Personal finance and frugal living expert Lauren Greutman is convinced that once you try her budget-friendly Slow Cooker Meatballs and Spaghetti Sauce, you'll never make meatballs in tomato sauce any other way. "Just set it and forget it in the slow cooker!" Serve over pasta, if you like. And pro tip from Lauren: make them ahead and freeze half for later.

For more budget-friendly and easy slow cooker recipes by Lauren, check out her Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken and Slow Cooker Chili.


  • Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed or minced (2 for the sauce, 3 for the meatballs)
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil (1 for the sauce, 1 for the meatballs)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper (¼ teaspoon for the sauce, ¼ teaspoon for the meatballs) 
  • 1 pound 80/20 ground beef
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg


Serves: 6


In a slow cooker, combine the crushed tomatoes, 2 of the minced cloves of garlic, 1 tablespoon of the basil and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Stir. 

In a large bowl, combine everything else. Using your hands, mix thoroughly, then form into golf ball-size balls. 

Add the meatballs to the slow cooker and gently submerge in the sauce. Cook on high for 4 hours, medium for 6 hours or low for 8 hours.