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Slow-Cooker Spaghetti & Meatballs

I’ve been cooking 50 years and this dish is still one that guests ask for frequently. My No. 1 standby slow cooker meatballs 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 (about 3-1/2 quarts sauce)


  • 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


  • 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 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.
  • Remove bay leaves. Serve with spaghetti.
Nutrition 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.


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Average Rating:
  • Louis
    Aug 13, 2020

    Thinking of making this recipe. What do any of you think of 1/2 grd beef and 1/2 grd lamb for the meatballs?

  • MamaMeese
    Jul 27, 2020

    I made this recipe exactly as stated, and agree that the meatballs could use some sausage. They were really dry. I probably wouldn't make this again.

  • Kimosaabe
    Jul 4, 2020

    John ... You an insufferable rude rube and stooge. Take your nasty attitude and asinine persona elsewhere.

  • 5717rees
    Mar 29, 2020

    Folks, the recipe is merely the writers favorite recipe. Everyone has different tastes. Just because one person likes a recipe does not mean the next person will enjoy it. There is is no reason to verbally assault someone because It’s different from your recipe. These days it seems to have become acceptable in tear into fellow posters because it differs from your grandmother’s. Get a grip sir, and enjoy your recipe and the rest of us will enjoy our own. There are no monetary awards given so relax, go cook up a pot of your sauce and take to one of the many homeless shelters where people will love your grandmother’s pasta.

  • jake100
    Mar 29, 2020

    After reading some of the reviews, I agree with Rus. I'm 73 and my family owned and operated a successful restaurant for over 30 years. There is nothing wrong with FINELY chopped onions in meatballs. I will say that green peppers in the sauce is somewhat unusual, but not unheard of. FYI the spaghetti noodle was first invented in China, not Italy.

  • Rus
    Jul 22, 2019

    I cannot give an honest review at the moment based on these meatballs but one thing i will say... This goes out to some people...(ahem)...JOHN, didnt your mom tell u if u have NOTHING nice to say, then keep your big fat mouth shut!! This is what irks me with people today. You can have an opinion and still be polite if u disagree. Why does this world seem to think its cool to be nasty to fellow human beings. Do u even take the time to think how you"d like it if someone did that to you. SHAME ON YOU!!! You deserve a dressing down. I think your review of her meatballs is BS!! How you like them meatballs!! Ha!!!

  • John
    Apr 20, 2019

    I'm Italian and learned from my Grandmother many years ago , how to make true Italian meatballs and spaghetti sauce. She came here from Naples in 1915. I'm in my 80's and I'm a good cook.The above recipe is not authentic. It's not real Italian. For example: never put onions in M/B's and never put bell pepper in spaghetti sauce. The above recipe is not a true Italian recipe. It's B/S.

  • Psalm127-3
    Jan 23, 2018

    apologize-just reading recipe not inclined to make, reads to me like very little flavor. 1t of 3 herbs for all that sauce, nope. no milk to soak into 1c bread crumbs w-only liquid being 2 eggs (that are there primarily for binding) translates to a dry meatball which > I made from highly praised recipe I found online last week that was worst by far meatball I ever made.

  • wdfcdwc
    Jan 8, 2018


  • Joel
    Dec 31, 2017

    Served my family at Xmas. Added ground pork and had this available for sandwhiches. Huge hit.