Perfect Slow Cooker Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce

Published on November 9, 2015 By Lauren

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  • Slow Cooker Meatballs

    When I was a kid, almost every Sunday afternoon was filled with the smell of spaghetti sauce and meatballs slowly simmering in the kitchen. My dad had a KILLER spaghetti sauce recipe, and he made great meatballs too. But ever since I’ve been on this slow cooker kick, I’ve been trying to make food the “easy way” and this Slow Cooker Meatballs and Spaghetti sauce recipe is unbelievable!

    And sometimes the easy way is AMAZING. These slow cooker meatballs and sauce are absolutely perfect. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t think I will make spaghetti and meatballs on the stove top again.

    This is SO easy. Pour the sauce ingredients in the slow cooker, plop the meatballs in raw, and turn it on. That’s it!

    Slow Cooker Meatballs

    Here are the ingredients. No need for multiple different types of meat. I just go with 80/20 ground beef.

    Slow Cooker Meatballs

    Pour the crushed tomatoes, some of the basil, black pepper and 2 cloves of garlic in the slow cooker and give it a stir. Now – onto the meatballs!

    Slow Cooker Meatballs

    I used gluten free panko breadcrumbs in this recipe. In my opinion, panko work best. They seem to be more porous than regular breadcrumbs, meaning they will soak up more of the juice from the meat as it cooks – keeping that juice IN the meatball. This results in a more moist and awesome meatball.

    Slow Cooker Meatballs

    Get your hands messy and gently mix it all together.

    Slow Cooker Meatballs

    I don’t make my meatballs huge. Using about 1.1 lbs of ground beef, I ended up with 15 meatballs.

    Slow Cooker Meatballs

    Then just dump them in and carefully submerge them in the crushed tomatoes. Then simply turn on the slow cooker. You can do either 4 hours on high, 6 hours on medium, or 8 hours on low.

    Serve over spaghetti and enjoy!

    And if you like this one, you might be interested in 40 other slow cooker dump recipes that are AMAZING!

    Slow Cooker Meatballs

    Slow Cooker Meatballs

    Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

    You will never make Spaghetti and Meatballs any other way again! Just set it forget it in the slow cooker!
    Print Pin Rate
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 4 hours
    Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
    Servings: 6
    Author: Lauren Cobello


    • 2 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
    • 1 lb 80/20 ground beef
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
    • 5 cloves of garlic pressed or minced (2 for the sauce, 3 for the meatballs)
    • 2 Tbsp dried basil 1 for the sauce, 1 for the meatballs
    • 2 Tbsp dried parsley
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper 1/4 tsp for the sauce, 1/4 tsp for the meatballs
    • 1 egg


    • Combine crushed tomatoes, 2 minced cloves of garlic, 1 Tbsp of basil and 1/4 tsp of black pepper in the slow cooker. Stir.
    • In a bowl, combine everything else.
    • Using your hands, mix the meat with the ingredients.
    • Form into golf-ball sized balls.
    • Add the meatballs to the slow cooker and gently submerge in the sauce.
    • Cook on high for 4 hours, medium for 6 hours or low for 8 hours.
    • Serve over pasta.

    Slow Cooker Meatballs

    Have you grabbed my freezer meal plans, yet? I might be biased but I think they are pretty amazing! They have saved our dinner hour for years now. Check them out!

    Slow Cooker Meatballs



  • […] This recipe was passed down from my Sicilian grandma. It has been used for generations and you can’t mess it up! It is really easy and tastes SO much better than the store bought sauce. You can do this in a crockpot too. In fact, I’ve got a KILLER slow cooker spaghetti & meatballs recipe too if you’re interested… it happens…. […]

      • I want to make spaghetti and also sweet Italian sausage in my crock pot I know how to make the meatballs is it possible to brown the sausage and add those with the meatballs to the sauce mix in my crock pot and how long should they cook.Thank you

      • Yes but after browning them cool down ,till about 1hr.before sauce is ready .REASON,SAUSAGE WOULDN’T GET MUSHY

  • Made this, and my husband whos grandmother is sicilian makes very similar spaghetti sauce. Needless to say he was happy to be eating this sauce. Thanks Lauren 🙂

  • So I was looking for a “from scratch” meat sauce recipe and found your recipes. I like the fact I can let it cook without standing over it(slow-cooker method. 😉 ) and that I can use tomatoes fresh(mine are frozen so we’ll see how that works) My question is can I cook the meat sauce on high like you do the meatball recipe?
    Thank You! 😉

    • Yup – it will work on high. Just don’t cook it too long, since the tomatoes can burn on the sides of the pot if your slow cooker runs hot.

  • These look delicious! I want to serve the meatballs as part of a pasta bar at a birthday party. I want to use your spaghetti sauce recipe served separately from the meatballs. Have you ever baked the meatballs without sauce? If so, how did it turn out?

  • Trying this for dinner tomorrow, but leaving out the cheese since my daughter is allergic to dairy. Anyone try that before?

  • I’m making this for my Husbands & I 4th Anniversary tonight. I hope he enjoys it. I’ve never made a spaghetti & meatball dinner using a crock pot. I added tomato sauce, paste & crushed tomatoes to make this sauce plus fried onions & about 8 cloves of garlic in the sauce & in the meatballs. I soaked a stale roll in 1/2 & 1/2 and added it plus some breadcrumbs & 1 egg. It’s going to cook for 4 hrs on high since my crockpot doesn’t have a medium setting. Can’t wait for dinner.

  • Hello! Does anyone know a good substitution for the parmesan cheese in the meatballs? Or should I just leave it out. My boyfriend is highly lactose intolerant, but I would still like to make the recipe.

  • I was wondering if you could make this a dump meal? Could I just put everything in the bag raw and freeze it or would I have to cook everything first then freeze for later?

  • These were SO GOOD! I didn’t feel like going to the store for the canned tomatoes, so I just added two jars of spaghetti sauce. That’s the only thing I changed, and we really enjoyed this meal

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