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Crock Pot Meatballs With Sauce

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meat balls in a red sauce

Crock Pot Meatballs with Sauce are an easy no-fuss meal! No browning is needed for these tender juicy meatballs that cook in a delicious thick sauce in the slow cooker! Great on pasta or for making the BEST Meatball sandwich! 

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I love Italian food! (Awww heck…I love all food!) When it comes to comfort food, foods that speak of family meal time, and meals made with love…the Italian’s just hold the corner on the market!

You’ll know exactly what I mean when you make this dish! My house smelled like a Five star Italian restaurant! Oh my goodness, it was so amazing… they need a wall flower with that scent! (Well…maybe not, but you get the gist right?)

Who doesn’t like a delicious meatball sandwich, or pasta and meatballs with a deep rich marinara sauce? It’s the BEST!

The beauty of this recipe is you can do both, in the crock pot, (no kidding) and the sauce is OUT.OF.THIS.WORLD!  So, go dig out that crock pot that you thought you had put away for the winter and let’s a make’a some’a meatballs… hey! (Really bad Italian accent…really bad! lol)

Uncooked Meatballs

How To Make Slow Cooker Meatballs and Sauce

Take 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of mild Italian sausage (If you can only find it in links…just get links and cut them open…not a big deal)… along with your seasoned bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, and Parmesan cheese and you are going to mush that all together really well. (That’s right…Mush! I love mushing…just dig your hands in and mush away! Don’t be a pansy…roll up those sleeves and MUSH!!! lol)

Take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball.

Place the meatball into the bottom of your crock pot. (Think golf ball size…maybe just a tad bigger) Continue rolling the meat into balls and placing them in the crock pot until you have used all the mixture.  You should have around 25 – 30 meatballs…give or take.

Now…onto the sauce!

Pour remaining ingredients on top of the meatballs…DO NOT STIR!  

That’s right just “dump” 2 cans of petite diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste, 1 small can tomato sauce, 2 cups of water, your onion, garlic, seasonings and sugar. Place the lid on top, set on low and… walk away….yep…walk away or you can dance…whatever get’s ya moving on to the next thing on your list. (Note * If you have the newer crock pots with the digital settings…and you’ve already discovered that “low” is burning everything to a crisp…set it to “warm” to cook! I am not a huge fan of the new digital crock pots.)  

In  4-5 hours as the house is starting to smell like Cousin Vinny’s you can gently…ever so gently, so as to not break the meatballs apart… stir the mixture together. Replace the lid and continue cooking another 5 hours.

Crock Pot Meatballs with sauce

After about 8-10 hours (I prefer 10 hours… just gives the sauce longer to do it’s thang!) and a couple more stirs your entire house and… the next door neighbors house now smells like Italy!  

As those meatballs cook… the juices from the meat and the flavors from the Parmesan cheese start to seep into that tomato sauce. (Cooking Magic…we love cooking magic!)

The sugar is caramelizing in that sauce and it will just keep getting richer, and richer with each passing hour. Your meatballs are going to cook perfectly! Wanna see….

Meatballs in Crock Pot, finished cooking

Oh… Mama Mia! That’s a meatball!

Amazing right? So simple, so quick, so easy… you are probably skeptical about the taste! 

You wouldn’t think something so simple could be this wonderful… however… you end up with these beautiful perfect meatballs full of flavor and a rich thick sauce that is just as good as any fine Italian restaurant you will ever go to! (Forget the Cannoli…bring me the Meatballs! Sorry God Father…had to steal your line!)

Depending on the size of your family, I can get 2 meals out of one recipe of meatballs.

The first day I made a pasta dish using Penne Pasta (it’s our favorite) but, you can use any pasta you want. The second day meatball sandwiches.

The meatballs and sauce store really well in the fridge until you are ready to use them. I recommend making them one day so they can cook the entire 10 hours and then using them throughout the week. 

Meatballs with Meat sauce

Like I mentioned… I cooked some pasta and then spooned some meatballs and sauce over the noodles. After that…I chopped up some fresh basil and sprinkled all over the top, then some fresh grated mozzarella cheese and shaved Parmesan cheese. Popped it into the broiler for a minute to get it all bubbly and golden brown and then served it with salad and some bread! Yum! (I really need another go-to word! Yum is so original!)


Meatball and pasta casserole

I can honestly promise this recipe won’t disappoint. You will be able to tell all your friends and neighbors that you have Cousin Vinny’s very special old world meatball recipe! Okay maybe not…but, they won’t doubt it authentic Italian!

Meatball Casserole

How to Get Two Meals out of One Recipe

As I mentioned above, you can get two meals out of this recipe! The second day…I use these meatballs to create the world’s best Meatball Sub Sandwich! 

I split sub rolls in half, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt, pop in the broiler till toasty. Add meatballs and sauce, top with cheese and voila! Another amazing dinner…and my personal favorite!

