There’s nothing better than coming home to the smell of a delicious dinner that’s been slowly cooking all day, especially when you don’t have to toil in the kitchen for hours to make it! Throw all the ingredients for these Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs into a crock pot in the morning, set the timer, and indulge in a warm, hearty meal that night.
These slow cooker turkey meatballs are a dinnertime favorite, and they’re perfect for meal prep. If you have a large crock pot, you might want to make a double batch so you have extra to store in the freezer.
Make the Meatballs
Making meatballs from scratch is fun, and kids love to help blend the meat and roll it into balls. Put the ground turkey, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, and cheese into a bowl, add a dash of salt and pepper, then mix everything together with your hands. Like things spicy? Toss in a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Pro tip: roll up your sleeves, remove any rings, and clean your hands before plunging them into the meat mixture!
Next, shape the meat into bite-sized balls. If you’re not going to cook them right away, place them on a baking sheet and store in the fridge until you’re ready. Heat a small amount of oil in a pan and lightly brown the outside of the meatballs before adding them to the crock pot.
Make the Tomato Sauce
This simple, Italian-style tomato sauce gets so much flavor from gently simmering all day, that all it needs is chopped onion, a touch of dried oregano, and some salt. Go ahead and add minced garlic to the sauce if you want. We suggest sautéing the onions before adding them to the crock pot, but if you’re in a rush (or, like me, just plain lazy) you can skip that step; they’ll cook just fine in the sauce.
Let the Slow Cooker Work Its Magic
This is the easy part. Place your meatballs and sauce in a slow cooker or crock pot, set it to cook on low for five or six hours, and then just walk away. When you are ready for dinner, your meatballs will be lusciously tender and the sauce with have developed rich flavor.
Ways to Eat Your Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs
These slow cooker turkey meatballs are flavorful enough to be enjoyed on their own, served with green beans or a simple salad. Spoon them onto zucchini noodles or whole grain spaghetti, tuck a couple into a pita pocket with a slice of mozzarella cheese, or serve them with toothpicks as a crowd-pleasing appetizer.
Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs
- 1 lb. raw 93% lean ground turkey
- ½ tsp. sea salt or Himalayan salt divided use
- ½ tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 large egg lightly beaten
- ½ cup whole-grain Panko bread crumbs
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 (28-oz.) can whole tomatoes crushed
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
Combine turkey, ¼ tsp. salt, pepper, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, and cheese in a large bowl; mix well with clean hands.
Roll mixture into eighteen 1½-inch meatballs. Set aside.
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Add half of meatballs; cook, turning occasionally, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until meatballs are browned on each side. Place browned meatballs in a 3-quart slow cooker.
Repeat with the remaining meatballs. Set aside.
Add onion to same skillet; cook, over medium-high heat, for 4 to 6 minutes, or until onion is translucent.
Top meatballs with cooked onion, tomatoes, oregano, and remaining ¼ tsp. salt; cook, covered, on low temperature for 5 to 6 hours, stirring once or twice.
The Nutrition Facts box below provides estimated nutritional information for this recipe.