Meatball Marinara (Crock Pot)

Meatball Marinara (Crock Pot)

I love a good crock pot meal, don’t you?

There is just something comforting in knowing you have dinner already taken care of, simmering away in your good crock pot, while you go right ahead and run your crazy head around tending to the needs of all of the wonderful people in your life. I bet most of you spend a grundle of time folding piles of laundry, scrubbing all of the sticky spots from your kitchen floor, running so and so to this and that, helping with a little homework, lending a listening ear, handing out a smile or two, passing out words of encouragement and maybe even bringing home the bacon.

Fry it up in a pan, won’t you? (Couldn’t help throwing that in there, you know how I love bacon frying in a pan.)

The point I am working for here is this.

Life is crazy busy. You know it, I know it and the gray hairs on your chin know it.

The whole lot of us deserve a scrumptious dinner, without a lot of fuss and bustle, I’d say. This Meatball Marinara is just the ticket. It takes just minutes to prepare, is hearty and flavorful and down right delicious.  When you are ready to serve, cook up some spaghetti noodles to pour the meatballs and sauce over, or better yet…slice open some crusty rolls, stuff them full of these saucy meatballs and then melt some mozzarella cheese over the top.

However you decide you make it,

I hope you love it. You and those pretty gray hairs…

Meatball Marinara (Crock Pot)

Note: Though this is listed as a crock pot meal it actually makes a great freezer meal as well. Assemble all of the ingredients as instructed, but instead of placing it in the crock pot carefully pour it into a deep 9×9 aluminum pan, cover with foil and pop it into the freezer. When you are ready to use, thaw and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Time: 10 minutes prep + 4 or 8 hours crock pot cooking
Yield: 6-8 servings
Recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up!

3 (14.5 ounce) cans italian stewed tomatoes
1 (8 ounce) tomato sauce
4 T tomato paste
1/2 t granulated garlic
1/2 t italian seasoning
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t oregano
1/4 t sugar
1/2 t lemon juice (bottled is fine)
2 pounds precooked meatballs (I use Kirkland brand Italian Meatballs)

1. Find your self 3 cans of Italian style stewed tomatoes. Pour the tomatoes along with the juice from the can into a blender.

Add 1 can of tomato sauce

and 4 tablespoons of tomato paste (which is about half of a 6 ounce can).

2. Add 1/2 a teaspoon granulated garlic, italian seasoning, thyme and oregano. Find yourself 1/4 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and add it to the blender. Blend all of the ingredients until the sauce is nice and smooth. Should just take about 1 minute.

3. Grab some precooked Italian Style Beef meatballs. I love these from Costco.

Pour about 2 pounds, or 50 meatballs into the bottom of your crock pot.

Pour the sauce over the top of the meatballs

and give everything a nice stir. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 7-8.

6. Serve over a nice hot bed of spaghetti noodles. It would also be great served inside of a crusty bun and covered in mozzarella cheese.


Pinterest friendly image below…

Crock Pot Meatball Marinara from Jamie Cooks It Up!



Post a comment!


  1. 1
    September 12, 2012 at 10:23 am

    That’s it??! I have been dying to make meatballs with my spaghetti but always been too afraid, I’m used to eating Ragu spaghetti sauce meat flavored. I dont like a lot of added extra things in it. I am willing to try this for sure! I will post back after I have made it!

  2. 2
    September 12, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Jamie: Love your blog! I have a family member that is alergic to Oregano–I use lots of Basil with Thyme and Garlic–gives an Italian flavor that is a little “smoother”. Don’t know how many others can’t handle Oregano but thought I would mention this.

    Look forward to each of your “posts”!

    Thank you!


  3. 3
    September 12, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Dear Jamie,
    I love you so much. When I am having a blah day at work, I take a few minutes to look at the new recipes you have posted and I am filled with positive energy.
    Thank you!

    • 4
      September 13, 2012 at 7:01 am

      Thanks for your sweet note, Melanie. Made my day. 🙂

  4. 5
    September 12, 2012 at 11:56 am

    First, you just described my life and my day!

