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Crock Pot Spaghetti

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posted: 09/24/22

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Crock Pot Spaghetti is such an easy slow cooker dinner. With its easy meat sauce, this is a meal that your whole family will fall in love with.

Overhead photo of Crock Pot Spaghetti recipe in a crock pot.

I think there are days for all of us where getting any meal on the table feels like a stretch. If you add in things like well rounded and something my kids will actually eat, it feels almost impossible.

This Crock Pot Spaghetti is the answer. It is made in the slow cooker, which automatically makes it a winner. This dinner recipe comes together with simple ingredients, scoring even more points. Finally, it is a total win with kids and it is absolute comfort, making it the Grand Poohbah of great dinner ideas.

How to Make Spaghetti in the Crock Pot

Here is a brief overview of how to make crockpot spaghetti. Your home will smell amazing and your family will love coming home to a warm and hearty meal. See the recipe card at the bottom of the post for the full recipe and measurements.

  1. Brown the beef. Cook the ground beef over medium heat until it is broken up and browned. Drain off the grease.
  2. Make the sauce. Spray the base of your crockpot with cooking spray. Pour in the chicken stock, spaghetti sauce, and seasonings and stir to combine.
  3. Add the pasta. Add the uncooked spaghetti (you may need to break the noodles in half to fit) to the slow cooker. Gently stir and press down so that it is completely covered by the liquid.
  4. Cook the spaghetti. Cover and cook until pasta is done, 2-4 hours depending on the heat setting.
  5. Add cheese. Give the spaghetti a good stir and stir in cream cheese and parmesan if desired.
Overhead photo of Crock Pot Spaghetti recipe served in a bowl with parmesan cheese.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

One of the things that can make this meal really quick to throw together is using jarred spaghetti sauce. That being said, I know a lot of people prefer to cook completely from scratch. If that is you, I suggest you make my homemade spaghetti sauce the night before you want to make this delicious spaghetti dinner. It comes together in only 25 minutes and is delicious. The sauce recipe also makes the amount of sauce you need for this dinner recipe.

Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

This Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce Recipe from scratch comes together in about 25 minutes! It is an Italian spaghetti sauce that is so delicious.
Use this easy homemade spaghetti sauce recipe to top your pasta or put in your lasagna!
Overhead photo of Crock Pot Spaghetti recipe in a crock pot.

Tips and Tricks for Crock Pot Spaghetti

  • Switch up the pasta. Any pasta will work for this recipe. If spaghetti is difficult for your little ones to eat or your family prefers another kind, use that in this recipe.
  • Use ground turkey. If you prefer ground turkey to ground beef, you can swap that for this recipe. Brown the turkey in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • Make it vegetarian. Leave out meat altogether and swap the chicken stock for vegetable stock to make this dish vegetarian. You could also add some meat substitute crumbles to the recipe. They are fully cooked and easy to find in the freezer section of the grocery store.
  • Shred your own cheese. Shred your cheese from a block rather than buying pre-shredded Parmesan cheese. I say this often, but it truly does make a big difference in recipes. Pre-shredded cheese is covered in preservatives that help it keep its shredded form, but also keeps it from melting well. Grating your own will melt well and make this crock pot spaghetti extra good.
  • Skip the dairy. Cream cheese and grated Parmesan make this dish rich and creamy. These options are listed on the recipe card at the bottom of the post. They were not added in the pictures you see here, because we enjoy this meal so much without them.
  • Make it in the instant pot. This recipe can easily be tweaked and made in the instant pot. This Creamy Instant Pot Spaghetti is a dish my kids request often.
Close up photo of crock pot spaghetti recipe. A fork is pulling a portion out from the slow cooker.

Cooking on Low or High

As you know that I prefer slow cooked recipes to be done on low. Most of them just cook better that way, especially when it is a meat dish, like my Pork Carnitas. That being said, with this recipe, both cooking methods (low and high) work equally well.

