Italian Meatball Appetizers (Slow Cooker)

A fabulous appetizer for a football viewing party, make a batch of slow cooker Italian meatballs! Italian Meatballs

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Italian Meatball Appetizers

Italian Meatballs are one of my family’s favorite dishes. I serve them over spaghetti all the time, and my daughter gobbles them up (miracle). They’re also perfect for serving appetizer-style as I’ve shown here. Plate them with little skewers alongside a bowl of extra grated parmesan cheese. Delicious!

Meatballs are one of the best appetizers to include on the menu for football parties (hello, Super Bowl!) or anytime you’re serving heavy hors d’œuvre, because they’re a little heartier than other apps or canapésSo many of my appetizers are cheese, veggie, or fruit based that I often find myself on the hunt for meat apps for parties. These Italian meatballs to the RESCUE!

Homemade Meatballs


Homemade meatballs are worth the effort, trust me! I’ve tried a lot of store brand and frozen meatballs. They’re good. But THESE are GREAT! You can control the herbs and spices and 100% taste the difference. Your party guests will want to know your secret. ;)

This recipe is also foolproof. The hardest part is rolling them into little balls, which isn’t actually hard at all. Once they’re browned on all sides, the meatballs finish cooking in a slow cooker (on high for 4 hours) and you are ready to go! How easy is that? You can prep them hours before the party so you have one less thing on your hostess to-do list.

These skewers are similar to the ones I used, but you could use any party skewer for these.

If you are looking for a few coordinating appetizers to serve alongside these Italian meatballs, I’ve included links to a few other recipes I recommend below so you’ll have our party menu all set!

meatball appetizer recipe

Italian Style Slow Cooker meatballs

For the recipe, choose your favorite marinara sauce. You can make your own or grab your “go-to” store-bought marinara sauce. I’ve tried this recipe with a few different marinara sauces, and they’ve all come out delicious.

Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs

Serve up these slow-cooker Italian meatballs on skewers as an appetizer or on buns or rolls for a meal! 
SERVINGS 32 meatballs


  • 1 lb ground sweet Italian sausage
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3/4 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese - (grated or finely shredded)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon basil - chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce


  • In a large bowl, combine sausage, beef, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, eggs, and all seasonings. Work together until throughly mixed. 
  • Spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray and roll 1 1/2" meatballs. You can make larger or smaller meatballs as well. 
  • Preheat a large pan on medium-high heat and add oil to pan. 
  • Brown meatballs on all sides. This will likely take multiple batches to brown all meatballs. 
  • After browning, place meatballs in bottom of slow cooker. Don't worry if they must be stacked on top of each other. 
  • Cover with marinara sauce and cook 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. 
  • Remove cooked meatballs from slow cooker and add a skewer. Optional: Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. 


If you like the heat, you can sprinkle red pepper flakes on your meatballs as they cook in the slow cooker. 


Calories: 124kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 6gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 365mgPotassium: 160mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 135IUVitamin C: 1.8mgCalcium: 35mgIron: 0.9mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

The next time you need a fabulous party appetizer, I hope you’ll make a big batch of these slow cooker meatballs to serve!

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  1. I am such a sucker for meatballs and these are delicious!

  2. Loving this slow cooker appetizer! These meatballs are delish!

  3. T flavors were amazing in this classic recipe!! Took them to the next level! Thanks!

  4. Julie Blanner says:

    These are amazing! Perfect for game day!

  5. Took these to a family function and was told there by far the best ever

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