Slow Cooker Ground Beef Pasta is a fuss-free meal perfect for weeknight dinners. Savory ground beef combines with tender noodles in a rich, cheesy tomato sauce for a comfort food the whole family will be excited to sink their teeth into! 

A bowl of ground beef pasta topped with Parmesan and fresh parsley.

The Best Beef Pasta

A cross between homemade hamburger helper and spaghetti, this easy ground beef pasta recipe is guaranteed to become a quick family hit! The flavor is to die for, but that’s not the only reason why we love this recipe! 

  • Easy – All you have to do is sauté the ingredients, combine them together, come back in a few hours, and dinner is served! 
  • Crowd-Pleasing – One batch makes enough to feed a crowd and is full of hearty flavors and a creamy texture everyone will love. 
  • Versatile – The ingredient list is simple but can easily be spruced up with a variety of substitutions and additions to make this ground beef pasta your own. 

Ingredients You’ll Need

We kept the ingredient list simple, but the flavor of this ground beef pasta is anything but boring! Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Beef – We always have stored ground beef on hand! Use any kind you like best. Just make sure it’s thawed. 
  • Oil – We recommend using olive oil or avocado oil to sauté the onion and garlic, creating a rich flavor and adding healthy fats. 
  • Aromatics – Onion and garlic combine to create a base of savory flavor with a hint of sweetness. 
  • Pasta – Use any kind of pasta you like best! 
  • Marinara Sauce – To save time, we use store-bought sauce. Any kind you like best or have on hand will taste great. 
  • Tomatoes – Use fresh or canned diced tomatoes for extra flavor and texture. 
  • Seasonings – Paprika, dried oregano, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and salt combine to enhance the flavor, creating a bold, Italian-inspired taste. 
  • Water – Helps combine the ingredients and creates a smooth sauce. 
  • Cheese – Mozzarella is included in the mix, and Parmesan is sprinkled on top to ensure you get salty, cheesy goodness in every single bite! 
A slow cooker full of ground beef pasta being stored.

Cook, Combine, and Serve: How to Make Slow Cooker Ground Beef Pasta

This beef pasta recipe requires a bit of prep work, but it’s still super easy to make and fairly handoff! 

  1. Brown the Beef. Heat the ground beef in a medium pan over medium heat cooking and breaking it up until it has browned. Then, drain the excess fat, and transfer the meat to a slow cooker
  2. Prepare the Pasta. Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions. Set it aside. 
  3. Sauté. Wipe the pan used to cook the beef clean, and add a bit of oil. Sauté part of the onions until they soften and become fragrant. Add the garlic, and continue to cook for a few seconds. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker with the beef. 
  4. Combine. Add the marinara, tomatoes, water, bell pepper, and seasonings to the slow cooker, and stir to combine. 
  5. Add the Remaining Ingredients. Cover, and cook for a few hours. Add the cooked pasta, Mozzarella, and the rest of the onions. Continue to cook until the cheese is melted and the ingredients are well combined. Finally, sprinkle the Parmesan on top, and enjoy! 
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03/13/2024 05:19 pm GMT


This ground beef pasta is a pretty failproof recipe, meaning you can mix and match a wide variety of ingredients to suit your flavor preferences and dietary needs. Some of our favorite ways to switch it up include: 

  • Swapping Out the Protein. Replace the ground beef with ground chicken, ground turkey, sausage, lamb, or even bison. 
  • Adding Veggies. Sauté extra veggies with the onion and garlic to add extra nutrients to this ground beef pasta. Zucchini, mushrooms, greens (spinach, kale, etc.), and eggplant all work really well! 
  • Making It Dairy-Free. Swap out the regular cheese for plant-based alternatives instead. 
A bowl of ground beef pasta topped with grated Parmesan and fresh parsley with a fork sticking out.

Tips for Success

  • Shred the Cheese Yourself. If possible, buy blocks of cheese and grate them yourself. Pre-shredded cheese contains preservatives and anti-caking agents that prevent it from clumping together and melting well. 
  • Avoid Overcooking the Pasta. Prepare the pasta just to al dente with a bit of bite. Otherwise, it will overcook and become mushy in the slow cooker! 
  • Adjust the Sauce. Feel free to include more or less marinara and water to make the sauce thinner or thicker. 

