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


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Comments - page 3/4

  • Sarah

    can i ask a question please – is it a total of 24oz of crushed tomatoes to this recipe or 2 x 24 oz?

  • Christine in Los Angeles

    When I make meatballs (or hamburgers, or meatloaf), I put a cube of mozzarella in the center … mozz, plus basil, plus tomatoes … you’ll think you’ve gone to heaven.
    Thank you for the recipe.
    God bless

  • Catrina Hayes

    Hi Kelley, I want to make your recipe for a bridal shower of 30 women. Do you think doubling the recipe would be enough? I wanted to triple it but I think my crock pot is too small. If doubled, how much time do they need to cook? More than 4 hours?

    • Hi Catrina!

      Doubling the recipe should definitely be plenty. I don’t think they should have to cook much longer than four hours I would give yourself five to be safe.

      Thank you and I hope you enjoy!


  • Angela O'Looney

    Thank you. I just wanted to check if pre browning the meatballs is best. I’m doing them with tagliatelle. I’ll let you know how they turn out. I bought meatballs from the supermarket that are a mix of pork and beef. They look nice enough although I would usually make meatballs myself. However, these were so cheap and convenient that I thought why not.

    • Hi Angela,

      Pre browning the meatballs adds lots of flavor but is an optional step. If you have the time I would suggest doing it.



  • Casey

    I decided to try these meatballs yesterday and they turned out amazing! My fiance is very picky but he couldn’t stop eating them. My brother saw pictures of the ones I made and I have to make them for him in a few days. Thank you for sharing this easy and unbelievably good recipe.

    Side note: I put extra crushed tomatoes in the crock pot to make more sauce to pour over mashed potatoes. Perfect meal!

    • Hi Jazmin,

      No you don’t have to make the sauce. You can just make the meatballs.

      Thanks & Enjoy!


  • Dave Arseneau

    Great recipe……

    After too much experimentation, I’ve decided that a Very liberal amount of fresh chopped parsley does wonders for meat mixes…. along with the proper amount of bread crumbs, and….some egg of course.

    The parsley cuts through any salty ingredients..did I say it aids in digestion?

    Adding parmesan to the mix and/or the sauce enhances the flavour..

    My passion is to use some allspice in my sauce, a small amount of chicken broth, olive oil, also…

    As a classically trained French cook who has done time in many kitchens in N.A,, including Marriot and Movenpick, we were tasked with developing test menus…

    As the Communard, my meatballs were always a hit.

  • Chad Cudney

    Second time making them and they so soft and delicious! I brought them to work for the guys I work with and nothing but compliments..I suggest getting sub rolls for bombers.

  • Olivia Nadile

    First off, I rarely ever leave reviews on recipes but with these meatballs I HAD to! Not only were they delicious but a breeze to make. Cooking and cleanup was easy, using the broiler to brown them and the slow cooker to finish them was genius! I doubled the recipe to bring to a potluck and everyone couldn’t stop raving about them, the sauce too! Cooking on low over 4 hours really developed the flavor. Nobody believed me how simple the recipe was. The only things I tweaked was adding extra garlic and milk to the meatball mixture to bind things a little more. Other then that it’s definitely a recipe to keep in my rolodex.

  • The meatballs no sweat don’t even need to cook first to know they would be great. But the sauce I was looking for a simple yet tasty sauce. I think this may be it, have made hundreds of meatballs but store bought sauce never does justice to a good meatball. Tomato paste cought my eye it’s what I used to fix the store bought sauce. Thank You I’ll be trying out soon.

  • Valerie

    Have made this recipe several times now and every time it’s been EXCELLENT! So tasty and the meatballs come out very tender. Gotta be from the slow cooking. Thanks for a great recipe! Keeper!

    • Hi Danielle,

      I have not tried this in the instant pot yet. I think it should work out fine though!

      Thanks & Enjoy!


  • Hi

    This recipe yielded dry meatballs. Skip the broil phase, in my opinion.

  • Carly

    These meatballs are amazing and are an easy meal to come home to on a busy weeknight. I didn’t realize that I hadn’t turned the broiler on but instead the oven. So, I ended up baking them for 15 mins at 350 degrees. I added a fair amount of sautéed fresh garlic and a hefty bunch of fresh basil before turning the slow cooker on. The sauce was outstanding and the meatballs were super juicy. My Italian grandparents would have certainly approved!

  • Colleen Kramer

    It’s 2018, just made this recipe. I made 1 1/2 batches for my large group. I used 2 lbs beef, 1 lb Italian Sausage (because that’s what I had). EXCELLENT! So glad I did not have to fry them. The broiling was quick and easy and most importantly browned them enough that they did not fall apart in the slow cooker. But they were MOIST and DELICIOUS. Big hit from all my family. Going into our favorites for sure! Thanks. (We ate them as meatball subs). Leftovers were sent home to be used with spaghetti.

  • Mel

    I don’t have tomato paste and can’t go get it right now. Any substitutions you’ve used?

  • Brian

    This recipe is amazing!! I made 40 meatballs, just a little smaller then a golf ball size. Lightly toasted up mini sub buns with garlic butter and mozzarella cheese first, then added 6 meatballs and sauce per bun, then topped with provolone cheese and broiled till nicely melted over everything. Best meatball sub I have had in ages!!!!!

  • Eileen Angelics

    If I make these today can I reheat them tomorrow in the crockpot?

  • Kirstan

    This is my go-to meatball recipe – have made it at least 5-6 times now. Delicious every time! Thank you! Makes a lot, but freezes very well.