​Looking for an easy meatballs and gravy recipe? Learn how to make tender meatballs with abundant rich flavorful gravy using a slow cooker. This step-by-step recipe will teach you how to create a delicious appetizer or satisfying meatballs and creamy gravy sauce meal sure to impress your family and friends.

meatballs in rich creamy brown gravy

Recipes —> Love meatballs? I have more meatball recipes you will want to make. Buffalo Air Fryer Turkey MeatballsEggplant and Beef Meatballs, Easy BBQ Meatballs, and 35+ Easy Appetizer Meatballs Ideas For A Party

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If you want to make eggless meatballs for these BBQ meatballs, then go print my How To Make Soft Meatballs Recipe Without Eggs.

​Creamy Meatballs and Gravy Highlights

Easy To Make: If you’re searching for a simple and delicious meal that will leave everyone asking for seconds, look no further than this easy meatballs and gravy recipe. 

Easy Slow Cooker Recipe: With the help of a slow cooker, you can effortlessly create tender slow cooker meatballs smothered in rich and savory gravy. Put all the ingredients in a slow cooker and let it do the work. 

Tons Of Gravy: This delicious recipe has an abundance of rich brown gravy perfect for pouring over mashed potatoes, noodles, baked potatoes, or crusty bread.

Weeknight Meal Or Easy Entertaining: This recipe is an easy make-ahead main dish for a busy weeknight dinner your whole family will be excited about. It also makes a great appetizer for a party for which everyone will want the recipe. 

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Ingredients You Will Need

These smothered meatballs in brown gravy only require a few simple ingredients to make rich gravy. 

french onion soup, worcestershire, salt pepper, bay garlic corn starch whipping cream and beef broth
  • Meatballs:  You can use either already-cooked frozen meatballs for convenience or make homemade meatballs to add a home-cooked touch. If you make your own meatballs, use lean ground beef and brown them before putting them into the slow cooker. This will help the meatballs stay together and reduce greasiness. You could also use cooked meatballs made with ground turkey, ground pork, or ground chicken. 
  • Beef broth: Beef broth serves as the base for the gravy, providing a rich and savory flavor. Choose a good quality boxed beef stock or canned broth.
  • French onion soup: Use a 10 ½ ounce condensed can. Do not dilute with water. 
  • Garlic: Don’t cheat, and use minced garlic in a jar. Mincing your own fresh garlic will yield the best flavor to your meatballs and gravy. 
  • Bay leaf:  The bay leaf lends a subtle earthy aroma to the dish. Reminder, bay leaves are not edible and could cause a choking hazard, so remember to remove it before serving.

Gravy Thickener

Cornstarch and Heavy cream: A corn starch slurry with whipping cream thickens the gravy in the last 30 minutes of cooking. The slurry will create a rich gravy that clings to the meatballs. 

How To Make Meatballs and Gravy

1. Place already cooked meatballs in the slow cooker. Pour in the beef broth, condensed French onion soup, minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Give it a good stir to ensure everything is well combined.

meatballs in gravy in a crock pot before cooking

2. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for  4 hours or low for 6 hours.

3. 30 minutes before the cooking time is done, carefully remove the bay leaf and discard. Combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a jar with 1 pint of heavy whipping cream. Shake vigorously until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Stir the mixture into the slow cooker. Stir to combine whipping cream slurry with the meatball sauce. Cover, and set the slow cooker to high. Continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes or until the gravy has thickened to your desired consistency.

whipping cream, cornstarch, shaker jar

How To Serve Meatballs and Gravy  

This recipe will yield a lot of creamy, rich gravy. It’s perfect with any of the following to sop up all that delicious gravy. 

This frozen meatballs with gravy recipe will make a hearty meal when you pour it over these great side dish ideas. 

meatballs in rich creamy brown gravy and a scoop of gravy
  • Mashed potatoes: Serve over mashed potatoes for the ultimate comfort food! 
  • Egg noodles: For a delicious dinner, serve over wide egg noodles and top with a little bit of parmesan cheese.
  • Baked potatoes: An easy way to serve the meatballs and gravy is over a crispy skin air fryer baked potato. Sprinkle on some cheese and chopped chives. 
  • Manhattan style: My husband grew up in the mid-west, and his favorite dish was a comforting combination of mashed potatoes under egg noodles, meat, and savory gravy generously poured on top. 

Variations and Mix-Ins

This is a great basic slow cooker meatball recipe that can be easily customized with delicious mix-ins for your family to enjoy. 

  • Mushroom gravy: Add in 2 cups of sliced mushrooms. 
  • Onions: Add 1 cup of fresh sliced onions
  • Pepper: Add a variety of red, yellow, green, or orange slices of bell peppers. 

Tips and Questions For Recipe Success

meatballs in rich creamy brown gravy

Can I adjust the thickness of the gravy? 

Yes, you can easily adjust the consistency if you prefer a thicker gravy. Double the cornstarch from 2 to 4 tablespoons when making the whipping cream slurry. 

You could also carefully remove most of the sauce and put it in a pan. Bring to a boil on your stove, and add the whipping cream slurry. Bring back to a boil, whisking continually while it comes back to a boil. This is a faster way to make your gravy thick and rich.

