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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs

What makes this recipe extra easy (and mess-free) is that there's no browning the meatballs required. Once you have your meatball mixture ready, simply drop the formed balls into the sauce and let the slow cooker do its thing.

Not only do the turkey meatballs get incredibly flavorful and tender from bubbling away in the slow cooker, but the homemade sauce gets tastier and tastier by the hour. With delicious Italian ingredients like dried oregano, fresh garlic and the essential Parm rind, the low-and-slow simmering sauce becomes seriously sweet, aromatic and flavorful.

You can fully prepare this the night before - sauce, meatballs and all - then stick it in the fridge overnight. Turn the slow cooker on in the morning while you go about your day, and you'll have some perfectly tender and delicious meatballs awaiting you! Serve them with crusty bread, tossed with pasta, with roasted vegetables or even an arugula salad.
Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs


Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs



Prep Time

15 minutes

Cook Time

330 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs


    For the Sauce:

  • Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (plus more to season)
  • 3 large cloves garlic (smashed and peeled)
  • 1 3 inch piece Parmesan cheese rind
  • For the Meatballs:

  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 pound ground dark turkey meat
  • 1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausage links (casings removed)


  1. For the Sauce: In a 4 quart slow cooker, add the cans of tomato, dried oregano, salt, pepper and garlic cloves. Stir to combine and set aside.
  2. For the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, salt, pepper, egg, and garlic. Using a wooden spoon, stir to blend. Add the ground turkey and sausage meat. Using your fingers, gently mix all the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop or a small ice cream scoop, form the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (24 to 26 meatballs).
  3. Add the meatballs to the slow cooker with the tomato mixture. If you need to make a second layer of meatballs, gently press on the first layer to submerge and add the next layer on top. It's okay if they aren't fully covered in sauce.
  4. Nestle the parmesan rind into the sauce. Cover and cook for 5 hours on high. After the 5 hours, remove the cover and cook an additional 30 minutes on high to reduce the sauce slightly. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.



Nutrition Serving Size
per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
17 grams
27 grams
8 grams
Saturated Fat
3 grams
90 milligrams
806 milligrams
3 grams
7 grams
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5 reviews & comments

  • Author's avatar image

    For Sauce: Added some dried Basil along with Oregano, about same amount. Started sauce in slow cooker on HIGH to give it a head start, then worked on meatballs. For Meatballs: I used 2 large eggs for the amount of meat. I added 1/2 CUP of finely chopped fresh parsley. Meatballs were placed on parchment lined baking sheet as they were for,Ed and went into freezer for about 20 mins to firm up as I worried they would disintegrate in the sauce. Meatballs cooked in sauce on HIGH FOR 30 mins, then turned to LOW and cooked for about 4.5 hours. Perfectly tender, not dried out! Was a big hit all! If I wasn’t going to be present to turn down to LOW, I would start them at LOW after adding to sauce.

  • Author's avatar image
    kim meyer

    Amazing and delicious, best meatballs I have ever made! I did use lean ground turkey instead of dark meat, delicious and healthy! I can't wait to share this recipe and to make it again, thank you Giada 💗

  • Author's avatar image
    Benay Krissel

    What a crowd pleaser. I've shared this recipe with half a dozen people because everyone loves it.

  • Author's avatar image
    Teresa Taylor

    Hands down one of my family's favorite slow cooker recipes — so easy and quick to make and such a delicious, warm meal to come home too.

  • Author's avatar image
    Aimee Davis

    Where can I find spicy Italian turkey sausage? Any subs? This looks amazing and I know my family would love it!

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