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Slow Cooker Mini Meatballs

November 14, 2012

Thanksgiving is next week! Who wants meatballs?

Yeah, I realize that makes no sense. The thing is, I’m not any more ready for Thanksgiving than you are. (You’re not ready, right? Just tell me you’re not to make me feel better. Thanks.)

I’m still working on the planning for our big feast, but I can tell you it’s definitely going to involve some minified Caramel Apple Cupcakes and my favorite Bourbon Cranberry Sauce.

All this feast planning is working up an appetite though, and for this Italian girl, meatballs hit the spot. There are so many things I love about this recipe:

1. It’s hands-off. You spend a few minutes making the meatballs in the beginning, then toss them in the slow cooker and forget about them till dinner time.

2. It feeds a crowd and it’s a crowd pleaser. With this recipe, you can cook a homemade meal for all of your family members and friends without chaining yourself to your kitchen. Plus, even picky toddlers love meatballs!

3. I don’t love the texture of large meatballs (and meatloaf), but cooking mini meatballs low and slow gives them a super tender texture and rich flavor that I can’t get enough of.

4. Hellooooo comfort food.

So whether you’re busy planning your Thanksgiving day feast, or shuttling the kids all around town, or just want a homemade meal that allows you to spend time with friends and family, these meatballs are just what you need!

Slow Cooker Mini Meatballs

Serves 4-6 (makes 30-35 mini meatballs)

Don’t have time to finely dice an onion? Grate it on the big holes of a box grater. I’ve made this recipe with a variety of ground meats, including ground bison and ground turkey, and they all seem to work equally well. It’s easy enough to double the recipe to feed a crowd, and in that case you can use more than one kind of ground meat – for example, combine 1 pound of ground beef and 1 pound of ground turkey.


1 cup finely diced onion
1 pound ground beef, bison, or turkey
1/4 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
1 whole egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

24 ounces of your favorite pasta sauce (I use Bertolli Marinara)


Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, add all ingredients except pasta sauce. Mix together with your hands or a sturdy spoon until thoroughly combined. Shape 1 tablespoon sized meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet. (To keep them all a uniform size, use a measuring spoon or cookie scoop.)

Add sauce to slow cooker and set to low. Bake meatballs at 400°F for 5 minutes, then set oven to broil and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove meatballs from oven and add to slow cooker. (If sauce isn’t enough to cover meatballs at least 3/4 of the way, add a little water or chicken stock until it does.)

Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Serve on buns with provolone cheese for meatball sammies, or the tradition way over your favorite kind of pasta.

  1. November 14, 2012 10:44 pm

    These sound simple…look delicious! I love slow cooker recipes. Winter is the time to get the slow cooker out! These will be great for a work pot luck I have coming up…thanks for the share!

  2. petit4chocolatier permalink
    November 15, 2012 9:09 pm

    Love the idea of slow cooking! Looks delicious : )

  3. November 17, 2012 2:05 pm

    Hopefully getting a slow cooker from Father Christmas, this will be one of the first recipes I try! Thanks very much!

    Mrs W x

  4. Lauren permalink
    November 19, 2012 12:20 pm

    I can vouch for the toddlers liking it!!

  5. magentmama permalink
    November 24, 2012 6:59 am

    Mamma mia, those meatballs look appetizing! It’s almost lunch here in Sicily and you’re making me hungry. What a great idea for lunch!

  6. November 24, 2012 8:44 pm

    Reblogged this on The kitchen.

  7. carineroseky permalink
    November 27, 2012 12:20 am

    looks delicious! :)

  8. December 4, 2012 6:22 am

    Wow they look absolutely delicious, and I love a good slow cooker recipe

  9. foodie permalink
    December 17, 2012 7:47 am

    looks lovely and amazing photography :)

  10. tamijo2 permalink
    January 1, 2013 2:16 pm

    Reblogged this on Simply Me.

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