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Crock Pot Marinara Sauce

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If you make this crock pot marinara sauce, 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 weight watchers friendly.

It’s 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, squeeze out as much air as possible, 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

If you like your sauce chunky, blend it less.

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 almost all 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!


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    4.89 from 202 votes

    Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

    A freezer friendly, delicious slow cooked marinara sauce with spices and herbs.
    Prep Time5 minutes
    Active Time8 hours
    Total Time8 hours 5 minutes
    Yield: 10 cups
    Author: Star @ the skinny-ish dish


    • 3 cans 28 oz crushed tomatoes preferably a higher quality brand. I use Cento (big yellow can) (you may also use diced or whole tomatoes even tomato sauce if that's all you can find- drain extra liquid if using diced/whole tomatoes)
    • 2 14.5 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes drained
    • 8 garlic cloves minced
    • 1 yellow large onion diced
    • 2 tbsp dried oregano
    • 2 tbsp dried basil
    • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes more or less depending on the level of spice you’d like
    • 1-½ tsp kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon pepper
    • 1-2 bay leaves (optional)


    • Stir 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.
      Salt and Pepper to taste when finished.
    • For smoother sauce: use an immersion hand blender, or put in a blender. Blend on low until desired consistency.
      For thicker sauce: tilt the lid off of the crockpot and cook on high for about 30-60 minutes. This will reduce the sauce some so that it's thicker. Depending on the canned tomatoes sometimes the sauce can be a bit more "water-y".
      Reheating after freezing: You can add sauce to your favorite recipe. If you think it seems a bit "water-y" this is normal and can happen depending on the actual tomatoes after they were picked and canned. You can put sauce in a pot on the stove without a cover and heat over medium-low heat reducing it until you reach desired consistency.
      *If using a blender make sure the sauce is cool or blend in small batches*
    • Freezing instructions: Let cool completely. I usually add about 2 cups to each freezer bag, press as much air out as possible, close the bag, and then stack on top of eachother in the freezer to save space.


    Makes about 10 cups of sauce. 

    60 calories for about 1/2 cup of sauce 

    WeightWatchers Points: 0 (any amount)
    Note: Not very often, but every once and awhile I get a comment/email saying that this sauce is bitter. Now this may just be your taste buds, but it can also be the quality of the canned tomatoes that were bought. If this happens, you can add a little sugar (which could add points) or some zero calorie sweetener to offset the “bitter” taste. I like to use either Swerve or Whole Earth Sweetener, but use whichever one you enjoy. I would start with just a couple teaspoons then taste and adjust with salt and pepper as well. 

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    1. 5 stars
      This is my favorite marinara sauce. Have you ever canned it instead of freezing it? Just wondered if it needs to be pressure canned or if it’s OK to water bath can it as long as I add some lemon juice to the jars.

    2. 5 stars
      This is my absolute favorite marinara! Question- is it possible to make with fresh tomatoes? I have so many id hate to make with canned if I can use my MANY tomatoes from the garden lol

    3. My Sicilian Mother-in-law always added a small, peeled potato to her Marinara sauce to offset the bitterness instead of sugar.

    4. 5 stars
      Hi star! currently making the crockpot marinara but only have fresh basil and not dried – how much fresh would you say to use?

    5. 5 stars
      This is An absolute staple in our house. My kids are obsessed with this sauce, and I love incorporating it into my meal plans. Pasta sauce, pizza sauce, marinara with bread. We make this at least twice a month.

    6. 5 stars
      Obsessed with this sauce. I make it monthly, freeze it, and thaw when needed. It’s been such a huge hit! It’s the only sauce my three year old will eat. Thank you for this recipe!

    7. I must have done something wrong – I made this and it tasted so acidic. Any thoughts on what could have gone wrong or what I can do better next time?

      1. Hi Veronica! Sometimes (not very often) I will get this sort of question when it comes to this marinara and I’m not sure what could have gone wrong. It could have been that the actual tomatoes that were canned in the very beginning were on the super acidic side, but it could also be that you taste the acidic side more. There are a couple things that I’ve read about that you can do to help this. When you heat up the tomato sauce again add about 1/4 tsp baking soda to it as it heats up. This should reduce the bitterness (although I’ve never tried it-i had a reader tell me this trick) the other trick is stevia/sugar to taste. I have added a teaspoon of stevia before with a more bitter batch. Another thing you can do (from a reader again I haven’t tried) is grate a carrot in with the sauce and that adds a hint of sweetness. I hope this helps a bit! Thank you!

      2. For acid, I’ve had good success with a little bit of wine (red or white) and or lemon juice (also like just a tad of brown sugar)….

    8. 5 stars
      This sauce is easy to make, tastes delicious and freezes easily. It’s always on hand in our house. 🙂

    9. 5 stars
      Absolutely perfect! I started the sauce early this morning, and it was ready for a WW eggplant recipe by late afternoon. The leftovers are already in the freezer, and I can’t wait to use them for something else!

    10. 5 stars
      My whole family loves this recipe. We recently moved so I had to give away my freezer stash and everyone keeps asking for the recipe we are making it today to rebuild my stash of pizza sauce! Even my 16 month picky eater loves it.

    11. 5 stars
      This is not only delicious but so easy. Freezes well so you always have marinara on hand. Do yourself a favor and double the batch!!

    12. You used to have a zero point Marinara sauce recipe that was done on the stove top (instead of a crockpot) I can no longer find the recipe though. Is it the same ingredients as this? And how long do we cook it on the stovetop? We loved that version when we tried it but I just dont have 8 hours to wait on the crockpot.

      1. that wasn’t my recipe, sorry! I always do this. You can always make the crockpot version ahead of time and freeze then you wouldn’t have to wait 8 hours.

        1. If I wanted to can this sauce instead of freezing it, do you have any suggestions?

        2. Hi Britany! I’m so sorry, I have very little experience canning, but wish I had more! I don’t feel confident giving any advice on it, but I’m sure if you looked up “how to can marinara sauce” someone with much more experience has written on the topic and you should be able to use their tips with my recipe. =)

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