Can you put raw meatballs in the sauce to cook?

You can put raw meatballs in the sauce to cook; however, I recommend browning and partially cooking raw meatballs in a skillet before adding them to the sauce instead of cooking them directly in the sauce. This will produce a less greasy sauce and ensure the meatballs hold together well. 

Can I Make Meatballs and Gravy Ahead Of Time?

Yes, you can make meatballs and gravy ahead to save time on the day of serving. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Prepare recipe: Prepare the meatballs and gravy as instructed in the recipe card. 
  2. Cool and store the meatballs: Once done, allow the meatballs to cool completely. Place them in an airtight container. Make sure to label and date the container.
  3. Cook: Place meatballs that have been thawed in a slow cooker and cover them with the gravy. Using a meat thermometer, cook on low until the meatballs reach the safe internal temperature of 160°F (71°C). 

Note: For best results, if you plan to freeze the meatballs and gravy, it’s best not to add the whipping cream slurry step. The whipping cream will not thaw well, giving the gravy a chunky texture. Instead, add the thickening slurry after reheating the meatballs for optimal results.

​How Long Can Meatballs Be Kept On Warm In A Slow Cooker?

Juicy and flavorful meatballs can typically be kept on the “warm” setting in a slow cooker for up to 2-4 hours. The exact duration may vary depending on the specific slow cooker model and its settings. It’s important to note that while the “warm” setting helps maintain the temperature of the meatballs, it is not designed to continue cooking them. 

After the recommended cooking time, it’s advisable to either serve the meatballs or switch the slow cooker to the “off” setting for 15 minutes to cool down and prevent overcooking or drying out. Then turn the slow cooker back on to warm. 

Always exercise caution and monitor the food’s temperature and quality to ensure it remains safe and enjoyable.

What To Do With Leftover Meatballs

Leftover meatballs can be used for a quick and easy dinner on a busy night.

Refrigeration:

  1. Allow the meatballs to cool down to room temperature before storing.
  2. Transfer the meatballs to an airtight container or place them in a resealable plastic bag.
  3. Seal the container or bag tightly to prevent air exposure.
  4. Label the container with the date to track freshness.
  5. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
  6. Meatballs and gravy can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Reheating Meatballs

  1. For refrigerated meatballs, reheat them in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through. 
  2. For frozen meatballs, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before reheating them using your preferred method.

Safety Tip: Remember to discard any meatballs left at room temperature for more than 2 hours to ensure food safety.

How Many Meatballs Do I Need For A Crowd?

Making meatballs for a weeknight dinner or a party of 25 is easy when you follow a few simple tips and suggestions.

chart of how many meatballs for a crowd

Be sure to pin for later or download your copy of this handy How Many Meatballs For A Party Chart.

Can I Double Or Adjust The Recipe For A Larger Crowd In The Slow Cooker?

BBQ Meatballs are a perfect appetizer to serve at a large party. You can easily adjust the recipe before printing to make a large batch. 

Need a big batch to feed a crowd? You can easily change the number of servings in the recipe card below by tapping 2x or 3x. The ingredient measurements will automatically double or triple. You can then tap print and there you have it, a recipe for a crowd.

meatballs in rich creamy brown gravy
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Creamy Rich Meatballs and Gravy Recipe (Easy Slow Cooker)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 4
Learn how to make tender meatballs with abundant rich flavorful gravy using a slow cooker. This step-by-step recipe will teach you how to create a delicious appetizer or satisfying meatballs and creamy gravy sauce meal sure to impress your family and friends.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound meatballs, Cooked frozen or homemade. I used frozen Kirkland brand meatballs for this recipe. 1 pound of their meatballs equals approximately 23 meatballs.
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 10 ½ ounces French onion soup condensed
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Gravy Thickener

Instructions
 

  • Place already cooked meatballs in the slow cooker. Pour in the beef broth, condensed French onion soup, minced garlic, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Give it a good stir to ensure everything is well combined.
    1 pound meatballs, 2 cups beef broth, 10 ½ ounces French onion soup condensed, 2 cloves garlic minced, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
  • 30 minutes before the cooking time is done, carefully remove the bay leaf and discard. Combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a jar with 1 pint of heavy whipping cream. Shake vigorously until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Stir the mixture into the slow cooker. Stir to combine whipping cream slurry with the meatball sauce. Cover, and set the slow cooker to high. Continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes or until the gravy has thickened to your desired consistency.
    2 cups heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Notes

Can I adjust the thickness of the gravy? 
Yes, you can easily adjust the consistency if you prefer a thicker gravy. Double the cornstarch from 2 to 4 tablespoons when making the whipping cream slurry. 
You could also carefully remove most of the sauce from the slow cooker after cooking and put it in a pan. Bring to a boil on your stove, and add the whipping cream slurry. Bring back to a boil, whisking continually while it comes back to a boil. This is a faster way to make your gravy thick and rich.  
Serving: 1g, Calories: 759kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 68g, Saturated Fat: 37g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 22g, Cholesterol: 219mg, Sodium: 1127mg, Potassium: 877mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 1764IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 122mg, Iron: 2mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Appetizer
Author: Gina Dickson

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