Slow Cooker Meatball Subs: The Easiest Weeknight Dinner

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These crockpot meatballs are a lifesaver for busy weeknights. They are incredibly flavorful, juicy, and practically cook themselves! Plus, they are endlessly adaptable to your favorite sub toppings.

This recipe makes enough meatballs for 4-6 hero rolls, but you can easily double or triple it to feed a crowd.

Slow Cooker Meatball Subs - Budget Bytes
Slow Cooker Meatball Subs – Budget Bytes


1 pound ground beef (or a combination of ground beef and ground pork)

  • ½ cup breadcrumbs (plain or Italian seasoned)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

  • Instructions:

    1. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, oregano, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.

    2. Mix Wet Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, Worcestershire sauce, and minced garlic.

    3. Combine Everything: Add the ground beef and chopped onion to the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and mix gently with your hands until just combined. Do not overmix! Overmixing can make the meatballs tough.

    4. Shape the Meatballs: Using a spoon or your hands, scoop out the meatball mixture and roll it into 1-inch balls.

    5. Crockpot Time: Pour your favorite marinara sauce (enough to cover the bottom of the crockpot) into the crockpot. Gently place the meatballs in a single layer on top of the sauce.

    6. Cook Low and Slow: Cover the crockpot and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or on HIGH for 4-5 hours, until the meatballs are cooked through and reach an internal temperature of 160°F.

    7. Serve and Enjoy: Drain any excess grease from the crockpot (optional). Serve the meatballs warm on toasted sub rolls with your favorite toppings like melted provolone cheese, marinara sauce, chopped red onion, green peppers, and mozzarella sticks.

    Nutrition Facts (per serving, without bun and toppings):

    Calories: 350

  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated Fat: 8g
  • Cholesterol: 75mg
  • Sodium: 450mg
  • Carbohydrates: 20g
  • Protein: 25g

  • Conclusion

    These crockpot meatballs are a delicious and convenient way to enjoy a classic meatball sub. They are perfect for busy weeknights, game days, or feeding a crowd. With minimal prep and hands-on time, you can have a satisfying and flavorful meal ready to go!


    1. Can I use ground turkey or chicken in this recipe?

    Absolutely! Substitute ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef in a 1:1 ratio. You may want to adjust the cooking time slightly depending on the leanness of the meat. Since ground turkey and chicken tend to be leaner, check for an internal temperature of 165°F.

    2. What if I don’t have any breadcrumbs?

    No problem! You can substitute crushed crackers, rolled oats, or even cooked quinoa for the breadcrumbs. Use about ½ cup of your chosen substitute.

    3. How can I make these meatballs gluten-free?

    There are a few ways to make these meatballs gluten-free. You can use gluten-free breadcrumbs, almond flour, or crushed pork rinds as a substitute for the regular breadcrumbs. Also, be sure to choose a marinara sauce that is labeled gluten-free.

    4. Can I freeze these meatballs?

    Yes, you can definitely freeze these meatballs! Once cooked and cooled, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for up to 3 months. Transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag once frozen solid. Reheat from frozen in the crockpot with a little marinara sauce or on the stovetop over low heat until warmed through.

    5. What are some other topping ideas for these meatballs?

    There are endless possibilities when it comes to topping these delicious meatballs! Here are a few ideas to get you started:

    Melted mozzarella cheese

  • Sliced provolone cheese
  • Chopped red onion
  • Green peppers
  • Banana peppers
  • Giardiniera
  • Hot sauce