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How to Cook Frozen Meatballs Recipe (Italian Sauce)

READY in MINUTES! Scrumptious, delicious and tasty, quick little frozen meatballs are the way to go for an easy homemade dinner in minutes! How to Cook Frozen Meatballs Recipe (Italian Sauce) will have you thinking of homemade meatballs with a delicious marinara sauce! It’s a great way to have an easy meal with a great recipe on the table in minutes!

These little meatballs can be baked in an oven, heated in a toaster oven, cooked in a crockpot, made on the stovetop, zipped in a microwave and even made into a delicious dish in the pressure cooker or instapot.

Here’s What You’ll Need

  • Italian Meatballs from the grocery store (freezer section)
  • Your favorite sauce (from a jar or you can make your own)

Here’s How It Is Done


  • Remove the meatballs from their package. Space out in a single layer on a baking sheet so that the heat can circulate between them. This is already cooked ground beef.
  • Frozen meatballs on baking sheet


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake in the oven or toaster oven until done! (It will be about 20- 30 minutes).
  • Meatballs baked for 20 minutes

Third Step. And If You Prefer a Sauce (any sauce)

  • Prepare your cooking dish with the sauce.
  • Sauce ready for meatballs

STEP 4.  

  • Add the frozen meatballs.
  • Heat until everything is heated through (or use a crockpot on low for 4-6 hours)
baking sheet covered in aluminum foil with frozen meatballs on it
Process Step 1.
baking sheet with baked meatballs lined up like soldiers
Step 2.
Saucepan with crushed tomatoes
Frozen meatballs being stirred into the sauce
Step 4.

Process Step 3.

Orange sauce pan full of meatballs and tomato sauce

Heat through for perfect frozen meatballs!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Do I Have to Defrost the Meatballs Before I Cook With Them? 

  • Not necessarily! If you are heating the meatballs in a sauce, then simply cook till the sauce is heated through (it really takes just minutes)  and bubbling well and the meatballs will be done too! Frozen meatballs are precooked meatballs! Check the bag of frozen meatballs, it tells you that they are fully cooked. You probably have a selection in the frozen food section.
  • If you need a very QUICK sauce, then it’s best to defrost first.

How Do I Cook Frozen Meatballs For Spaghetti?

EASY!  Once your sauce is made, simply slide the meatballs into the sauce (it’s fine if they are still frozen) and simmer for at least a 20 minute cooking time.

Cooking Frozen Meatballs in Barbecue Sauce, Tomato Sauce or in Spaghetti Sauce?

  • First prepare your sauce ( BBQ, Tomato or Spaghetti sauce or a brown sauce for swedish meatballs),
  • Place it in the container that you will cook it in.
  • Put the number of raw meatballs (they aren’t really raw, just uncooked) you want to use in the sauce and
  • Then heat for at least 20 minutes.
  • If you are making this dish in the crockpot, then set it on low and allow to heat for 4-6 hours.

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs on the Stove Top in a Skillet

  • The best way for a delicious meal and easy dinner is to Add 2 Tbs of oil to the pan.
  • Place the number of meatballs in the pan you wish to use. Allow space between meatballs and don’t crowd them.
  • Heat over medium low heat, flipping them often, until heated through (about 10-15 minutes).

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs in a Microwave

  • Place the number of meatballs you want to use in a microwave safe dish.
  • Include 1 Tbs of water and cover with plastic wrap.
  • Heat on high for 1 minute.
  • Check to see if meatballs are heated through.
  • If not, repeat for 30 secs and continue at 30 second intervals until heated through.

Instant Pot Frozen Meatballs (or pressure cooker)

*** Frozen meatballs are already cooked and so this type instant pot recipes are not really necessary, but if you really want to cook in the pressure cooker or instant pot, then…

  • If JUST cooking the meatballs alone:  Put meatballs into the pressure cooker or instapot with ¼ cup of water. Bring to high pressure and cook for 5 minutes. Allow to naturally release.
  • If USING a sauce:  Place meatballs into the pressure cooker or instapot with the sauce. Bring to pressure and cook for 8 minutes. Allow to release naturally.

Air Fryer Meatballs

For the best and most flavorful meatballs or to reheat leftover meatballs, you’ll want to give them a go in the air fryer! Great for a busy weeknight meal!

  • Place the meatballs in the airfyer basket
  • Spray with non stick spray
  • Cook at 400 degrees for 5 minutes for juicy meatballs and then cover with a sauce of your choice.

How to Cook Frozen Meatballs in a Crockpot or Slow Cooker

  • If using without a sauce:  Place the number of meatballs in the crockpot that you want to use. Add ½ cup of water or chicken stock. Heat on low for 4-6 hours.
  • If using with a sauce (like tomato, spaghetti, gravy or BBQ), put the sauce into the crockpot and then pour in the number of frozen meatballs you want to use. Set the Crockpot on low and allow to cook for 4-6 hours.

How Long to Cook Frozen Meatballs in the Crock Pot

Frozen meatballs thaw and cook in about 4-6 hours on low. Set crockpot on high for 2 hour cook time. 2 hours cook time when already thawed!

How To Cook Frozen Meatballs in the Oven

  • Preheat the oven to 350.
  • Set the number of frozen meatballs you want to use on a baking sheet with plenty of space between and in a single layer.
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove and use as desired.

