Slow Cooker Pizza Meatballs


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These slow cooker pizza meatballs are tender, juicy, and bursting with all the meaty pizza flavors. They are easy (and fun) to make and yield enough to make several versatile meals.

If you love pizza flavor and making recipes in your slow cooker, also try our slow cooker pizza dip, slow cooker pizza chicken, and pizza 15 bean soup recipes.

Over head shot of pizza meatballs with parmesan on top.

Who says pizza night has to be the same every week. Make a homemade meatball that is filled with all the pizza flavors you love and serve with spaghetti noodles and garlic bread.

Recipe Ingredients

ingredients for pizza meatballs on a table
  • Meats: Italian sausage, ground beef, and mini pepperonis come together to give these meatballs all the meaty tastes commonly found in an Italian meal.
  • Cheese: Mozzarella pearls and parmesan cheese add the cheesiness and melt-in-your-mouth taste to the meatballs.
  • Marinara Sauce: a must-have for any pizza-based recipe.
  • Bread Crumbs: Helps with binding the meatballs together.
  • Herbs and Spices: Oregano, red pepper flakes, parsley, onion, and garlic are classic Italian-style herbs and spices that create a subtle kick with a bit of twang.
  • Egg: Also helps with keeping the meatballs together.

Step-by-Step Directions

3 images showing how to mix meatball mixture

Step One – In a large bowl, add the Italian ground sausage, ground beef, egg, red pepper flakes, oregano, parsley, minced garlic, diced onion, and bread crumbs.

Step Two – Mix everything until it is well combined.

Step Three – Add mini pepperonis to the meat mixture.

six images on how to form meatballs with cheese inside and adding to slow cooker with marinara

Step Four – Make a medium-sized meatball and press a hole in the center.

Step Five – Place a mozzarella pearl into the hole.

Step Six – Add a mini pepperoni on top of the pearl and place the meatball into the crockpot. (Pour a bit of marinara sauce on the bottom of the crockpot before adding the meatballs.)

Step Seven – Top the meatballs with the remainder of the marinara sauce.

Step Eight – Finish the prep by sprinkling more mozzarella pearls, mini pepperonis, and parsley on top.

Step Nine – Cook on LOW for 4 hours. Once done, top with shredded parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy!

cooked pizza meatballs in a slow cooker

How to serve

  • As-is: Pepperoni pizza meatballs of this size could be served as-is. Add a side of garlic bread or breadsticks to make a complete meal. Serving them as-is would also make a great appetizer.
  • Spaghetti Noodles: These pizza meatballs will add the perfect touch to the traditional spaghetti meal.
  • On a Bed of Pasta: Serve these tasty meatballs with any kind of pasta. Penne, farfalle, and fusilli are among the most popular pasta choices for meatballs.
  • Sliders and Subs: Create a mouth-watering sandwich by putting these meatballs on mini sliders or a full sub. Don’t forget to add more marinara sauce for a nice topping.
2 images of a cooked meatball on a fork

Recipe FAQs

Can I use a different type of meat?

Sure thing! Ground turkey and/or ground chicken make perfect substitutions for the beef and sausage. The taste will still be yummy!

Are these okay to make ahead of time?

Absolutely! These meatballs can be made ahead of time and frozen for later use. They are also prep-friendly, meaning you can assemble and store them in a Ziploc bag to cook another day.

What are some ideas for making these spicy?

Consider adding chopped jalapenos and extra red pepper flakes during the mixing process.

pizza meatballs on spaghetti in bowl

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cooked pizza meatballs in a slow cooker

Slow Cooker Pizza Meatballs

5 from 3 votes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 6
Homemade meatballs filled with cheese and pepperoni. A great change on pizza night!

Ingredients 
 

  • 1/2 lb. ground Italian sausage
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella pearls
  • 1 cup mini pepperoni
  • 24 oz. jar marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded

Instructions 

  • In a large bowl, combine the ground Italian sausage, ground beef, egg, red pepper flakes, oregano, parsley, minced garlic, and bread crumbs. I like to use my gloved hands to make sure I have effectively combined all ingredients, but this can be done with a wooden spoon.
  • Next, fold mini pepperonis into the meat mixture. Use as little or as much as you’d like. We think of this as a “meat lovers pizza" meatball and load up on the pepperoni.
  • Shape the ground beef mixture into golf ball-sized balls. Use your finger to poke a hole in the center of the meatball and put a mozzarella pearl inside then seal the meat over the cheese. For this step, we used 1 mozzarella pearl. Add an additional pearl for extra cheesiness.
  • Pour one cup of marinara sauce into the slow cooker. Add meatballs; it is ok to stack them if need be.
  • Top with remaining marinara sauce and sprinkle extra mini pepperoni, mozzarella pearls, and a pinch of parsley over the meatballs.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours. Top with parmesan cheese and serve with spaghetti. Enjoy!

Notes

Can I use a different kind of meat?
Sure thing! Ground turkey and/or ground chicken make perfect substitutions for the beef and sausage. The taste will still be yummy!
Can I make these ahead of time?
Absolutely! These meatballs can be made ahead of time and frozen for later use. They are also prep-friendly, meaning you can assemble and store them in a Ziploc bag to cook another day.
How can I make these spicy?
Consider adding chopped jalapenos and extra red pepper flakes during the mixing process.

Nutrition

Calories: 508kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 1729mg | Potassium: 707mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 823IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 335mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.

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3 Comments

  1. Hubie says:

    5 stars
    Can 32 oz. Frozen bag of meatballs be exchanged for 16 oz. of noted meats without changes?

  2. Trish says:

    What keeps the grease from pooling on top?

    1. Sarah Olson says:

      If you use lean meat you won’t have much grease. Though there will be a little grease from the pepperoni, you can blot it with paper towels before serving.