closeup image of meatballs in marinara with parmesan sprinkled on top
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Easy Crockpot Meatballs

Tender, buttery meatballs slow cooked in marinara are perfect for meatball sandwiches or spaghetti. Make them smaller for a delicious appetizer.
Course Dinner (quick and easy)
Cuisine American, Slow Cooker
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 304kcal
Author Marye Audet-White



  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef 90% lean 98% lean is better
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated (the kind on the shelf, not fresh)
  • 1 -1/2 teaspoons garlic powder optional - depending on the marinara you use
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper or chipotle
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2 cups marinara or favorite pasta sauce


  • Mix all of the ingredients except the marinara together in a large bowl with your hands to be sure the seasonings are evenly distributed.
  • Form into 16 to 24 meatballs.
  • You may stop and freeze at this point.
  • When ready to cook add the marinara to a slow cooker.
  • Add the meatballs and spoon some of the marinara over the top.
  • Cook on low 6 hours if thawed, 8 - 10 hours from frozen.



  • Cook on low never on high. The meatballs are likely to fall apart on high.
  • You can substitute all Parmesan for the breadcrumbs if you want to - just make sure you're using the shelf stable Parmesan on the shelf not the fresh kind from the deli.
  • Use a VERY lean ground beef. If there's a secret to making these that's it. The more fat that's in the beef the more fat will be in your sauce and the meatballs will be more likely to fall apart. Plus there will be a thick layer of grease at the top of your sauce and it's kind of gross.
  • Don't add onion or vegetables to the meatballs. Too much moisture. Use onion powder and garlic powder.
  • Don't add too much sauce - you can always add more before serving.
  • Freeze raw meatballs on a baking sheet and put them in freezer containers when frozen.
  • To freeze cooked meatballs let them cool to room temperature, seal in a freezer safe container, and freeze for up to 6 months.


Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 707mg | Potassium: 465mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 380IU | Vitamin C: 4.3mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 2.9mg