this sauce? I have a ton I need to pick and would love to use them in a few different ways!

    • I finally have now! It works perfectly! Just dice the tomatoes up. I honestly didn’t measure so I can’t tell you for sure how many cups I used. I’d have to say probably about 5 cups of diced fresh tomatoes.

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  38. I made this a couple of months ago & really liked the ease of it and being able to have it on hand. Mine still tasted kind of acidic even after cooking for eight hours. Do you have any tips on how to remedy that? Thanks!

  39. How long will this last in the freezer?

  40. Thank you so much for this 0 points recipe! I canned it and it made about 5 pints if anyone needs the info.

  41. Do you have an optional recipe for Instantpot?

    • I don’t have an Instant Pot, but I’ve seen people use theirs with this recipe. I’m not sure of the temp/setting, but they said it took only one hour in it. Hope that helps a bit!

  42. Tbs? Tablespoons or teaspoons?

  43. Tbs? Tablespoons or teaspoons?

  44. Do you have suggested recipes to use this marinara with? Thanks!

    • I love using it for a lot of things- A few of my favorites here: Meatball Sub Bubble Up, Chicken Parmesan Meatballs, Pepperoni Pizza Sandwiches, and Cheesy Chicken Tortellini Bake!

  45. Kris Fosgate

    My sauce turned out too thin. Not sure why. I cooked it 9 hours in crockpot.

    • Did you blend it together? Unfortunately, sometimes, it can really boil down to that the tomatoes themselves that were canned were filled with water.

  46. I made this yesterday and it’s fabulous! Next time, I will tone down the red pepper flakes and possibly the oregano for my family’s taste. My boyfriend and my eldest son loved it, my middle son thought it was too spicy and my youngest son, who only will eat Ragu, wouldn’t even try it…ha! I did add a little Truvia (maybe 1 packet) just to cut a bit of the acidity and it was fine, still tasted amazing! I just know I’ll be making this over and over and I’m so happy that now I can “afford” to actually eat pasta too. I also used it for lunch today to make english muffin pizzas and they were so good with this sauce! I wish I found this earlier in my life!

  47. Angie Janicek

    I’m sorry if I’ve missed this somewhere. I want to put this in My Fitness Pal but don’t see how many servings it makes. I tried 12 but it was saying 90 calories a serving. Would it be more like 18? BTW, I love this recipe and so do my kiddos!!!

  48. Hello! Is the only way to store this sauce in the freezer? How long is it good before freezing it?

  49. about how many 1/2 servings do you get from this recipe?

  50. Hi! So excited to try this recipe, and I’m curious how many freezer bags you divide it into? Just so I know how to portion it all out! 🙂 Thank you!!

  51. Love this recipe! I do freeze it and pull it down to the fridge as needed. Just wondering, do you happen to know how long it’s good in the fridge for? Thanks!

  52. This is an easy and amazing recipe! You’re right, it is sooooooo flavourful & perfect for weight watchers. The house smells so amazing when it is cooking too. I will definitely be making this again. Loved it!

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  54. Mary Jones

    Star,
    I made this Crockpot Marinara Sauce and loved it. I thought if it was that good why not make a Crockpot Enchilada Sauce. To make it I used the following:
    1 large onion chopped
    3 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
    3 – 10.5oz. Rotel diced tomatoes with habaneros (for milder/less spicy use the one w/green chilies.)
    1/2 cup Ortega Taco Seasoning Mix 40% Less Sodium (or your favorite Taco Seasoning Mix).
    I put all of it in the crockpot and cooked on low for 8 hours then let it cool before bagging for the freezer for future use.
    I tried figuring out the Smartpoints but math isn’t my strong point. Seasoning Mix is 2 tsp. per serving. I used 1/2 Cup seasoning mix divided by 2 tsp. There are 24 tsp in a 1/2 Cup. I’m thinking it’s 1-1.25Smartpoints per cup with 10 cups of sauce. I’ll need someone to figure it out for sure.
    I’ll use it to simmer in Canned Chicken, Ground Beef and Ground Turkey in for more flavor for Tacos. Another could be a base for Chicken Tortilla or Taco Soups. Also as a topping/Ranchero type sauce for Beef Enchiladas.

  55. I bought red gold crushed tomatoes and they scanned at 1 point per serving and using 3 cans would be way too many points. What brand tomatoes do you use?

    • They are scanning most likely because there is natural sugars in them. If there isn’t sugar in the ingredients and it says just tomatoes, salt, spices even then it’s fine and they are actually zero points

  56. Soula Twiddy

    I’m not a big fan of chunky tomatoes and I don’t have a blender, could I use tomato sauce instead and would I use 5 cans or does that need to be modified?

    • It should be fine! I would use some crushed tomatoes (not chunky) as well because the tomato sauce alone might be REALLY smooth almost liquid-y?

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  58. Heather Vazquez

    Can you please clarify the measurement abbreviations? Is tbs Teaspoons or Tablespoons? Typically Tablespoon is Tbsp. and teaspoon is tsp. But you have tsp listed for some of the ingredients like the garlic and red pepper flakes and tbs for the basil and oregano, I assumed it was a typo and means Tablespoon however 2 Tablespoons of oregano and basil seems like a LOT!

    • I never realized I didn’t type it out clearly. No one has ever said anything, whoops!
      I think I always write tbs. I’ve never thought about it. haha
      It’s tablespoon for everything except for salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
      Garlic is actually 5 cloves (freshly minced) or 3 tablespoons already minced (like jar stuff from produce section)
      two tablespoons is a lot for the oregano and basil, but it’s correct. You make a bunch’a sauce and it’s packed full of flavor. I hope ya enjoy & sorry bout the confusion!

  59. Allison Gehringer

    I made this over the weekend of crazy prepping and I love it! I have five quart freezer jars full stocked up! We already used one for pasta last night and my husband had two helpings! Thank you for your delicious and easy-to-follow recipes!

  60. This is way better then any store bought stuff and for 0 points!!! Making another batch today

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  62. Ok this lived up to all the hype!! It was delicious!!! My picky 11 year old even said he could eat it with a spoon . It made enough to feed us all dinner tonight plus 4 Jars to freeze. I’m in love. Thanks so much for the recipe.

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