Storage Options

This slow cooker ground beef pasta makes for a great meal prep option! 

  • To Store: Allow it to come to room temperature, transfer it to an airtight container, and store it in the fridge for up to three to four days
  • To Freeze: Store in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to three to four months
  • To Serve: Allow your leftovers to thaw in the fridge overnight. Then, warm them in the microwave, slow cooker on warm, or in a pot over medium heat on the stove. 

Common Questions About this Ground Beef Pasta Recipe

What kind of beef is best for pasta? 

We recommend using lean beef, but any beef you have on hand will taste great! 

Do Italians put meat in pasta? 

Yes! You won’t find chicken in most Italian pasta recipes, but beef is a common ingredient. 

Do you have to use ground beef? 

No! Feel free to use any meat you like best. 

More Slow Cooker Pasta Recipes

If you enjoy this slow cooker ground beef pasta recipe, you won’t want to miss out on more of our family-favorite pasta dishes below! 

A bowl of ground beef pasta with a spoon sticking out.

Slow Cooker Ground Beef Pasta

5 from 9 votes
Author: Food Dolls
Servings: 6 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 4 hours 15 minutes
Total: 4 hours 25 minutes
Prepare this easy slow cooker ground beef pasta with simple ingredients for a fuss-free recipe the whole family will look forward to eating! 


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup onions diced and divided
  • 1 medium red bell pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta any kind
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes canned or fresh
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish


  • In a medium pan over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef for about 5 minutes. Drain the excess fat. Add half of the diced onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until they soften. Add the minced garlic, and cook for an additional 20 seconds. Turn off the heat, and transfer the beef mixture to the slow cooker.
    1 pound ground beef
  • Cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions. Set aside.
    2 cups uncooked pasta
  • Add the jar of marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, bell pepper, remaining onion, paprika, oregano, Italian seasoning, water, and salt to the slow cooker. Stir to combine the ingredients.
    1 (16-ounce) jar marinara sauce, 28 ounces diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 Tablespoon dried oregano, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 3 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cook the mixture on medium heat in the slow cooker for 4 hours.
  • After 4 hours, add the cooked pasta, and the shredded Mozzarella cheese. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
    1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • Continue to cook for 30 minutes or until the pasta is well combined and the cheese is melted.
  • Sprinkle the shredded Parmesan cheese on top, and serve warm.
    1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 1003mg | Potassium: 810mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 694IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 251mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this recipe?Please leave a comment!

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Meet Alia & Radwa

Welcome to Food Dolls! We’re so glad you found us. We are Alia and Radwa, sisters who want to share simple and easy recipes with you. We hope you find recipes here that you enjoy making as much as we do! Learn more about us!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Love this recipe but would be hard to make on a weeknight after work… could I modify and use the instant pot to cut cooking time?

  2. It says to add to uncooked onion with the marinara then again with the cheese? Also, most crock pots don’t have “medium as an option. Do you have low and high options and times? Thanks!

    1. Sorry about that! You’ll want to add part of the onion in with the beef and the rest in with the sauce. We recommend cooking the mixture on low for 4 hours before adding the final ingredients and continuing to cook for another 30 minutes or so. Hope this helps!

      Alia & Radwa

  3. Really just 2 cups of uncooked pasta for all that sauce? I’m a worried the little bit of pasta will be drowned by the sauce. Can you share by weight? My 1-pound dried pasta bags say 8 servings. If this is 6 servings, shouldn’t there be more than 3.75 ounces of pasta? Please advise – thanks! Love your recipes!

    1. Hi Kate!
      Yes, the sauce combines with the rest of the ingredients as well. It would be about 8 ounces. Feel free to adjust to suit your preferences!

      Alia & Radwa

      1. Hi!! I want to make this but the reel I saw on Facebook is way less than 3 cups of water?? Looked closer to 1 cup. Is it really 3 cups of water?? Seems watery esp since you cook the pasta separately!? Thanks!!

    1. No, it’s supposed to be there! We just updated the recipe. Thanks for catching that!

      Alia & Radwa