Slow Cooker Meatballs

Prep your meatballs in the evening then throw them in the slow cooker the next morning for an easy weeknight meal.

Prep your meatballs in the evening then throw them in the slow cooker the next morning for an easy weeknight meal.

Slow cooker meatballs are a crowd-pleaser for a party, or even if you’d just like spaghetti and meatballs with the family for an easy weeknight dinner. It’s one thing to buy frozen meatballs and toss them in the slow cooker with a tasty sauce, but there is something so special about making meatballs from scratch. There’s always an extra touch of love added when making this traditional dish (or maybe that love is an extra dash of salt or other favorite seasoning!)

Meatballs tend to be a little intimidating for some, right? But the reality is they are easy-peasy when you follow these steps for making them and any cook, new to the kitchen or seasoned, can make a delicious meatball. Especially the melt in your mouth slow cooker kind. You just need to know a few fundamentals and you’ll be set.

When I make meatballs I always like to mix 2 different types of ground meat. For this recipe, I chose ground turkey and ground Italian sausage. The turkey is a great lean protein and the sausage gives the meatball extra flavor. You may use ground beef if you prefer that over the turkey.

The next key step in homemade meatballs is choosing the right seasonings. I may be biased but I think the combination of condiments and seasonings in this recipe make the best meatball you’ll ever experience.

When it comes to slow cooker meatballs, an important step is to brown the meatballs in the oven or on the stove before placing them in the slow cooker. I brown them for 5 minutes on each side then let the slow cooker do the work for the rest of the day. You can enjoy these meatballs as an appetizer or with a side salad and spaghetti. The choice is yours.

Prep your meatballs in the evening then throw them in the slow cooker the next morning for an easy weeknight meal.

Slow Cooker Meatballs

Yield: 22-28 meatballs

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 4 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 lb. ground Italian sausage
  • 1 and 1/2 jars (36 oz.) marinara
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped white onion
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, whisk breadcrumbs, milk and eggs together. Add in ground turkey, sausage and onion and mix together with clean hands. Make a well in the center of the meat mixture and add in ketchup, Dijon, Worcestershire, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and incorporate well using your hands. Don't over-mix.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll meat into balls (approximately 2 tablespoon sized balls). Bake in the oven for 5 minutes on one side, flip and bake for another 5 minutes. Pour enough sauce on the bottom of slow cooker to coat the bottom, then place meatballs in. Pour remaining marinara sauce over meatballs, cover with lid, and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Prep your meatballs in the evening then throw them in the slow cooker the next morning for an easy weeknight meal.

Tawnie Kroll

Tawnie Kroll is a California based food blogger and healthy recipe developer. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a lover of cooking and baking! Follow her blog for recipes, healthy living tips and practical scientific evidenced-based advice to help you improve your health and well being.