Frozen Meatballs in the Crock Pot
Cooking frozen meatballs in the crock pot is quick and easy! Use a variety of sauces to make different flavors and serve as a family dinner or a simple party appetizer.
Cooking frozen meatballs in the crock pot is a game-changer for anyone seeking a hassle-free and mouthwatering meal. By using a Crock Pot, also known as a slow cooker, you can achieve tender and juicy meatballs without spending hours in the kitchen.
These fully-cooked frozen meatballs are paired with the sauce of your choice. Dump it all into the slow cooker and let it cook for several hours, and you have a delicious weeknight dinner or a simple appetizer for parties.
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Table of contents
Ingredients You’ll Need
Frozen Meatballs – Make sure you are using fully-cooked frozen meatballs for this recipe. Cooking raw meatballs or meatballs that were frozen before cooking requires different cooking temps and times. If you want to make meatballs from scratch try our Air Fryer Meatballs, Instant Pot Meatballs, Baked Turkey Meatballs, or Swedish Meatballs.
Sauce – Any sauce you like. We are using marinara sauce for this recipe but it can be substituted with a variety of different flavors.
It’s All About the Sauce
When cooking frozen meatballs in a crock pot, you can experiment with different sauces to create unique flavor profiles. You can also combine sauces or add additional ingredients like honey, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, or hot sauce to customize the flavor to your liking. Here are some popular sauces that work well with frozen meatballs:
- Marinara Sauce: This classic Italian tomato-based sauce is a popular choice that pairs perfectly with meatballs. Whether you use a store-bought marinara sauce or make your own from scratch, it will infuse the meatballs with a delightful Italian flavor. Use them in our Easy Meatball Sliders and serve alongside Crock Pot Italian Beef for easy game day sandwiches!
- Barbecue Sauce: If you prefer a tangy and slightly sweet flavor, barbecue sauce is a fantastic option. Choose your favorite barbecue sauce, whether it’s a smoky, spicy, or sweet variety, and coat the meatballs generously for a finger-licking dish. Use them in our BBQ Meatball Sliders.
- Sweet and Sour Sauce: For a blend of sweet and tangy flavors with an Asian twist, try using a sweet and sour sauce. This sauce usually combines ingredients like vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and various seasonings. It complements the meatballs beautifully, creating a harmonious balance of flavors.
- Teriyaki Sauce: Teriyaki sauce adds a savory and slightly sweet taste to your meatballs. With its soy sauce base, it brings a delightful umami flavor to the dish. You can use a store-bought teriyaki sauce or make your own using ingredients like soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and brown sugar. They are perfect for our Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs.
- Creamy Mushroom Sauce: If you’re looking for a richer and creamier option, a mushroom sauce is an excellent choice. Sauté mushrooms with garlic and onions, then add cream and seasonings to create a luscious sauce. Pour it over the meatballs in the crock pot for a decadent and comforting meal.
- Sweet Chili Sauce: Sweet chili sauce adds a delightful combination of sweetness and heat to your meatballs. It’s a versatile sauce that works well with various cuisines. Drizzle it over the meatballs to give them a flavorful kick.
Remember to adjust the quantities of sauce based on personal preference and the number of meatballs you’re cooking.
The Basics of Crock Pot Cooking
Before we delve into the specifics of cooking frozen meatballs, let’s understand the basics of using a slow cooker (Otherwise known as a Crock Pot). This kitchen appliance is designed to cook food at a low temperature over an extended period, allowing flavors to meld and ingredients to become tender.
Slow cookers come in various sizes, so make sure to choose one that suits your needs. For this recipe, we use a 7-quart Crock Pot. If you are using something larger you will want to add more sauce to ensure it can cover the meatballs.
The versatility of a slow cooker makes it an ideal option for busy individuals who want to enjoy delicious, home-cooked meals without spending excessive time in the kitchen.
