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Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs is an all-in-one meal! Perfect for a buffet-style meal or potluck! So easy and only a handful of ingredients!

A SIMPLE WAY TO MAKE A DELICIOUS DINNER

For the longest time, I have been trying to figure out the best way to make spaghetti in a slow cooker. It took me a few tries and some were successful and others, not so much. It’s all about layering it the right way and making sure the noodles don’t come out in one big clump. The end results turned out delicious!

close up of Spaghetti and Meatballs in a white bowl with slices of bread in the background.

TIPS FOR MAKING CROCK POT SPAGHETTI:

  • Some older models of slow cookers cook slower than the newer models. Also, some slow cookers have metal inserts and some have ceramic. All of this affects cooking time. In general, a metal insert will cook a bit faster than a ceramic. So adjust your time accordingly. 
  • I have only made this in an oval slow cooker. I don’t think this would work in a traditional round slow cooker. There needs to be enough space between the meatballs and the spaghetti for it to cook evenly.
  • Frozen Meatballs don’t all seem to come in standard size packaging. In addition, frozen meatballs can be on the larger size or smaller size. So, I use an amount of meatballs for reference. If the meatballs are fairly small, you’ll want to use about 40 meatballs. If they are larger meatballs, you’ll use about half that amount. 
  • PLEASE NOTE: I have not tried this recipe with homemade meatballs. I’m not sure if it would work because they may fall apart during cooking or may produce too much grease as they cook. If you try it out, please let me know how it turns out for you!
  • Want to make this in your Instant Pot? Try my Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe!
Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe from The Country Cook shown in a white bowl with a fork twirling the spaghetti.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (FULL RECIPE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST)

  • spaghetti sauce – use your favorite sauce or even homemade. I’ve become a big fan of Rao’s. It can get pretty pricey though unless I can find it at Costco.
  • frozen meatballs – please see my notes above about purchasing frozen meatballs.
  • water – this is added to help cook the spaghetti. Adding more sauce instead of water won’t help the spaghetti cook properly so the water is needed.
  • Italian seasoning – I like the additional seasoning because we are watering down the sauce a bit to cook the spaghetti so this brings back a bit more of that flavor.
  • minced garlic – there is no such thing as too much garlic in my opinion but use your best judgement here in what you prefer.
  • dried basil – just like the Italian seasoning, I am kicking up the flavor profile a bit but you do not have to add this additional seasoning.
  • spaghetti – I have only tested this with traditional spaghetti – not the thin spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine or any other type of pasta.
Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs ingredients: spaghetti sauce, frozen meatballs, water, Italian seasoning, minced garlic, dried basil, spaghetti noodles, olive oil.

HOW TO MAKE CROCK POT SPAGHETTI

In a 6-quart oval slow cooker, pour in half the jarred spaghetti sauce. Layer the frozen meatballs in a single layer on top of spaghetti sauce.

layer of spaghetti sauce and layer of frozen meatballs in an oval slow cooker.

Pour the rest of the spaghetti sauce evenly over the meatballs.

spaghetti sauce poured over frozen meatballs in an oval slow cooker.

Then pour in 4 cups of water. Sprinkle minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and basil on top. No need to stir.

water pouring into crock pot filled with spaghetti sauce.

Finally, layer the spaghetti noodles on top. It’s okay if they look scattered at the moment. This will help in the next step.

spaghetti noodles inside a slow cooker.

Evenly drizzle the the top of the noodles with 2-3 tbsp olive oil to coat.

sizzling olive oil on top of spaghetti noodles.

Then, gently push down the spaghetti noodles until they are under the water (breaking them as necessary to fit.) Try to make sure each noodle is coated in the sauce. This will help to keep the noodles from sticking together while cooking.

spaghetti noodles shown under spaghetti sauce.

Cover and cook on low for about 2.5 hours (until noodles are soft and meatballs are heated through). About halfway through, gently stir the noodles with a pasta fork to make sure none of the noodles are sticking together. 

cooked spaghetti and meatballs shown in the slow cooker.

