Bulk Crock Pot Marinara plus freezing tip

Have you ever used a #10 can in your household? I buy my crushed tomatoes for this recipe at Sams for $2.99. That’s a lot of pizza sauce and marinara for a small price.

A friend of mine told me Ingles often carries #10 cans as well as other grocery stores. I’d love to share which local grocery stores carry #10 cans. Please share in the comments below.

I admit it looks like a lot of crushed tomatoes you’ll never use when you first open the can. But pair it with all your favorite Italian meals and you’ll be surprised how quickly six quarts bags will disappear from your freezer. Feel free to bag in smaller quantities for meatball subs or pizza dipping sauce, etc.

I make it the same way as my smaller batch recipe, found here. However, this time I found a seasonal bunch of fresh basil at Flying Cloud Produce Stand in NC. I chopped a half a bunch along with onion and made this outstanding marinara that made me wish you had a scratch and sniff computer. The smell that infused my house was unreal. My husband said he wanted to eat something (anything) when the aroma of the basil, onion and garlic entered his nostrils. (okay, so I’m exaggerating just a little with descriptive words). He got hungry for some cheerios at nine o’clock while the sauce was cooling. How’s that for honesty?

After it’s simmered in the crock pot on high for six hours. It will need several hours of cooling. This looks like an all day process, but remember it’s only ten or fifteen minutes of  ”active” prepping. It may take you another ten or 15 minutes of “active” bagging once it’s cooled. By making this large batch, it saves you six times the effort. It yields six quart bags or you can make smaller bags to stretch it further.

I allow mine to cool two hours and then I refrigerate over night. The next day I bag using this process. I place my quart size bag in a large 4 cup pyrex measuring cup for stability. I use a measuring cup to pour the sauce into the bag.

I squeeze the air out while it’s in the measuring cup.

Lay each bag flat to freeze. Hey, I forgot to label the bags. I’m not being a good role model, but at least I’m real. It’s always best to label and date prior to filling the bag because of condensation and it’s just easier to write. So DO label before.

My other tip for freezing flat is using my plastic shoebox lid. I often use either the box itself or the lid, depending on my freezer space, to carry the bags and keep the bags flat until they have frozen solid. Six bags are easier to carry on a hard surface like a chopping board, cooling rack or shoe box lid.

Large Batch Crock Pot Marinara Sauce

  • #10 can crushed tomatoes or 4-28 oz. cans
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh basil, loosely chopped or 1 heaping tablespoon dried sweet basil or Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 2 tsp. Kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, optional

Simmer ingredients in a crock pot on high for 4-6 hours or low for 8 hours  Cool 2 hours and refrigerate overnight. Bag and freeze in labeled quart size bags next day. Thaw 24 hours in a thawing bag or use the cold water method for thawing.

I use this sauce for pizza bites, flatbread pizza, spaghetti meatball bake and chicken parmesan. Therefore, I make this monthly.

What meals do you use marinara?


28 thoughts on “Bulk Crock Pot Marinara plus freezing tip

  1. Angela

    Thank you so much for this recipe. My family LOVES it!!! The only question is how do you get it to not be so watery? I feel like mine always turns out watery.

    1. Cheree

      I like to crack the lid of the slow cooker for about the last hour of cooking. This will allow it to thicken a bit. I’m in the Midwest and have found #10 cans at Fareway, Hy Vee, and Walmart Supercenters.

    1. Becky

      You could, but it would require a LOT of tomatoes. You’d probably want to use her small-batch recipe instead of this one.

  2. Candy

    Mine turned out nice and thick. Only thing I did different was that I needed to divide among two crock pots since mine weren’t big enough. This is really the best marinara I’ve had.

    Something about slow-roasting those tomatoes & onions that makes all the difference from cooking marinara on the stovetop. This will be a regular on my batch cooking schedule. Thanks!

    1. Becky

      Yes, you can, although the consistency will be a bit different. Depending on your intended use for the sauce, you may want to use a blender or immersion blender (once it’s cooked and cooled!) to make the sauce smoother. Hope that helps!

  3. Collette Douglas

    Trying this for the first time today! Question: why does this large batch omit the tomato paste that you include in your other (smaller) freezer marinara recipe? Thanks!

  4. Marla

    Thanks for this delicious sounding recipe! I have a large family and I cook for others as well. I’m going to whip me up a batch tomorrow. The only things I have purchased thus far in that # 10 size can are pinto beans and white hominy. I bought mine at Stater Bros here in sunny Southern California. I’m hoping they will have the crushed tomatoes. If not, I’ll check Costco and Sam’s Club. Blessings to you!

  5. Kristen

    I was also wondering why the tomato paste is left out of the large batch recipe. How much paste would need to be used in the large batch? This is by far the best recipe I have found. getting ready to make a new batch and would love to make the larger of the two recipes.

    1. admin

      I just leave it out on the large batch because I crock it all day and the sauce thickens. You can add paste if you like it even thicker. I make this all the time for pizza, pasta and marinara. I also love to add homemade pesto while I’m reheating in the crock pot. You can crock a frozen batch in the crock on low all day.

    1. admin

      I think I usually do a full 2 cups, you could do 3, but 4 is pushing it with not enough room for the bag to relax and lay flat.

  6. robyn

    i know i am really late to read this post but i noticed that in a later post you mentioned how you put spinach in this sauce…how much do you use? and is it better to puree?

  7. Brandette W.

    I just purchased 2 of these #10 can’s at Sam’s this week so I can try this recipe. I think it ran about $3.25 here in IN. I love having things I can easily pull from my freezer stash for easy meal components on busy days. I use many, many recipes of yours and all have become favorites. I love that you use easy, simple, real food recipes that are inexpensive to make as well. Thank you for all that you do, you definitely make me happy reading your posts and saving our family with wonderful recipes.

  8. Miranda

    Made this yesterday & just finished bagging it. I got 3 qt bags w/4 cups in each & 1 w/3 1/2 cups. Bought 2 big cans @ SAMs so I’ll probably be making again later in wk or next week. So easy & taste so good. I also made the chicken Parmesan as well. Thanks!

    1. admin

      Miranda, you’ll be patting yourself on the back when you just have to heat up dinner without the prep. Great job with all your freezer cooking.

  9. Tarcela

    Hi Jackie – I found that my local Sams isn’t carrying the crushed tomato but rather the whole tomato in the #10 can. Would this work? Are there any adjustments that you would recommend?

    Thank you for all you do. You are so much appreciated.

    1. admin

      It would work, I would consider adding a can or two of tomato paste to thicken, depending on taste. Crush the tomatoes in the blender before adding to the crock pot. Thank you for your feedback and enjoy this sauce. It’s so yummy simmering.

  10. Sheila

    Could you can this sauce like in a water bath? I thought it would be good to give as Christmas presents in baskets with noodles or pizza crust mix. Any information would be greatly appreciated, thanks.

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