Slow Cooker Meatball Sub Sandwich

It’s so nice on those crazy days, that we all have, to just pull out a healthy hearty meal you can heat up in minutes and be done!

I’ve got the printable below for you…What’s your favorite Italian dish? There’s so many to chose from but, I’d love to know what some of your favorites are…maybe I can include them here on the Blog! Until next time…Mangia!

I’m sharing this amazing recipe on some of my favorite Link Parties. Click the Link below to join the fun!

Weekend PotLuck

Meal Plan Monday

Blog Signature final-001





Yield: 25- 30 meatballs with sauce

Crock Pot Meatballs and Sauce

Crock Pot Meatballs and Sauce

A true rich Italian dish made in your crock pot. Meatballs with a deep rich Marinara sauce. Simple, easy and full of flavor!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 hours
Total Time 10 hours 15 minutes



  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasonings
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated Kraft Parmesan Cheese


  • 2 (16 oz.) cans diced petite canned tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dried onion flakes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl mix together all the meat ball ingredients. Mix till well blended.
  2. Take one heaping tablespoon of meat mixture and roll into a ball about the size of a golf ball. Place into the bottom of the crock pot. Continue the process until all the meat mixture has been made into meatballs.
  3. In the crock place all of the sauce ingredients. Cover, turn on low heat, and allow to cook for 4 hours.
  4. After four hours gently stir the sauce to some what blend together. Return cooking on low heat for another 6 hours, checking about every two hours and gently stirring. Total cooking time should be about 8 - 10 hours. If you have a digital crock pot and you've noticed it burns even when cooking on low heat, I recommend turning the heat level to "warm".
  5. After the 10 hours of cooking time you can serve the meatballs over the pasta of your choice or make into meatball sandwiches. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

3 meatballs

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 434Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 1031mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 10gProtein: 29g

Norine’s Nest in no way provides any warranty, express or implied, towards the content of recipes in this website. It is the reader’s responsibility to determine the value and quality of any recipe or instructions provided for food preparation and to determine the nutritional value, if any, and safety of the preparation instructions.

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Sunday 22nd of December 2019

Hi Norine, I have searched for a good meatball recipe and found this one. I am going to make them for Christmas . I bought double the recipe. Can this crock pot meatballs be doubled and cooked it for the 10 hours? Thank you happy holidays .

Thursday 26th of December 2019

Hi Joann! I'm so sorry I'm so late responding to this question. I took a little time off to get my Mrs. Clause act together...needless to say she was a tad behind. I hope the recipe turned out okay for you. I'm not sure you could fit that many meatballs in one crock pot with the sauce. I would have used two or a really big crock pot. I'm sorry. This is my very favorite meatball recipe. The sauce is incredible. Please forgive me for responding so late. I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and that you have a Happy New Year. Sincerely, Norine


Tuesday 22nd of October 2019

Loved this recipe! Popped them in the crockpot then we had the best meatballs subs the first day. Spaghetti and meatballs a few days later and they tasted even better! The rest will hit the freezer. Thanks for an easy, delicious recipe.

Wednesday 23rd of October 2019

Hi Angela! I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe. It's one of my very favorites! Makes the best Meatball Sub sandwiches and Pasta. That sauce is heavenly! I think I'm hungry now!! lol Thanks so much for stopping by and visiting with us! Have a wonderful week! Happy Nesting! Norine

DeAnna S

Wednesday 4th of September 2019

This is a GREAT recipe!!!! Can I make the meatballs ahead of time and put them in the fridge???? I want to make the meatballs and sauce the night before so all I have to do is place the meatballs in the crock pot and pour on the sauce, turn it on and go about my day. This is great with garlic toast!

Thursday 5th of September 2019

Hi DeAnna! Yes you can make the meatballs ahead of time and then just plop them in the slow cooker in the morning. You could even freeze them...which has me thinking I'm going to do that, then I have a dinner ready to go in a pinch. I love this recipe so does my family. Lots of great dishes you can make with this recipe. Thanks for stopping by! Happy Nesting! ~Norine


Friday 22nd of March 2019

Great Recipes Norine thanks for your time to do this. Wish I lived next Door !!

Friday 22nd of March 2019

Thanks! I wish my foodie friends lived next door too so that I could visit and share a meal. I'd love that. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit with me. Hope you have a GREAT weekend!


Bradley cook

Sunday 3rd of March 2019

I have looked for a high quality meatball and sauce recipe for years and have tried many! This was the best and easiest! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

Tuesday 5th of March 2019

Hi Bradley! I am so happy you enjoyed this recipe and it fulfilled a long quest! My husband won't eat any other meatballs than the ones from this recipe! He loves them as does the whole family. BEST meatball subs! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing with me. I love hearing that a recipe I've shared has helped. Have a GREAT week! ~Norine