Slow Cooker Spicy Meatballs and Marinara- red pepper flakes and chopped pepperoncini peppers really give these meatballs some kick. Serve over any pasta for a great family meal.
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How To Serve
Shape and Brown The Meatballs
Combine all the meatball ingredients and shape into 14 to 18 meatballs. Broil them for 8 to 10 minutes to get them browned on the outside. This extra step gives the meatballs so much more flavor.
How Long In The Slow Cooker
The meatballs take 5 to 6 hours on LOW or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH. Because the meatballs slow cook in the sauce, the sauce is extra flavorful and the meatballs stay wonderfully moist.
Use Meatloaf Mix
Meatloaf mix is a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal and it makes super tasty and tender meatballs. If you can’t find meatloaf mix at the store, you can use equal parts of ground beef and ground pork or you can use all ground beef. Use a ground beef that is 85 to 90% lean. You want some fat in the meat so that the meatballs are tender and moist.
Slow Cooker Spicy Meatballs and Marinara Recipe Tips
Reduce the amount of crushed red pepper flakes if you want meatballs that are just slightly spicy.
For extra flavor, sprinkle some chopped fresh basil on top of the sauce just before serving.
- Rimmed Baking Sheet
- 6-quart Slow Cooker- I use this Hamilton Beach Set & Go Programmable Slow Cooker.
Leftover sauce and meatballs can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days or frozen in a ziplock freezer bag for up to 2 months. Thaw in refrigerator overnight.
More Slow Cooker Italian Recipes
- Williams Sonoma Slow Cooker Lasagna
- Slow Cooker Sausage Lasagna
- Crock Pot Baked Ziti
- Slow Cooker Spaghetti Casserole
- 1 1/2 pounds meatloaf mix
- 2/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons chopped pepperoncini peppers
- 1/3 cup minced onion
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, divided
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- 2 (28-ounce) cans tomato puree
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine meatloaf mix, Panko crumbs, milk, Parmesan cheese, pepperoncini peppers, onion, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Use your hands to mix it just until evenly mixed.
- Shape into 14 to 15 meatballs and place on prepared baking sheet.
- Broil meatballs for 8 to 10 minutes.
- In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine tomato puree, tomato paste, remaining garlic and Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper,and sugar.
- Transfer meatballs to slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.Skim off any grease on top and serve with pasta.