Crock Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce

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These Crock Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce are an easy and delicious dinner you can make in the crock pot or slow cooker. Make your own spicy meatballs and tomato sauce to add a kick to spaghetti night.

A crock pot filled with meatballs in sauce.

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Tips to Make Crockpot Meatballs with Red Sauce

When you cook meat in the crock pot, make sure to thaw any frozen meat before cooking it. This is because unthawed meat in a crock pot will promote bacterial growth. It’s also a good idea to brown the meatballs in a large skillet before cooking them in the crock pot to improve the flavor.

Why This Best Italian Meatball Recipe is a Keeper

  • Easy Ingredients: Make these Italian homemade meatballs with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen or local grocery store.
  • Versatile: Serve meatballs and marinara sauce with spaghetti, in a sub or hoagie, or enjoy them on their own.
  • Family Friendly: Your family will love this flavorful meatball and homemade tomato sauce recipe! They’re a great comfort food and the best meatballs ever!

If you’re looking for more meatball recipes, try these:  Sweet Chili Appetizer Meatballs, Honey Garlic Meatballs, and Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs.

What Makes a Meatball Italian?

A spoonful in the liner of the slow cooker.

It may surprise you to learn that meatballs are not actually from Italy. The “Italian meatballs” that we know and love were actually created by Italian American immigrants, who were looking to make an affordable and appetizing meal from cheap cuts of meat. While meatballs are not a part of traditional Italian cuisine, you may find them served in restaurants in Italy to appeal to American tourists.

Ingredient Notes for Homemade Sauce and Meatballs

Ground beef, ground pork, seasonings and vegetables to make this dish.
  • Ground Beef: Make sure to thaw your ground beef before cooking with it.
  • Ground Pork: If you want to make meatballs without pork, you can substitute ground turkey.
  • Salt and Pepper: A dash of salt and pepper will help season your meatballs. You can also throw in some Italian seasoning to the meatball mixture.
Ingredients to make the sauce.

See the recipe card below for a complete list of the ingredients with measurements.

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Variations and Substitutions for Italian Meatballs with Tomato Sauce

  • Store Bought Sauce: To save time, use a jar of storebought tomato sauce instead of making your own.

Special Equipment Needed to Make Homemade Meatballs

How to Make Easy Crock Pot Meatballs

These are the basic steps for making crock pot meatballs with sauce. Refer to the full, printable recipe card below for detailed instructions.

Step 1: Combine Meatball Ingredients

A series of photos demonstrating how to make meatballs for the meal.

Mix ground beef and pork into a large mixing bowl. (When it comes to ground meat, using your hands is honestly the best way to mix well!) In a separate small bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the eggs. Mix thoroughly.

Step 2: Make the Meatballs

Add meatball ingredients in the small bowl into the large bowl. Mix well. Then, add the eggs and continue to mix. Don’t be afraid to use your hands! Roll mixture into meatballs, about two tablespoons each, and place at the bottom of your slow cooker.

Step 3: Make Sauce and Cook Meatballs

In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all tomato sauce ingredients together and mix well. Then, pour tomato sauce on top of meatballs in the slow cooker. Cook the meatballs on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours to let them simmer in the sauce. (My slow cooker cooks a little too quickly, so if yours is like mine, then I’d cut the time down to 3.5 hours on high and 6-7 hours on low, or until the meatballs are cooked.) Garnish with parsley and serve over pasta, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or a salad!

A series of photos showing how to make delicious meal in the slow cooker.

Spicy Meatballs with Sauce FAQs

Yes. Just make sure to use gluten free flour.

To freeze meatballs, just drain them and freeze them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about two hours. Then, transfer them to a Ziploc bag or airtight container and place the meatballs back in the fridge. Your meatballs should stay good for up to two months.

Yes. Just cook them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

A crock pot filled with delicious meatballs and sauce.

Expert Tips for Making Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • Beef: For the best beef meatballs, use 80/20 ground beef.
  • Rolling the Meatballs: If you roll the meatballs with your hands, make sure your hands are damp. You can also use a scoop for uniformity.
  • Mini Meatballs: Try this recipe with bite-sized meatballs. These tender meatballs are great for parties, and you can serve them with slider rolls.
  • Bread Crumbs: Make this recipe keto by replacing the bread crumbs with almond flour.

