Crockpot Meatballs

Karen Frazier
Asian pork meatballs
Spicy Asian pork meatballs

Meatballs are a popular main course and make a delicious appetizer. Classics, such as Swedish meatballs or porcupine meatballs, often find their way onto potluck tables. Using a slow cooker can make the process easier, allowing you to prepare your meatballs in the morning and come home to them ready at dinner time.

Spicy Asian Pork Meatballs

These meatballs make a delicious appetizer, or when served with rice and veggies, a filling main course. The flavor profile is classic Asian with a little heat to add zip. The recipe makes eight appetizer servings or four meal-sized servings. They store well in the fridge for three days or the freezer for up to six months.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese hot mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 egg
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger root, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

  1. In a lage bowl, combine the ground pork, breadcrumbs, Chinese hot mustard, 1 tablespoon of the Sriracha, the cilantro, egg, two garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon of the ginger root, scallions, and the salt.
  2. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and place them in the slow cooker.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, soy sauce, remaining two garlic cloves, remaining Sriracha, remaining tablespoon of ginger root, and the cornstarch.
  4. Pour over the meatballs. Cover and cook on low for eight hours or on high for four hours.

Move the meatballs onto a serving platter or place in a bowl if you plan to eat family style around the table.

Mediterranean Lamb Meatballs

These meatballs have spicy Mediterranean flavors that make them really delicious. They are denser than other meatballs because they don't have breadcrumbs or eggs in them, but they are still packed with flavor. They make a delicious appetizer, or, when served with couscous and an arugula salad, make a tasty main course. They make eight appetizer portions or four main course portions. These can be stored in the fridge for up to three days or the freezer for up to six months.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons fresh marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, process the onion for one minute, or until it is completely chopped, about 30 seconds.
  2. Wrap the onion in a tea towel and squeeze out all excess liquid. Return the onion to the food processor.
  3. Add eight of the garlic cloves, rosemary, marjoram, cumin, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Process until the herbs are finely chopped, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the lamb. Process until the meat, herbs, and onion form a paste, one to two minutes.
  5. Roll the lamb mixture into 1-inch balls and place them in the slow cooker.
  6. Cover and cook on low for eight hours or on high for four.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest, and remaining two cloves of minced garlic.
  8. Serve as a side sauce for the meatballs after plating them.

Saucy Italian Meatballs

Italian Saucy meatballs

Serve these on top of a bed of spaghetti for a traditional pasta dinner or use them as the filling in a meatball sub. The recipe serves six. Store these in the freezer for up to six months or in the refrigerator for three days.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning, divided
  • 8 minced garlic cloves, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and the milk. Set aside for five minutes. This is called a panade, and it makes the meatballs moist.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the Italian sausage, ground beef, panade, Parmesan cheese, egg, 1 tablespoon of the Italian seasoning, four of the garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon of the sea salt, and the red pepper flakes. Mix well.
  3. Roll into 1-inch meatballs. Put them in the slow cooker.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes, onion powder, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, remaining tablespoon of Italian seasoning, and the remaining four garlic cloves.
  5. Cover and cook on low for eight hours.
  6. Stir in the chopped basil just before serving.

Transfer the saucy meatballs to a serving bowl or dish before placing on the table for an appetizing presentation.

Slow Cooking

Slow cooking meatballs is a great way to make them, especially for meals on the go or when you want to take a dish somewhere else, since the slow cooker serves as a great transport vessel and keeps the meatballs warm, as well. With their fun shape, meatballs are a versatile way to add slow cooking to your repertoire.

Crockpot Meatballs