Slow Cooker Meatballs

Eva Amurri Martino opens her slow cooker where she has been preparing meatballs

I want to start off by apologizing profusely for it taking me so freaking long to get this recipe up on the site! Honestly one of the reasons is because whenever I make these meatballs, they disappear in about ten minutes and it becomes challenging to photograph them for the blog! This is not a drill! LOL. In any case, this Slow Cooker Meatball recipe is one of my family favorites.  My kids eat it up like it’s going out of style– and I find these meatballs to be so versatile! The whole thing ends up being a totally delicious tomato sauce with meatballs in it when it’s all said and done– and you can eat it however you’d normally enjoy meatballs! Our most-used method is over spaghetti with parmesan cheese, but we have also made meatball subs with these (Kyle told me it was the best meatball sub he’s ever eaten) and meatball sliders for the kids.  If you’re trying to eat less carbs, you could even put these over zucchini noodles! (But don’t ask me about that, since I bought a spiralizer over a year ago and haven’t even taken it out of the box.  Whoops.)

Eva Amurri Martino lifts a slow cooked meatball out of the crock pot with a wooden spoon

The best part about these meatballs is that since they’re made in the slowcooker, you can set them and forget them! I start these in the morning right after dropping Lowie at school, and they’re ready by Dinner time.  I have this slow cooker, which I’m OBSESSED with. It’s more like an Instant Pot, in that it can sear, sauté, reduce, you name it.  But I had a much more basic and inexpensive slow cooker until a couple years ago and it was great while it lasted! You can definitely use a basic slow cooker for this recipe.

Eva Amurri Martino sprinkles parmesan cheese on top of a bowl of spaghetti and slow cooker meatballs



  • 1 lb ground Beef
  • 1 Egg
  • 3/4 cup Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs
  • 1 small Onion, diced
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 15 oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 1  15 oz can diced Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (I use Pecorino Romano– a sheep version), plus more for serving
  • 1 Teaspoon ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dried Oregano flakes
  • 4-8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • parsley, chopped (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, diced carrot, diced onion, parmesan cheese, and the salt and pepper.  Mix with hands until well combined.  Now start forming in to golf ball-sized meatballs.  As you form the meatballs, it may look like they’re “veggie heavy”.  Don’t worry! This is ok! They will cook down and work to make the meatballs so moist.  As you make each meatball, place them in the bottom of the slow cooker cavity.  You will probably have to add a second layer, depending on the size of your slow cooker.  This is fine, just make sure you’re placing the meatballs gently! Now dump both cans of tomatoes/sauce on top of the meatballs, sprinkle the oregano over the top, and scatter the garlic cloves over that.  Close the lid of the slow cooker, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Mid way through cooking, open the cooker and with a wooden spoon slowly and gently stir the sauce and meatballs up to combine well.  When the meatballs are done, remove them in to a bowl with a slotted spoon.  Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.  Spoon the sauce over your pasta, and top with meatballs.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and parsley and devour immediately!

Eva Amurri Martino chops parsely on a colorful cutting board in her kitchen in Connecticut

Eva Amurri Martino adds parsley on top of her bowl of slow cooker meatballs with spaghetti

Eva Amurri showcases her favorite slow cooker meatballs recipe

Eva Amurri showcases her favorite slow cooker meatballs recipe

Eva Amurri Martino sits on her marble kitchen island and easts a bowl of spaghetti and slow cooker meatballs


Other slow cooker recipes I love…

eva amurri martino lifts up a forkful of spaghetti in the kitchen of her Connecticut home

Eva Amurri Martino sits on the marble island in her Connecticut home and eats a big bowl of spaghetti and slow cooker meatballs

Eva Amurri Martino sits on the marble island in her Connecticut home and eats a big bowl of spaghetti and slow cooker meatballs


My Top (similar) and Jeans by Old Navy

Photographs by Carter Fish


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  1. Tara says:

    I can’t wait to try these. Thanks Eva! What size of cans did you use for the sauce and tomatoes? All the best!

    01.11.18 Reply
  2. Tricia Wolyniec says:

    Looks amazing! I want to make this weekend in rainy/cold NJ!! What size cans of tomato sauce and diced tomatoes? Thanks Eva!

    01.11.18 Reply
    • Tricia Wolyniec says:

      Sorry just saw Tara’s post! 🙂

      01.11.18 Reply
  3. Stacey M says:

    These meatballas look amazing! Do you happen to know the yield?

    01.11.18 Reply
    • It makes about 10 meatballs! I’m a little unsure since I almost always double the recipe for my fam so we can eat it for a few days!

      01.11.18 Reply
      • Stacey M says:

        Thank you! Can’t wait to make these!

        01.13.18 Reply
  4. Izzy says:

    This is making my mouth water!

    01.11.18 Reply
  5. Olivia says:

    Hi Eva!

    Can’t wait to try these. Your bolognese sauce is amazing and has become a household favourite. When you say tomato sauce, is it a jar of prepared pasta sauce (ie. Rao’s or another brand) or is it crushed/strained tomatoes?


    Toronto, ON

    01.11.18 Reply
  6. Jessica says:

    Love it! I’m definitely buying a slow cooker. Your recipes look sooo good and the best part is forgetting about the food 😂

    01.11.18 Reply
  7. Ashley says:

    This recipe looks great and I cannot wait to try it! I saw you responded to an earlier comment that the recipe yields approximately 10 meatballs. How many meatballs do you normally eat per serving?

    01.11.18 Reply
    • My kids normally eat around 2 each. Major sometimes eats 3. My hubby and I eat 3-4

      01.11.18 Reply
  8. Sandi tomasello says:

    Sounds delicious 😋 I️ I did the same , bought a spiral veggie machine . Never used It! Whole Foods and other stores are now making them for us to buy all ready done 💗

    01.11.18 Reply
  9. Claire says:

    Ahhh, I cannot wait to make these!! Thank you for posting.

