I don’t know what it is with me and meatballs lately, but here we are again. #sorrynotsorry This weekend I made these deliciously Giant Slow Cooker Meatballs, which are a fun way to change up a simple spaghetti and meat sauce dinner. The whimsically large meatballs simmer away in marinara, the flavors from each seeping into the other, creating a luxe rich sauce for the spaghetti. And I’m telling you, the smell these meatballs create in your house as they cook is almost reason enough to make them!
This is a great dish to meal prep for the week ahead! The pasta, sauce, and meatball package up quick and easy, reheat like a dream, and you can add a simple side salad (in a separate container) for each day. Done and done!
What to Serve with Giant Slow Cooker Meatballs
Keep it simple! Serve your Giant Slow Cooker Meatballs and spaghetti, a simple side salad, and some Homemade Freezer Garlic Bread!
Giant Slow Cooker Meatballs
- 1/2 lb. ground beef (85/15) ($2.65)
- 1/2 lb. Italian sausage (mild, sweet, or hot) ($1.16)
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten ($0.26)
- 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs ($0.12)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan ($0.44)
- 1/4 tsp onion powder ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- 1/4 tsp salt ($0.01)
- 1 26oz. jar marinara sauce ($2.19)
- 12 oz. spaghetti ($1.13)
- Add the ground beef, Italian sausage, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt to a bowl. Use your hands to combine the ingredients until they are evenly mixed. Divide the mixture into four equal portions, then shape each into a ball.
- Place the meatballs in the slow cooker and pour the marinara over top, making sure to coat the top of each meatball. The sauce will only come up about half way to the top of the meatballs, but that’s okay. The slow cooker will fill with steam, which will help cook the meatballs even though they are not completely submerged.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and then cook on high for 3 hours, or low for 6-7 hours. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure the meatballs have reached at least 160ºF on the inside (mine had exceeded this temperature after 3 hours on high).
- Near the end of the cook time, cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, and then drain in a colander.
- Remove the cooked meatballs from the slow cooker, then add the cooked and drained spaghetti, and toss it to coat in the sauce. Divide the sauced spaghetti between four plates, add one giant meatball to each, then enjoy.
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How to Make Slow Cooker Meatballs – Step by Step Photos
In a large bowl combine 1/2 lb. ground beef (85/15), 1/2 lb. Italian sausage, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (sorry that one is not in the photo), 1 large slightly beaten egg, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, and 1/4 tsp salt.
Use your hands to mix these ingredients together until they’re evenly combined, then divide the mixture into four equal portions, and shape each into a ball. The meatballs will be slightly smaller than a baseball.
Place the meatballs in the slow cooker and pour one 26oz. jar of marinara sauce over top, making sure to coat the top of the meatballs. The sauce will only come up about half way up the meatballs, but that’s okay. The steam in the slow cooker will help cook the meatballs through even though they’re not completely submerged.
Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6-7 hours. It’s always a good idea to use an instant read thermometer to make sure the internal temperature of the meatballs has reached 160ºF. (I use this thermometer – As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.) Mine had exceeded this temperature after 3 hours on high.
When the meatballs are almost done, cook 12oz. spaghetti according to the package directions, then drain it in a colander. Remove the meatballs from the sauce in the slow cooker.
Add the cooked and drained spaghetti to the sauce in the slow cooker and toss to coat. All that fat that was on top is quite flavorful and makes the sauce ultra rich and delicious!
Then just divide the spaghetti into four servings, add a giant slow cooker meatball to each, and serve! Super easy, super yum.
Your recipes are just sweet as you are dear! I made them tonight following your recipe and my husband and children just loved them! Just keep going with your lovely blog! All the best!
I’ve always been scared of making meatballs. This recipe was perfect for my first time! Very easy to follow and I’m amazed at how good these turned out! I cook just for myself and I’m so happy I have warm, filling, yummy dinners for the next few nights. Will absolutely make these again. Thanks for such a great recipe!
The meatballs look great. Any suggestions on cooking times for the stovetop, if Santa doesn’t bring me one this year? (it is on my wish list). Thanks.
Hmm, I think I’d need to test it to know for sure, but I think you’d be better off baking them than trying to make them on the stove top. The heat will be more even. :)
We are swooning! So glad I doubled the recipe so I have extras to freeze. A really satisfying meal. I’m a snob about powdered onion and garlic, but I actually bought onion powder (good-quality) just to try in this recipe. It was wonderful! I did make a couple changes:
For those interested in reducing the fat in this recipe, I made this a day ahead (minus the spaghetti), separated the sauce from the meatballs, after a night in the fridge I just skimmed the fat off the top.
And if you’re using super-lean meat, instead of dry breadcrumbs, for each batch use a slice of bread (crust off) soaked in milk, yes skim is fine, just enough for the whole slice to be drenched; give this step a few minutes because the bread will absorb more and more liquid and you want it nice and gooey. Then use only an egg white or yolk, not the whole thing.
I wish I could remember where I picked up that technique, because it’s great for when you don’t have bread crumbs around and it’s also a great binder that keeps meatballs or meatloaf tender even if it’s 95% lean meat. That’s why you want plenty of milk, though no extra (that is, don’t add any milk that pools on the dish at the end).
I don’t use jarred marinara but poured in a large can of crushed tomatoes and added my preferred Italian herbs, heavy on the fennel.
Thanks so much for this one! It’s cold and achy here and we were in the mood for something satisfying. Used whole-grain pasta. Also used hot sausage which gave these just the right amount of kick. The heat is cut nicely by the other ingredients. I will be always making sure I have some of these on hand in winter!
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