Slow Cooker Spaghetti & Meatballs Recipe
Slow Cooker Spaghetti & Meatballs Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Slow Cooker Spaghetti & Meatballs Recipe

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I’ve been cooking 50 years and this dish is still one that guests ask for frequently. My No. 1 standby recipe also makes amazing hero sandwiches, and the sauce works for any pasta. —Jane McMillan, Dania Beach, Florida
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 50 min. Cook: 5 hours
MAKES:12 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 50 min. Cook: 5 hours
MAKES: 12 servings


  • 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan and Romano cheese blend
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 cans (15 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon each dried basil, oregano and parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Hot cooked spaghetti

Nutritional Facts

1 cup (calculated without spaghetti): 254 calories, 11g fat (4g saturated fat), 79mg cholesterol, 1133mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 3g fiber), 20g protein.


  1. In a large bowl, mix bread crumbs, cheese, pepper and salt; stir in eggs. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-1/2-in. balls. In a large skillet, brown meatballs in batches over medium heat; drain.
  2. Place the first five sauce ingredients in a 6-qt. slow cooker; stir in garlic and seasonings. Add meatballs, stirring gently to coat. Cook, covered, on low 5-6 hours or until meatballs are cooked through.
  3. Remove bay leaves. Serve with spaghetti. Yield: 12 servings (about 3-1/2 quarts sauce).
Originally published as Slow Cooker Spaghetti & Meatballs in Taste of Home December 2014, p82

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

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

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Gayle.Ann User ID: 7196009 260067
Reviewed Jan. 22, 2017

"I'm giving some detail here to help others in planning. While I appreciate taste comments, I also like some detail.

I used a scoop, and got 54 meatballs, using my 1.5 inch scoop. I tasted it halfway through. I added a second can of paste, just because I like a very rich tomato flavor, and, like another poster, I thought there was a bite from the acidity, so I added two heaping tablespoons of brown sugar, which removed the sting. I also put them on a baking rack on a lined cookie sheet and put them in the oven for about 30 minutes so there wasn't a mess on top of the stove to clean. We froze three packages for extra meals. My original plan had been pasta, but we did meatball sandwiches on a soft sub roll instead.
Next time, I think I'd make two batches, cook all the meatballs, then mix the sauce, then freeze it, so that all I'd have to do is dump it all in the slow cooker, then freeze any extras after cooking. Once committed to making something, doubling it is generally my rule. Make one, freeze one. But, making two of the original would really give extra meals, as cooking each batch will give me one meal of subs and one meal of pasta, plus three bags of entirely cooked meatballs and sauce for sandwiches. So, for the two of us... 5 meals/batch.
I also thought about browning the hamburger, with the onions, garlic, peppers, and tomato paste, and them making a thick meat sauce. I let it set about an hour after the suggested time because my husband was late, and some of the meatballs fell apart during the extra cooking time. Still delicious, but don't let them go beyond 6 hours. The meat sauce and remaining meatballs will be used on pasta for a second meal.
I've never found a great meatball recipe I liked, so this one might be it. They would work well in Swedish meatballs, and sweet and sour.
I did think that the ratio of sauce to meatballs was off, and I considered making an extra half batch of sauce, but the original recipe filled my 6 quart cooker. I had enough sauce to cover them, but it was only about an inch from the top. I would not have had room for any more sauce. If you really want sauce and meatballs, make them bigger, or half the meatball portion, or make half into meatballs, and crumble half for a meat sauce with meatballs. Another option would be to double the sauce, and freeze half the meatballs in one batch, and half in the second batch. It all depends on if you want pasta or sandwiches, and how much sauce you want on your pasta.
So, to be clear, I got 5 meals for 2 people. I froze 3 bags, each with 12 meatballs and enough sauce for sandwiches (on the buns we use, 4 meatballs/sandwich). I had one meal of sandwiches from what was left, and one meal of meatballs with meat sauce on pasta.
I hope this detail helps someone."

James User ID: 8966321 259604
Reviewed Jan. 13, 2017

"Recipe was great but I wondered why no mushrooms were mentioned. Anyway, I used a pound of veal and a pound of ground beef for my meatballs and I think I nailed it. Definitely going in my recipe list."

gina.kapfhamer User ID: 8717427 258206
Reviewed Dec. 16, 2016

"Never in my life would I have thought to make spaghetti in a slow cooker - but here it is, the dinner recipe that dreams are made of! Plan to serve this as the main dish at our next book club potluck and can't wait, the gals are going to love it. Thinking of trying out with ground turkey and wheat pasta for a "healthy" spin, too."

amk4985 User ID: 5118881 256205
Reviewed Oct. 31, 2016

"So delicious!! Cannot wait to make again!"

SanditheCat User ID: 1238615 255581
Reviewed Oct. 18, 2016

"This recipe got me so many compliments! I followed the ingredient list and cooking method exactly. For us, it's a keeper."

oreo95 User ID: 2985724 253712
Reviewed Sep. 5, 2016

"So easy, the house smelled amazing all day while cooking. Used diced tomatoes as someone suggested, other than that made it exactly like the recipe. Other than baked my meatballs instead of frying (they still cook up brown with a little crispness. Loved the addition of the crushed red pepper, just enough zip to the sauce.

I am half Italian (the better half) and have been making my grandmothers sauce and meatballs for years, this recipe is so much quicker to toss together and still get the taste of a home made sauce! Thank you!"

kristinap7 User ID: 2530514 243142
Reviewed Feb. 3, 2016

"Absolutely loved this recipe! I can't get my 10 year old to eat meat sauce, but she gobbled up the meatballs. I have always wanted a good sauce recipe (we always used jar sauce) and this is the one. Even the picky husband liked it, so it's definitely a keeper! Thank you for sharing Jane!!"

flowers>1 User ID: 2408583 239424
Reviewed Dec. 14, 2015

"pretty good...loved the meatballs, but I would mot put the diced tomatoes in....maybe petite diced or just use all sauce, also not a big fan of oregano, so I'd cut in half next time."

dschultz01 User ID: 1076910 236981
Reviewed Nov. 8, 2015

"The meatballs were very good, and the sauce was easy to throw together."

marlajan User ID: 8605849 236813
Reviewed Nov. 6, 2015

"Made this for the first time last night. My husband and son absolutely loved it. Will make this again soon."

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