These slow cooker meatballs are soft, juicy and delicious and so easy to make. A few minutes of prep before letting the slow cooker do all the work for you.
As a relatively new user of a slow cooker or Crockpot, it’s such a delight every time I make a successful recipe in one. Not that it’s hard, it’s just such a thrill for me. The idea of dumping all the ingredients into a machine and let it do the work for me is very appealing. And it’s even better than I thought it would be. These slow cooker meatballs are a prime example. Do a bit of prep in the morning, walk away, and a couple of hours later the whole house smells like an Italian restaurant and dinner is ready. Uh, yes please!
Now, the name of this recipe could be totally misleading because I don’t know if meatballs like these are made anywhere in Tuscany. BUT an Italian restaurant I love serves similar meatballs and calls them Tuscan so I’m just going along with it. The mixture of herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan definitely give me Tuscan vibes. I also love how the tomatoes and cheese keep the meatballs soft and juicy (helped along by the low-slow cook, of course).
I served the crockpot meatballs over pasta for a simple family dinner. You could also serve them over polenta or with crusty bread to mop up all the delicious sauce and they will be perfect every time.
How to cook meatballs in a slow cooker
Pour chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, stock, garlic and herbs into a slow cooker set to Lo. Make the homemade meatballs by mixing ground beef and pork (beef and pork mince) with sauteed onions and garlic, finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, herbs, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and beaten egg. Mix until just combined then form meatballs. For deeper flavor, brown the meatballs in a non-stick pan before adding to the tomato sauce in the slow cooker. If you want an easier version, simply drop the meatballs into the sauce then cover and allow to cook on Lo for 6-7 hours or on High for 3-4 hours. If the sauce is too watery for your liking, cook the meatballs with the lid ajar. This will allow the sauce to reduce a little.
How long to cook meatballs in a Crockpot
Meatballs will cook in 3-4 hours with the slow cooker set on High or 6-7 hours with it set on Lo.
Tuscan slow cooker meatballs
- 500g / 1lb ground pork / pork mince
- 500g / 1lb ground beef / beef mince
- 2 red onions, chopped and sauteed
- 4 garlic cloves, sauteed with onions
- ¾ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 tsp dried Italian herbs
- ¾ cup Parmesan, grated
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3 tsp salt or to taste
- 2 tsp black pepper
For the sauce
- 2 400g/14 oz cans/tins chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup tomato puree/Passata
- 1 cup beef stock
- 1 tbsp dried Italian herbs
- 2 tsp sugar (optional)
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced/crushed
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- fresh basil
- Parmesan, grated
- To make the sauce, combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker/crock pot.
- To make the meatballs, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Form meatballs and place in the sauce in the slow cooker.
- Switch the slow cooker on high and cook for 3-4 hours or 6-7 hours on low until the meatballs are soft and cooked through and the sauce has reduced a little.
- If the sauce is too watery, simply place the slow cooker lid ajar for the last hour of cooking to allow the sauce to reduce.
- Serve over pasta with fresh basil and Parmesan.
How many meatballs do you make with the 2 pounds of meat?
Approximately 20-24 depending on the size.
Any suggestions on how to cook this if I don’t have a slow cooker? Want to make it for dinner, but my boys have cricket matches till late…
Just making it in a pot is perfect. Just simmer it gently as to not break up the meatballs.
Roughly how many people does this serve?
I’ve amended the recipe, thanks fo notifying me. It serves around 6-8 people and can even serve 10 if portions aren’t too big.
Great recipe. The meatballs are juicy and delicious.
So glad you liked the recipe.
This looks so delish! I have a slow cooker, have had one for years, but I bought an electric pressure cooker last year and IT’S THE BEST. It’s like an Instant Pot, but it’s Russell Hobbs. I think I’ll give these a go in the pressure cooker. I love cooking sausages in it (sausage casserole vibes) because they come out SO tender and juicy. I reckon this will work. The worst that can happen is they fall apart.
Yes! Please let me know how it turns out!
Thinking I might try this with my Wonderbag instead of slow cooker. Will let you know if it works…
Oh that’s an awesome idea! Please let me know what your experience is!
Had this for dinner last night and I was amazed. I thought the meatballs would be a little bland due to not browning them in a pan before (how I always make them) but they were so tasty and soft and juicy, like you said. Also probably the easiest recipe for meatballs I’ve ever made. Two thumbs up!
That is so great to hear. I tested the recipe a few times and tested browning the meatballs vs not and honestly, the difference was minimal and not worth the extra effort. I think because the meatballs are so intensely flavoured with herbs and cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, they have enough flavour so I’m so glad to hear that you agreed. 🙂
Currently making these and they smell SO good. Can’t wait for dinner.
Let me now what you think once you’ve tried them!
What can I use in place of the pork? Can’t wait to try this!
You could try lamb or just leave the pork and use double the amount of beef. 🙂
On my to-do list for this weekend. Can’t wait!
Let me know what you think once you’ve tried it!