Storing and Reheating

Store your leftover spaghetti in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. When you are ready to eat the leftovers, reheat them by microwaving at half power until warmed through. Please use your best discretion when it comes to leftovers. Since this recipe is cooked, it doesn’t freeze as well as other pasta dishes. For a spaghetti dish you can make ahead of time AND freeze, try this Baked Spaghetti.

FAQ

Can this recipe be made gluten-free?

Yes! Simply use gluten-free pasta.

What size crock pot do you use?

This recipe needs to be made in a 6 quart crock pot or larger as it fills the crock pot completely. If you have a smaller one, you can cut the recipe in half for a smaller batch.

Can I use store-bought sauce?

Yes! While you can’t beat the flavor of homemade spaghetti sauce, your favorite jarred spaghetti sauce will work in this recipe.

Can you freeze spaghetti?

Since this crock pot recipe is cooked, it does not freeze well. A baked spaghetti freezes well, as it can be prepped up until the cooking step and then baked when desired.

Why can’t I use whole wheat pasta?

Whole wheat pasta doesn’t hold up well in this recipe. If you feel strongly about using it, I would suggest cutting at least an hour off the cooking time.

Overhead photo of Crock Pot Spaghetti recipe served in a bowl with parmesan cheese and a fork. Side salad, a glass of wine, and bread sit on counter beside serving bowl.

What to Serve with Slowcooker Spaghetti

Other Crock Pot Pasta Recipes

Looking for other make ahead crockpot pasta recipes? Try one of these hearty dishes!

If you make this Crock Pot Spaghetti recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Overhead photo of Crock Pot Spaghetti recipe in a crock pot.
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Crock Pot Spaghetti

Serves: 6 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 15 minutes
Crock Pot Spaghetti is such an easy slow cooker dinner. With its easy meat sauce, this is a meal that your whole family will fall in love with.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 6 cups spaghetti sauce (homemade or store bought)
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or beef stock)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound dry spaghetti (do not use whole wheat)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (optional)

Instructions

  • In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the ground beef until it is broken up and browned. Drain off the grease.
  • Spray the base of a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Then add in the chicken stock, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. stirring to combine. Add the drained beef.
  • Add the dry spaghetti. Gently stir and press down so the spaghetti is completely covered by liquid.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for four hours or on high for two hours.
  • Give the spaghetti a good stir.  Then stir in the cream cheese and parmesan until melted if using.

Notes

Please note that nutritional information is based on not adding the Parmesan and cream cheese to the recipe. 
Serving: 1.6cups Calories: 547kcal (27%) Carbohydrates: 74g (25%) Protein: 30g (60%) Fat: 15g (23%) Saturated Fat: 5g (31%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 55mg (18%) Sodium: 1581mg (69%) Potassium: 1256mg (36%) Fiber: 6g (25%) Sugar: 13g (14%) Vitamin A: 1072IU (21%) Vitamin C: 17mg (21%) Calcium: 75mg (8%) Iron: 5mg (28%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Overhead photo of Crock Pot Spaghetti recipe in a crock pot.

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Crock Pot Spaghetti

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Mike says

    What do you do with the ground beef after you cook it?

    • Lisa Longley says

      Apologies, Mike! It is meant to go in the crockpot with the liquids. I updated the recipe.

  2. Tom says

    You mention cooking ground beef, but never mention putting it in the crock pot. Is it part of the Spaghetti Sauce?

    • Lisa Longley says

      Well that is definitely a mistake! Thanks for catching that, Tom!

  3. Jodi Seabolt says

    If I use spaghetti sauce and no other herbs. Does it still need to cook on low for 4 hours?

    • Lisa Longley says

      This recipe already calls for spaghetti sauce, so I’m not quite sure what change you would be making outside of leaving out the herbs (which I don’t recommend, I think you’ll miss some flavor). But yes, still low for four hours.

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