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Spaghetti and meatballs is a tried-and-true classic that is beloved by many. While they taste amazing, though, meatballs are not always the easiest or the quickest food to whip up, so people are put off making them. This Slow Cooker recipe is our solution so that no family goes without tender, homemade meatballs and fragrant sauce again and you can make and refrigerate the meatballs and the sauce for up to two days before serving! For truly fantastic meatballs, it doesn’t get easier than this!

Slow Cooker Meatballs and Tomato Sauce

Serves 6-8



  • 2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes, with juices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 sprig basil
  • 2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper, minced
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • 2 pounds ground beef (or meat of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a medium pan over medium heat, heat your olive oil and saute your onions until translucent, 5-6 minutes. Add in 2 cloves minced garlic 2 minutes before onions are finished.
  2. Remove from heat and place in slow cooker, on high, with tomatoes, tomato paste, basil sprig and leaves, oregano, red pepper, salt and pepper. Let cook for 3 hours to develop flavors.
  3. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, cheese, oregano, egg, salt and pepper, and combine well with your hands or a fork. Form mixture into 1-1 1/2inch balls and gently place them in the slow cooker with the sauce. Cover and continue to cook on high for 1 hour.
  4. Serve on their own or with spaghetti or on toasted subs and garnish with more grated Parmesan.

Recipe adapted from Cozi