Crockpot BBQ Meatballs Recipe

Are you looking for a great recipe to spice up your average meatballs? If so, then look no further, because we totally have you covered. These crockpot BBQ meatballs are packed with wonderful flavors, and slow-cooking them at the end ensures that each bite is filled with that sweet BBQ flavor. The great part about these bite-sized meatballs is that they are suitable for a crowd, and they would be a great addition to any football spread. You are also free to use your favorite BBQ sauce for this recipe, so it's totally up to you whether you like it sweet or with a little bit of spice!

Recipe developer Angela Latimer of Bake it With Love is the creative behind this delicious dish that is sure to be a new staple in your appetizer rotation. "I love that these are a tasty, easy-to-make appetizer that I can transport in the slow cooker if needed," she says. "They're always a hit and perfect alongside so many things — especially common picnic and potluck dishes." We're pretty sure your mouth is watering right about now, so without further ado, let's get to business.

Gather the ingredients to prepare these crockpot BBQ meatballs

The first thing you need to do is to make a list to ensure that you have all of the necessary items to throw together these tasty meatballs. For starters, you will need some lean ground beef and a large egg. The recipe also calls for some yellow mustard and a finely diced yellow onion. Alternatively, you can use a shallot.

As with several other meatball recipes, you will also need some plain bread crumbs and salt and pepper — which you should already have at home. The remaining ingredients give your meatballs a great kick of flavor. These items include garlic powder, paprika, and BBQ sauce. For the BBQ sauce, you can either use a homemade recipe or your favorite store-bought brand.

There are a few optional items to jazz it up, including chopped parsley, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke. Once you have your ingredients rounded up, you're ready to get started.

Mix the meatballs

Are you ready to make some of the best meatballs that you will ever taste? Start by taking out either a large mixing bowl or a stand mixer. If you are using a stand mixer, be sure it has a dough hook attachment for hands-free mixing.

Go ahead and dump in the ground beef, eggs, bread crumbs, mustard, and onions. "Grate the onion if you're worried about picky eaters noticing chunks of onion; however, once the meatballs are slow-cooked for three to four hours, the onions are softened to the point of not being noticeable," Latimer notes. 

Next, toss in the salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. Mix the ingredients until they're well-combined.

Form the meatballs

Now, it's time to form the meatballs. There are two size options — small or medium. For small meatballs, use a teaspoon to measure, and for large meatballs, use a tablespoon. Easy enough, right?

Once you have the meatballs measured out, roll them in your hands to form a ball. If you'd like to wear gloves, you can also do that. Once you form each meatball into a ball, place it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or any other plate. Repeat with all of the remaining meatballs until you finish the mix. Then, move on to the next step.

Pan-fry the meatballs

You will need to cook the meatballs before adding them to a slow cooker, and there are two different ways you can do it. The first option is to pan-fry them in a nonstick skillet. Set the temperature to medium-high, and put a tablespoon of oil in the skillet. Then, add the meatballs, and let them cook until they're browned and cooked through. This should only take about eight to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs. If you need to, feel free to cook in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan.

Or, bake the meatballs (option two)

If you'd prefer to use your oven for cooking the meatballs, that's no problem at all, because we can also help you out with that. Simply preheat the oven to 425 F, and once the range gets nice and hot, bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they're no longer pink in the middle. "All ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, as recommended by the USDA food safety guidelines," Latimer notes.

Slow cook the meatballs in the crockpot

Here is the fun part! Once you finish cooking the meatballs, it's time to put them into the slow cooker. Once you have them loaded, add the BBQ sauce on top. Set the slow cooker to low heat and cook for about three to four hours. If these are for a game day spread or event, you can keep them on the "keep warm" setting for two hours.

"The crockpot cooking might seem counter-intuitive since you have to cook the meatballs first anyway," Latimer notes. "However, the long slow cooker heating means that the BBQ flavor is deliciously cooked into each and every bite of the meatballs."

Serving suggestions and leftovers

These meatballs are great by themselves, as they're packed with such a wonderful BBQ flavor. You can use toothpicks to take them out of the slow cooker, or you can even get fancy and get slider rolls to make meatball sliders. These would also be good with potatoes or on top of pasta. Really, the possibilities are endless.

We don't think you will have any leftovers, but if you do, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. And now there's only one thing left to do — enjoy! We hope you and your guests love these as much as we do.

Crockpot BBQ Meatballs Recipe
5 from 47 ratings
These crockpot BBQ meatballs are packed with wonderful flavors, and slow-cooking them at the end ensures that each bite is filled with that sweet BBQ flavor.
Prep Time
Cook Time
meatballs on a plate
Total time: 3 hours, 18 minutes
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup plain bread crumbs
  • ⅓ cup finely diced yellow onion
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
Optional Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley, to add to the meatball mixture or for garnish when serving
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, to add to the meatball mixture or BBQ sauce
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, to add to the BBQ sauce
  1. Add the ground beef, egg, bread crumbs, onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard, and paprika to a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. Mix until well combined.
  2. Form the meatball mixture by portioning out either small or medium-sized meatballs. (Use 1 teaspoon for small meatballs and 1 tablespoon for medium meatballs.) Roll each meatball in your hands to form a ball, then set aside on a tray or plate.
  3. Heat a large frying pan or nonstick skillet to medium heat. (You'll need 1 tablespoon of cooking oil if not using a nonstick skillet.) Cook the meatballs in the pan until browned and cooked through, turning occasionally, for about 8 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the meatballs.
  4. Remove meatballs from the pan when done, and cook in batches if necessary.
  5. Transfer the cooked meatballs into the slow cooker, and add the BBQ sauce over them.
  6. Set the slow cooker to low heat, and cook for 3 to 4 hours.
Calories per Serving 316
Total Fat 16.6 g
Saturated Fat 6.1 g
Trans Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 84.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 25.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.1 g
Total Sugars 16.7 g
Sodium 624.4 mg
Protein 15.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe