Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs

Perhaps I watched Lady and the Tramp too many times as a kid, but in the food lexicon of emotions, I will forever think of “meatballs” as synonymous with “love.” You take one end of the spaghetti noodle, I’ll take the other, and may the best (wo)man be the first to reach the Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs.

Classic Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs. DELICIOUS! Our whole family loves this easy slow cooker recipe. Great freezer meal too! @wellplated

When viewed objectively, Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs are not particularly romantic. They are messy. They are saucy. They are rarely pretty, and they certainly are not to be eaten in white pants.

Yet, there is something about turkey meatballs that will always remind me of love.

Perhaps it is because each meatball is formed individually with care.

Perhaps it is because the best, most tender meatballs require the gentlest touch to scoop and shape.

Perhaps it is because, every time I eat a turkey meatball, I fall freshly head-over-heels for a dish that I’ve been eating my whole life, yet continually forget how much I adore. Even Ben’s reaction was, “Why don’t we eat turkey meatballs all the time?”

Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs, I neglected you for too long. Let’s cue the Italian violinist, shine up our forks, and make up for lost time!

Tender, juicy Italian Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs in tomato sauce. Easy, healthy, and freezer friendly! @wellplated

The greatest crime and loudest complaint surrounding turkey meatballs is that they are dry. The key to guaranteeing your turkey meatballs turn out tender and juicy is to select your meat carefully, then supplement it with other moistening ingredients.

I found my ingredients at Pick ‘n Save, the local Wisconsin grocery store for whom I create monthly recipes (including this one.) For the meat, I used a blend of zesty Italian turkey sausage and lean Simple Truth Ground Turkey. For extra moisture, I added breadcrumbs and Simple Truth Organic Non-Fat Milk. Simple Truth is a new product line that’s available at any Roundy’s affiliated grocery store. The products are made with honest ingredients and designed to make everyday healthy shopping both easy and affordable. In the past few years, I’ve become increasingly conscious of what’s really inside the foods I purchase, so it’s comforting to know that, when I see the Simple Truth label, I can trust it.

Juicy, tender Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs. Our family LOVES this slow cooker recipe. Healthy and freezer friendly! @wellplated

The crock pot is another critical factor to ensuring maximum meatball juiciness. Its signature low and slow method locks in moisture, and it also offers maximum ease and flexibility.

The JUICIEST Italian Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs. Easy and healthy. Your whole family will love this slow cooker recipe! @wellplated

Once the turkey meatballs were mixed, I baked them in the oven for a few minutes to give them a golden exterior and set their shape, then transferred them to the slow cooker with a heaping helping of spaghetti sauce. The longer the meatballs simmer, the more juicy and aromatic they become.

This Crock Pot Turkey Meatball recipe yields a great big batch, and while I considered halving it, I’m glad I didn’t. They freeze beautifully and have already managed to disappear. We enjoyed some turkey meatballs over pasta, some as meatball subs, and I even brought a few to a friend’s as an appetizer.

Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs, made easy in the crock pot! Our whole family loves this slow cooker recipe. Healthy and freezer friendly! @wellplated

Juicy. Saucy. Zesty. Cheesy. This, my friends, is amore.

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Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs

Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs. The slow cooker makes these the most tender, juicy Italian turkey meatballs you will ever try. Healthy and freezer friendly!

Yield: about 38, 1 1/2-inch meatballs

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours (on high); 4 hours (on low)

Total Time: 2 1/2 hours (on high); 4 1/2 hours (on low)

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup non-fat milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 20 ounces (1.3 pounds) 93% lean ground turkey
  • 12 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage
  • 3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, pecorino, or asiago cheese, plus additional for serving
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 (24-ounce) jars prepared tomato pasta sauce (choose something with good flavor that you love) or homemade
  • For serving: prepared whole wheat pasta, sub-style buns, polenta, or enjoy alone as an appetizer

Directions:

