This classic crock pot puttanesca sauce is so easy to make in your slow cooker any day of the week! This thick, rich, and tangy sauce is loaded with tomatoes, olives, and capers - plus packed with flavor. Bonus: make it now, eat it for leftovers, and freeze the rest for dinner later on!
Why You'll Love Classic Puttanesca in Crock Pot
Classic Puttanesca Sauce Made Easy. In a classic puttanesca you will typically you will find anchovies, hot pepper seasoning, capers, garlic, tomatoes, and black olives. If you are looking for an easy way to make puttanesca sauce, this slow cooker recipe is THE recipe for you!
Staple Ingredients. This recipe is made the easy way using mostly common pantry staples such as canned tomatoes, tomato paste, canned chopped olives, anchovies, and onion.
Perfect for Leftovers! I love this big batch recipe for this puttanesca sauce. It is great day one for dinner, lunch the next day, and for multiple people. My favorite is that it stores so well in the freezer and reheats just like how it was on day one. Delicious!
Crock Pot Puttanesca Sauce Ingredients
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this easy puttanesca sauce:
- Onion: I used yellow onion in this recipe but feel free to use white or Vidalia onion.
- Garlic: use fresh minced garlic or use store-bought pre-minced garlic from the store.
- Canned Diced Tomatoes: I use a combination of crushed, diced, or petite diced. Sometimes I grab what is in my pantry and piece together as much as I need.
- Tomato Paste: helps to thicken the sauce give it tang.
- Canned Pitted Kalamata Olives: I use a combination of chopped olives and sliced olives in this recipe for a different texture. Feel free to use all of one or the other if preferred.
- Anchovies: canned are the easiest to use because you can just drain them and then chop them up to add to your sauce. Omit if preferred; however, classic puttanesca sauce utilizes this key ingredient.
- Italian Seasoning
- Capers: this common Italian flower bud is pickled and has a bright, slightly acidic flavor similar to the olive family. It is super delicious in this sauce, especially with the kalamata olives.
- Dried Basil: you can fresh basil if you'd like to, especially if you use an immersion blender for your sauce. Garnish with fresh basil if you use it!
- Cayenne Pepper
- Salt and Pepper
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese: use freshly grated parmesan cheese or get it already shredded from your grocery store. Omit if desired.
- Cooked Pasta: used for serving with this sauce. Choose your favorite kind!
For exact ingredient quantities, please see the recipe card below!
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Easy Puttanesca Sauce in the Slow Cooker Variations
- Add 1 pound of frozen, thawed, and cooked medium shrimp in the last 5 to 10 minutes.
- Make chicken puttanesca by serving the sauce over cooked chicken breasts or thighs. This makes for a great low-carb keto option!
- Omit any ingredients on this list if you would like. It is not required to utilize all the ingredients; however, if you are looking to make a classic puttanesca, then you may want to try it as is! It is SO good!
- Adjust any seasonings to your preference as well. Some people like to use red pepper flakes instead of cayenne pepper.
How To Make Puttanesca in Crock Pot
Add onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped olives, parsley, capers, anchovies, basil, and sugar to the crockpot.
Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or high for 4 to 5 hours.
Add remaining olives, butter, and parm cheese. Adjust seasoning to taste. Leave chunky, or blend with an immersion blender.
Serve over hot-cooked pasta. Adjust any seasoning to taste, and enjoy!
Hint: If your sauce gets is thick for your liking, add water, 2 tablespoons at a time, until the desired consistency.
How to Serve Slow Cooker Puttanesca Sauce
Serve over hot cooked pasta, rice, or your favorite protein such as chicken, pork, or fish!
Garnish with fresh chopped herbs like fresh parsley, basil, oregano, or any of your Italian favorites.
Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving.
Meal idea! Serve this delicious sauce over your family's favorite pasta! I love to pair a fresh Italian bread loaf with any pasta meal or make your favorite garlic bread or breadsticks to soak up all this delicious sauce! Prepare your favorite vegetable as a side if desired, but this sauce is hearty enough to eat alone as well!
Slow Cooker Tips
Tip #1: For softer onions, cook them in a microwave on high heat for 5 to 6 minutes to give them a head start.
Tip #2: If the sauce is too tangy for your liking, you can add more sugar to counterbalance the flavor.
Tip #3: The sauce can be served rustic and "chunky" or you can use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until the desired smoother consistency is reached.
Allow your sauce to cool completely before storing it in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freeze leftover puttanesca sauce after it has cooled, in an air-tight freezer-safe container for up to 4 months. Be sure to leave about 1 inch of space at the top to allow for expansion. Place a piece of tape on your container saying what it is and the date you put it in the freezer.
Puttanesca is a red tomato sauce made up of diced tomatoes so slightly sweet, salty, and tangy from the olives and capers. It has a rounded palate of Italian herbs and garlic while also being cheesy and warming your soul.
Traditional puttanesca uses diced tomatoes, kalamata olives, capers, anchovies, Italian seasoning, olive oil, and normally a pepper of some variety. You can use red pepper flakes, fresh hot peppers, or cayenne if desired.
Slow Cooker Puttanesca Sauce
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 3 (28-ounce cans) diced tomatoes (crushed, diced, or a combination will work)
- ⅓ cup tomato paste (approximately 3 ounces)
- ⅔ cup pitted halved kalamata olives, divided (chopped ⅓ cup, and halve ⅓ cup)
- 1 can anchovies (drained and chopped)
- ⅓ cup italian parsley (chopped)
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 2 tablespoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving)
- for serving: 16 ounce box of hot cooked pasta
- Add onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, chopped olives, parsley, capers, anchovies, basil, and sugar to the crock pot.
- Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or high 4 to 5 hours.
- Add remaining olives, butter, and parmesan cheese. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Leave chunky, or blend with an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve over hot cooked pasta. Adjust seasoning to taste.
- Don't miss all of our helpful hints, substitution ideas, cooking tips, and other delicious recipes that can be found in our post. Check it out!
- VARIATIONS: Add 1 lb frozen, thawed cooked medium shrimp in the last 5 to 10 minutes. Make chicken puttanesca by serving the sauce over cooked chicken breasts or thighs.
- SERVING SUGGESTIONS: Serve over hot cooked pasta, rice, chicken, pork, or fish. Garnish with fresh parsley or basil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
- TIP: For softer onions, cook them in a microwave on high heat for 5 to 6 minutes to give them a head start. If the sauce is too tangy for your liking add more sugar. The sauce can be served chunky or it can be blended for a smoother texture.
- STORAGE: Use half the sauce now, and freeze the rest for later if you want. Transfer the cooled sauce to freezer-safe container, leaving about an inch of space at the top. Freeze for up to 4 months.
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