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
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
363 Calories
20g Fat
32g Carbs
16g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 363
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 25%
Saturated Fat 6g 31%
Cholesterol 53mg 18%
Sodium 1214mg 53%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 6g 23%
Total Sugars 13g
Protein 16g
Vitamin C 13mg 67%
Calcium 131mg 10%
Iron 3mg 19%
Potassium 880mg 19%
*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 slow-cooker spaghetti and meatballs recipe is perfect to serve your family on a busy weeknight since almost all of the ingredients are premade and the entire dish cooks in the slow cooker—including the pasta. Jarred spaghetti sauce and fully cooked meatballs make up this dish, and the dried spaghetti is cooked in the crock pot with all the other ingredients, meaning the meal comes together quickly and doesn't dirty any additional pots and pans.

You can use plain spaghetti or whole-grain pasta in this recipe; just make sure to cook it until the pasta is al dente, or "to the tooth," which 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. Note that the spaghetti is added about 20 minutes before the dish is finished cooking, which is longer than the time required when cooking in boiling water on the stovetop.

Serve this slow-cooked spaghetti and meatballs with some toasted garlic bread and a green salad for a complete meal.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 (16-ounce) package fully cooked meatballs, frozen but can be thawed

  • 1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juices

  • 1 (26-ounce) jar spaghetti sauce

  • 1 1/3 cups water

  • 8 ounces dried spaghetti pasta, broken into pieces

  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for spaghetti and meatballs in the slow cooker recipe gathered

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  2. Place the chopped onion in the bottom of a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker. Top with the meatballs and​ diced undrained tomatoes.

    Meatballs, tomatoes, and onions in a slow cooker

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  3. Add the spaghetti sauce to the mixture and stir gently. Add the water to the empty jar and pour it into the crock pot; stir again.

    Spaghetti sauce and meatballs in a slow cooker

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  4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours, or on high for 3 1/2 hours, until the onion is 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 pasta is separated and completely covered by the sauce.

    Putting spaghetti in a slow cooker with meatballs and sauce

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  6. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the spaghetti is al dente. (You have to taste the pasta to make sure it is properly cooked.)

  7. Stir and serve immediately, garnished with chopped fresh parsley and some grated Parmesan cheese on the side, if desired.

    Slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs

    The Spruce Eats

Recipe Variation

Toss in some chopped bell peppers, grated carrots, or garlic for added flavor and nutrition. Include along with the onion.


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.

Is pasta in the slow cooker the same as when it's cooked on the stovetop?

Pasta cooked in a slow cooker will have a softer texture than pasta boiled in a pot on the stovetop, and because the noodles are cooked in the sauce, they will take on the flavors of the sauce. The pasta can become mushy if the dish is left to sit too long before eating, so make sure to serve it soon after it is done.