Slow Cooker Meatloaf Meatballs & Sauce


I’ve been collecting easy recipes for the slow cooker that my whole family will love and eat. These Slow Cooker Meatloaf Meatballs & Sauce fit the bill and then some.  They are delicious, inexpensive, quick & easy, made in the slow cooker, and everyone loves them!


They taste like delicious little meatloaves. The binder to hold them together is cooked rice.  My Mom used to make something similar called Porcupine Meatballs, but they remind me of a meatloaf recipe I’ve made that also uses rice, so I named them Meatloaf Meatballs.  They have definitely become one of our family’s favorite meals!

I’m trying to get into the habit of making a slow cooker meal on Sundays.  It is a busy day for our family, as my girls are involved in church and youth group activities, and it seems like everyone needs to be somewhere at different times, and arrive home at different times– hungry & wanting food!

Why Our Family Needs Slow Cooker Sunday

My 16-year-old Teagan teaches Sunday School for 5-year-old’s during the first service, my Colsie & Avery attend youth group first service, and Todd and I sit attend church & listen to the sermon during the first service.  Then Todd takes the younger two home, & I have been attending a teen parenting class during the second service while my Teagan sits in church with her friends to hear the sermon during the second service.

Some Sunday afternoons Teagan has youth leadership team meetings and every Sunday evening my 2 high school girls attend youth group. Whew! I told you Sundays are crazy! I am so thankful for our church and all that we learn there as a family, and I’m so thankful my 3 girls all love being there.


Slow Cooker Sundays

Can you see why I need to utilize my slow cooker on Sundays? I love coming home from church to a house that smells delicious & food that is ready to eat.

These meatballs are a snap to put together, but if you would rather not be handling raw ground beef first thing in the morning, this can be thrown together the evening before, and kept in the refrigerator until morning.

A key step in keeping this recipe easy is to have rice that is already cooked.  Rice freezes beautifully in jars, so I always make extra when using my favorite rice maker.  Sometimes I get lazy and just buy Trader Joes frozen rice. They have a rice blend that uses a few different types of grains & adds extra fiber to this meal.

Do you have any favorite slow cooker recipes you love? If so, please share in the comments!


This recipe is from How Jen Does It. Click to watch her make this recipe on YouTube.  I add some onion powder & top them with ketchup for some added flavor and zing, which I thought was much needed.  Otherwise, I follow her recipe.

Slow Cooker Meatloaf Meatballs & Sauce

1 lb ground beef (preferably grass-fed & organic)

1 1/2 cups cooked rice

1 egg

2 8 oz cans tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

salt & pepper

1/4 cup or so of ketchup

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray or wipe with oil.  Pour one can of tomato sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker.

Mix ground beef, egg, rice, onion powder, salt & pepper.  Form into 1 1/2 inch balls.

Place on top of tomato sauce & pour 2nd can of tomato sauce on top of meatballs.

Top with ketchup (I just eyeball this and squirt it directly from the ketchup bottle, topping each meatball and adding the nice acidic tang that ketchup has.)

Cook on high 3 1/2 – 4 hours or low 7-8 hours.


Do not stir.  These are tender and can fall apart easily.

Use good quality ground beef with lower fat content.

Great served with mashed potatoes & green beans!

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  • Shannon Wallace
    February 20, 2016 at 6:58 am

    Looks and sounds delicious, Amy! Thank you for sharing. We truly love beans in the crock pot. Pinto beans for bean and cheese burritos (we make the tortillas homemade), red beans for red beans and brown rice. I also like to make chicken and dumplings in my crock pot. Curry chicken is an easy one in the crockpot…here you go: 1 carton or organic chicken broth (or use homemade), 3-4 chicken breast, curry powder and garlic powder (I don’t measure…do to your liking), maybe half a cup of sour cream, salt and pepper. Cook in high maybe 3-4 hours max or on low for maybe 6 hours or so. Serve with brown rice and steamed broccoli or whatever veg you like!

    • Shannon Wallace
      February 20, 2016 at 6:59 am

      Forgot to add…I do throw in onion and bell pepper into the crock pot too!

      • AmyNewNostalgia
        February 22, 2016 at 8:49 pm

        ooooo…that makes it even better!

    • AmyNewNostalgia
      February 22, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      I LOVE that you shared a recipe…and we love curry around here so I will have to make it for sure. Sounds super easy. I like making crockpot “refried” beans (without the ‘refry’) but got out of the habit! I will have to get into that again…so much better than canned! thanks for sharing.

  • Roxie
    February 17, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    We love meat balls in our family too. One of our favorites is meatballs with mushroom gravy. Just make the meat balls as you always do. The put a can of cream of mushroom soup and milk over the top and bake. So good with mashed potatoes or even noodles.

    My husband made these once and we did not have mushroom soup. He used cheddar cheese soup instead. Mix it with a can of milk and WOW. So good. Stick to your ribs kind of food.

    • AmyNewNostalgia
      February 18, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      Love easy recipes like these! Thanks for sharing.