    I love those meatballs and use them all the time. Why I never think to let them stew in the slow cooker for a few hours, I don’t know! I will be trying your red sauce recipe. I’m experimenting for a good sauce to can with the tons of tomatoes that multiply like rabbits overnight!

  5. 6
    September 12, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    What’s a good side dish to serve with stuffed green peppers…Since a little rice is used in the meat stuffing, would pasta be out of the question ?

  6. 7
    September 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Jaime this looks like my perfect comfort food!

  7. 8
    loretta brooks
    September 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    recipe looks great! Love crock-pot meals. The only thing I would change because of the fuss pots who don’t like the tomato bits would be to use crushed tomatoes.

    Can’t wait to do this!

    Love your blog!

  8. 9
    September 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I’ve seen you use these meatballs from Costco several times, but when I went to try to get some at Costco, I couldn’t seem to find them. I looked in several different sections. How are they packaged, and where do I find them?? Are there different flavors?

    • 10
      September 13, 2012 at 7:00 am

      If you take a look at this post, there is a picture of the bag of meatballs. Here in Utah they are usually stocked with the other frozen meats, right next to the other beef they sell. Good luck! Hope you can find some soon. 🙂

  9. 11
    September 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm

    Rebekah: They are in the freezer case–near the hamburger patties–the hamburger rolls–the sausage patties and the precooked bacon (in Seattle area).

  10. 12
    September 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    This recipe turned out fabulous and it was so simple. The only thing I did different, is I added some black pepper and next time I might try out honey instead of sugar. I was on a time constraint so I simmered it for 20 minutes on the stove, but I can’t wait to crock pot it next time! It is sure to make the house smell delic! Thanks for the recipe and inspiration to do it from scratch. You’re the best!


  11. 13
    September 16, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Looks delish! Quick question…did you thaw your meatballs before placing them in your crock pot? Yum!

    • 14
      September 17, 2012 at 6:21 am

      Hi Darbi,
      Nope, I just tossed them in frozen. Good luck!

    • 15
      February 8, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      You could, but they might not taste quite as pancake-y, and they might end up a liltte dry. You could increase the syrup to account for that if need be. Please let me know if you try it that way. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. 16
    November 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I have a question… the recipe says stewed tomatoes and the picture shows Italian diced tomatoes. Which is correct?

  13. 17
    May 2, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Just love the unbelievable amount of ingredients that those disgusting ‘meatballs’ contain. Homemade meatballs take literally minutes from fresh mince and need only meat seasoning and/or spices.

    Why do you love eating this processed rubbish?

    beef, water, seasoning (bread crumbs [enriched bleached wheat flour {niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid}, salt, durum flour, soybean oil, shortening, leavening {sodium bicarbonate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate}, dextrose, yeast, spice extracts], soy protein concentrate, spices, dextrose, salt, dehydrated red and green bell peppers, parmesan cheese [part skim cow’s milk, cultures, salt, enzymes], garlic powder, hydrolyzed soy protein, seasoning [hydrolyzed soy and corn protein, autolyzed yeast extract], dehydrated parsley, spice extracts). contains wheat, soy.

  14. 18
    Christine Titus
    October 28, 2016 at 9:36 am

    Very delicious and it makes a lot! I used this recipe to make meatball subs on Italian sub rolls. Then there was so much meatballs and sauce left over, I served it over spaghetti the next night and served that with a Caesar salad. Great two meals in one. The only trouble I ran into, which was not a big huge deal, was that I have a 6 cup blender, and after adding the tomatoes, the sauce and the paste, it was very full. So I blended that, then poured it into the slow cooker, added all the seasonings and mixed it well with a spoon. Then added the meatballs, and mixed it together. It was delicious! Definitely will be making this again.

    • 19
      October 29, 2016 at 8:32 am

      So happy to hear you enjoyed it. Thanks for leaving your feedback!

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