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Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs

Easy and totally homemade! These Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs are the perfect treat for a summer bbq, game watching party or even a weeknight dinner.

Only a few ingredients and a few minutes are required to prepare meatballs totally from scratch.

Grab your favorite BBQ sauce and whisk it up with your favorite preserves for a sweet and smoky flavor that everyone will love!

These are perfect for a crowd or for kiddos who like a tasty dinner!overhead view of bbq meatballs in a white shallow bowl topped with chopped parsley

Make these Meatballs Allergy Friendly:

  • for gluten free swap out the panko breadcrumbs for gluten-free panko breadcrumbs
  • if using gluten free, cut back the amount of breadcrumbs and milk to 1/4 cup each instead of 1/2 and let soak for 5 additional minutes
  • swap out regular milk for unflavored unsweetened dairy free milk like almond or cashew

ingredients for meatballs in glass bowl

How to Make Meatballs

While not required, most people like to use a binder for meatballs. I find the best choice to be milk soaked panko breadcrumbs. Easy and they don’t dry out the meatballs. I also like to add an egg to help everything stick.

You’ll want to make sure you season your meatballs. Some dried herbs or other seasoning, like BBQ, are some of my favorite options.

Feel free to add extra cheese, onion, garlic, etc. as you desire for more flavor.

meatball mixture in glass bowl

Be sure to be gentle when mixing the meat. Mix by hand until just combined so that you don’t overwork the meat and end up with tough meatballs.

To form the meatballs, I like to use an ice cream scoop to measure so that they are all similar in size, plus it does part of the work in rounding them for you!

browned meatballs in oval white slow cooker ready to cook

What can be used in place of fresh breadcrumbs for meatballs?

As much as I’d love to make fresh breadcrumbs I needed to find a realistic short-cut. That’s when I started reading about panko breadcrumbs. Soaked in milk. Perfect!

Add some goat cheese for even more flavor and you will have yet another simple but delicious family favorite dinner or perfect appetizer for your next party! Be warned, whatever the occasion these slow cooker meatballs with be gone quick!


browned meatballs with sauce mixture in slow cookerCan you put raw meatballs in a slow cooker?

Absolutely! Just follow these tips to make the best meatballs ever!

  • Be careful to not over-work the mixture, use your hands and mix until just combined.
  • An ice cream scoop is handy in measuring out these meatballs, aim for a size a little bit larger than golfballs. Using an ice cream scoop will ensure the size of your meatballs are the same and help with even cooking.
  • If desired, you can heat a little oil or butter in a skillet and brown the meatballs a bit before cooking.
  • OR… place the meatballs under the broiler for 5-8 minutes or until they are browned on top. This makes for a delicious texture! Now, just throw them into your slow cooker!white bowl filled with bbq meatballs

Additional recipe notes:

  • meatballs can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen until ready to cook. Thaw before slow cooking
  • can sub all beef for pork if desired
  • can also sub turkey for part of the meat if desired
  • you can alternate bbq sauce and preserve flavors as desired

Everyone is sure to enjoy these Slow Cooker Meatballs! Try these other recipes for your next party or get together!

overhead view of bbq meatballs in a white shallow bowl topped with chopped parsley

Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs

Jennifer Draper
Easy and totally homemade! These Slow Cooker BBQ Meatballs are the perfect treat for a summer bbq, game watching party or even a weeknight dinner.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings (2 meatballs each)
Calories 534 kcal


  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons diced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon BBQ seasoning
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce homemade or bottled
  • 1/2 cup blueberry preserves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil optional


  • Add milk to panko bread crumbs in small bowl and let soak for 5 minutes or until softened
  • Add to pork and beef along with egg, cheese, shallots and BBQ seasoning
  • Mix using hands until well combined but be careful not to overwork mixture
  • Using hands or ice cream scooper measure out 12 servings and roll gently into balls (a little larger than golfballs)
  • Place on foil lined baking sheet and place in oven
  • Turn on broiler and broil for 5-8 minutes watching closely until browned on top
  • OR, heat olive oil in skillet and brown meatballs on each side for 2-3 minutes
  • Transfer to slow cooker
  • Whisk together BBQ sauce and blueberry preserves
  • Pour half of mixture over meatballs
  • Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours for low for 4-6 until meatballs are fully cooked through
  • Remove from slow cooker and toss with remaining sauce (discard any cooking liquid from slow cooker)


  • you can also skip browning and just cook meatballs in the slow cooker
  • for gluten-free: sub gluten-free panko breadcrumbs and reduce to 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup milk
  • for dairy-free: sub unflavored unsweetened dairy free milk like almond or cashew
  • Leftovers can be stored in fridge up to 3 days or frozen in air tight container up to 3 months


Calories: 534kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 35gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 714mgPotassium: 662mgFiber: 1gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 385IUVitamin C: 2.8mgCalcium: 109mgIron: 3.9mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @slowcookergourmet or tag #slowcookergourmet!
Important nutritional disclaimer


Need a weeknight meal idea? What about an appetizer for your next get-together? Either way, do yourself a favor and try these Slow Cooker Blueberry BBQ Meatballs! Use the help of your slow cooker and with a little bit of prep work these easy and delicious slow cooker meatballs will be ready in no time at all! #slowcookergourmet #slowcooker #bbq #meatballs #groundbeef #groundpork





  1. 5 stars
    I made a double batch, one with the preserves and one batch with jellied cranberry sauce. Both were great and got rave reviews. The only change I made was to add a tbl of balsamic vinegar to each batch to cut the sweetness just a bit.

      1. Cooking time was confusing, , Could you be more explicit? Do you think this would be just as good using all hamburgers?

        1. Hi Neil! I’m not sure what you mean? The instructions state to cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 until the meatballs are fully cooked, can you tell me what your question is so that I can help you out? Also, I do think it’s better with the beef/pork mixture but it would also be possible to use just beef.

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