Everybody loves meatballs and this slow cooker version is so simple to master! An easy meat mixture is formed into meatballs, baked, and then placed in the slow cooker with marinara sauce, and cooked to tender perfection. Perfect as an appetizer or paired with pasta for a full meal, these are simple and a Sunday night dinner classic that everyone loves.
We love hearty Italian classic recipes- Pasta skillets, chopped salads, even Italian sloppy joes! We’re adding these meatballs to our Italian Recipe Repertoire.
To start, place the meatball ingredients needed in a large mixing bowl. I suggest mixing these by hand to keep them the most tender.
Ingredients needed for meatballs:
- Ground beef
- Ground pork
- Parmesan Cheese
- Italian Seasoning
Once the meat mixture is combined, use a cookie scooper to roll them into even spheres, and place them on a greased sheet pan. Using a cookie scooper ensures they are all the same size, making for even cooking (and prettier presentation!). For this recipe, we like to bake them at a high temp first- this is just to get the exterior crispy, while the interior will continue cooking in the slow cooker to keep them tender.
Once crispy on the exterior, place them into a slow cooker with your favorite marinara sauce. I love the brand Rao’s– they even have a sensitive stomach marinara I love! While it is definitely a pricer option, the flavor is fantastic and tastes homemade. If you really love the idea of making your own from scratch, I recommend our Sheet Pan Marinara Recipe. Delicious and so healthy, plus it does a great job of using up garden tomatoes.
Let them cook on low for about 6 hours, or high for 3-4, garnish with parmesan, serve and enjoy!
If you are serving these as an appetizer, you can top them on a crostini with a little bit of parmesan, or even make a meatball-focaccia-bread sandwich!
If you are looking for other slow cooker recipes, check these ones out!
Slow Cooker Meatballs
- .75 lb ground pork
- .75 lb ground beef
- 3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup minced onion
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 28 oz jar of marinara sauce
- 15 oz canned tomato sauce
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with foil and spray with nonstick. Set aside.
- Combine meatball ingredients in large mixing bowl. Mix with hands. Using a cookie scooper, scoop meatballs and roll into spheres. Place on sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes, or until exterior is cooked until 'crispy' (interior will still be raw and will finish cooking in slow cooker).
- Pour sauces in slow cooker. Add meatballs. Cook on low for 6 hours, or high for 3 hours. Meatballs are fully cooked when the center of them is 165 degrees fahrenheit.
Carol F says
What size cookie scoop do you use to form the meatballs?
Kathi & Rachel says
I used a 1 1/2 tbsp cookie scoop but you could certainly use whatever size you like best/what you have on hand.