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Last week I shared my Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe, and we're continuing the winter soup series this week with a new fan-favorite my crock pot spaghetti and meatballs recipe!
This recipe is one you're gonna want to keep on hand as a family staple and a quick weeknight meal the whole family will love.
This spaghetti is super tasty as-is, with just the meatballs, sauce, and noodles. Or add parmesan, french bread, and a salad on the side for a bigger meal. For specific diet modifications, see the notes in the recipe card at the bottom.
Tools Needed to Make This Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Mixing bowl - Combine your ingredients in your favorite mixing bowl.
- Baking sheet - Form the mixture into balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- A cookie scoop on hand is a godsend. It's a lot less cumbersome than the standard tablespoon spoon in forming the meatballs.
- Freezer bag - Store the meatballs in a freezer bag and keep them frozen until you use them.
- Crock pot or an instant pot with slow-cook setting.
Ingredients Needed to Make This Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Ground beef, oregano, garlic powder and salt - Mix these ingredients for your meatballs.
- Tomato paste - Tomato paste is a handy ingredient to have on hand when cooking a tomato-based pasta sauce since it enhances the savory tomato flavor. It's a key ingredient in this simple crock pot spaghetti and meatballs.
- Oregano - Oregano is an aromatic and flavorful herb.
- Thyme - Thyme, with its minty aroma and flavor, is the go-to herb for making many kinds of dishes.
- Salt to taste.
- Water - To give moist to your favorite crock pot spaghetti and meatballs.
- Garlic powder - Spice up your slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs with garlic powder.
- Vinegar - Improves the taste of sauce. Use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
How to Make This Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs (2 Ways)
Option 1: Easy weeknight crockpot meal...
- First, put the meatballs together and stick 'em in the freezer.
- Mix the tomato paste with spices and put it in the freezer bag (or crockpot).
- Put the frozen meatballs, onion, and mixed sauce into the crockpot (or freezer bag).
Once you're ready to cook your soup, you just need your crockpot (or instant pot with slow-cook setting). Dump all the thawed ingredients inside and cook for 5-6 hours. Serve over cooked noodles.
Option 2: Make ahead freezer meal
If you don't know, a make-ahead freezer meal is one where you prep the work ahead of time, freeze it in a bag for later, and then thaw and cook later (a few days...a few weeks...or a few months later.
To make this recipe ahead of time, you'll just need a few freezer meal tools. The main thing you're going to need to make this ahead of time is something to store your uncooked meal in. I use these compostable freezer bags because I don't love the idea of using single-use plastic bags.
Here's the general idea:
- Prep your ingredients
- Put them in your (labeled) freezer bag
- Freeze for later
To make this slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs, just set the bag it in the fridge the night before you're ready for it.
then cook it in the crockpot when you want to eat it
Once you're ready to cook the spaghetti, you just need your crockpot (or instant pot with slow-cook setting). Dump all the thawed ingredients inside and cook!
Cook on low in the crock pot for 6 hours.
FAQ & Recipe Tips
Will my meatballs fall apart in the slow cooker?
If you want to avoid this, you should refrigerate the meatballs before putting them in the slow cooker. This makes them firmer and less likely to fall apart in the slow cooker.
Will dry noodles cook in a crock pot?
Yes, you can cook noodles in your crock pot. If you want to use them in a slow cooker recipe. Using a crock pot to cook noodles can save a lot of time and make dinner prep easier, however if you plan on freezing any portion of the meal, I recommend keeping the noodles separate until serving.
Should I thaw meatballs before putting in the crock pot?
The meatballs can be cooked more quickly if they are thawed in the refrigerator the night before using them.
- 1.5 lb ground beef
- ½ large yellow onion, diced to ¼”
- 2 cans tomato paste (12 oz total)
- 2 ½ teaspoon oregano (½ teaspoon for meatballs, 2 teaspoon for sauce)
- 2 teaspoon thyme
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt (½ teaspoon for meatballs, ¾ teaspoon for sauce)
- 1 cup water
- 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder (½ teaspoon for meatballs, 1 teaspoon for sauce)
- 1 teaspoon vinegar
- Noodles (made out of zucchini, carrots, or wheat pasta from the store)
- Mix the ground beef, 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano, 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt in a crock pot spaghetti and meatballs until well combined.
- Roll the beef mixture into balls and put them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Put it in the freezer to freeze.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the tomato paste, oregano, thyme, salt, water, garlic powder, and vinegar until evenly mixed.
- Add the sauce mixture to your freezer bag.
- Chop the onion and add it to the freezer bag.
- When the meatballs are frozen (or mostly frozen) add them to the freezer bag with the sauce and onion.
- Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal, and lay flat in the freezer.
- Thaw in the fridge overnight, or soak in cold water the morning you’re ready to cook it.
- Cook on low in crockpot for 5-6 hours. Serve over noodles with Parmesan (optional).
- For gluten free, use gluten free pasta
- For dairy free, omit Parmesan topping
- For Paleo, use zucchini noodles or carrot noodles
- For vegan, use plant based ground meat substitute
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 577Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 181mgSodium: 948mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 5gSugar: 11gProtein: 49g