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Whole30 Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs

Whole30 slow cooker turkey meatballs in homemade marinara sauce is the solution to your busy weeknights! This recipe is packed with flavor and is so easy to make! It’s gluten free, nut free, egg free, paleo, and low carb!

Whole30 Turkey Meatballs in a crockpot, silver serving spoon holding one meatball

Why this recipe works

  • Dinner will be waiting for you when you get home! The slow cooker does all the work for you! And the turkey meatballs and marinara only take about 10 minutes hands on time to make!
  • Slow cooker turkey meatballs are tender, flavorful and exactly what everyone in the family will want after a long day! This is going to become a go-to recipe for you!
  • These Whole30 turkey meatballs are a great way to get in extra veggies from the shredded zucchini, your kids won’t even notice! This is optional but a great way to easily get in some extra veggies!
  • Serve these paleo turkey meatballs with your favorite pasta substitute (I love spaghetti squash) or over cauliflower rice for a Whole30 friendly meal or over your favorite gluten free pasta if you are not on a Whole30.
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Tips on making the best Whole30 Turkey Meatballs:

  • Use dark turkey meat if possible! Lean turkey meat has less fat and will have less flavor and be more vulnerable to drying out. If you need are using the 98% lean, be sure to add a veggie to help keep the meatballs moist and tender! I like to use the 93% lean for meatballs.
  • As with any meatball recipe, don’t overmix this Whole30 turkey meatball mixture. I like to combine the spices, tomato paste and shredded zucchini together first and only add the ground turkey last, to avoid over mixing.
  • Adding balsamic vinegar to the turkey meatballs helps tenderize them and helps cut through the heavy taste from the tomato paste, don’t skip it!
  • Turkey meatballs are very soft and will not form like regular beef meatballs when they are raw. Don’t worry, during cooking, they firm up and are perfect! Just be gentle with them when you are forming them.
  • Add the Whole30 marinara to the bottom of the slow cooker first. Gently add the turkey meatballs (remember they are fragile). You can stack them on top of each other if needed.
Crockpot filled with Whole30 Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs

What veggies can you to add to these Whole30 Turkey Meatballs?

I like to pack as much nutrition into my meals as possible. Since turkey meat tends to be a little bit on the dry side, I like to add shredded zucchini to the mixture. If you don’t have zucchini you could also add:

  • Shredded carrots
  • Finely chopped onions (use the food processor for this)
  • Riced cauliflower or broccoli

TIP: If you decide to use shredded zucchini, be sure to take the time to really squeeze out any excess moisture. You can use your hands, a few sheets of paper towel, cheesecloth or a very clean kitchen towel.

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How to make slow cooker turkey meatballs:

Start by grating the zucchini. Once the zucchini has been grated, use your hand or a towel and squeeze out all the excess water. Do this in batches and don’t rush this process.

How to make turkey meatballs, grating and squeezing water from a zucchini.

Add the zucchini to a large mixing bowl. Add the tomato paste, balsamic vinegar and spices to the bowl, stir well.

Steps on making meatballs, glass bowl filled with zucchini & spices

Add the turkey meat to the zucchini and spices. Stir well but don’t over mix.

Glass bowl filled with ground turkey mixed with spices.

Using your hands, carefully form the turkey zucchini meatballs. NOTE: these will seem very loose and barely stick together. This is normal, just be careful with the meatballs.

Whole30 Turkey meatballs formed before cooking on a white plate

Place the meatballs directly into the Whole30 approved marinara sauce.

Raw turkey meatballs in marinara in slow cooker

Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

How to make Whole30 spaghetti sauce

Follow the steps below to make Whole30 Spaghetti Sauce

Step 1: Drain the excess liquid from the diced tomatoes.

Step 2: Combine all the ingredients in the bottom of the slow cooker and stir well.

Slow cooker filled with Whole30 Marinara ingredients.

Tools I used to make this easy Whole30 Slow Cooker Turkey Meatball recipe:

I upgraded my Crockpot last year and I love it! Here is the Crockpot I have! 

To grate the zucchini, I use a vegetable grater.

