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Slow-Cooker Spaghetti & Meatballs

I’ve been cooking for 50 years, and this dish is still one that guests request frequently. It is my No. 1 standby recipe and also makes amazing meatball sandwiches. The sauce works for any type of pasta. —Jane Whittaker, Pensacola, Florida
  • Total Time
    Prep: 50 min. Cook: 5 hours
  • Makes
    12 servings

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  • 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.
  • Place the first 5 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, until meatballs are cooked through.
  • Remove bay leaves. Serve with spaghetti.

Slow-Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs Tips

What should you serve with slow-cooker spaghetti and meatballs?

Spaghetti and meatballs pair nicely with a simple, crisp Italian salad or a crusty, cheesy garlic bread fresh out of the oven.

Can you overcook meatballs in a slow cooker?

Generally, slow cookers cook "low and slow," so meatballs are less likely to overcook than if you were to quickly bake them in the oven. The longer you leave meatballs in a slow cooker, however, you do risk them becoming tougher and a bit chewier. For best results, stick to the amount of time suggested in the recipe for perfect, tender meatballs cooked just right.

How do you store slow-cooker spaghetti and meatballs?

Have leftovers? We’re surprised, but no problem! Store your leftover slow-cooker meatballs and sauce in an airtight, lidded container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Make a fresh batch of spaghetti when you’re ready to reheat and enjoy.

Research contributed by Mark Neufang, Taste of Home Culinary Assistant
Nutrition Facts
About 3 meatballs with 3/4 cup sauce: 250 calories, 11g fat (4g saturated fat), 79mg cholesterol, 1116mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 4g fiber), 20g protein.