How to Make Sure Meatballs Do Not Fall Apart in a Crock Pot

Meatballs in tomato sauce
A large pot filled with meatballs. (Image: Aneta_Gu/iStock/Getty Images)

Whether you are making meatballs to serve as hors d’oeuvres or as part of a meal, you can keep them warm in a Crock-Pot or any slow cooker. If you serve meatballs in a sauce, you can also use the slow cooker to heat the meatballs, which will add flavor to the sauce. One disadvantage to the slow cooker is that meatballs may fall apart if you put them in the pot raw. By partially cooking the meatballs before you put them in the slow cooker, you can ensure your meatballs do not fall apart.

Step 1

Shape the number of meatballs you wish to serve. The type of meatballs you make is up to you and your recipe.

Step 2

Heat a large skillet to medium-high. You want the skillet hot enough to sear, or brown, the meatballs on all sides.

Step 3

Add oil to the pan if you are using very lean meat or a pan without a non-stick surface. Use enough oil to apply a thin layer to the bottom of the pan. You just want to cook the surface of the meat, not deep-fry it.

Step 4

Add the meatballs to the skillet. Leave space between the meatballs to allow you room to turn them over. You may need to sear the meatballs in batches to get them all.

Step 5

Turn the meatballs to brown all sides. Browning the meatballs seals in the juices and toughens the exterior so they do not fall apart from sitting in the liquid in the slow cooker.

Step 6

Transfer the meatballs to a paper towel-line plate when they are brown. Blot the excess oil.

Step 7

Add the meatballs to the slow cooker. Add the sauce, if desired, and set the slow cooker to high. When the sauce bubbles or the meatballs sizzle, turn the heat to low or medium. Let the meatballs cook for three hours before serving.

Things You'll Need

  • Meatballs

  • Large skillet

  • Slotted spoon

  • Oil, optional

  • Plate

  • Paper towels

  • Slow cooker

  • Sauce, optional

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