FAQ’s:

How long can you store paleo turkey meatballs in the fridge?

Once cooked you can store these slow cooker meatballs in the fridge for 3 days.

Can you freeze slow cooker turkey meatballs?

Yes! You can freeze these meatballs before or after cooking them.

To freeze before cooking, carefully form the turkey meatballs and freeze them on a single baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once fully frozen, you can add them to a freezer safe bag or container.  Freeze the sauce separate. The night before, defrost the Whole30 spaghetti sauce. Add the frozen meatballs directly to the defrosted sauce and cook on low for 10 hours or high for 4-6.

To freeze after cooking, freeze the meatballs with the sauce in a freezer safe container. Store in the freezer for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge.

Crockpot filled with Whole30 turkey meatballs

Do you need to sear the turkey meatballs before putting them in the crockpot?

Nope, they are going to be cooked in and covered with sauce and don’t require the extra step.

Make ahead tips

The night before you plan on making the meatballs for dinner:

  • Make the meatballs and instead of putting them directly into the tomato sauce, place them on a dinner plate. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
  • In a large mason jar or easy to close container, combine the ingredients for the Whole30 marinara sauce.
  • The next morning, add the sauce to the bottom of the slow cooker, carefully add the meatballs and turn it on for the required cooking time.

What to serve with these Whole30 Turkey Meatballs:

Large bowl filled with zucchini noodles topped with Whole30 turkey meatballs.

If you love this slow cooker turkey meatball recipe, you should try:

★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
Crockpot of Whole30 slow cooker turkey meatballs with silver serving spoon

Whole30 Slow Cooker Turkey Meatball Recipe

Whole30 Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs are the perfect weeknight meal! This recipe is packed with flavor and has an easy homemade marinara as well! Gluten free, paleo, low carb and even has some hidden veggies! Super easy to make and you can even freeze these as part of meal prep!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Save Rate
Course: dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: paleo turkey meatballs, slow cooker turkey meatballs, whole30 turkey meatballs
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 4

Guided Recipe Video

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce

Instructions

  • Start by grating the zucchini. Once the zucchini has been grated, use your hand or a towel and squeeze out all the excess water. Do this in batches and don’t rush this process.
  • Add the zucchini to a large mixing bowl. Add the tomato paste, balsamic vinegar and spices to the bowl, stir well.
  • Add the turkey meat to the zucchini and spices. Stir well but don’t over mix.
  • Make the Whole30 Marinara and add it to the bottom of the crockpot.
  • Using your hands, carefully form the turkey zucchini meatballs. NOTE: these will seem very loose and barely stick together. This is normal, just be careful with the meatballs.
  • Place the meatballs directly into the Whole30 approved marinara sauce.
  • Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 8 hours.

Notes

Turkey meatballs are best made with darker meat turkey. I prefer 93% lean ground turkey.
Once cooked you can store these slow cooker meatballs in the fridge for 3 days.
To freeze before cooking, carefully form the turkey meatballs and freeze them on a single baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once fully frozen, you can add them to a freezer safe bag or container.  Freeze the sauce separate. The night before, defrost the Whole30 spaghetti sauce. Add the frozen meatballs directly to the defrosted sauce and cook on low for 10 hours or high for 4-6.
To freeze after cooking, freeze the meatballs with the sauce in a freezer safe container. Store in the freezer for up to a month. Defrost in the fridge.
Make ahead tips:
  • Make the meatballs and instead of putting them directly into the tomato sauce, place them on a dinner plate. Cover the plate with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
  • In a large mason jar or easy to close container, combine the ingredients for the Whole30 marinara sauce.
  • The next morning, add the sauce to the bottom of the slow cooker, carefully add the meatballs and turn it on for the required cooking time.
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Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts
Amount per Serving
Calories
211
Fat
 
3
g
Carbohydrates
 
19
g
Fiber
 
5
g
Sugar
 
9
g
Protein
 
31
g
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database.
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Update Notes: This recipe was originally posted in December of 2015, but was published again in July 2019 to include step by step directions, recipe notes and new photos.

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