Slow Cooker Meatballs in a Rich Tomato Sauce

These slow cooker meatballs are absolutely amazing and are great if you need to feed a crowd.

Slow Cooker Meatballs

Now you can have these just by themselves, or you can cook up some pasta, rice, polenta or anything else that you think they would compliment nicely. I do recommend topping with some parmesan cheese no matter what you end up doing.

I use ground beef in this recipe, but you can use any type of meat. For example, pork mince also works really well or even a mixture of both of beef and pork.

These meatballs are a little more labor-intensive than most slow cooker recipes but are well worth the time and effort. Once you have the meatballs made and fried off, it’s just a matter of mixing the sauce and letting it cook.

These meatballs reheat pretty well so make sure you keep the leftovers! They make for a pretty good lunch that you can just heat in the microwave the next day. You could even make your own meatball sub using the leftovers.

If you want to see a video on how to make these delicious meatballs in the slow cooker, then be sure to check out the video below. It’s short, snappy and straight to the point. Well worth the watch if you love seeing things done visually.

Slow Cooker Meatballs Recipe

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Prep time
20 Minutes
Cook time
8 Hours & 20 Minutes
Total time
8 Hours & 40 Minutes



  • 500g (17 ½ oz) ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp parsley, chopped (fresh or dried)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 tsp garlic, crushed
  • 400g (28 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp basil (fresh or dried)
  • 1 tsp oregano (fresh or dried)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch of pepper


  1. In a bowl, combine the mince, breadcrumbs, onion, egg, parsley and salt & pepper.
  2. Once mixed, form the mix into meatballs, I use roughly 2 tbsp. of the mix for each meatball.
  3. In a pan over high heat, fry the meatballs so they’re lightly browned. Once done put to the side.
  4. In the slow cooker, mix together the onion, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, basil, oregano, bay leaves, salt & pepper.
  5. Lastly, add the meatballs into the slow cooker.
  6. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  7. Serve & Enjoy

Recipe Tips

  • If you want to add a bit more flavor to the dish, then a splash of red wine goes well in the tomato sauce. Add this at the same time as the diced tomatoes.
  • You can just add the meatballs straight into the slow cooker without frying them off before. However, you will likely notice better results if you do fry them off beforehand. Either way, just add them after you have mixed the sauce together.
  • If you’re worried about there not being enough sauce, then don’t worry. After a few hours of cooking, there will be a lot more sauce. If you add too much liquid to the sauce, it will turn very soup like after just a few hours of cooking.
  • If you don’t have bay leaves, then you can quickly leave them out without it affecting the overall dish too much.

Nutritional Information

If you love knowing the nutritional information of a meal, then you can find it below. Keep in mind this is just a rough estimate and may vary slightly. Hopefully, it gives you a good idea of what you can expect out of a single serving.

This nutrition information doesn’t take into account any extras that you might have with it such as rice, pasta or even garlic bread.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size: 224g (7.9 oz)
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 282 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 11%
Saturated Fat 2.4g 12%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 102mg 34%
Sodium 726mg 30%
Total Carbohydrate 23.7g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4.2g 17%
Sugars 7.3g
Protein 31.1g 62%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

If you love this dish, then you may also like something like the beef goulash. It’s basically tender beef with vegetables cooked in a rich paprika and tomato sauce. Well worth checking out if you love tomato dishes.

Another slow cooker meatball dish that you need to try is the Swedish meatballs. They’re entirely different to this dish as they cook in a delicious creamy sauce and are made with both ground pork and beef.

I hope you enjoy these slow cooker meatballs! If you have a variation, feedback or anything else then be sure to leave a comment below.

Note: I use a 5.5L (6 Quart) slow cooker for all the recipes that I have on this website unless specified. If you have a smaller or larger slow cooker, then you might need to adjust the ingredients.


  1. Ruth Geraghty on

    I have the dish in the slow cooker but may be short on time. Would it be ok to turn to high for shorter time?

    1. Gus on

      Hi Ruth,

      Yes that should be fine!

  2. Allison DeBlonde on

    I used to fry meatballs then put them in the oven to precook. Now I just put them straight into the tomato gravy to cook.
    I make them much like in this recipe then into the tomato gravy straight away. They cook for 6-8 hrs on low and are juicy, moist and tender.
    I learned this from several chefs that do this in their restaurants. I figure if it’s good enough for them it’s certainly good enough for me (and my family).
    It saves on time and less dirty dishes.

  3. Moe Moe on

    My family makes great meatballs…try adding a little Jimmy Dean Sausage and a splash of evaporated milk…the sausage adds flavor and the evaporated milk adds moisture and tenderness to end result

    I gave this recipe 5 / 5

  4. Elaine on

    I think If I make this I’ll double the sauce.

    1. Richard Nicoletti on

      I use a combination of pork and veal instead of beef. It adds more flavor. I also toss in some parmesan cheese and only half of the crumbs.

  5. Chef Cosmo on

    My only comment would be to bake instead of fry. Do not put raw meat in the sauce. Veal and pork are excellent choices. Bob Appetit, Chef Cosmo

    I gave this recipe 4 / 5

  6. Paul Begick on

    Are the diced tomatoes drained or undrained?

    1. Gus on


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