Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs

There are no eggs and only a small amount of bread crumbs in these meatballs so theyʼll stand up to the long cooking time without falling apart. You can serve these meatballs and the sauce over cooked rice or pasta, or in meatball sandwiches.

Serves: 8Hands-on: 20 minutesTotal: 7 hours 50 minutesDifficulty: Easy

Serves: 8


  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin or light olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 cans (28 oz.) plum tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ⅛ tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground veal
  • ½ lb. lean ground pork
  • ⅓ cup fresh bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 6 Tbsp. minced fresh Italian parsley


  • Add the oil and onion to the slow cooker; stir to coat the onions in the oil. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes or until the onion is transparent. Stir in 2 cloves of the minced garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, salt, black pepper, sugar, and crushed red pepper. Cover and cook on high while you make the meatballs.
  • Add the remaining 2 cloves of minced garlic, beef, veal, pork, bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste, to a bowl; use your hands to mix. Shape into sixteen equal-sized meatballs. Add the meatballs to the slow cooker. Reduce the temperature of the slow cooker to low; cover and cook for 7 hours or until the internal temperature of the meatballs is 160°F.