What can I Serve with Frozen Meatballs

Tips and Tricks for Frozen Meatballs

  • Warm up those meatballs and serve them hot. They are pre-cooked!
  • You can mix frozen meatballs with all kinds of sauces! Experiment with BBQ, Mushroom gravy, Spaghetti Sauce, Marinara.
  • Serve over any type of starchy dish! Try pasta, rice or even mashed potatoes!
  • Some ways to use meatballs:  Pasta and meatballs, meatball subs, meatball hoagies, meatball sliders, meatball sandwiches, meatballs and rice, let your imagination run wild!!
  • Store leftover meatballs in an airtight container. 
  • It’s a good idea to check the internal temperature of the meatballs with a meat thermometer. You’ll want them to be 165 degrees f.
  • Remember the cooking time always depends on the size of your meatballs. 
  • There are a number of types of meatballs including beef meatballs, turkey meatballs and. your own meatballs too! They are a great freezer staple for family dinner. 

PRO TIP:  They taste best with a little char on the edges, so if you can bake them on some aluminum foil first and increase the char, you’ll get a better flavor.

Watch Sarah Make These Meatballs

Can You Give Me A Hand?

We LOVE to hear from you! Please leave us a comment in the comment section below and I’ll answer personally as quickly as I can! We LOVE a 5 STAR Review! But your comments make my world spin around, so thank you! 

meatballs on spaghetti in a dish

How to Cook Frozen Meatballs Recipe (Italian Sauce)

This quick and easy 30 minutes dinner will have you gleaming as the STAR of dinner and only you will know how easy it was!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to cook frozen meatballs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 224kcal


  • 40 Precooked Frozen Meatballs
  • 2 15 oz cans of San Marzano Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 6 oz cans of Tomato Paste
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs Itallian Herbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper


For the Meatballs

  • Preheat the oven to 375
  • Remove the frozen meatballs from the bag and place with space between them on a prepared baking sheet (spray the baking sheet with non stick spray first)
  • Place the pan of frozen meatballs into the oven on the middle wrack and bake for 20 minutes turning half way through.

For the Sauce

  • In a large sauce pan add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, herbs, salt and pepper and mix well. Heat over medium heat on the stove top.

Put the Sauce and Meatballs Together

  • When the meatballs are done in the oven, Place the meatballs into the sauce pan on the stove top and continue to heat over medium heat.If comes to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Serve over your choice of cooked pasta.


  • The meatballs are already fully cooked, so all you are really doing is heating them up! They can thaw and heat up in the sauce as it cooks!
  • If you prefer to use a jarred sauce, simply follow these same instructions and instead of adding the tomatoes, paste and seasonings, simply add your own preferred jarred sauce.
  • This recipe is terrific over spaghetti, but for fun try some of the other types of pasta like Penne or Bow Tie!
PRO TIP: These meatballs taste BEST with a little char on them. For added flavor, bake them on an aluminum foil covered pan in the oven for 20 minutes first! Perfect!


Nutrition Facts
How to Cook Frozen Meatballs Recipe (Italian Sauce)
Amount Per Serving (0.5 cup)
Calories 224 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 5g25%
Cholesterol 50mg17%
Sodium 640mg27%
Potassium 606mg17%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 5g6%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 505IU10%
Vitamin C 12.3mg15%
Calcium 39mg4%
Iron 2.1mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @loavesanddishes or tag #loavesanddishes!

A Verse To Share

Apparently, Solomon felt like I do about Spring! 

Song of Solomon 2:11-12

For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

Wendi is the writer, CEO and dishwasher at Loaves and Dishes! When not in the kitchen or behind the computer, you can find Wendi serving on International Food Conference Boards, Speaking at various conferences, Leading and Cooking for the local Arts Council's "Taste of Stokes" events or donating home cooked goodies to various local non profits such as the Danbury Songwriters and Stokes Partnership for Children. Wendi is also a Registered Nurse with a Master's Degree and serves on her town's board of councilmen.

Recipe Rating

Robin H

Saturday 16th of April 2022

I was looking for a recipe for baking frozen meatballs, and was happy to find yours. Since I couldn't be there, I enlisted my husband (it was that easy; he rarely cooks). He used 3-20 oz bags Trader Joe's Frozen Mini Meatballs. Even though he crowded them onto one approx 14 X 11" stone bakeware, not quite fitting all in one layer, after baking in a 350 oven for 30 minutes. Despite the tight quarters, they were great..even without sauce. I found the baked meatballs to have a much better texture than other methods, and were so good even without sauce. As you suggested, heated a good quality bottled sauce separately (1-32oz, plus 2-24oz), and added the baked meatballs to it. Served with Rotini pasta, vegetable, and salad. What a wonderful recipe for a nice quick dinner. Can't wait to check out your other recipes! Thanks.

Wendi Spraker

Tuesday 19th of April 2022

I'm so glad you loved it!

Sharon Lucas

Thursday 11th of February 2021

Needed to know how to cook my frozen meatballs and this gave me all the information I needed quickly and with so many options! I absolutely am grateful and love this site and especially the Song of Solomon quote😉Thanks so much for saving my skin lol

Wendi Spraker

Saturday 13th of February 2021

Hi Sharon, I'm glad you found just what you needed!

Marguerite K Gipson

Thursday 3rd of October 2019

It is an Instant Pot, which is the brand name. There is no instan pot as you put it in your blog.

Mama Maggie's Kitchen

Wednesday 3rd of April 2019

My mouth is watering. I wish this were in front of me.


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