These Crockpot Turkey Meatballs are ultra tender and made with parmesan cheese instead of breadcrumbs to keep them gluten free! Serve over spaghetti, in a meatball sub, or as an appetizer.
These crockpot turkey meatballs are sheer heaven. Nothing beats juicy meatballs that have been slowing cooking in a homemade tomato sauce all day! Especially when they’re served over a mound of spaghetti or piled into crusty bread to make a meatball sub.
These turkey meatballs are simple but packed with flavor thanks to a quick and easy homemade tomato sauce!
- Canned Peeled and Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, and Tomato Paste – the base for our tomato sauce. Crushed tomatoes add texture, tomato sauce provides additional tomato flavor while keeping the sauce the perfect “not too thick not too thin” consistency, and the tomato paste gives the sauce richness and flavor depth.
- Dried Basil Leaves, Italian Seasoning, Salt, Black Pepper, and Nutmeg – the classic tomato sauce seasoning blend! Feel free to play around with amounts and other seasonings to make YOUR perfect tomato sauce.
- Ground Turkey – use lean ground turkey (85/15) so the meatballs are tender but not overly greasy.
- Eggs – helps bind the meatballs together so they can hold their shape.
- Parmesan Cheese – our breadcrumb replacement! Adding cheese helps keep the meatballs moist, adds additional rich, salty flavor, and also helps to bind the meatballs together.
- Dried Garlic Powder, Dried Onion Powder, Dried Basil, Italian Seasoning, Salt, and Black Pepper – gives the meatballs that classic Italian-meatball flavor.
- Cooked Pasta – use any pasta shape you like! I love spaghetti.
How to make
A quick 5 minute tomato sauce coats homemade turkey meatballs; together they slow cook in the crockpot to create a tender, juicy, and flavorful meal!
- Place tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and nutmeg into a large bowl then stir to combine.
- Place turkey, eggs, parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper into another large bowl then use your hands to mix until fully combined.
- Use a large cookie scoop to portion out 24 meatballs and use your hands to shape them into balls.
- Place the formed meatballs onto a greased wire cooling rack set on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Broil the meatballs on top rack at 550ºF for 2-3 minutes or until the tops are golden-brown.
- Grease a crockpot with cooking spray then pour half of the tomato sauce. Top with broiled meatballs and remaining sauce.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours then serve over pasta and enjoy!
what size to make turkey meatballs
Use a large cookie scoop to portion out the meatballs. This is about 3 tablespoons of the ground turkey mixture and yields 24 meatballs.
You can definitely make your meatballs bigger or smaller depending on your preference but keep in mind this will alter the cook time.
Do you have to brown turkey meatballs before putting them in the crockpot?
Not necessarily, but I highly recommend it. Browning the meat before adding it to the crockpot caramelizes the outside of the meatballs. This helps them hold their shape, gives them more texture, and adds flavor depth.
Why are my turkey meatballs rubbery?
If your meatballs are rubbery, you probably over-mixed the turkey mixture, packed them too tightly, and/or over-cooked them.
Use your hands to combine the turkey mixture until *just* combined, then you want to make sure they’re rolled tightly enough that they hold their shape, but not so tight that the meat can’t cook properly. Lastly, broil the meatballs until their exteriors are golden brown, but do NOT cook them through — they finish cooking in the crockpot.
How to serve turkey meatballs
I love to serve my turkey meatballs over spaghetti noodles. If spaghetti isn’t your thing, here are a couple other options!
- Baked into pasta. Dice the meatballs into smaller pieces and replace the bolognese with this in my baked ziti recipe!
- In a sandwich. Toast your favorite crusty bread, scoop on a generous portion of meatballs and sauce, then top with mozzarella.
- On pizza. Pizza dough + this sauce + diced meatballs + loads of cheese. YUM.
- As an appetizer. Skewer the meatballs on toothpicks and serve them up as finger food at your next party!
What to serve with turkey meatballs
If you’re serving your turkey meatballs Italian-style over pasta like I do, here are some yummy side dish ideas!
- Green Salad with Italian Dressing
- Roasted Green Beans
- Garlic Bread or Breadsticks
- Roasted Asparagus
How to store
Store leftover turkey meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 3-4 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge if frozen then microwave, bake, or warm on the stove.
No crockpot? Check out my baked turkey meatballs instead!
Crockpot Turkey Meatballs
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 (28 oz) can peeled and crushed tomatoes
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 pounds lean ground turkey use 85/15
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup freshly shaved parmesan
- 2 teaspoons dried garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons dried onion powder
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Cooked pasta for serving
- Place tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and nutmeg into a large bowl.
- Stir to combine, then taste and re-season, if desired. Set aside.
- Place a wire cooling rack onto a 9x13 rimmed baking sheet. Grease with cooking spray and set aside.
- Place turkey, eggs, parmesan, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper into another large bowl.
- Use your hands to mix until the mixture is fully combined.
- Use a large cookie scoop to scoop 24 meatballs, use your hands to shape into balls, then place them onto the prepared sheet.
- Preheat broiler on high (mine is 550 degrees) for 5 minutes.
- Broil the meatballs on the top rack for 2-3 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Keep a really close eye on them to prevent burning.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
Crockpot Turkey Meatballs
- Grease a 6 quart crockpot with cooking spray, then pour in half the prepared tomato sauce.
- Place in the broiled meatballs, then top with the remaining sauce.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
- Taste and re-season with salt, if necessary.
- Serve over cooked pasta with more sauce and parmesan, if desired, and enjoy!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.