Crockpot Meatballs

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Crockpot Meatballs are an effortless way to prepare tender and delicious meatballs!

No need to pre brown these meatballs, they cook perfectly tender and juicy right in the slow cooker. Sauced up with a rich and chunky tomato sauce and you have a classic Italian style meal, easy as pie!

Picture showing inside of Crockpot Meatball

Crockpot Meatballs

Crockpot Meatballs are really easy to make, simply mix the meatballs and let the slow cooker do all of the work. While I often make homemade meatballs or All Purpose Turkey Meatballs, I love putting them into the slow cooker and coming home to a meal ready to serve!

Using simple ingredients like Italian breadcrumbs and seasonings, onion and parmesan cheese, these meatballs are packed with flavor. Smothered in pasta sauce, diced and crushed tomatoes, garlic, and even more Italian seasoning, these easy crock pot meatballs really satisfy.

Overhead shot of Crockpot Meatballs over rigatoni

Once sauced up, these homemade meatballs in the crockpot cook slowly and evenly, keeping all the juices and flavors tucked neatly inside every savory little meatball.

How to Make Meatballs in a Crockpot?

Once you try this crockpot meatballs recipe it will become your go-to! They’re so easy to make and no frying or baking (which means no extra dishes to wash).

  1. Combine the ground beef, seasonings, breadcrumbs and egg together.
  2. Form meatballs and place raw meatballs in the bottom of the crockpot.
  3. Top with sauce. Cover and let the slow cooker do the work!

Uncooked meatballs in a black slow cooker

Do You Have to Cook Meatballs Before Putting Them in a Crockpot?

No, you do not have to cook meatballs before they go into the Crockpot! If I am using ground beef in the slow cooker (when I’m making Crock Pot Chili or Slow Cooker Spaghetti Bolognese) I pre-cook the beef. For this recipe and slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs, there is no pre-cooking required, just mix, form into balls and place in the bottom of the crockpot.

I use lean beef in this slow cooker Italian meatball recipe, the juices from the meatballs add amazing flavor to the sauce!

Ladle full of Crockpot Meatballs

What Should I Serve with Meatballs?

Crockpot meatballs can be served as an appetizer or made into a whole meal!

  • Serve it over your favorite pasta like spaghetti or penne.
  • Turn it into a meatball sub by serving it over a toasted hoagie, top it with mozzarella cheese and broil!
  • Mashed potatoes go with anything, why not meatballs!
  • Create a meatball casserole by adding fusilli, cover with mozzarella and parmesan cheese and bake at 375˚F for 20 min!

While this homemade crockpot meatball recipe calls for a tomato-based sauce, you can always change it up! Try it with BBQ sauce, sweet and sour sauce, mushroom sauce or a honey garlic sauce! The meatball recipe itself is just so versatile and is delicious with any sauce!

The meatballs can be prepared the night before and refrigerated. In the morning, simply add to the slow cooker, pour the sauce on and let the crockpot do the work!

Take it from me, once you prepare meatballs using this crockpot method, you will never return to your old ways!

Other Great Beef Recipes You’ll Love

Closeup of Crockpot Meatballs over rigatoni
4.98 from 48 votes
Review Recipe

Crockpot Meatballs

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Tender juicy meatballs in an easy tomato sauce requires very little prep and has amazing flavor!


  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
  • cup Italian bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup onion finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup parsley fresh, chopped
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 24 ounces pasta sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 14 ounces crushed tomatoes canned
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes canned, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

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  • Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
  • Combine all meatball ingredients in a a bowl. Using a tablespoon, form 24 meatballs. Place uncooked meatballs in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Combine all sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Pour over meatballs and cook on high for 3-4 hours.
  • Serve over pasta.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 280, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 703mg, Potassium: 901mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 815IU, Vitamin C: 23mg, Calcium: 133mg, Iron: 4.9mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword crock pot, crockpot meatballs, slow cooker, spaghetti and meatballs
Course Main Course, Slow Cooker
Cuisine American, Italian

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Crockpot Meatballs with parsley

Crockpot Meatballs with text

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I’m and hour into my cook and I just realized I forgot to spray on a layer of cooking spray before I added the meatballs. I am using 85/15. Am I doomed for stuck on the bottom meatballs?

