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Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

These slow cooker Italian meatballs are so quick and easy to make, for the perfect weeknight meal that the whole family will love!

slow cooker Italian meatballs in marinara sauce

These slow cooker Italian meatballs, served over hot spaghetti, were a huge hit with my family. Spaghetti and meatballs always disappear quickly around here!

The Italian meatballs are super quick and easy to make. They’re baked instead of pan fried, so you don’t have to stand and watch them, just toss them in the oven for 15 minutes. And they can be frozen for later if you want to make extra while you’re at it.

slow cooker Italian meatballs

And, if you want to make this meal super easy, you can use store bought frozen meatballs instead. But I highly recommend making them yourself – they taste better and are so easy to make!

The marinara sauce is just a dump and go recipe that you can have in the slow cooker with the meatballs in minutes.

This is such and easy, and tasty, dinner recipe. It’s perfect for those busy weeknights!

easy slow cooker italian meatballs

Can you cook frozen meatballs in a slow cooker?

Yes, you can cook frozen meatballs in a slow cooker. As they are already cooked through, you don’t need to worry about the usual food safety concerns with putting frozen meat into the slow cooker. So the slow cooker is a great way to warm them up.

easy slow cooker Italian meatballs in marinara sauce

For this recipe, you can use store bought frozen meatballs if you like. Or you can use the included recipe for Italian meatballs. These meatballs are very easy to make and taste fantastic.

You can also freeze these meatballs after baking them and use them in this slow cooker recipe in the future. I like to make a double recipe of meatballs when I make these, and freeze half of them for later.

easy slow cooker meatballs in marinara sauce

Can I use panko instead of breadcrumbs in meatballs?

You can definitely substitute panko for regular breadcrumbs in these meatballs. If I’m in a hurry I do this.

Otherwise I will process a few slices of bread in a food process to get regular breadcrumbs. Either will work just fine here.

slow cooker meatballs and marinara sauce

How to make Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs:

  • Use a cookie scoop (1-1 1/2 tablespoon) to portion out the meat for the meatballs onto a baking sheet. You can then quickly roll them into tight meatballs with your hands. I find this faster and it results in evenly sized meatballs.
  • Make sure to spray your baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Even with the fat in ground beef, meatballs tend to stick to the pan when they’re baked.
  • If you have time, double the recipe for the meatballs and freeze half for later. Let them cool completely after baking and then freeze them in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 6 months. You can use them frozen in this recipe.
  • If you are serving these with spaghetti, it’s the right amount of meatballs and marinara for one pound (454g) of spaghetti noodles.
slow cooker meatballs in marinara sauce

Here are some more great meatball recipes for you:

And here’s some more great spaghetti recipes for you:

easy slow cooker Italian meatballs
Yield: serves 6

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

easy slow cooker Italian meatballs

These slow cooker Italian meatballs are so quick and easy to make, for the perfect weeknight meal that the whole family will love!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 pounds (680g) lean ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

For the marinara sauce:

  • 2 x 796mL cans (27 fl.oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the ground beef, egg, milk, breadcrumbs, minced onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese until well combined.
  3. Form this mixture into 1” meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes, or until they are cooked through.
  5. Transfer the meatballs to the crock of a slow cooker.
  6. Add the crushed tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, onion powder, and sugar, and stir to combine.
  7. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Notes

The easiest way to form the meatballs is to use a 1-1 1/2 tablespoon sized cookie scoop to portion out the meat, and then roll it into tight meatballs with your hands.

You can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them if you like. Let them cool completely and then freeze them in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 6 months. There is no need to thaw them before continuing with this recipe.

These Italian meatballs are great with spaghetti, but can also be used for meatball subs, or with another type of pasta if you prefer.

For easier cleanup, you can also line your baking sheet with aluminum foil. Make sure to still spray it lightly with non-stick cooking spray, or your meatballs may stick.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1/6 recipe

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 777mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 10g

Nutrition Information is estimated based on ingredients used and may not be exact.

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