Crockpot Turkey Meatballs

This is my favorite recipe for classic crockpot turkey meatballs. They’re spiced just right, incredibly tender, filled with tons of flavor, and there’s hardly any work involved.

turkey meatball on a wood spoon in a crockpot

turkey meatballs in a white bowl

2 images of turkey meatball ingredients in a purple bowl and turkey meatballs in a slow cooker

turkey meatballs in a crockpot

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turkey meatball on a wood spoon in a crockpot

Crockpot Turkey Meatballs

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours, 35 minutes
  • Yield: 25 medium size meatballs
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is my favorite recipe for classic crockpot turkey meatballs. They’re spiced just right, incredibly tender, filled with tons of flavor, and there’s hardly any work involved.


Ingredients

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound 97-98% lean ground turkey*
  • 1 pound 92-93% lean ground turkey*
  • 2/3 cup (40g) Panko breadcrumbs*
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) olive oil
  • 1/3 cup (30g) grated or shredded parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced
  • two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes*
  • optional: chopped fresh basil for serving

Instructions

  1. Beat the egg in a large mixing bowl. Add the ground turkey, Panko, 2 Tablespoons olive oil, parmesan, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix everything up just so the ingredients are combined – avoid overmixing. Roll into desired size balls – mine were slightly larger than a golfball. Place all rolled meatballs on a large baking sheet.
  2. Place onion slices in the bottom of the crockpot, topped with 1 can of crushed tomatoes.
  3. Coat a large skillet with remaining Tablespoon of olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Lightly brown the meatballs (only 6-8 meatballs at a time) for about 1 minute on each side. Do not skip this step – read above for why. Layer the meatballs into the crockpot as you’re browning each batch. Once all browned meatballs have been added to the crockpot, pour remaining can of tomatoes on top.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-6.5 hours. Serve with pasta, as meatball subs, plain, etc. No matter how I serve them, I always top with a little chopped fresh basil. Store leftovers covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Prepare meatballs through the browning step; cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze up to 2 months. Add to crockpot and cook as directed. OR you may fully prepare 1 day in advance, refrigerate, then cook in the crockpot on low for 45 minutes or until warmed. Freeze cooked meatballs in sauce for up to 2 months. Defrost before reheating as desired.
  2. Crockpot: You need a 4 quart or larger slow cooker. Here is the one I own.
  3. No Slow Cooker? No Problem! Prepare through step 2. Add the shaped meatballs to a large skillet coated with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and sauté until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer back to the large baking sheet. Repeat with all meatballs since they cannot all fit into the pan at once. Turn off heat. Pour off any excess oil. In a very large pot, add the sliced onions and 1 can crushed tomatoes. Add the meatballs and pour remaining can of crushed tomatoes on top. Turn the heat to low-medium and simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, the flavors blend, and the meatballs are cooked through, 25-35 minutes.
  4. Turkey: You need 2 pounds total ground turkey. I like to use a mix of extra extra lean and lean for best flavor, while keeping them on the lighter side.
  5. Panko: Panko is sold in all major grocery stores. I prefer Panko for texture, but you may use whole wheat or homemade dry breadcrumbs instead. To make your own for this particular recipe, you can trim the crusts from 2 slices of stale whole wheat bread. Cut bread into pieces and pulse in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Spread breadcrumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F (121°C) until dry, about 12-14 minutes. This makes around 2/3 cup.
  6. Adapted from Eating Well magazine.

Keywords: crockpot turkey meatballs, turkey meatballs

2 images of turkey meatballs

54 Comments

  1. Vaungaylyn zarcone says:

    Has anyone made these on high in the crockpot? How long did that take?

    1. Rule of thumb: cook on low for 1.5 – 2 times the time recommended for high heat. Also keep in mind that high is about 300 degrees & low is 200.

  2. Hi Sally, if I double this recipe in the crockpot, how long would you suggest I cook?

    1. Should be close to the same time, maybe an hour or so longer.

  3. Can I make this into a meatloaf? Cook time and temp?

    1. Hi Teara! You certainly can, but I’m unsure of the cook time. Meatloaf cooking temperatures vary, but I suggest 350F.

  4. Subbed one can of tomato for some red peppers I roasted, roasted the onion as well. Added a little cream. Spice blend: Lemon peel, garlic, onion powder, basil, salt, black and red pepper, and sundried tomato. Different take on this, but worked beautifully!

  5. Jennifer A Vaow says:

    Thank you really doesn’t seem strong enough…. Healthy. easy. make ahead. satisfying…… SO FREAKING DELICIOUS!

  6. Just a quick question. Is 1 lb ground turkey or 2 lbs ground turkey. Has it twice

    1. It’s two pounds total. I like to use a mix of extra lean all-natural ground turkey (around 98% lean) and lean all-natural ground turkey (around 93% lean). See above post for details!

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