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The Ultimate Slow-Cooked Meat Sauce Recipe

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Mastering the perfect meat sauce recipe is a true art. With a great kitchen hand, a little inspiration and a few key ingredients, you can make a top-notch, mouth-watering homemade sauce to complete your equally delectable meal. The secret to making the ultimate meat sauce? Slow cook the ingredients over low heat for several hours, perfectly blending the flavor and spices to create the most rich and savory sauce.

Slow-Cooked Meat Sauce
In addition to the secret of slow cooking your meat sauce, another key is the browning step. Browning the beef and sauteing the vegetables before slow cooking the sauce helps create that irresistibly full-bodied, deep flavor.

You can save some time and cut down on the mess by preparing this sauce recipe in the Crock-Pot® 5-in-1 Multi-Cooker. Using two of the five different functions you can brown the meat plus saute the vegetables, then slow cook the sauce with one appliance! As an aside, the other cook functions include baking, roasting and steaming. So when you want to serve a delicious classic Italian sauce, use the Crock-Pot® 5-in-1 Multi-Cooker and say goodbye to those extra dirty dishes! Brown, saute and slow cook the ultimate meat sauce in your Multi-Cooker today.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, or 1 teaspoon fresh
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, or 1 teaspoon fresh and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup white or red wine
  • 2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf.
The secret to making the ultimate meat sauce is slow cooking.The secret to making the ultimate meat sauce is slow cooking.


  1. Select the brown/saute function and set the temperature to high.
  2. Let Multi-Cooker preheat.
  3. Add olive oil and onion, celery and carrots. Stir for about 6 to 8 minutes, until onion is translucent and celery and carrots have softened.
  4. Add in garlic and tomato paste, stirring for about 30 seconds until the smell is aromatic.
  5. Add the beef, breaking it apart with your spoon. Cook until it is just browned.
  6. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt as well as the thyme, oregano, pepper and nutmeg. 
  7. Pour in the milk and continue sauteing for about 10 minutes, until the milk has almost completely reduced.
  8. Pour in the wine and continue sauteing for about 10 minutes, until the wine has almost completely reduced and little liquid remains.
  9. Change the Multi-Cooker function to slow cook and set on low temperature.
  10. Strain the cans of tomatoes and reserve the juices.
  11. Mash tomatoes against the side of slow cooker as you add them, to break them apart.
  12. Add the bay leaf to the slow cooker and stir all ingredients together.
  13. Mixture should have a thick, saucy consistency.
  14. If dry, mix in a some of the reserved tomato juices until it looks sauce-like.
  15. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  16. In last half hour, remove lid and check sauce. If it seems dry, add more tomato juices.
  17. If sauce appears thin and liquidy, keep lid off for excess liquid to evaporate.
  18. Finished sauce should be thick, creamy and fragrant.
  19. Serve meat sauce over pasta of your choice and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  20. Enjoy!
Due to the slow ramp up, and even heating of a slow cooker, recipes featured on this site can be cooked in a range of slow cooker sizes. Recipes can be increased or decreased by one quart size per the cooking instructions. For smaller sauces and dips that calls for 3 quarts or less, it is not recommended to alter the unit size. Crock-Pot® is a registered trademark and should not be used generically when referring to a 'slow cooker' within the recipes.
Sunbeam Products, Inc. d/b/a Jarden Consumer Solutions has not tested these recipes and is not responsible for the outcome of any recipe. You may not achieve the results desired due to variations in ingredients, cooking temperatures, cooking times, typos, errors, omissions, or individual cooking abilities. Please always use your best judgment when cooking with raw ingredients such as eggs, chicken or fish.


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