Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

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!


Who doesn’t love meatballs? Especially when they are cooked low and slow in a slow cooker. They are easy to make, versatile and can be made in advance and frozen for quick weeknight meals.

Rich, meaty, hearty and comforting. The perfect meal for busy weeknights or Sunday dinner.

This recipe makes enough to serve 6-8 people and always leaves tons of leftovers.

Super Tender Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

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.

As for the meat I use a blend of beef and pork. I always steer clear of the lean meat when I am making 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. Toss them in the slow cooker and throw in some crushed tomatoes.

Italian Crockpot Meatballs

A quick tip for making your meatballs: 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.

This recipe makes tons of meatballs. Freeze the extras for a quick weeknight meal.

All you have to do is boil some pasta and dinner is served! Serve as a meatball sandwich or on a pile of spaghetti.

Tender Slow Cooker Italian 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.

Serve with a big pile of spaghetti and dig in!

Love these Italian Meatballs? Here are some more meatball recipes to try:

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

4.84 from 42 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 6 About 24 meatballs
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!


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. Form into 1 or 2 inch meatballs. I made 24 meatballs.
  3. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Broil meatballs on high until browned on each side. About 4-5 minutes on each side.
  4. Add meatballs to slow cooker.
  5. Top with crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning.
  6. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  7. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm with basil or parmesan cheese for serving, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Original recipe from Please do not publish my recipe or pictures without linking back to the original post. Thank you!

Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 527 Calories from Fat 324
% Daily Value*
Fat 36g55%
Saturated Fat 14g88%
Cholesterol 169mg56%
Sodium 520mg23%
Potassium 512mg15%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 34g68%
Vitamin A 345IU7%
Vitamin C 4mg5%
Calcium 174mg17%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs


Leave a Comment

Comments - page 2/4

  • Allie

    This recipe is excellent! I’ve made it several times now and love it every time!

  • Bernadette O'Keefe

    Hi greetings from a cold winters day in Australia. Came across your page looking for slow cooker recipes. I wanted to make something for my daughter who is laid up with a bad back. I doubled the recipe so we could have a meal as well. I’m not sure about my weight conversion bc I have ended up with 96 meatballs??. So plenty for everyone. My slow cooker is really big so I like to fill it when it is on. You should smell my kitchen…. yummy. Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes. Thanks for sharing.

  • This is the best meatball recipe ever! I have made it several times, and it never disappoints! I will continue to make it for many years to come!

  • Laura B

    Can I form the meatballs the night before and leave them in the refrigerator until I’m ready to brown them and put them in the crockpot?

  • I’ve made these meatballs on numerous occasions. Super easy to make and are always delicious. Although, sometimes I do put a bit of sugar in the sauce, which is just my prefer.

  • Very tasty. Definetly will be making these again and browning them before putting them in the slow cooker was great. Really enjoyed them, thank you.

  • Jim

    Do you use two 24-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes, or 24 total ounces of crushed tomatoes?

  • Jessica

    This recipe is amazing! I made the meatballs for a housewarming party and literally everyone loved them! My only modification was not using 100% of the tomato paste and sauce, so that the tomato flavor wouldn’t overwhelm the meatballs. But besides that, I followed everything else exactly, and this is now one of my top go-to recipes to prepare! Thank you!

  • Andrea

    I’m wondering if I could cook these on the “high” setting for 2 hours, instead of “low” for 4?

  • Alexis

    These were awesome! Definitely a hit with my 4 year old daughter who doesn’t like much…but she loved these! And they were equally loved by the adults.

  • Rich

    My family LOVED them. I added more garlic and Italian seasonings a more salt to our family’s tastes. To the sauce I added wine and roasted the garlic and fresh tomatoes first then put it all in the crock pot. I cooked on high for 2.5 hours and it was very flavorful.
    Today…meatball subs for lunch. 🙂
    Thanks for the recipe!

  • NHL

    I took these neatballs to an office pitch-in. They were a big hit. The sauce kept them moist and flavorful. (Note: when you remove the lid to serve them, they will need to be stirred to look their best.) I will make these again.

  • Emma

    Hi! I’m going to make these for an upcoming party and serve meatball subs. When you do subs, how many meatballs do you put on them? I was thinking 3-4?

  • Bobby

    I have meatballs already made up. I want to make barbecue meatballs in crock pot. I need help. ?

  • Cyndi

    When making ahead an freezing… do you freeze with sauce after cooking in slow cooker or freeze meatballs raw?

  • Dawn

    Made these yummy meatballs for our new years eve dinner last night. They were very easy to make and tasted wonderful over spaghetti. Loved cooking them in the crockpot as it made our house smell delicious and made for incredibly tasty and tender meatballs. Thanks for the recipe Kelley!

  • Barbara

    I can’t believe this is like my meatball recipe except I use soaked bread and bread crumbs and I never thought to cook it in a crockpot . It taste better than cooking it on the stove .My family very much enjoyed it thank you

  • Antonette

    My supermarket doesn’t carry 24oz cans of tomatoes. What can I substitute the 24oz cans with?

    • Hi Antonette,

      I would either add two 14.5 ounce cans of tomato sauce. The extra sauce won’t hurt anything!

      Thanks & Enjoy!


  • Joel

    Do you need to broil the meat balls? Or can you just get away with only cooking them in the slow cooker?