Saucy Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs

Easy slow cooker Italian turkey meatballs recipe.
  • Yield: 6 servings


For the meatballs:
1pound ground turkey
1link uncooked spicy Italian turkey sausage, about 1/4 to 1/3 pound
1/3cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (preferably whole wheat)
1/4cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1-- egg
2tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1/2teaspoon salt
-- freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce:
1can crushed or diced tomatoes (28 oz)
1can crushed or diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
2large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
2tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
-- freshly ground black pepper
1teaspoon salt
1teaspoon sugar (rounded)


For the meatballs:

  1. Start by splitting the sausage casing down the center using a sharp knife. Turn the sausage meat out of the casing and into a medium bowl. Add the ground turkey, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, egg, parsley, basil, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together until evenly combined, being sure the sausage meat is distributed throughout.
  2. Scoop up about 1 1/2 tablespoons of meat and roll it between your hands to form little globes that are the size of a small golf ball. Continue until you’ve rolled all the meat into balls. You should have approximately 20 meatballs. Set aside while you make the sauce.

For the sauce:

  1. Pour the 2 cans of tomatoes into your slow cooker. Add the smashed garlic, parsley, basil, red pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, and sugar. Stir well.
  2. Add the meatballs to the sauce, one-by-one, gently nestling them into the tomatoes so they are almost entirely covered with sauce.
  3. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 4 hours.
  4. Serve in shallow bowls with crusty bread for dipping.

Adapted from a recipe by Skinny Taste.


To make this truly a one-dish-meal, you can add two to three cups of roughly chopped raw vegetables to the pot when the meatballs are nearly done and cook until tender.

Broccoli or any dark leafy greens work well.

Recipe courtesy of Katie Sullivan Morford, food and nutrition writer, cooking teacher, and registered dietitian. She has been published in Cooking Light, Self, Shape, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. She writes about food and family on her blog Mom’s Kitchen Handbook and will publish her first cookbook in 2013.