  2. Really excellent recipe and oh so simple! It was actually my first time making meatballs and my husband said its the best thing I’ve ever made!!! Really love how the meatballs turned crispy just from sitting in the bottom of the crock pot. The sauce is so simple yet it rivals my grandmother’s recipe.
    Will definitely make again, thank you Spend with Pennies!5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried that Jacqui. I’d suggest refrigerating the meatballs in the crockpot overnight, and adding the sauce ingredients in the morning (they’ll be room temperature). Enjoy!

  3. is it ok to double the amount of sauce used in this recipe
    because i am not sure 3 cups is enough especially when i want leftovers

    1. That should be just fine. You might need to add some extra cook time as the sauce will take longer to heat through initially.

  4. I made this for a spaghetti dinner. We found that the sauce was too runny. Should I have drained the crushed or diced tomatoes? Or add a tomato paste? The flavor was delicious and a winning meal at our table.4 stars

    1. The tomatoes do not need to be drained. I can’t say for sure why yours was runny but it should thicken up slightly as it cools. Did you use lean beef?

  5. How much meat/meatballs can i put in my old-fashioned 3 1/2Qt crockpot? Usually when I make meatballs on the stove I make three pounds at a time but it takes forever so that’s why I’m trying it this way this time.

    1. Hi Karen, you should be able to fit about 3 to 3 1/2 pounds of meat/meatballs in a 3 1/2 QT slow cooker. Hope that helps!

  6. Hi! If I wanted to double the recipe to have leftovers, would you recommend freezing the meatballs and sauce together or seperately? Thanks I am excited to try this!

    1. That should work just fine. You’ll want to ensure each ham ball reaches 160°F if there is ground pork in them.

  7. This is my first time visiting this website and my first recipe I tried from this website……WOW! I’m so happy I stumbled upon this website and recipe! I just made this for my 6 year old son and he devoured the meatballs! The prep work was so easy and fast (I have very little patience in the kitchen! I like things that are fast and easy, yet flavorful!) This recipe was more than satisfactory and will definitely be making it again!…I also just signed up for the email subscription and got the deal of receiving tons more recipes in the ebooks! Thank you so much for such an awesome website full of awesome, easy recipes!! :)5 stars

    1. So glad you love the meatballs, Jennifer. I’m happy that you found Spend With Pennies! I’m sure you’ll find many more recipes to love!

  8. Hi, I notice on the recipe it says pasta sauce and then it calls for whole and peeled tomatoes. Do we have to make pasta sauce and then add more tomatoes to it?



    1. Hi Veronica, you can make pasta sauce or use 24 ounces of prepared pasta sauce. We do add additional crushed and diced tomatoes to it though.

  9. Hello. I followed your recipe as is however due to two rowdy toddlers my window to cook the meatballs in the crockpot for this evening has come and gone. Is it possible to cook the meatballs in the oven or on the stove top? If so what temperature and for how long would you suggest?

  10. The crockpot meatballs are the best. Plus these are not marble size they are about 2” diameter and they are delicious. I had never tried to make meatballs before and I was concerned that they would fall apart. They stayed intact and they are easy to make.5 stars

  11. Hi Holly.

    Looking forward to trying your crockpot meatball recipe today. Just a quick question – how big should the meatballs be? Golf ball sized?

  12. Hi Holly. Just finished putting this in the crockpot and I cannot wait to eat!! I doubled the recipe and also added sun dried tomato chicken sausage that I browned first. I also made your marinara in the recipe link. It came out so yummy! I love it and I love your recipes. THANK YOU SO MUCH ☺️

  13. Hi…. I want to thank you for such great recipes. They are simple yet very good and good for you… I started with your Hamburger soup and followed up with other…so last July I was 271lbs. Today I am 170lbs… lots of hard work and eating right…. tks……..

    1. Wow, congratulations Peter, that’s amazing!! So happy you’ve found some recipes to enjoy along your journey!