go-to slow cooker meatball recipe

Slow cookers are perfect for making meatballs, as the low and slow cooking process makes them incredibly tender and allows the flavors to meld beautifully. Here’s a go-to slow cooker meatball recipe that you can easily customize to suit your tastes. These meatballs are great on their own, served with pasta, or as a hearty sandwich filling.



For the Meatballs:

1 lb ground beef

1/2 lb ground pork (optional; you can use all beef if preferred)

1 cup breadcrumbs

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large egg

1/2 cup milk

Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Sauce:

1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sugar, a pinch (optional, to balance acidity)




1. Make the Meatball Mixture:

In a large bowl, combine ground beef, ground pork, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, parsley, minced garlic, egg, and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Mix until just combined—avoid overmixing to keep the meatballs tender.


2. Form the Meatballs:

Form the mixture into meatballs, about 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter. Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You don’t need to cook them at this point; the slow cooker will take care of that.


3. Prepare the Sauce:

In the slow cooker, mix together the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, minced garlic, chopped onion, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper. If the sauce tastes too acidic, add a pinch of sugar to balance the flavors.


4. Add the Meatballs to the Slow Cooker:

Gently place the formed meatballs into the slow cooker, covering them with sauce. Try to avoid stirring too much, so you don’t break the meatballs.


5. Cook:

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. The meatballs should be cooked through and tender, and the sauce should be flavorful.


6. Serve:

Serve the slow cooker meatballs hot. They’re perfect with spaghetti, on a hoagie roll for a meatball sub, or enjoy them on their own with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and some fresh basil.



Freezing Meatballs: This recipe is freezer-friendly. You can freeze the cooked meatballs and sauce together in freezer bags or containers. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in a microwave.

Customization: Feel free to add your favorite ingredients to the meatball mixture or sauce, such as chopped mushrooms, bell peppers, or red pepper flakes for a bit of heat.

Serving Suggestion: If serving with pasta, cook the pasta according to package instructions towards the end of the meatballs’ cooking time. A side of garlic bread and a fresh salad make great accompaniments.

This slow cooker meatball recipe is a simple and delicious way to make a comforting meal with minimal effort. Enjoy the rich flavors and tender texture of these meatballs any night of the week.

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