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Slow Cooker Meatballs

Slow Cooker Meatballs are a popular dinner in our house! When served with spaghetti and rich tomato sauce, this simple slow cooker recipe appeals to all the family. 

Like slow cooker spaghetti bolognese, when meatballs are cooked over a longer period of time in a slow cooker, the meat stays soft and tender, soaked in rich and tasty tomato sauce.

spaghetti and meatballs with text how to make meatballs in a slow cooker

How To Make Slow Cooker Meatballs

The Meat

You can either make the meatballs from scratch or grab some that have been pre-prepared. Making meatballs is quick, but if you don’t have the time, meatballs found in the fresh meat aisle will work just as well.

Choose the type of meat you prefer – I tend to use beef mince, but turkey or pork works just as well.

You might also like: More Slow Cooker Mince Recipes

meatballs in slow cooker ingredients

The Sauce

Like the meatballs, you can either use a jar of tomato pasta sauce or make your own.

When I say make your own, I really don’t put a huge amount of effort into the process! I literally just add some passata (or sometimes a tin of chopped tomatoes), some herbs, spices, and garlic. 

Can I add raw meatballs to the slow cooker?

I usually add all my ingredients into the slow cooker while they are raw.

I’m all about speed and minimal washing up!

However, for this recipe, I do like to fry the meatballs first to seal them gently. This helps to prevent them from breaking apart during the slow cooking process. Searing the meatballs also keeps the juices inside the meatballs during the slow cooking period for maximum flavour.

Having said that, it is perfectly safe to add raw meatballs straight into the slow cooker.

Add Sauce Ingredient Straight To The Slow Cooker

If you are making your own sauce, add all the ingredients to the slow cooker bowl and mix in there. Transfer the meatballs into the sauce.

tomato sauce over meatballs in slow cooker

Set the slow cooker on low for 4-5 hours.

At the end of the cooking time, lift the lid and very carefully stir the meatballs around in the sauce, making sure you don’t do it too vigorously and cause them to break apart.

Serve the slow cooker meatballs over cooked spaghetti or mashed potatoes. Grate some cheese over the top of the meatballs and wait for it to melt in. Yum.

I hope you enjoy this recipe – let me know in the comments how you get on with it!

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slow cooker meatballs on spaghetti

Slow Cooker Meatballs

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 5 minutes

Slow cooker meatballs taste amazing when slowly cooked in a rich and flavoursome tomato sauce. They taste great when served over freshly cooked spaghetti.


  • 24 meatballs (approx - either pre-prepared or homemade)
  • 1tbsp dried Italian herbs
  • 2 x 400g tomato passata or tinned tomatoes
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Basil leaves (optional, for garnish)


  1. Gently sear the meatballs before adding them to the slow cooker - this is optional but I prefer to seal the meat to help lock in the juices as well as reduce the risk of the meatballs falling apart in the slow cooker.
  2. Add the sauce ingredients straight to the slow cooker and mix together.
  3. Transfer the meatballs to the slow cooker so that they are submerged in the sauce.
  4. Set off on low for 4 to 5 hours.
  5. Remove the lid and gently stir the sauce around - take care not to break up the meatballs.
  6. Serve over cooked spaghetti and sprinkle with grated cheese and fresh basil leaves.


For minimal preparation you can substitute with a jar of tomato pasta sauce.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 545Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 1200mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 8gSugar: 14gProtein: 27g

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Are you looking for more slow cooker recipes?

If you enjoy this recipe, you might like my new eBook ‘100 Slow Cooker Recipes.’ It will be released on Monday 8th March 2021, but you can pre-order it today for a discounted price – check it out!

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Monday 7th of February 2022

Can you freeze the meatballs and sauce once cooled to reheat later?

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