Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs - Detail - ©

Slow Cooker Dishes: Italian Meatballs

Here’s an all-time fave Italian staple that’s quick and easy to make with guaranteed results – when you use your Slow Cooker! This recipe may not have the fewest ingredients, but it doesn’t have any more steps than the average Slow Cooker Dish we’ve presented here, yet. And you get two dishes for the price of one!

Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs - © chefsavvy.comSlow Cooker Meatballs at their best… Garnish with Grated Parmesan
and Chopped Fresh Parsley if desired!

Meatballs and Red Sauce on Spaghetti is perhaps the most iconic of Italian dishes ever. It’s the dish that many non-Italian eaters try for their first taste of the country’s vibrant, piquante cuisine. If you think the Slow Cooker is a radically non-traditional way to make this classic, I’m here to tell you, many Italian cooks cook their Meatballs in the Marinara Sauce, on the stove top!

What you need…

You can use you favourite Meatball recipe instead of our easy one, but try ours just once and it may become your new favourite!

For Meatballs:
2 lb. / 500 g Ground Meat Mixture (50-50 Beef and Pork)
1 tsp. / 5 ml Salt
1 tsp. / 5 ml Parsley
1 tsp. / 5 ml Thyme
1 tsp. / 5 ml Basil
1 tsp. / 5 ml Oregano
1 cup / 250 ml Fine Bread Crumbs
1/2 cup / 125 ml Milk
1 medium Onion, diced fine
2-4 cloves Garlic, minced or pressed
1 large Egg, beaten

For Sauce:
4 cups / 1 L Crushed Tomatoes
1 small can / 6 oz. / 195 ml Tomato Paste
2 cloves Garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. / 5 ml ground Fennel
1 tsp. / 5 ml Basil
1 tsp. / 5 ml Oregano
1 tsp. / 5 ml Salt
1 good pinch Red Pepper Flakes (or more to taste)

What you do…

Note: I mix up a big batch of the Italian seasonings mentioned above and keep it in a tightly sealed Mason Jar. So, I can just add the mixture to basic Italian dishes like these Meatballs and this Sauce without fiddling with measuring spoons. (Just like I mix up a big batch of ‘Pumpkin Pie’ Spices in a Mason Jar to speed up Baking and Breakfast tasks.)

Add the Milk to the Bread Crumbs in a large Measuring Cup, mixing well with a fork. Set aside to let the Crumbs absorb the Milk while you make the Meatball mixture.

Add the rest of the Meatball ingredients to a large mixing bowl and blend well to distribute all ingredients evenly. Real Italian Mamas use their hands. I use my hands and I’m not even Italian. You should use your hands…

Add the milk/Bread crumbs mixture and mix again until the crumbs are well distributed throughout the Meat.

In the Sow Cooker, mix together the Sauce ingredients until well blended.

Add the Meatballs to the Sauce Mixture, making sure all the meatballs are covered by Sauce.

Cook covered on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Serve over Pasta of your choice or Rice.

Two secrets…

There are two Italian secrets in this recipe… Mrs. Indovina (rest her harried soul) always used the Milk and Bread Crumbs to ensure a nice, fork-tender Meatball. And, as mentioned previously, cooking the Meatballs in the Sauce ensures a juicy, flavourful Meatball.

Just try it!

~ Maggie J.