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Slow-Cooked Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

Slow-Cooked Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe

I first sampled this spaghetti sauce at my sister-in-law's and had to have the recipe. After all these years, I still think it's about the best I've ever tasted. —Jackie Grant, Vanderhoof, British Columbia
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 8 hours YIELD:20 servings


  • 1 cup finely chopped onion, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1 can (46 ounces) tomato juice
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Hot cooked spaghetti


  • 1. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup onion, salt and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into 1-in. balls. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown meatballs with remaining onion.
  • 2. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker; add the tomato juice, tomatoes, tomato sauce, celery, bay leaves and garlic. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Discard bay leaves. Serve with spaghetti. Yield: 20 servings (about 4-1/2 quarts).

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 each) equals 135 calories, 6 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 33 mg cholesterol, 550 mg sodium, 7 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 13 g protein.

Reviews for Slow-Cooked Spaghetti and Meatballs

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Reviewed Jan. 5, 2015

"My family really enjoyed this meal. My husband who doesn't like spaghetti at all loved it and he thought the meatballs were great in it. The only thing I did differently was I used garlic powder in place of the minced garlic.I also did not use tomato juice and added a can of tomato paste instead."

Reviewed Sep. 15, 2014

"Don't know how to adjust it. Terrible recipe for a person with kidney disease."

Reviewed Dec. 5, 2013

"Lacked flavor and I even added an egg and Italian seasoning. Husband said it needed sugar, kids did not like. I will not make this again. Good thing I halved the recipe."

Reviewed Jun. 7, 2011

"This was, without a doubt, the worst spaghetti and meatballs I have ever tasted. It was so bad, in fact, that my mother (who will pretty much eat anything because she grew up during the depression) gagged when she tasted it. I don't know whether some of the ingredients were mistakenly omitted, but I followed the recipe exactly. The meatballs were terrible. I much prefer frozen meatballs to these. I was not surprised because they don't have enough ingredients to make them flavorful. I don't know whether using a particular brand of tomato juice is needed, but I will never make this again. As a matter of fact, I took the meatballs out of the very watery sauce and put them in a container with two store-bought jars of spaghetti sauce hoping to salvage them. I am just thankful that I didn't make this for company or pot-luck dinner. I would have been so embarrassed."

Reviewed May. 13, 2010

"I made this for my family, but even my kids turned their noses up at it. First off, the sauce is very runny and needs more Italian seasoning. Great tomato taste, but I would leave out the tomato juice completely, add more tomato sauce and tomatoes. Second, the meatballs were weird - they need something more...egg, bread crumbs, seasoning. I am going to try this recipe again, but making a few changes. I like how easy it is, and I like how everything cooks together and the flavors blend nicely. Just needs some more flavors!"

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Wine Pairings

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel.