Tomato Basil Slow Cooker Chicken Meatballs
Hello friends, welcome to Slow Cook Recipe. Today we are going to make Tomato Basil Slow Cooker Chicken Meatballs.
These easy slow cooker chicken meatballs are a healthy and delicious option for a weeknight meal. Made with lean ground chicken, parmesan cheese, parsley, and oregano, they are cooked in a simple garlic and basil tomato sauce. The sauce is also great for dipping, so be sure to make extra!
These chicken meatballs are so easy to make and they’re always a hit! I love using my slow cooker to make them because it’s just so simple. You just throw all of the ingredients into the slow cooker and let it do its thing. The meatballs come out so moist and flavorful, and everyone always loves them.
If you have any leftover slow cooker chicken meatballs, don’t throw them out! Freeze them for later and use them to pack a healthy and delicious lunch. When you’re ready to eat, simply reheat the meatballs and enjoy with your favorite sides. This is a great way to make sure you have a nutritious and satisfying meal on the go.
Jump to the Tomato Basil Slow Cooker Chicken Meatballs Recipe or read on to see our tips for making them.
How to Make Meatballs in a Slow Cooker
Using a slow cooker makes these chicken meatballs so easy. The sauce is cooked first. We throw everything into a crock pot and turn it on.
The sauce gets better and better as it cooks. After a few hours on high or 6 hours on low, it’s ready for the meatballs.
The chicken meatballs only need an hour in the slow cooker — this way, they cook just until done, guaranteeing their juiciness. No one likes a dry meatball!
I mentioned above that we make the sauce first. You see it gets so much better with time, the meatballs don’t since they can become dry.
Slow Cooker Chicken Meatballs
We add canned tomatoes, tomato paste, olive oil, a small onion that’s been halved, lots of garlic and spices to the crock pot.
If we’re in a hurry, we’ll turn it to high and cook for 3 hours. If we’re starting in the morning, switching to low and cooking for 6 hours does the trick.
Slow cooker marinara sauce
As the sauce slowly bubbles away, we get started on the meatballs. In our photos, we are using ground chicken, but ground turkey, pork or beef will work. (See our easy turkey meatballs or these Swedish meatballs that combine beef and pork.)
We use panko breadcrumbs and milk for tenderness and lots of parmesan cheese, oregano and parsley for flavor.
They are cooked at the end after the sauce is made, but you can form the balls whenever you like.
You could do this a day in advance if you wanted to — just keep them covered in the refrigerator. Or, form them weeks in advance and freeze them uncooked.
Adding the chicken meatballs to a slow cooker
When you’re ready, gently drop the formed meatballs into the hot sauce. Cover them and cook for about 1 hour or until they are done.
And that’s it — slow cooker chicken meatballs that are easy to make, taste great and are perfect for making in advance. We hope you give them a try.
Cooked chicken meatballs
More easy dinners we love are our Creamy White Chicken Lasagna, Easy Lemon Chicken, Easy Shredded Slow Cooker Chicken and these Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Meatballs!
Tomato Basil Slow Cooker Chicken Meatballs
- Preparation: 30 minutes
- Cook: 7 hours
- Total time: 7 hour 30 minutes
We love these crock pot meatballs. They are made with lean ground chicken, parmesan cheese, parsley, and oregano, and then cooked in a simple garlic and basil tomato sauce.
Be sure to look at the notes section below for our tips on making them in advance! Serve these with pasta, spiralized noodles, vegetables, bread, or as an appetizer.
Makes approximately 6 servings or about 18 meatballs
You Will Need
- Tomato Basil Sauce
- 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 medium onion, split in half
- 4 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 1/2 tablespoons)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 large stem fresh basil sprig
- Salt, to taste
- 1 pound ground chicken, see notes
- 1/3 cup (25 grams) panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (about 1/3 cup)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Make Tomato Basil Sauce
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, halved onion, garlic, olive oil, bay leaf, red pepper flakes and the basil sprig to a slow cooker.
Stir then add salt to taste — we use between 1/2 teaspoon and 1 teaspoon of salt, depending on the tomatoes. It will be cold, but you will get a good idea of whether or not the sauce is well seasoned.
Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or on HIGH for 3 hours. Remove the onion, bay leaf and basil sprig. Taste then add additional salt as needed.
The meatballs can be prepared ahead of time, see notes below. Combine panko breadcrumbs and the milk in a large bowl.
Wait 3 to 5 minutes until the breadcrumbs have absorbed most of the milk then whisk in the egg. Whisk in the parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano, salt, and the pepper.
Add the chicken and use a fork or your hands to then blend the chicken and the egg mixture together.
The meatball mixture will be quite moist. Shape into one-inch meatballs, pressing no more than necessary. This recipe makes approximately 18 meatballs.
Once the tomato sauce has finished cooking and the onion has been removed, add the chicken meatballs. To add them, use a spoon or two forks to gently lower them into the sauce.
Cover the tops of the meatballs by gently pushing sauce over each meatball. Cook on HIGH for 1 hour or until the meatballs are cooked through.
This recipe works beautifully with leaner, ground chicken breast, however, using ground dark meat (thighs) makes more tender meatballs. You can also used ground turkey for these meatballs.
The sauce can be made ahead and kept refrigerated 2 to 3 days and 3 to 4 months in the freezer.
Meatballs can be shaped and kept refrigerated up to a day ahead. Arrange them on a baking sheet, cover, and then refrigerate up to 1 day.
Freezing uncooked meatballs
Meatballs can be shaped and and arranged on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Freeze until solid then transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag, and freeze up to 1 month. Thaw meatballs in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the Nutrifox recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.
Thanks for visiting slow Cooker Recipe, have a great day!