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

No need to brown or pre-cook these meatballs, they cook perfectly tender and juicy right in the slow cooker and are sauced up with a rich and chunky tomato sauce.

Simple prep you’ll come home to a classic Italian style meal, easy as pie!

close photo of the inside of a crockpot meatball with tomato sauce

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!


Use lean beef in this recipe, you’ll want a little bit of fat for moisture and texture. These are not cooked first so you want to make sure you don’t have too much fat but a little bit of fat adds a rich flavor to the sauce.

Just like our oven meatball recipe these use simple ingredients like Italian breadcrumbs and seasonings, onion and parmesan cheese, they’re meatballs are packed with flavor.

These cook right in a simple tomato sauce which has great flavor! It’s a simple sauce with pasta sauce, diced and crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce), garlic, and Italian seasoning.

Once sauced up, crock pot meatballs cook low and slow in the crockpot keeping all the juices and flavors tucked inside every savory little meatball.

ingredients for crock pot meatballs on a counter

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 per the recipe below.
  2. Roll into 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 often brown the ground beef. This recipe is specifically designed to skip the pre-cooking. 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!

No browning required! If you’d like you can brown the outside of the meatballs in a frying pan but we don’t. The real beauty of this recipe is how quick and easy it is.

Ladle full of Crockpot Meatballs

What to Serve with Crockpot 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 roll, 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!

Overhead shot of Crockpot Meatballs over rigatoni

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! I’m pretty sure that once you prepare meatballs using this crockpot method, you will never go back!

Other Ground Beef Recipes You’ll Love

close photo of the inside of a crockpot meatball with tomato sauce
4.99 from 190 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Crockpot Meatballs

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



  • 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


  • Spray slow cooker with cooking spray.
  • Combine all meatball ingredients in 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.
4.99 from 190 votes

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.

Course Main Course, Slow Cooker
Cuisine American, Italian

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Recipe adapted from The ShortCut Kitchen.

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close up of Crockpot Meatballs with a bite taken out and a title
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Crockpot Meatballs cooked in the crockpot and close up with writing


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About the author

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. These are fantastic!! I made them with ground turkey and they came out perfect. My 15 month old devoured his, too, so that’s always an extra win! We used them for meatball subs this time, and I’m sure we’ll be using this recipe a ton!5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Stephi. Without sauce the meatballs may become a little dry. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

  2. I am in the process of making these and noticed the garlic is not chopped? Is it just two whole garlic cloves? Would appreciate a response. Thank you!

  3. Planning to double this recipe for a birthday party. Any suggestions for crockpot size to use with the doubled recipe or other tips? Thanks!

    1. I haven’t tried doubling this recipe but other readers have with great success Amy. Your standard size Crock Pot should be okay as long as it’s at a maximum 3/4 full. Another reader layered half the meatballs, sauce, then the rest of the meatballs and sauce with great success! They may take slightly longer to come up to temperature and to cook so you want to ensure your meatballs reach 165°F. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Mary, this recipe uses 24 ounces pasta sauce, 14 ounces crushed tomatoes canned, and 28 ounces diced tomatoes canned, undrained. I hope this helps!

  4. How do you prevent these from being greasy since you can’t drain the fat from the meat? I would love to try the recipe but my concern is the grease. Thanks

    1. I use lean beef in this slow cooker meatball recipe. The juices from the meatballs add amazing flavor to the sauce and are not drained. If you find a little extra fat floating on top, you can mix it in, or remove it with a spoon or paper towel. Enjoy the meatballs Erika!

    1. Yes, this recipe can be doubled Kara. It may take slightly longer to come up to temperature and to cook so you want to ensure your meatballs reach 165°F. Enjoy!

  5. I’ve been trying find a good meatball recipe for years and this is it!
    The only change I made was to use 1 lb of ground beef and 1/2 lb of Italian sausage. I will probably blend up the tomatoes since we like our sauce a little thicker. This will make great meatball subs!5 stars

  6. Do you think I could sub gluten free bread crumbs? My daughter is now GF but meatballs are a favorite in our home.

    1. How does barbecue sauce Apricot jelly and apple sauce all mixed together in the crockpot sound. I haven’t tried this yet but I’m pretty sure I read this recently some where . I already baked the meatballs for 25 Minutes at 350 Degrees

  7. We love your Greek meatballs and I want to try these. Do you need a jar of pasta sauce along with the other ingredients or could I use your marinara sauce recipe instead of jarred sauce?

    1. Marinara sauce would work great in this recipe Peg! You could add some extra seasonings or spices if you’d like.

  8. Fabulous recipe! I used one pound extra lean ground beef and one pound of 99% fat free ground turkey breast, so I increased it slightly, but kept everything else the same. I usually bake meatballs or brown them in a skillet, but this was so much easier and less clean up. We made meatball subs with these and added some homemade pasta salad. I’ll definitely make these again. I come here often for recipes. Thank you!5 stars

  9. I’ve used this recipe several times. I’m finally getting around to printing it. The meatballs are tender & delicious! There was another crockpot meatball recipe I found somewhere & that one was loaded with so much garlic & onion& spices that it was overwhelming. (& I like a lot of that stuff) This one is perfect!5 stars

  10. is it possible to use your oven meatball recipe in the crockpot? i have pork and beef and was curious if it will turn out them same.

  11. Hi Holly
    My crockpot only works on low setting now.
    Can I still use the Crockpot Meatballs recipe?
    I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for so long.
    Will they cook ok putting the mince in raw?

    1. Hi Marion, they can be cooked on low. I would suggest about 6-7 hours, you’ll want to ensure they reach 165°F.

  12. Love your Crockpot meatball recipe along with most of all your other rcipes. They are my go too each day

    Thanks Holly for making my cooking easier.5 stars

  13. Hello what if I only have 73% lean and 27% fat ground beef at the moment? Can I use this?
    Or what would you recommend using this type of beef for? Because it would be too greasy right ?

    1. I use lean beef in this slow cooker meatball recipe. The juices from the meatballs add amazing flavor to the sauce and are not drained. If you find a little extra fat floating on top, you can mix it in, or remove it with a spoon or paper towel. Enjoy the meatballs Kathy!