How to Cook Frozen Meatballs in the Crock Pot
Cooking fully-cooked frozen meatballs in a slow cooker is a convenient and hassle-free way to prepare a delicious meal. Whether you’re hosting a gathering or simply want to enjoy a flavorful dinner, the crock pot method ensures tender and flavorful meatballs with minimal effort. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to cook frozen meatballs in the crock pot:
Step 1 – Add the meatballs. Add your frozen meatballs to the crock pot.
Step 2 – Pour the sauce. Choose your preferred sauce and pour it over the meatballs. Ensure that the meatballs are evenly coated with the sauce. We have given you a guide with the estimated amount of sauce needed but how much sauce you use will depend on personal preference and the quantity of meatballs. In general, you want to make sure the meatballs are well-coated with sauce.
Step 3 – Set the temperature and time. Set the crock pot to the desired cooking temperature. We recommend cooking frozen meatballs on the low setting for 6 – 8 hours. Cooking them low and slow like this gives them plenty of time to absorb the flavors of the sauce. If you don’t have that much time you can cook on the high setting for 3 – 4 hours.
While the meatballs are cooking, it’s a good idea to give them a gentle stir occasionally. This helps to ensure even cooking and prevents them from sticking together.
Step 4 – Serve. After the recommended cooking time, check the meatballs for doneness. They should be cooked through, with no pinkness in the center. You can use a meat thermometer to ensure they reach a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Once the meatballs are cooked, you can serve them hot alongside your favorite accompaniments such as pasta, rice, or bread or, if you’re serving them as an appetizer you can simply use skewers to serve them as finger food.
How to Store and Reheat
- Cool Down: Allow the cooked meatballs and sauce to cool down to room temperature before storing them. This helps prevent condensation and keeps the meatballs from becoming soggy.
- Refrigerator Storage: If you plan to consume the leftovers within a few days, transfer the meatballs and any remaining sauce to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Place them in the refrigerator, where they can be safely stored for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezer Storage: For longer-term storage, you can freeze the cooked meatballs. Place them and the sauce in a freezer-safe container or bag, making sure to remove as much air as possible. Label the container with the date and freeze for up to 3 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy your frozen meatballs again, follow these steps to reheat them:
- Stovetop Reheating: To reheat on the stovetop, place the thawed or refrigerated meatballs and sauce in a saucepan or skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. This method helps the meatballs retain their moisture and flavors.
- Microwave Reheating: If you prefer a quicker reheating method, you can use the microwave. Place the meatballs and sauce in a microwave-safe dish and cover with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap. Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until the meatballs are heated to your desired temperature.
Tips for Reheating
- To prevent drying out the meatballs, avoid overheating. Reheat just until the meatballs are heated through.
- If the sauce has thickened or become too dry, you can add a small amount of water, broth, or additional sauce to the pan to maintain moisture and prevent sticking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! You should not thaw your fully-cooked frozen meatballs before adding them to the slow cooker. All cook times are based on cooking them from frozen.
It takes approximately 6 to 8 hours on the low setting or 3 to 4 hours on the high setting to cook frozen meatballs in the crock pot.
Yes, you can use homemade meatballs in the crock pot. However, ensure that they are fully cooked before adding them to the crock pot.
It is generally not recommended to cook frozen meatballs in the crock pot overnight for safety reasons. It’s best to follow the recommended cooking times mentioned earlier to ensure proper food safety.
Looking for More Easy Slow Cooker Recipes
- Ravioli and Sausage Slow Cooker Casserole
- Slow Cooker Taco Soup
- Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Carnitas
- Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas
- Crock Pot Italian Beef
- Spicy Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese
- Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
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Frozen Meatballs in the Crock Pot
- 28 ounces Frozen meatballs
- 32 ounces Sauce
- Add the frozen meatballs to the slow cooker.
- Pour the sauce over the meatballs ensuring that they are completely covered then stir everything together.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3 hours.
- Once the meatballs are heated through set to WARM until ready to serve.
- We have used marinara sauce but you can use any sauce that pairs well with meatballs. Nutritional values will change based on the sauce you use.