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Easy Crockpot Meatballs

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Juicy, tender Crockpot Meatballs are a super easy, quick prep, delicious meal cooked slowly in an equally simple pasta sauce. The flavors mingle and create utterly delicious meatballs for your next pasta night.

Side view of Crockpot Meatballs over pappardelle pasta in a white pasta bowl

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What to Love About Crockpot Meatballs

  • There is no need to brown or pre-cook these meatballs!
  • Juicy and tender with amazing flavor as they slowly simmer in pasta sauce and their own juices.
  • A quick and effortless way to make meatballs with very little prep, any day of the week.

Crockpot Meatballs

If you love pasta nights, and meatballs, these Crockpot Meatballs are a simple way to achieve tasty, delicious results.

And most of the work is done for you in the slow cooker. Seriously tender, juicy, and almost addictive.

All you really need to do, is cook the pasta and perhaps warm up some garlic bread! Or, if you have an hour, try my 1 Hour Homemade French Bread Fresh From Your Oven. It’s rather delightful!

Side view of 3 Crockpot Meatballs on a bed of pasta with sauce and fresh parsley

Crockpot Meatballs Ingredients

The exact measurements are in the recipe card below, but here are the simple ingredients you’ll need to make these delicious and easy slow cooker meatballs.

  • Ground Beef: I like to use a lean ground beef that contains some fat for flavor and moisture but because we are not searing or pre-baking them, it’s best to use lean ground beef. You can also substitute the beef for ground chicken, turkey, or sausage.
  • Binding: I’m using eggs and Italian breadcrumbs for binding agents.
  • Flavoring and aromatics: These meatballs have some unique ingredients that add subtle, somewhat surprising and yet delicious flavor. You will need molasses (not super usual), onion, garlic, dried oregano, and cumin. I’m also adding Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

The Crockpot Meatballs will cook in a simple tomato marinara sauce with delicious flavor. All you will need is a jar of your favorite pasta sauce, a can of crushed tomatoes and either Italian seasoning or dried basil.

Once cooked, you can serve the meatballs over your choice of pasta. I’ve used pappardelle here.

Top view of uncooked Crockpot Meatballs in a 6-quart slow cooker

How to Make Meatballs in a Crockpot?

Once again, these Crockpot Meatballs require no frying, baking, browning, or pre-cooking. They are made from scratch meatballs in the simplest way possible.

Step-by-step instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post, but here’s a quick overview:

  1. Combine the ground beef, seasonings, breadcrumbs, and eggs.
  2. Roll gently into similarly sized balls and place raw in the bottom of the crockpot.
  3. Pour the sauce over the top and let the slow cooker turn them into delicious, juicy meatballs.

Pro Tips on Making Meatballs

How do you make meatballs soft and tender?

To avoid tough meatballs, don’t overmix the meat. While it’s tempting to keep mixing the ingredients, it will result in tough meatballs. For the most tender meatballs, mix the meat with the binder (egg) and other ingredients just until everything is combined.

Is there a best way to shape meatballs?

Try to avoid forming the meat into super-tight, compact balls. When they’re packed too tightly, they tend to become tough, rubbery, and chewy. The best way to form meatballs is to oil your hands so the mixture won’t stick, and then gently and quickly form into evenly sized balls.

Can you make them ahead?

Absolutely! The meatballs can be prepared the night before and refrigerated. When you’re ready to cook, add to the slow cooker, pour the sauce over the top, and walk away!

Top view of Crockpot Meatballs with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese on a white plate

What to Serve with Crockpot Meatballs

Crockpot meatballs can be served as a main dish over pasta, as appetizers, fillings for hoagies, or simply as is! Here are my favorite ways to serve meatballs:

  • Over pasta, any shape or size.
  • In meatballs subs with hoagie rolls, and mozzarella cheese.
  • With mashed potatoes.
  • Made into smaller meatballs for easy party appetizers.

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Side view of Crockpot Meatballs, cut in half, in a white pasta bowl with fresh parsley
Side view of Crockpot Meatballs over pappardelle pasta in a white pasta bowl

Crockpot Meatballs

Juicy, tender Crockpot Meatballs are a super easy, quick prep, delicious meal cooked slowly in an equally simple pasta sauce. The flavors mingle and create utterly delicious meatballs for your next pasta night.
5 from 5 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Equipment

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef or sausage
  • 1/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup onion finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup parsley fresh, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Sauce

  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • 28 ounce crushed tomatoes undrained
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil or Italian seasoning

Instructions

  • Spray the crockpot insert with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, molasses, oregano, cumin, egg, parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Stir with a fork until well-mixed.
    Wet crockpot meatballs ingredients whisked together in a glass bowl.
  • Add the meat and stir just until combined. Be careful not to overwork the meat.
    Raw meatball mixture in a glass bowl
  • Gently form into meatballs. I like to make 2-inch meatballs, which should give you about 12 large. They fit into my hand and form a single layer in the bottom of the slow cooker. You can also make smaller, 1-tablespoon size meatballs, which should give you 24. Place on the bottom of the prepared crockpot insert.
    Uncooked meatballs in the bottom of a crockpot
  • Combine the sauce ingredients of marinara sauce, crushed tomatoes, and basil. Pour over the meatballs.
  • Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Serve over pasta.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 669mg | Potassium: 927mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 809IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: crockpot meatballs, meatballs in crockpot, slow cooker meatballs

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