An image that showcases a bubbling slow cooker, filled with savory homemade meatballs and al dente spaghetti, coated in a rich, aromatic tomato sauce

Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

Craving a comforting and delicious meal without all the fuss? Look no further than slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs. This classic dish practically cooks itself, leaving you with tender meatballs and perfectly cooked pasta.

Just toss the ingredients in your trusty slow cooker, set it, and forget it. A few hours later, you’ll be enjoying a hearty and satisfying meal that will have everyone asking for seconds.

So go ahead, give your stove a break and let your slow cooker do the work.


Tracing back the history of slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs reveals that the dish originated in Italy, where spaghetti and meatballs were served separately. Italians would prepare meatballs with a blend of ground meat, bread crumbs, herbs, and spices, while spaghetti was cooked separately and then topped with tomato sauce.

In the United States, Italian immigrants began to combine these components into one dish, creating the iconic spaghetti and meatballs we know today. The slow cooker method of cooking this dish became popular in the mid-20th century, providing a convenient and hands-off way to cook the meatballs and infuse them with flavor.

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

-1 (24-ounce) jar of your favorite marinara sauce
-1 pound lean ground beef
-1/2 cup diced onion
-1/2 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1 large egg
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
-1/2 pound (about 4 cups) uncooked spaghetti
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)


To make your slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs, start forming the meatballs with the ingredients mentioned before. Once they’re ready, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Preheat the slow cooker on low setting.
  2. Pour a jar of marinara sauce into the slow cooker and spread it evenly.
  3. Place the meatballs on the sauce, making sure they’re spaced out.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add cooked spaghetti noodles to the slow cooker.

Serve the spaghetti and meatballs hot, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.


Tips for Cooking

For optimal results, follow these guidelines when cooking your slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs.

Tips for Cooking Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs
1. Use lean ground beef for healthier meatballs.
2. Sear the meatballs before adding them to the slow cooker for added flavor.
3. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a hint of spiciness.
4. Use crushed tomatoes instead of tomato sauce for a chunkier sauce.
5. Cook the spaghetti separately and add it to the slow cooker only when serving.

With these tips in mind, you can enhance the flavors of your slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs. Opt for lean ground beef to keep the dish healthy, and searing the meatballs beforehand will give them a delicious caramelized crust.

Incorporating a pinch of red pepper flakes will bring a touch of heat, while using crushed tomatoes will create a more textured sauce.

Cooking the spaghetti separately and adding it to the slow cooker only when serving will prevent it from becoming mushy. With these helpful tips, you can enjoy a truly satisfying and flavorful slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs dish.

Final Thoughts

To wrap up, keep in mind these tips for a flavorful and satisfying slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs dish.

  • Start by browning the meatballs before adding them to the slow cooker. This will give them a nice crust and boost their flavor.
  • Additionally, season the meatballs well with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices. This will make sure that they’re delicious and well-seasoned.

Make sure to use enough liquid in the slow cooker to avoid the spaghetti from drying out. You can use a mix of tomato sauce, broth, or even water.

Let the slow cooker do its work and cook the dish on low heat for a few hours. This will allow the flavors to combine and result in a delectable meal.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Frozen Meatballs Instead of Making Them From Scratch?

Yes, it is possible to use frozen meatballs instead of making them from scratch. They provide a convenient and time-saving option. Just remember to adjust the cooking time in the slow cooker accordingly.

Can I Substitute the Spaghetti With a Different Type of Pasta?

Yes, you can swap out the spaghetti for a different type of pasta. Just remember to adjust the cooking time as needed, since different kinds of pasta may need different amounts of time to cook.

How Long Can I Keep the Leftovers in the Refrigerator?

You can keep the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Ensure that they are stored in an airtight container for freshness. Before consuming, make sure to reheat them thoroughly.

Can I Add Vegetables to the Slow Cooker With the Meatballs and Spaghetti?

Yes, you can absolutely add vegetables to the slow cooker with the meatballs and spaghetti. It’s an ideal way to add extra nutrition and flavor to your meal. There are many different types of vegetables that you could use, so choose ones that you enjoy.

Can I Use a Different Type of Sauce Instead of Marinara for This Recipe?

Yes, you can certainly substitute a different type of sauce for the marinara in this recipe. You can experiment with different flavors to find the one that best suits your preferences. Have fun and enjoy your meal!

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