Slow Cooker French Onion Meatballs

Looking for a comforting yet sophisticated dish to impress your guests or elevate your weeknight dinner routine? Look no further than these Slow Cooker French Onion Meatballs. Combining the rich flavors of French onion soup with savory meatballs, this recipe offers a gourmet twist on a classic favorite. Let’s delve into how to create this mouthwatering dish step by step.


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 packet French onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh thyme for garnish


  1. Meatball Mixture:
    In a large bowl, combine ground beef, French onion soup mix, breadcrumbs, milk, egg, and Parmesan cheese. Mix until well combined, then form the mixture into meatballs.
  2. Brown Meatballs:
    Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs and brown them on all sides, ensuring they are cooked evenly. Once browned, transfer the meatballs to the slow cooker.
  3. Caramelize Onions:
    In the same skillet used for browning the meatballs, add the thinly sliced onions. Cook them over medium heat until they turn golden brown and caramelized, which typically takes around 10-15 minutes. Once caramelized, add the onions to the slow cooker atop the meatballs.
  4. Prepare Gravy:
    In a mixing bowl, combine beef broth, red wine (if using), and Worcestershire sauce. Stir well to combine, then pour the mixture over the meatballs and onions in the slow cooker.
  5. Cooking:
    Set the slow cooker to low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours, allowing the flavors to meld together and the meatballs to become tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste during the cooking process.
  6. Garnish and Serve:
    Just before serving, sprinkle the Slow Cooker French Onion Meatballs with fresh thyme for a burst of aroma and flavor. Serve hot and enjoy the delightful combination of savory meatballs, caramelized onions, and rich gravy.
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With its effortless preparation and irresistible flavors, these Slow Cooker French Onion Meatballs are sure to become a favorite in your culinary repertoire. Whether served as a cozy family dinner or as an impressive dish for entertaining guests, this recipe offers a delicious fusion of comfort and gourmet flair. Try it out and savor the magic of French onion soup in meatball form!

Serving Tips:

  1. Pairing Suggestions: Serve these Slow Cooker French Onion Meatballs over a bed of creamy mashed potatoes or alongside crusty bread to soak up the delicious gravy.
  2. Garnish Creatively: Besides fresh thyme, consider topping the meatballs with a sprinkle of additional Parmesan cheese or chopped parsley for an extra pop of flavor and visual appeal.
  3. Add a Side Salad: Balance the richness of the meatballs with a crisp green salad dressed in a light vinaigrette, offering a refreshing contrast to the hearty main dish.
  4. Family Style Presentation: Arrange the meatballs and caramelized onions in a serving platter, allowing everyone to help themselves family-style, fostering a convivial dining experience.

Storage Tips:

  1. Refrigeration: Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Make sure to cool the meatballs completely before refrigerating them.
  2. Freezing: These meatballs can also be frozen for longer storage. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. They can be kept frozen for up to 2-3 months.
  3. Reheating: When ready to enjoy leftovers, gently reheat the meatballs in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through. You may want to add a splash of beef broth to maintain their moisture and prevent them from drying out.
  4. Revive Flavors: Consider serving leftover meatballs with a fresh batch of caramelized onions and a drizzle of extra gravy to revive their flavors and ensure a satisfying meal every time.
  1. Can I substitute the ground beef in this recipe?
    Absolutely! While ground beef provides a traditional flavor, you can experiment with ground turkey, chicken, or even a plant-based alternative like lentils or mushrooms for a vegetarian twist. Just keep in mind that different meats may alter the taste slightly, so adjust seasoning accordingly.
  2. Can I skip the red wine in the recipe?
    Yes, you can omit the red wine if you prefer or if you don’t have it on hand. The wine adds depth of flavor to the gravy, but the dish will still be delicious without it. You can substitute it with additional beef broth if desired or simply leave it out altogether.
  3. Can I make these meatballs ahead of time?
    Absolutely! These meatballs can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before cooking. Simply follow the recipe until step 2 (browning the meatballs), then cover and refrigerate them until ready to proceed. This is a great time-saving option for busy weeknights or when entertaining guests.
  4. Can I cook these meatballs on the stovetop instead of using a slow cooker?
    Yes, you can adapt this recipe for stovetop cooking if you prefer. After browning the meatballs and caramelizing the onions in a skillet, simply add all the ingredients to the skillet, cover, and let simmer over low heat for about 30-40 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through and tender. Stir occasionally to ensure even cooking and to prevent sticking. Adjust the cooking time as needed based on the size of your meatballs and your desired level of tenderness.
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