Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Crockpot Italian Meatballs and Marinara

Tender cheesy meatballs are slow cooked in a flavorful sauce made with ingredients from your pantry. There is a time and a place for fresh tomatoes and herbs and this simple recipe isn't it. Whip it up and toss it in the crockpot to cook, the meatballs cook right in the sauce! How much easier could it be? This meal just about cooks itself.

Did you know that I bought my first crockpot when I moved out on my own? I purchased my first one so I could make prepare dried beans. My mom never used a slow cooker so I guess I never really 'got it' until I had one of my own.

Well that was 5 slow cookers ago. Now I have them in every size from a warmer to a 6 quart. I use them all the time, wings, beans, shredded meat sandwiches, make ahead chicken, candy, sides, and so much more. It is not uncommon to catch 4 of them on my counter on Sunday making food for the week or a meal for a friend. Not to mention they are the ultimate food warmer for parties.

What on earth took me so long? I have no clue, but now I am in love. I love my slow cooker and am so excited to share my crockpot Italian meatballs and marinara sauce. The perfect dinner. Just boil some pasta when you get home and viola dinner is ready 10 minutes later!


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 


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Check out some of our favorite fabulous ground beef crockpot recipes:  Click on the image or the bold recipe title and it will open each one in a new tab.

Copycat Maid-Rite Loose Meat Sandwiches Crockpot #slowcooker #beef #recipe @SlowRoasted

Copycat Maid-Rite is a loose meat sandwich made with perfectly seasoned, tender slow-cooked ground beef served on a warm slightly sweetened bun. We have tried to replicate it for years and at long last, we have the perfect crock pot recipe and it is one to keep!  If you have never tried one, run (do not walk) to your kitchen and make this!

Sriracha Honey Slow Cooker Meatballs are hot, sweet, tangy and wildly addictive. A simple recipe, this dish just about cooks itself. Add the sauce ingredients, form the meatballs.  Toss them in the slow cooker and voila. The best make ahead game day or any day food. What more could you ask for?

Easy Slow Cooker Chili #crockpot #chili #recipe @SlowRoasted

Easy Slow Cooker Chili is fully loaded; packed with meat, beans and just the right amount of heat to make your tongue tingle. This simple and easy recipe is perfect to feed a crowd!  Cooked in your crock pot all day or in just 4 hours.  It's up to you.

Crockpot Italian Meatballs and Marinara 
MAKES 36 (1 tablespoon) meatballs  |  ACTIVE TIME 25 Min  |  TOTAL TIME 4 Hours 25 Min

2 (14.5 ounce) cans fire roasted diced tomatoes with garlic
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
meatballs, uncooked (recipe to follow)
2 dried bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in a blender in the order they are listed, except meatballs and bay leaves.  Process until your sauce is the consistency you prefer. Cover bottom of crockpot with sauce crockpot. Reserve remaining sauce to pour on top of meatballs.

Gently place 1 layer of meatballs in crockpot. Pour sauce over top, until covered. Continue adding meatballs until they are all in the slow cooker.  You may have to layer them, just be sure the bottom layer is thoroughly coated in sauce before you add the next layer. Pour remaining sauce over top. Add bay leaves. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours.

Serve and enjoy.

Meatball Recipe
1 pound lean ground beef (I used 88%)
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup marinara
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well, do not over mix or you will have tough meatballs.

Using a 1 tablespoon scoop, portion out meat and place on a plate.  After all meatballs have been scooped onto plate, roll into balls.

COOK'S NOTES:   If you lightly wet your hands the meatballs will form better and crack less.

You can prepare meatballs the night before and refrigerate to cut down on prep time.

Recipe developed by Donna Elick - The Slow Roasted Italian
Copyright ©2015 The Slow Roasted Italian – All rights reserved.

Originally published 3/2/15


  1. These look delicious! My kids love meatball subs, so I really need to start making something like this.

  2. This is a great recipe. Very tasty, quick and easy to put together. I accidently bought Italian stewed tomatoes instead of the diced tomatoes the first I made and it was delicious so that is what I always use. I usually make a double batch of the marinara and the meatballs. I don't cook my meatballs in the sauce. I make them up and bake off in the oven. Then add to the cooked sauce just to warm. Anyway you make it this recipe is good.

  3. I think 3 total tblspns of Italian seasoning in this recipe is a little heavy. I believe 3 tspns total would be fine. Also, I browned my meatballs before putting them in the crock pot. Other than that a great recipe.

  4. I am in love with your cooking pages. They call mostly for things you already have and not a20 ingredient recipe. I love Crock Pot cooking also. I have three of them. Please keep them coming!


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