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Crockpot Meatball Recipe

5 from 1 vote
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posted: 09/07/21

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Crockpot Meatball Recipe makes the most perfect Italian meatballs. Created off of my grandmother’s Italian meatballs, this recipe is perfect for busy nights.

a crockpot meatball recipe on top of spaghetti

In the quest to find dinners that we can walk away from during the rush of busy afternoons, let me introduce you to these amazing Crockpot Meatballs. Based off my amazing grandmother’s recipe, they are an easy way to get dinner on the table in a rush.

I promise you that your family will love this incredible slow cooker recipe.

How to Make Crockpot Meatballs

  1. Combine the ingredients. Add all of the ingredients for the meatballs to a bowl.
  2. Form them into meatballs. We love to use a cookie scoop to make them uniform.
  3. Add to the crockpot. Pour some tomato sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the meatballs in a single layer avoiding them touching the sides. Pour more tomato sauce over the meatballs and add another layer. Continue adding layers, topping the last layer with the remaining tomato sauce.
  4. Cook the meatballs. Cook on low for 2 to 3 hours or on high for 1 to 2 hours.
overhead of ingredients for crockpot meatballs in a bowl

Meatballs with Pork and Beef

We love meatballs made with turkey, chicken, and the combination of pork and beef. For these, we went off of my grandmother’s recipe and she always used a pork and beef combination.

The combination of pork and beef with a ratio of 2:1 makes for the best flavor and the perfect meaty taste and texture.

Eliminating the Panade from Meatballs

A panade is a combination of bread soaked with water or milk that makes a meatball recipe just perfect. We tried this recipe several different ways after my grandma’s meatballs which uses Italian bread soaked in water.

What we found is the combination of the panade and cooking in the slow cooker left the meatballs really mushy. This was true even if we broiled them first. My expert meatball testers (my meatball loving children) decided that it was best to eliminate the panade completely.

Cutting out Broiling and Frying

Another change we made to this recipe was eliminating the frying. Grandma always pan fried her meatballs to give them a nice crisp exterior. Rather than going through that whole process to just put them in a slow cooker, we decided to try sticking them under the broiler.

What we found was, not only did that added step create more work, it made for a meatball that was more likely to over cook and burn in the slow cooker. Additionally, because of the sauce that they are cooking in, the crisp exterior is kind of lost on these.

Making Your Own Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs

If all you have on hand is plain breadcrumbs, no worries at all. You can easily make them Italian seasoned by adding some of our homemade Italian Seasoning to them. Add 1 teaspoon to a cup of plain breadcrumbs and they are ready to go.

FAQ

Can these be made ahead of time?

Yes! Make these meatballs the night before. Place them on a baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil. The next day put them in the slow cooker and proceed with cooking.

Can slow cooker meatballs be made gluten free?

Yes! I suggest making your own breadcrumbs out of gluten free bread and then adding 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning.

Can I make crockpot meatballs out of something other than pork and beef?

Yes. This recipe will work with ground turkey and chicken as well. Please refer to our turkey meatball and chicken meatball recipe for what we enjoy best.

Why are they pink inside?

As slow cookers vary greatly, the cooking time is a range. Your slow cooker might need more or less time. To guarantee that your meatballs are safe to eat, use an instant read thermometer. They are ready to eat once they are 160 degrees. Sometimes ground pork still appears pink when it has reached 160 degrees.

side view of slow cooker meatballs in a crockpot

What to Serve with Crockpot Meatballs

When looking for what to serve with this crockpot meatball recipe, we always eat them over pasta. But here are a few of our favorite side dishes:

If you make this slow cooker meatball recipe or any of our other recipes, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

overhead ov a slow cooker meatball recipe over spaghetti
5 from 1 vote

Crockpot Meatballs

Serves: 32 meatballs
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes
This Crockpot Meatball Recipe makes the most perfect Italian meatballs. Created off of my grandmother's Italian meatballs, this recipe is perfect for busy nights.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef (I use 85%)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork unseasoned
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 cups tomato sauce (just canned tomato sauce, not spaghetti sauce)

Instructions

  • Combine the meat, eggs, and parsley in a large bowl Then add the dry bread crumbs, parmesan, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Using a cookie scoop, scoop the meatballs and roll them into into consistent balls.
  • Pour a small amount of the tomato sauce into the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the meatballs in a single layer. Cover with more tomato sauce. Continue layering the meatballs and tomato sauce until they are all added.
  • Cook on low for 2 to 3 hours or on high for 1 to 2 hours. Or until the meatballs reach 160 degrees. They may have a little pinkness inside of them as pork can still appear pink at 160 degrees. (See note.)

Notes

As slow cookers vary greatly, the cooking time is a range. Your slow cooker might need more or less time. To guarantee that your meatballs are safe to eat, use an instant read thermometer. They are ready to eat once they are 160 degrees.
Serving: 1meatball
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
overhead ov a slow cooker meatball recipe over spaghetti

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Crockpot Meatballs

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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