Slow-Cooked Italian Meatballs

Total Time

Prep: 50 min. Cook: 3 hours


about 5 dozen

Updated: Jun. 30, 2023
What I love about these meatballs is that they can be served as an appetizer right out of the slow cooker, or alongside your favorite pasta. They also make a delicious sandwich. —Jason Romano, Downingtown, Pennsylvania
Slow-Cooked Italian Meatballs Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup Italian-style panko bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 4 cups spaghetti sauce
  • Minced fresh parsley, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a small skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is tender and golden brown, 5-9 minutes. Cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, parsley, water, basil, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and onion mixture. Add ground meats; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-in. balls. Place on greased racks in shallow baking pans. Bake until browned, 20-25 minutes.
  3. Transfer meatballs to a 4- or 5-qt. slow cooker. Pour spaghetti sauce over top. Cook, covered, on low until meatballs are cooked through, 3-4 hours. If desired, serve with minced parsley.

Can you freeze Slow-Cooked Italian Meatballs?

Freeze cooled meatballs and sauce in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a covered saucepan, stirring gently and adding a little water or broth if necessary. Serve as directed.

Nutrition Facts

1 meatball: 54 calories, 3g fat (1g saturated fat), 16mg cholesterol, 146mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 3g protein.