Super Tender Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs. Loaded with Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and garlic. They melt in your mouth and are incredibly tender. Simmered low and slow for 4 hours!
Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs
Who doesn’t love meatballs? Especially when they are cooked low and slow in a crockpot. These authentic beef meatballs are easy to make, versatile and can be made in advance and frozen for quick weeknight meals. The meatballs are melt in your mouth tender thanks to the combination of beef and pork. This truly is the best Italian meatball recipe!
Rich, meaty, hearty and comforting these Italian Meatballs are the perfect meal for busy weeknights or Sunday dinner. You will need a little bit of prep time to throw the meatballs together. The most time consuming part of this recipe is forming the meatballs.
The sauce is super simple as well. Simmering the sauce low and slow for 4 hours makes the sauce super thick, rich and loaded with flavor. I add some crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning and bay leaves for extra flavor.
This recipe makes enough to serve 6-8 people and always leaves tons of leftovers. Here’s what you’ll need:
Ingredients for Beef Meatballs
- Ground Beef
- Ground Pork
- Italian Breadcrumbs
- Parmesan Cheese
- Crushed Tomatoes
- Tomato Paste
- Bay Leaves
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- Italian Seasoning
How to make Italian Meatballs in the Slow Cooker
Making these homemade meatballs in the crockpot is super easy. Start by adding beef, pork, onion, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, eggs and cheese to a large bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until combined. Form into 1 or 2 inch meatballs. I made 24 meatballs. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Broil meatballs on high until browned on each side. About 4-5 minutes on each side. Add meatballs to slow cooker. Top with crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning. Cook on low for 4 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with basil or parmesan cheese for serving, if desired.
- Do not over mix: I combine the ingredients with my hands just until it’s combined. That’s it. When you portion the meatballs they tend to get a little sticky. I recommend wetting your hands with water before you start rolling out your meatballs.
- Buy 80/20 beef: If you can find it 80/20 beef makes the best authentic meatballs. They turn out super juicy and tender.
- Freeze leftovers: This recipe makes tons of meatballs. Freeze the extras in an airtight container for up to 3 months for a quick weeknight meal. You can freeze the meatballs either par cooked (just broiled) or fully cooked.
- Brown meatballs: It’s important to sear the meatballs before adding them to the slow cooker. This helps to keep the juices inside. I brown the meatballs under the broiler on a sheet tray to get a nice caramelization on the outside.
- Baked Meatballs: If you are short on time try my Easy 30 Minute Meatball Recipe. Perfect for a busy weeknight!
- Use a cookie scoop: To easily portion out perfectly round meatballs. It saves on time and keeps everything consistent.
- Reheat: To warm up leftovers simply add the meatballs back to the crockpot and warm up on low heat with the sauce. Or heat them up in a saucepan on the stove until warmed through.
What to serve with Slow Cooker Meatballs
Here are more Easy Meatball Recipes to try!
- Thai Red Curry Chicken Meatballs
- Teriyaki Beef Meatballs
- Turkey Meatballs with Arugula and Mushrooms
- Asian Style Chicken Meatballs
- Slow Cooker Asian Sesame Meatballs
- Italian Meatball Soup
Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1/4 cup onion minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
- salt and pepper
- 2 24 ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 2 whole bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- salt and pepper to taste
- basil for serving if desired
- parmesan cheese for serving if desired
- Add beef, pork, onion, garlic, parsley, breadcrumbs, eggs and cheese to a large bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until combined.
- Form into 1 or 2 inch meatballs. I made 24 meatballs.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet. Broil meatballs on high until browned on each side. About 4-5 minutes on each side.
- Add meatballs to slow cooker. Top with crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning.
- Cook on low for 4 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with basil or parmesan cheese for serving, if desired.
Originally published October 8, 2015.