What to Serve with Spicy Italian Meatballs

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A crock pot filled with meatballs in sauce.
4.25 from 4 votes

Crock Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce

Yield: 8 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 7 hours
Total: 7 hours 20 minutes
These Crock Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce are a delicious and easy dinner you can make in the crock pot or slow cooker. Make your own spicy meatballs and tomato sauce to add a kick to spaghetti night.
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⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️Did you try this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review below!

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 1 pound Ground beef
  • 1 pound Mild Italian sausage
  • 4 cloves Garlic, finely diced
  • ½ Red onion, finely diced
  • ½ Carrot, shredded
  • 1 Celery stalk, shredded (I use a food processor to shred.)
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 3 teaspoons Dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Chipotle chili pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Pepper

Spicy Tomato Sauce:

  • 15 ounces Fire roasted tomatoes, 1 can
  • 6 ounces Tomato paste
  • 2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Dried oregano
  • ¾ teaspoon Smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Dried rosemary

Instructions

  • Mix ground beef and sausage into a large mixing bowl. (When it comes to ground meat, using your hands is honestly the best way to mix well!)
  • In a separate small bowl, combine all the remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the eggs. Mix thoroughly.
  • Add contents of the small bowl into the large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  • Add eggs and continue to mix, and don’t be afraid to use your hands.
  • Roll mixture into meatballs, about two tablespoons each, and place at the bottom of your slow cooker.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all tomato sauce ingredients together and mix well.
  • Pour tomato sauce on top of meatballs in the slow cooker.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. (My slow cooker cooks a little too quickly, so if yours is like mine, then I’d cut the time down to 3.5 hours on high and 6-7 hours on low.
  • Serve over pasta, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or a salad!

Expert Tips

  • Beef: For the best beef meatballs, use 80/20 ground beef.
  • Rolling the Meatballs: If you roll the meatballs with your hands, make sure your hands are damp. You can also use a scoop for uniformity.
  • Mini Meatballs: If you make these meatballs bite-sized, you can serve them with slider rolls.

Estimated Nutritional Information

Calories: 427kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 968mg | Potassium: 600mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1391IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 4mg
The nutritional information provided are estimates. To learn more about how I calculate this information go to www.itisakeeper.com/about-its-a-keeper/privacy-disclosure-policies/
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian

1 thought on “Crock Pot Italian Meatballs and Sauce”

  1. 3 stars
    First off this is a great meatball. Made these for a party this New Years and they were a hit. They tasted great! I will defiantly make them again. My only criticism is the instructions and the ingredient list. In my opinion I would have put the total ingredient list together in one list to make shopping for everything easier. Next is the instructions. I made this twice, first time I completely screwed it up while reading the instructions the first time. Instruction 2 says mix all ingredients, which I did, all the other ingredients for meatballs and sauce except eggs. Not realizing 4 more instructions down is the sauce recipe instructions. Shame on me for not reading all instructions first then making the meatballs. It would be clearer if there were two sets of instructions split into Meatballs and then sauce to clearly define the ingredient mixture process. Like below.

    Meatball Instructions
    1. Mix ground beef and sausage into a large mixing bowl. (When it comes to ground meat, using your hands is honestly the best way to mix well!)
    2. In a separate small bowl, combine all the remaining Meatball ingredients EXCEPT for the eggs. Mix thoroughly.
    3. Add contents of the small bowl into the large mixing bowl. Mix well.
    4. Add eggs and continue to mix, and don’t be afraid to use your hands.
    5. Roll mixture into meatballs, about two tablespoons each, and place at the bottom of your slow cooker.

    Sauce Instructions
    1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all tomato sauce ingredients together and mix well.
    2. Pour tomato sauce on top of meatballs in the slow cooker.
    3. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours. (My slow cooker cooks a little too quickly, so if yours is like mine, then I’d cut the time down to 3.5 hours on high and 6-7 hours on low.
    4. Serve over pasta, zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash, or a salad!

    Reply

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