Slow-Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

Slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs

The Spruce


Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 6 hrs
Total: 6 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
441 Calories
20g Fat
49g Carbs
18g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 441
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 52mg 17%
Sodium 1048mg 46%
Total Carbohydrate 49g 18%
Dietary Fiber 6g 23%
Protein 18g
Calcium 118mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This fabulous recipe for slow-cooker spaghetti and meatballs tastes like something from a restaurant. It's perfect to serve to your family and comforting and delicious enough to serve to guests. The best part is it's so easy and is made completely in a slow cooker. 

Be sure that all of the pasta is completely covered with liquid when you put it into the slow cooker so it softens with the heat and moisture; any pasta that sticks out of the liquid will not cook properly and will be too tough and hard. Note that when the spaghetti is added, the dish will need to cook for an additional 15 to 25 minutes.

You can use plain spaghetti or whole-grain pasta in this recipe. Just cook it until the pasta is al dente, or "to the tooth." That means the pasta is tender, but still firm. The center of each thin strand should be opaque, not white, and the pasta should taste cooked.

This recipe is perfect as-is, but you could add more veggies to the sauce if you'd like. Some chopped bell peppers, grated carrots, or garlic would be delicious and healthy additions. To make things easier, prepared cooked meatballs are used here, but homemade cooked meatballs will work just fine. 

Serve this dish with some toasted garlic bread and a green salad tossed with tomatoes and mushrooms. A glass of red wine also would be wonderful. For dessert, serve some brownies or chocolate chip cookies for an easy and complete meal.


  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen fully cooked meatballs (can be thawed)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 (26-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 2 handfuls spaghetti pasta (about 8 ounces, broken into pieces)
  • Garnish: grated Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Garnish: red pepper flakes to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Spaghetti and meatballs in the slow cooker ingredients
    The Spruce 
  2. In a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker, place the onions (and any other vegetables you'd like to add, if you are using others) in the bottom of the cooker. Top the vegetables with the meatballs and​ diced undrained tomatoes.

    meatballs, tomatoes and onions in a slow cooker
     The Spruce
  3. Add the spaghetti sauce to the mixture in the crock pot and stir gently. Rinse out the spaghetti sauce jar with the water, add it to the crock pot, and stir again.

    Spaghetti sauce and meatballs in a slow cooker
     The Spruce
  4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, or on high for 3 1/2 hours, until the onions are tender and the meatballs are hot.

  5. Stir the spaghetti sauce mixture well, then add the broken spaghetti. Stir and make sure that all of the spaghetti is separated and is completely covered by the sauce.

    Putting spaghetti in a slow cooker with meatballs and sauce
     The Spruce
  6. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the spaghetti is al dente (tender to the bite, but with a slight firmness in the center). You have to taste the pasta to make sure it is properly cooked.

  7. Stir and serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes if desired.

    Slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs
     The Spruce
  8. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad and enjoy.