These turkey meatballs are tender, juicy, and so easy to make. Just mix the ingredients and place them in the slow cooker with your favorite marinara. Then, let the slow cooker do the work for you!
It’s slow cooker season!
Every year you guys tell me you want more slow cooker recipes. So I set out to find ways to use this staple kitchen appliance that didn’t result in super mushy food. I’ve made so many things in my slow cooker thanks to you guys pushing me to use this magical kitchen appliance.
Who would have thought you can make oats, steel-cut oats, granola, and wings in your slow cooker? Plus, all the traditional stuff like chili and soup. (Want more, check out my slow cooker recipe category.) But this recipe, slow cooker turkey meatballs, is easily my favorite non-soup way to use the crockpot.
When I first learned that you could make meatballs in the slow cooker, I was intrigued, but also annoyed. Browning something before it goes into the crockpot? No, thank you, hard pass — too many dishes.
Making my own marinara sauce? Too many extra steps, a good marinara sauce is a pantry staple. Why make my own?
Dicing onions? Okay, this isn’t that bad, but is it necessary for meatballs? How about onion flakes?
And then I knew it was time for my own recipe. So here is what I did.
Step 1: Mix meat with seasonings, chopped fresh herbs, and oat flour. You can sub 1/3 dried seasoning for fresh if you don’t feel like chopping up fresh herbs. I knew I wanted fresh herbs for garnish, so I went the fresh route.
I also used oat flour as a binder (see how to make your own oat flour here), but you can also use chickpea flour, bread crumbs, or almond flour.
Step 2: Form meat mixture into meatballs. I used a cook scoop to help me do this.
Step 3: Add a layer of marinara on the bottom of the slow cooker and add a layer of meatballs. Make sure to space them apart so that they are not touching.
Step 4: Add another layer of marinara and stack more meatballs on top.
Step 5: Add a final layer of marinara and let the slow cooker do its thing. Don’t’ attempt to stir the pot until the meatballs feel set (firm when you move them around), about an hour or two. I know you want to stir, but hands off!
Run a lap or something, but don’t touch! The meatballs aren’t exactly delicate, but I don’t want you to break them apart and go blaming it on me, so hands off! My meatballs took 2-3 hours on high. They are ready to eat once they reach an internal temperature of 165F.
What to Serve Crockpot Turkey Meatballs With:
Pasta – Traditional pasta is always the right answer here! Spaghetti, ziti, rigatoni, whatever your little heart desires, is a great choice. To add some extra veggies stir in some chopped zucchini in the last hour of cooking, then you can just spoon everything over your pasta.
Spaghetti Squash – Spaghetti Squash is a great low carb pasta substitute. I use the term “substitute” lightly because I don’t like to think of spaghetti squash as a “sub” for pasta. I like to think of it as a totally different meal because spaghetti squash doesn’t taste anything like pasta.
You can actually prep the spaghetti squash and stick it face down in the slow cooker over the meatballs. Or, you can make it separately. Below is an awesome video of how to make spaghetti squash in the microwave.
Zucchini Noodles – Another low carb “substitute.” The spiralizer I have is nothing fancy, but it does the trick. For a meal like this, I don’t even cook the noodles ahead of time. I just dump the hot meatballs over the top and call it good.
As always, let me know if you try it! You can leave a comment or tag me on IG @hungryhobbyRD! It makes my day to see when you guys make a recipe.
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Crockpot Turkey Meatballs Recipe
- Crockpot or Slow Cooker
- Combine the turkey, onion, parsley, basil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and oat flour in a large bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined. Form meatballs using a cookie scoop, which should yield 24-32 meatballs.
- Add a layer of sauce (about 1/3 of the sauce or 12 ounces) to the bottom of your crockpot. Now add a layer of meatballs, evenly spaced at least an inch apart. Cover the meatballs with 1/3 of sauce (or 12 ounces) and add a second layer of meatballs. Cover those meatballs with sauce.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 4-6 on low. Refrain from stirring until meatballs start to set, then you can stir to promote even cooking and satisfy your need to mess with it (I feel you I'm the same way.)Make sure the internal temperature of your meatballs reaches a minimum of 165F.
- Enjoy meatballs!
- I haven't tried it, but subbing ground chicken should be no problem.
- Use chickpea flour, breadcrumbs, or any other binder in place of oat flour. I haven't tried them, but again, it should work!