    Also, on the spiralizer tip: try it with sweet potatoes. I never used my spiralizer either, but using it with sweet potatoes is now my go-to. I just roast them with salt and chilli powder and it comes out like healthier curly fries!!

    01.11.18 Reply
  10. Madelyn says:

    I can’t wait to try these! I’m at the airport and the pictures are making me drool and my stomach growl.

    01.12.18 Reply
  11. These sounds so yummy! I would love to make this recipe in my Instant Pot… have you ever tried and would you by any chance know the cooking time?

    01.12.18 Reply
    • Elina says:

      Hi Talia! Did you ever try it in the Instant Pot? And if so, what was the cooking time you used?

      05.14.18 Reply
  12. Meaghan says:

    Have you ever made these with ground turkey instead of beef?

    01.12.18 Reply
    • I haven’t (ground turkey kind of grosses me out for some reason) but I’m sure it would work exactly the same

      01.13.18 Reply
  13. For some reason I got the idea that meatballs would just fall apart in s slow cooker but yours look amazing .
    Will definitely try!


    01.13.18 Reply
    • All the other ingredients make them stay together!

      01.13.18 Reply
  14. Tricia says:

    Hi Eva! I’m making these tomorrow for lunch with a congregant! (Pastor’s wife life😂) Any chance they can be prepped the night before?

    01.13.18 Reply
    • Make them today and reheat them tomorrow! Put the whole slow cooker insert in the fridge after they’re done tonight so all the flavors stay marinating. Then put the insert back in the cooker at around 11am on high…

      01.13.18 Reply
      • Tricia says:

        Thank you! You’re a life saver!

        01.13.18 Reply
  15. Jessica says:

    I have been searching for a good meatball recipe for years and was so excited when you posted the recipe. I made them last night and they are to die for, so so good!! Thank you for sharing.

    01.13.18 Reply
  16. Tiffany says:

    I so want to try this. I need a slow cooker! This year no excuse, I will invest in one, I pray I actually use it! LOL! I can get lazy with cooking!

    01.13.18 Reply
    • When I bought my slow cooker, I bought this book too– and I LOVE it! It really inspires me to use my slow cooker!

      01.13.18 Reply
  17. Michelle says:

    Maybe I’m missing it, is there a printable version?

    01.15.18 Reply
  18. A reader says:

    Just made these. Yummy but too salty! Are you sure a tablespoon or should it be a teaspoon?

    01.15.18 Reply
    • Stacey says:

      I made these for dinner tonight and had the same result…they were way too salty! 😬 Next time I’m going with a tsp. of salt, instead of the Tbsp.

      01.19.18 Reply
      • I had the same issue! Other than the saltiness, they were DELICIOUS. I’ll try a tsp next time instead of a tablespoon.

        04.03.18 Reply
  19. Cindy says:

    I made these for dinner tonight and I have to say they are absolutely delish!!! Another plus is the house has smelled like a fine Italian restaurant all day. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

    01.15.18 Reply
  20. Wendy says:

    I don’t cook…..at all!! But I wanted to surprise my boyfriend and make him dinner for once..OMG – these are AMAZING!!!!! And soo easy!! He said they were the best meatballs he has ever had. He loved the carrots in them and couldn’t believe how moist they were. He actually had them for breakfast as well. So thank you!!!!

    01.16.18 Reply
  21. Ginger says:

    I made the meatballs tonight for my family! THEY LOVED THEM!!!!!! Unfortunately, I could not eat them because I do not eat carbs but my husband and kids thought they were amazing!! I am keeping this recipe! 😄

    01.16.18 Reply
  22. bella says:

    I made these the other day and they were delicious! The only thing I changed was the amount of salt (I used one teaspoon instead of one tablespoon). I will definitely make them again!

    01.19.18 Reply
    • Kim says:

      I agree that 1 tablespoon of salt made it too salty & will adjust to 1 teaspoon the next time. Other than being too salty, the meatballs were delicious.

      05.02.19 Reply
  23. Missy says:

    Made these last night, they were so good! And bonus, the kitchen smelled amazing all day while they were cooking. Thanks for the great recipe!

    01.20.18 Reply
  24. Katie Blanchard says:

    It’s a snowy day in Nova Scotia, perfect tike to try this delicious looking recipe! My two year old daughter is a spaghetti and meatballs addict! Can’t wait for her to try these!

    01.30.18 Reply
  25. Katie says:

    Making these today!!! Can’t wait!!

    02.25.18 Reply
  26. Krissy says:

    We love these! My husband is a picky eater and he loves them. I double the recipe every time🤦🏼‍♀️. Thank you for sharing!

    04.07.18 Reply
    • Yay!! I also double the recipe every time…so necessary! LOL

      04.09.18 Reply
  27. Elina says:

    Hi! This was asked previously but any chance you know the Instant Pot cooking time? Thank you!

    05.14.18 Reply
    • Hi! I don’t have an InstantPot so I’m not sure. Sorry!

      05.14.18 Reply
  28. Morgan says:

    What percentage ground beef do you use? Looks awesome can’t wait to try it!

    10.16.19 Reply
  29. Meg says:

    I love slow cooker recipes, so I’m excited to try these! When you double the recipe, do you adjust cooking time? Safe to assume we should cook it for the full 8, right? Thanks so much!

    10.24.19 Reply
    • Yes! I usually cook for the full 8, but honestly they are usually done at 6. Hope you enjoy!

      10.25.19 Reply
  30. Jackie K says:

    Does it matter how finely you dice the veggies? I’m making this in a couple hours and don’t want to mess up! Thank you!

    11.07.19 Reply