Spaghetti is ready when the noodles are al dente and most of the liquid has been absorbed by the pasta. Note: as the spaghetti cools the sauce will thicken up a bit so just leave the lid off and stir occasionally.

forkful holding up some spaghetti coated with spaghetti sauce.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

Originally published: May 2015
Updated & Republished: February 2021

Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe

Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs

Crock Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs is an all-in-one meal! Perfect for a buffet-style meal or potluck! So easy and only a handful of ingredients!
4.94 from 185 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 24 ounce jar spaghetti sauce
  • 20 ounce bag frozen meatballs (24 count for larger meatballs and 40 count for smaller meatballs)
  • 4 cups water 
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil 
  • ½ (16 ounce) box spaghetti you are only using 1/2 a box which is 8 ounces in total)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  • In a 6-quart oval slow cooker, pour in half the jarred spaghetti sauce and do your best to spread it around evenly.
  • Layer the frozen meatballs in a single layer (as best as possible) on top of spaghetti sauce.
    layer of spaghetti sauce and layer of frozen meatballs in an oval slow cooker
  • Pour the rest of the spaghetti sauce over the meatballs.
    spaghetti sauce poured over frozen meatballs in an oval slow cooker
  • Then pour in 4 cups of water.
    water pouring into crock pot filled with spaghetti sauce
  • Sprinkle minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and basil on top. No need to stir.
  • Finally, place the spaghetti on top. Lay them a scattered fashion so all the noodles are not sticking together (see image). You don't want them to cook and end up in one big blob.
    spaghetti noodles inside a slow cooker
  • Evenly drizzle the spaghetti with 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil to lightly coat. Then, gently push down the spaghetti noodles until they are under the water/sauce mixture (breaking them if necessary to fit.)
    sizzling olive oil on top of spaghetti noodles
  • Try to make sure each noodle is coated in the sauce. This will help to keep the noodles from sticking together while cooking.
    spaghetti noodles shown under spaghetti sauce
  • Cover and cook on low for about 2.5 hours (until noodles are soft and meatballs are heated through).
  • About halfway through, gently stir the noodles with a pasta fork to make sure none of the noodles are sticking together. 
    cooked spaghetti and meatballs shown in the slow cooker
  • Spaghetti is ready when the noodles are al dente and most of the liquid has been absorbed by the pasta. PLEASE NOTE: when it is done, and as the spaghetti cools, the sauce will thicken up a bit so just leave the lid off and stir occasionally. 
    close up of Spaghetti and Meatballs in a white bowl with slices of bread in the background

Video

Notes

  • Please see my tips and ingredient listing in the post for answers to the most frequently asked questions. 
  • Some older models of slow cookers cook slower than the newer models. Also, some slow cookers have metal inserts and some have ceramic. All of this affects cooking time. In general, a metal insert will cook a bit faster than a ceramic. So adjust your time accordingly. 
  • Frozen Meatballs don’t all seem to come in standard size packaging. In addition, frozen meatballs can be on the larger size or smaller size. So, I use an amount of meatballs for reference. If the meatballs are fairly small, you’ll want to use about 40 meatballs. If they are larger meatballs, you’ll use about half that amount. 
  • PLEASE NOTE: I have not tried this recipe with homemade meatballs. I’m not sure if it would work because they may fall apart during cooking or may produce too much grease as they cook. If you try it out, please let me know how it turns out for you!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 460kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 25g | Sodium: 658mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




153 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made the spaghetti and frozen meatballs, and it turned out perfect and it was so yummy. Will be making more of it.

  2. 5 stars
    For this of you complaining it is too liquidy – you are not reading her directions where she puts it in bold letters!! Leave the lid off and stir occasionally. It will take a few minutes for it to cool a bit, and as it does, it thickens up just like she says. Just be patient and follow the directions!! We love this meal – thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    Than you for this recipe! We were not wanting to do much cooking before Thanksgiving so my kids made this following your recipe. Thank you for all the pictures and detailed instructions. They were able to follow it step by step and they were so proud. To those wondering, the sauce thickens up as it cools down and it doesn’t take that long. Just be patient, it works. It was delicious and they served it with the Texas Toast Garlic Bread.

  4. 5 stars
    This was great!! The key that I don’t think people realize is that it thickens as it cools. They aren’t reading your directions where it clearly states that. Just leave the lid off for a bit after cooking and it thickens up. You gotta read the directions folks! I make this for my family all the time and now my kids know how to make it. It’s a wonderful way to get them to cook something without fear of anything catching on fire on the stove – ha!

  5. 5 stars
    This has become a favorite in my home. Love the ease, uses staple ingredients, tastes delicious and turns out perfect every time.