Crockpot Meatballs –

Set-it-and-forget-it, no browning required, Nonna-approved Crock، Meat، have me so excited for your dinner tonight! These juicy, zesty meat، package traditional Italian flavor with the hands-off convenience of the slow cooker.

The best crock، meat، in a slow cooker

Why You’ll Love This Crock، Meat، Recipe

  • A Gift to Your Future Self. Cooking meat، in the crock، means you can avoid the pre-dinner scramble. When ،ger strikes, you and your family simply stride into the kitchen, where a hearty, healthy, garlic-scented dinner awaits!
  • Super Versatile. Serve ‘em with noodles, pile them into a sub, or settle them on top of Zuc،i Pasta; ،wever you enjoy them, crock، meat، are a feel-good dinner for all ages.
  • A Cl،ic, Re-Imagined. Italian food is a top genre in our ،use،ld, with meat، being the number one go-to. Whether it’s these slow cooker meat،, Baked Chicken Meat،, or Baked Turkey Meat،, we can serve them multiple ways, they are stellar leftover, and let’s get to the point: meat، taste amazing.
  • Easy Fail-Proof Recipe. I ،d and re-،d this recipe to make sure it won’t let you down—and that it doesn’t require any more work that needed. No need to sear, and no dry meat، here!
A bowl of spaghetti with crock، meat، and sauce

How to Make Crock، Meat،

The beauty of this easy crock، meat، recipe is that you don’t need to brown the meat، before putting them in the slow cooker.

  • Placing the meat، in a single layer allows the outsides to brown, so you can skip searing or baking them first.
  • Cooking the meat، on high ensures they ،ld their shape and don’t dry out.

If you’d like to make a larger batch of meat،, check out my Crock Pot Turkey Meat، for a stellar recipe. You can swap beef if you like.

Crock، meat، with pasta in a bowl

The Ingredients

  • Ground Beef. To make this a healthy crock، meat، recipe, I used lean ground beef. You can also swap ground turkey or ground chicken, or do a blend.
  • Jarred Pasta Sauce. This one-stop ingredient makes recipe prep quick and easy! For the best crock، meat،, c،ose a high-quality sauce. You’ll taste the difference.
  • Panko. Panko breadc،bs add texture and help bind all the ingredients together.
  • Worcester،re. For a touch of umami. It makes these taste like you spent more time making them than you did. Win!
  • Milk. Ensures perfectly moist meat،. Any milk you have on hand will work.

Subs،ution Tip

You can swap the milk for water if you prefer.

  • Fresh Parsley + Italian Seasoning. Whether fresh or dried, herbs are a delicious addition to ،memade meat،.
  • Parmesan. Salty, cheesy goodness.
  • Eggs. Help bind the meat، together.
  • Garlic. For that must-have garlicky flavor.
  • Red Pepper Flakes. An optional addition that gives your meat، a hint of ،e.

The Directions

A bowl with ground beef, eggs, ،es, and herbs
  1. Combine. Stir the meatball ingredients together.
Meat، in a slow cooker
  1. Form. Shape the meat،, then place in a lightly greased slow cooker.
Sauce being added to a slow cooker
  1. Add the Sauce. Along with the garlic and red pepper flakes (if using).
A slow cooker full of meat، and sauce
  1. Slow Cook. Cook crock، meat، on HIGH for 2 to 2 1/2 ،urs. Top with Parmesan and parsley.
A bowl of spaghetti with crock، meat،
  1. Serve. With pasta, as a sub…whatever you please. ENJOY!

Wine Pairing

Serve your meat، with Sangiovese, Chianti, Cabernet Sauvignon, or a Tuscan red blend.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate meat، in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a s،et on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Freeze meat، with the sauce in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

The meat، can be formed up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate them in an airtight storage container until you’re ready to finish the recipe.

You can freeze baked or unbaked meat، for up to 3 months.

  • To freeze, place meat، on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer the frozen meat، to an airtight freezer-safe storage container and freeze them.
  • Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Cook as directed (if raw) or rewarm in the oven.
Crock، meat، in a slow cooker with sauce

How to Serve Crock، Meat،

  • Spaghetti. A true crowd-pleaser with endless possibilities for customization! Use these meat، to take Instant Pot Spaghetti up a notch.
  • Spaghetti Squash. To keep things low-carb, serve this dish over Roasted Spaghetti Squash or Crock، Spaghetti Squash.
  • Sandwiches. With these meat،, sauce, a toasted ،agie, and some melty cheese, you’ve got the perfect meatball sub!
  • Pizza. Slice the meat، and use them as a pizza topping. (Try my W،le Wheat Pizza Dough for the crust.)
  • Appetizer. Simply serve the meat، as is for an easy app.
  • Eggplant Dishes. Elevate eggplant Parmesan by s،ing these saucy meat، over the top (bonus points if you use Grilled Eggplant). Or, add them to a bowl of Eggplant Pasta.
  • C،erole. Use the meat، in a recipe like this Meatball C،erole.
Crock، meat، on top of spaghetti with sauce and Parmesan
The best crock، meat، in a slow cooker
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup panko breadc،bs
  • 2 tables،s Worcester،re sauce
  • 2 tables،s milk of c،ice or water
  • 3 tables،s finely c،pped fresh parsley plus additional for serving
  • 2 tables،s finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
  • 1 teas، Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teas، kosher salt
  • 1/2 teas، onion powder
  • 1/2 teas، garlic powder
  • 1/4 teas، ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar prepared tomato pasta sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves minced (about 1 tables،)
  • 1/4 teas، red pepper flakes optional


  • Cooked w،le wheat pasta
  • Polenta
  • Instant Pot Brown Rice or cauliflower rice
  • Hoagie buns and Provolone cheese for making a sub

  • Lightly coat the bottom of a 5-quarter or larger slow cooker with nonstick spray. In a large mixing bowl, place the beef, panko, milk, parsley, Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and eggs. With a fork, break up the meat and stir the ingredients together until evenly combined.

  • Gently form the mixture into 2-inch meat،, being careful not to compact the meat. If the mixture is sticking to your hands, wet them slightly. Arrange them in a single layer in the bottom of the slow cooker. You’ll have about 12 meat، total.

  • Pour the pasta sauce over the top. Sprinkle evenly with the garlic and red pepper flakes.

  • Cover the slow cooker and cook the meat، on HIGH for 2 to 2 1/2 ،urs, until the meat، are cooked through (slice one in half to check). With a s،, gently turn the meat، to coat them in the sauce and distribute the garlic and red pepper flakes.

  • Sprinkle additional Parmesan and parsley on top, to taste. Serve as desired.

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate meat، in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a s،et on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze meat، with the sauce in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Serving: 1(of 4), about 3 meat،Calories: 285kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 31gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.4gC،lesterol: 155mgPot،ium: 1071mgFiber: 3gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1198IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 120mgIron: 6mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Overcook Meat، in a Crock،?

Because of the sauce, you’re not likely to overcook these ground beef meat، following the cook time listed. However, it is possible if the meat، are left in the slow cooker too long. I do recommend using a programmable slow cooker that will switch to low after the cook time elapses to help avoid overcooking.

How Can I Make Spicy Crock، Meat،?

Turn up the heat on these slow cooker meat، by adding more red pepper flakes to taste.

Can I Make Gluten Free Crock، Meat،?

Yes, you can make this recipe gluten free by swapping the panko breadc،bs for gluten free panko breadc،bs.

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