Slow Cooker Italian Meatballs Recipe

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This slow cooker Italian meatballs recipe is a very simple recipe that is wonderful to make for when company comes over, or just for a family dinner. It’s minimal prep, and cooks while you run errands.

Clean eating slow cooker Italian meatballs recipe served in a dark gray bowl and ready to eat

These are more of a dense meatball and the sauce is perfect for ladling over whole grain pasta or brown rice. Basically, this is a quick and easy way to make spaghetti and meatballs without all the hassle that usually ensues when making non-slow cooker varieties.

Because this busy mama is all about quick, easy, clean meals!



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Slow Cooker Italian Style Meatballs in a black bowl.

Slow Cooker Italian Style Meatballs

These delicious meatballs make a wonderful main course or a simple side dish.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 22 meatballs
Calories: 49kcal
Author: Tiffany McCauley


  • Slow Cooker


  • 1 ½ lb. ground turkey
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce (no sugar added)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (fresh is best)


  • In a large mixing bowl, knead the turkey together with the spices.
  • Roll meat into 22, walnut sized meatballs, and place in a single layer in your slow cooker (Mine was a 5 quart).
  • Pour the tomato sauce over the top, being sure to cover the meatballs well and evenly.
  • Sprinkle the cheese across the top and set the slow cooker to low heat for 4 hours.
  • Serve over pasta with a little extra parmesan cheese.
  • Note: These are a fairly dense meatball. You can add finely chopped mushrooms to the mixture to soften them up a bit. About ½ to 1 cup should be fine, and you'll get more meatballs out of it to boot.


Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Serving: 1meatball | Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 8g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 121mg | Potassium: 169mg | Vitamin A: 100IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 0.7mg

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I'm Tiffany, a writer for MSN and the AP Newswire, a cookbook author, digital publisher, food lover, and mom. I create healthy, clean eating recipes for everyday living.

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  1. a little mummy magic says:

    This looks delicious! Going to make for our dinners tonight where is the recipe for the tomato sauce please? Thanks

    1. ALMM – I don’t have a recipe for it, but I know it’s hard to find in the UK. If you can find a can of tomato sauce, you can reconstitute it by refilling the can it comes in 1 and 1/2 times with water. Whisk it all together and that should give you a perfect tomato sauce.

  2. Luv What You Do says:

    Oh yum! I love putting my crockpot to work for a healthy weeknght dinner. This will definitely make the next meal plan!

  3. I have a question….the recipe sounds good…however, when you say “tomato sauce” do you mean regular plain old tomato sauce???? I have seen some recipes where when they say tomato sauce they really mean pasta sauce…so I am just wondering…thanks

  4. I just got done making these. They are really delicious!! Thanks for a great recipe and I’m trying to find recipes that hubby and I can enjoy but also be kid friendly so I’m not making something different for everyone!! This was perfect!!

  5. Do you have a recipe for a meatless meatball, made with pecans I lost mind years ago, an cant find one. I am trying soooo hard to go vegetarian, due to being told I have ms. But I have always canned all my veggies. I bake most of our foods. like pies, some breads,an junk foods.I really love your web site.

    1. Mary – I don’t, but it sounds interesting. Did you bake them or boil them? Cook them in a slow cooker? I could give it a try. Do you remember any more of the ingredients?

  6. I made these for one of our weekly dinners last week, and my husband and I both enjoyed them! Very flavorful and easy to make. I used your tip of adding finely chopped mushrooms to the mixture, and they turned out very well. I did, however, want to get clarification on the amount of tomato sauce to use. Was it just 1/2 cup or 1 and 1/2 cups of tomato sauce? Thanks again for another clean, tasty recipe!

  7. Hi! Can you use lean ground beef instead of the turkey?

  8. If I don’t have time to prep this the night before, would they taste just as good baked in the oven? And if so at what temp and for how long?

    Thank you

    1. Ashleigh – In theory, yes. Though I’ve never tried it, so I can’t say for sure. You could bake them at 350 F. for approximately 40-50 minutes. You’d have to check them starting at the 35 minute mark and every few minutes thereafter. I’m not sure on an exact time. Let me know how they turn out!

  9. I made these for dinner tonight and they were great! I did bake them in the oven at 350 F for 40 min and then another 5-10 on broil to make the cheese crunchy. Thanks again.

  10. How do you make the Italian seasoning?

  11. You make me a good cook!!! I enjoyed this meal and many others!! Just wanted to say THANK You!!!!

  12. martha@ simple nourished living says:

    These look delicious! I’m on a mission to use my slow cooker every day for a year to make Weight Watchers friendly recipes. This is on my short list of recipes to try very soon. Thanks so much!

  13. These little meatballs really surprised me, very flavorful for so few ingredients. Just wondering if you ever tried putting oatmeal in them and if so how were they? Its nice when you can sneak in a complex carb and it is tasty too. Also do you have a certain brand of spice you like, I used a cheap onion powder and I think it was too strong.

    1. Laura – I have never used oatmeal in meatballs. I have used mushrooms though, and it was tasty. Not as high in carbs though…
      I get my onion powder at Costco. It’s just a generic brand. But you can always adjust for what you have by reducing the amount you put in.
      Hope that helps.

  14. I was so excited to make these, but I was sad when they were done. They were very dense meatballs….too dense. Any ideas, other than mushroom in the meatballs that would make them less dense?

    1. Charlene – Yes, I noted that in my post here. I like them that way for certain things. But you can add mushrooms or whole grain bread crumbs to help with that if you prefer.

  15. Is it necessary to be in a single layer on the bottom? I have a 2 quart crockpot so I won’t be able to fit many across the bottom layer! Thanks

    1. Lindsay – You can do two layers, but you may have to adjust the cooking time. Play it by ear and use a thermometer.

  16. I chopped up a bell pepper and mixed it in to help it not be so dense! It was delish!

  17. Just made this tonight and we are loving it!! The only problem I had was the meatballs ended up a little dry. How can I prevent this from happening next, because there will be many more next times for this recipe!!

    1. Annette – You might try adding some chopped mushrooms. They tend to add moisture. Glad you liked it! 😀

  18. How long would they cook on high?

    1. Dustin – I have never tried. But you could stick a thermometer in them at about 2 1/2 hours and see where they are at. Just know that every time you lift the lid, you need to tack on about 15 minutes of cooking time.

  19. Hi, I am making these right now – but I am using organic beef instead of turkey. I set it for 4 hours on Low. Do I need to change the setting or the time if I use red meat instead?
    Thanks!!!! I can’t wait until dinner!

    1. Karen – I don’t believe so, but the best thing you can do is use a meat thermometer to be sure they are fully cooked. I hope you enjoy them!

  20. Stephanie says:

    These look SO yummy! I love slow cooker recipes! Going to make these now, but going to use pasta sauce instead of tomato sauce (because I have some on hand) and add a little hot turkey Italian sausage to the meat mix. 🙂 YUM!

  21. I see that the calories are 49 per serving. Is one meatball one serving or how many meatballs is in a serving. Thank you!

    1. Courtney – Yes, the data is roughly for 1 meatball. I figured it would be easier to decide how many to eat that way.

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