  1. Place two oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs until evenly combined. Add the ground turkey, turkey sausage, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Lightly mix with a fork or your fingers, just until combined, being careful not to compact the meat. With a scoop or spoon, scoop the meat, then shape into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Arrange on the prepared baking sheets. (You will have about 38 meatballs total).
  3. Bake the meatballs for 3 minutes, remove the pans from the oven and flip the meatballs, then return the pans to the oven, switching each pan from bottom to top. Bake 3 additional minutes, then remove from the oven. The exterior of the meatballs should be lightly browned, but they will not be cooked through.
  4. Lightly coat a 5-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray. Arrange a layer of meatballs over the bottom, pour on half the sauce, then stack any remaining meatballs on top. Pour on the remaining sauce. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours, until the meatballs are cooked through and reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Serve warm with pasta, on buns, over polenta, or enjoy alone as an appetizer.
  • To freeze AFTER the meatballs have been cooked: Freeze with sauce for up to two months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • To freeze BEFORE the meatballs have been cooked: Complete the broiling portion, then freeze separately from the sauce. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then place in the slow cooker, top with sauce, and cook as directed.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 meatball (with 1.25 ounces sauce)

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 65
  • Total Fat: 3g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 34mg
  • Sodium: 234mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Protein: 6g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

If you like these Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs, you’ll love these other healthy, hearty slow cooker recipes!

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Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken — an easy recipe that’s perfect for busy days! Filled with warm spices, golden raisins, juicy chicken, and chickpeas. Filling, healthy, and budget-friendly too! @wellplated #crockpot

Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken

My all-time favorite recipe for delicious Broccoli Cheese Soup! Slow cooker recipe that's super quick and easy. Made with lots of fresh broccoli and cheddar, and always a crowd pleaser! @wellplated

Slow Cooker Broccoli and Cheese Soup

I am sharing this post in partnership with Pick ‘n Save. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue sharing quality content with you!

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…

23 comments

  1. I adore that these are done in the crockpot. Saving precious time! 

  2. I LOVE the idea of making these in the crockpot! And, I, too, loved “Lady and the Tramp” when I was little.

  3. Crockpot meals are the best- I’ve never seen Lady and the Tramp all the way through, but I remember always wanted to eat my spaghetti like that when I was little!

  4. Erin! We had a “Well Plated” weekend here. I made the pumpkin cobbler last night and it was so good! Tonight we had the spinach artichoke quinoa stuffed peppers and they were incredible. Best dinner in ages and we cook A LOT! Now I want these meatballs. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes. You’re my favorite food blogger and your site is the first one I check every morning. Thank you!

    • Sue, you just MADE MY NIGHT. Thank you! I can’t say enough how happy this makes me feel. It’s kind notes and comments from readers like you that keep me so inspired and are why I love blogging. Thank you for trying these recipes and for sharing your kind reviews. I’m honored that my blog has a space in your kitchen and your day!

  5. Slow cooker meals are the best! Love that these meatballs freeze well!

  6. I don’t care that they are messy, it really is a crock pot full of love!

  7. This is my families kind of food, my kids would dive straight into this!!

  8. Oh my word I love meatballs. This is the perfect fall recipe for our crazy weeknight dinners!

  9. I do believe you made these look pretty! And I agree with making extra. It’s always nice to have frozen food ready for those busy nights when your brain isn’t in the game. 

  10. These look fantastic!  My boys will love this one!

  11. I think these will be amazing!! Thank you!

  12. Thank you for this remarkable method for making turkey meatballs. They were an absolutely amazing dinner tonight over whole wheat pasta. The meatballs had terrific texture and held their shape in the slow cooker too. I know I will be making them again.  Meatballs were always in my birthday dinner request when I was growing up. Love the reference to “Lady and the Tramp”!

  13. They are in the crockpot now. I plan to serve them over risotto! I used pork Italian sausage with the ground turkey because that’s what I had on hand. I can not wait to dive in! A few of your recipes are my absolute favorite go-to(s). 

  14. I had 4 previous attempts at turkey meatballs which my husband pronounced “dry and mealy”. Then I tried your recipe and they turned out perfect, he loved them! You now officially have two fans in London :-)

  15. I’ve made this recipe twice now and I think it’s going to become a staple! Thank you!

    Rating: 5
    • I’m so excited to hear that, Farheen! Thank you for giving the recipe a try and sharing this awesome review!

  16. Where does the turkey sausage come into play 

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