Slow Cooker Tomato Sauce

It’s a sweltering day. The last thing that I want to do is to work in a hot kitchen over a steaming pot. But my tomatoes can’t wait.


Fresh tomatoes don’t store well. If put into the refrigerator they turn mealy and their flavor deteriorates. Right now I have a bag of garlic grown by a neighbor, oregano and basil bursting from pots, and a six sturdy tomato plants that are all producing record numbers of healthy fruit. I have to make sauce. Thank goodness for my slow cooker

Prep for this tomato sauce is super easy. All I have to do is cut off the cores and bad bits from the tomatoes (which I feed to the chickens, of course) and put the big pieces of tomato (or even simply whole, cored, tomatoes) into the slow cooker. (Crockpot is a trade name. Like “kleenex” and “tissues” the terms are interchangeable for all but the manufacturers.) I have two slow cookers. Neither are fancy. As long as it keeps the sauce simmering at a low temp, it’s the right appliance.

I add a bulb of garlic, peeled, and skinned and halved onions (also a gift from my neighbor, who happily went off to his vacation home with a carton of eggs.) I snip several branches of oregano and basil. If I have it, I’ll use parsley, too (but this year, the goats got to eat all of it as part of the frothy bloat remedy, which made it well worth not having parsley for the sauce!) I add a splash of olive oil and a good amount of coarse salt. Because I use a mixture of tomatoes, some of which are quite juicy, no additional liquid is required. In fact, if you want a thick sauce, use a good proportion of paste tomatoes. Otherwise, you might want to drain off some of the naturally occurring tomato water before the last step of milling.

in pot


The slow cooker then gets covered and ignored.

After six or more hours the tomatoes will have turned to a soft mush and it will all be simmering along nicely.

simmered tomatoes


Turn off the pot and let it cool down so that you can work with it – and so that you don’t have to stand over steam – that’s the whole point of this method!

Note that I don’t worry about stems, peels or seeds. That’s because the next step uses a food mill. This tool pushes the sauce through a  sieve. (Once again, those inedible bits go to the chickens.)

After twenty years of using the same awkward and difficult to clean food mill, I bought a new one. What a difference! The right tool does matter.

food mill


This is the end product.

tomato sauce


I ladled it into plastic containers, and put those into the freezer. This winter, my pizza will taste like summer.


  1. I also have a plethora of tomatoes every year but I am apparently much more lazy than you! I just wash my tomatoes and run them quickly through my food chopper, and freeze them just like that. I use them all year in my chili, spaghetti sauce, pizza, and even to sautee with my squash and zucchini. I can’t stand the heat, so I definitely get out of the kitchen, ha ha!
    I have an herb garden and dry my herbs to use all year too. It definitely makes a difference.

    Happy cooking!! There’s nothing like fresh, good food in the winter months. :)

  2. That looks Yummy. Could it also be eaten as a thick tasty soup with fresh baked crusty bread ? Making me hungry, good job its supper time here…:)

  3. Ooooo, boy that sounds good. Too much cold rainy weather for my tomatoes. *sigh* But a local farmer’s market is selling tomatoes for canning right now. I think I like the idea of a sauce much, much better!

  4. Yummy!
    This sounds so good.
    We have plenty of tomatoes on the vine also. I pressure can most of my tomatoes and beans, but I have plenty and have been looking at canning sauce as well. (Freezers are almost full).
    That food mill looks wonderful. I use my mother’s food mill (it’s from the 1940’s) and it still works well. Oh how many tomatoes, apples and fruits for jellies/jams have been through that thing, but it doesn’t hurt to at least look at a shiny new model :)

    • I can’t believe how easy it is to clean.That makes it worth every penny – and it wasn’t expensive to start with. You’ll love it.

  5. I don’t have a good mill. So maybe I can use my blender it’s nothing fancy

  6. I just started canning tomato sauce a couple of years ago and love having that taste of summer in mid-winter. But the harvest always happens in the heat of summer and it is steamy business putting up quarts of sauce. I love your idea of using the slow cooker to make the sauce! Last year, I used the squeezed out pulp and seeds in a bread and thought it was good. My chickens must be spoiled because they didn’t want any of the cooked bits. :-)

    • The hens can be picky about the leavings. That’s why I put it all in the compost in the run – what they don’t eat is still useful.

  7. Up and about early this morning in the Barn, hope everythings okay ?…:)

  8. Those girls are really having fun dust bathing! The dirt is flying. I made this recipe last year and froze it. It was wonderful in the winter.

    • Ha Ha. When I clicked on, they were just lying in the holes. “Oh, my gosh! Are those two dead?!”, I was asked. And with half of them hidden in the holes, they did kinda look dead. :) But just then they both got busy and clouds of dust roiled into the air. :D They are definitely enjoying themselves!